In an op-ed for Global Times, the Turkish President highlights Turkey and China's historical ties and writes about their significance in the emerging new world order.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping are seen in this file photo.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping are seen in this file photo. (AA)

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has highlighted the significance of Turkish-Chinese ties and said that two nations have major responsibilities as a new world order emerges.

In an op-ed, penned for the Global Times on Monday, Erdogan wrote, "despite their geographical distance, Turkey and China have maintained close economic and cultural relations for centuries."

The president also underlined that "centuries-old cooperation between the two countries will continue to grow thanks to the Belt and Road Initiate (BRI) under the leadership of China's President Xi Jinping."

Representing two ancient civilizations, the Chinese and Turkish people, benefited humanity immensely by guarding the Silk Road and expanding commercial and cultural interaction, Erdogan said.

He added that Turkey is an adamant supporter of the BRI and that the country was one of the first to support the project when it was launched in 2013.

The initiative's aim is to revive ancient trading routes between Asia and Europe, as well as build new links in the Middle East, Africa, and even as far as South America.

Erdogan is in China, where he will meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and “exchange views on a range of issues to further strengthen” bilateral relations and defence cooperation.

Highlighting Turkey's efforts, Erdogan pointed to the recently launched Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) Railroad Project, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge over the Bosphorus, the Eurasia Tunnel, Marmaray and the 1915 Bridge over the Dardanelles.

Erdogan added that these projects and the many highways, high-speed railways, logistics hubs and communication infrastructure being constructed would "directly contribute to the BRI's goal of connecting Beijing to London."

Turkey leads the initiatives Middle Corridor, which lies at the heart of the project. The Middle Corridor links Turkey to Georgia and Azerbaijan by rail and reaches China through Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan by spanning the Caspian Sea.

"Turkey's relations with China reached the level of strategic cooperative relationship in 2010. We aim to further improve win-win relations by sharing a vision for the future - as embodied by the BRI," Erdogan added.

The president said that Turkey and China are among nations looking to bridge their development gap with Western nations in the 21st century.

"Just as China has identified goals for the Communist Party of China's centennial in 2021 and the centennial of the People's Republic of China in 2049, Turkey has a set of objectives for 2023, the Republic's centennial, and 2053. Those targets, which aim to transform our countries into welfare societies, are among the many things that Turkey and China have in common," Erdogan added.

The Turkish president also drew attention to the notable increase in the number of Chinese tourists visiting Turkey, saying that Ankara was working towards its goal of hosting one million Chinese tourists a year.

Two nations plan to double bilateral trade volume to $50 billion and, subsequently, $100 billion in the years to come.

Erdogan also called on the Chinese business community to invest in Turkey, which is the world's 16th largest economy.

"Most importantly, an investment in Turkey is an investment into the BRI and our dream of building a future together," the president added that Ankara is committed to increasing cooperation with China in all areas.

"Turkey shares China's vision when it comes to serving world peace, preserving global security and stability, promoting multilateralism, and upholding the principle of free trade," Erdogan said.

Erdogan also hailed the BRI as the "greatest development project of the 21st century encompassing over 100 nations and international organisations," and "Turkey and China, the world's most ancient civilizations, have a responsibility to contribute to building this new system."

In an interview to Chinese news agency Xinhua, the Turkish president emphasised the importance of bilateral relations within the framework of China's Belt and Road Initiative.

"We are on the same page regarding President Xi's approach to the initiative, which is not only to improve transport and communication networks, to construct trade corridors and to harmonise trade policies and development strategies, but also to boost cultural and human ties in this framework," said Erdogan.

"I believe that we will witness together how our relations would be upgraded in all fields when we boost our consultations with our Chinese friends," Erdogan added.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies