News / Asia

China, Turkey Deepen Ties During Rare Visit

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (r) and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao after a news conference in Ankara, 08 Oct 2010
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (r) and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao after a news conference in Ankara, 08 Oct 2010
Dorian Jones

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited Turkey last week as part of his tour of Europe. Both countries - the fastest growing economies in the world - sealed agreements to cooperate in energy, transport and infrastructure.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared the visit an important step in the growing relationship between China and Turkey.

"We said let's raise our trade volume to $50 billion by 2015. And as the second phase, by 2020 let's aim to reach a volume of $100 billion. We have agreed upon this with my counterpart," said  Erdogan.

China Premier Wen Jiabao, described the transaction as a new "strategic partnership", saying he recognized Turkey's "power and influence in the international community and its region".

Both countries - the fastest growing economies in the world - sealed agreements to cooperate in energy, transport and infrastructure.

One of the agreements would open the way for the joint construction of 4,500-kilometer railway in Turkey. Chinese companies are already involved in the construction of railroads for two high-speed train links. Turkey and China are also involved in projects to build oil pipelines from Iran.

Mr. Erdogan said the two countries have also agreed to carry out their trade in their national currencies.

Let's continue our business transactions based on yuan and Turkish lira," he said. "This would be the most important step after the similar steps we took with Russia and Iran."

But analysts  say trade may not be the only motive behind the Chinese premier's visit.

Turkey's ties with China have been strained at times, mostly over Beijing's approach to unrest in Xinjiang, home to China's Muslim Turkish minority Uighurs.  Some analysts says China believes Turkey can play a role in helping to resolve tensions. Last year China was hit by major Uighur unrest which was violently put down by Chinese authorities.

That strained Turkish-Chinese relations with an angry diplomatic exchange. The Turkish prime minister  accused China of committing atrocities, Beijing retorted telling Turkey to back down.

Political columnist Murat Yetkin says while trade is the backbone behind deepening relations, it seems to have moved into the diplomatic realm.

"Right before this visit, there was bilateral military exercise in Turkey where Chinese jets were involved in flying over Pakistani and Iranian airspace," said Yetkin. "And, this was the first time ever, a Chinese air force had a military exercise with a NATO country. So Turkish-Chinese relations are getting more and more upfront."

Businessman Omer Bollat, the former head of  Musiad -  a Turkish business confederation - says relations with China is part of a wider policy of reducing its dependancy on Europe.

"The Turkish economy with present government has been opening up to Eurasia markets, Russia Caucasus, Balkans, Middle Eastern gulf countries, African countries in particular North African countries," said Bollat. "And the Turkish economy is diversifying its products, its services, and its markets not to be too much dependent on the European Union market."

Turkish foreign policy adviser Gokhan Cetinsayar says while in the past previous Turkish leaders tried to develop ties with central Asia and China,  those efforts failed due to a weak economy and unstable government. But, he says Turkey's ruling AKP believes with the country's strong economy and government such goals are obtainable.

"AKP's foreign policy doctrine, Turkey with its strategic depth, geographic depth, Turkey with its economic and military power, should certainly play a leading role in the region including the Middle East," said Cetinsayar. "Turkey should become a global power in the long run."

The Turkey stop was part of the final leg of the Chinese premier's four-nation European trip that started October 2, which also took him to Greece, Belgium, Germany and Italy.

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs