|Cooperation between China and Turkey will Benefit the Two Peoples|
Friendship between China and Turkey goes back to very ancient times. People from the two countries began interact with each other in culture and trade through the “Silk Road” 2000 years ago. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1971, the two countries have increased mutual political trust, enhanced the level of economic cooperation and tightened social and cultural intercourse. The friendship between China and Turkey has been deep in two peoples’ hearts.
Trade between the two countries has increased a lot in recent years, with bilateral trade volume exceeding 12 billion USD in 2008. China now is Turkey’s third largest trade partner. In economic and technical cooperations, Chinese and Turkish companies, as a combination, carried out the building of the Second Phase of Ankara-Istanbul Express Railway, which cost more than 1.27 billion USD and became the milestone of the Sino-Turkish economic cooperation. In cooperation of tourism and culture, more than 70 thousand people from China visited Turkey in 2008. Turkey’s “Fire Dance” became well-known in Beijing and Shanghai, and the excellent performance of Xinjiang Uyghur Dancing Group also fascinated the Turkish audiences. The openning-up of the first Confucius College in ODTU makes the study of Chinese language in Turkey more and more popular.
President Gul just paid a very successful visit to China in June, which further more promoted the cooperation between China and Turkey in many areas. During President Gül’s visit, the two sides signed 7 bilateral cooperation agreements, covering diplomacy, energy, culture, media, and trade etc. According to bilateral energy cooperation agreement, the Chinese government will encourage Chinese companies to invest and cooperate with Turkish companies in nuclear energy, thermal power and renewable energy. This is a great opportunity for Turkey as a country in power shortage. The Import and Export Bank of China signed three framework agreements of trade financing with the Turkish side worth 800 million USD. This will greatly help the development of Turkey’s telecom, foreign trade and infrastructure industries. Besides, some Chinese high-tech companies, such as Huawei and Tsinghua Tongfang are planning to establish research centres in Turkey and develope the market in Southeast Europe, Central Asia and Middle East together with Turkish companies.
The cooperation between China and Turkey has a great potential in the future. The two countries can deepen cooperations in the folowing areas:
1- Energy and infrastructue. Turkey has an investment demand of more than 300 billion USD in areas of energy and infrastructure, while China’s foreign exchange reserves is more than 2 trillion USD. Therefore, the cooperation between China and Turkey is reciprocal. Now, relevant departments from both sides are discussing the text of bilateral agreements on infrastructure and contracted projects.
2- Financing. Now there are more and more financial institutes from both sides wanting to open branch offices in each other’s country. The National Development and Investment Corporation of China, National Development Bank of China, Bank of China and Import and Export Bank of China have already paid attention to the Turkish market. The steady performance of Turkey’s banks and financial institutes in the world financial crises make the Chinese financial institutes more confident in investing in Turkey.
3- Social and cultural intercourse. As the Sino-Turkish relations develop, there are more and more Turkish people interested in China and Chinese culture. After the first Confucius College’s establishment in ODTU, the Boğaziçi University and other universities also show great interest in openning up Confucius Colleges on their own campus. Turkey is a very famous tourism destiantion in the world, with abundant cultural, historical and natural resources. There were more than 45 million Chinese travelling abroad in 2008. As the Chinese people’s living standard is increasing, this figure will become bigger and bigger. I believe that more and more Chinese tourists will come to visit Turkey in the future.
4- As the 17th economic entity in the world and a member of the G20, Turkey plays an important role in coping with the world financial crisis and reforming the international financial system. It is mutually beneficial for China and Turkey to strengthen their cooperation and coordination in coping with the world financial crises, reforming international financial institutes such as World Bank, and re-shaping the international economic structure.
Many strategists with great foresight in Turkey used to tell me that China represents the future of the world and there is not any emerging country that wants to keep distance from China. What I want to add is that Turkey is the bridge connecting the East and the West, and that the continually strengthened cooperation between China and Turkey will definetly contribute to the world’s development and stability, and further benefit people from the two countries.
Article given to Milliyet by Ambassador Gong Xiaosheng.