By Sena Guler
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey’s president on Monday said his country and China share the same vision of world peace, global security and stability, as well as multilateralism and free trade.
“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,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrote in a guest op-ed for China’s Global Times.
Erdogan wrote the piece titled “Turkey, China share a vision for future” before meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing on Tuesday.
He said both Ankara and Beijing have “major responsibilities as a new world order emerges.”
Highlighting that for centuries the two countries have enjoyed close ties in the areas of the economy and culture, he added: “The Chinese and Turkish people, both representatives of ancient civilizations on the opposite ends of the Asian continent, have served humanity greatly by watching over the Silk Road and promoting commercial and cultural interaction.”
Also touching on China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Erdogan said Turkey continues to “strongly” support the project – which contributes to bilateral cooperation -- as it was one of the first countries to endorse the initiative back in 2013.
“The Middle Corridor, an initiative led by Turkey, lies at the heart of the BRI. It is an important component of the project, which links Turkey to Georgia and Azerbaijan via rail, crosses the Caspian Sea and reaches China through Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan,” he noted.
Citing the recently-launched Baku-Tblisi-Kars (BTK) Railroad Project, Erdogan said Turkey also invested in other projects as part of the Middle Corridor, such as the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge over the Bosphorus, the Eurasia Tunnel and the Marmaray running under the Bosphorus, the 1915 Bridge over the Dardanelles, highways, high-speed railways, logistics hubs, and communication infrastructure.
He stressed that these projects would “directly contribute to the BRI’s goal of connecting Beijing to London.”
Erdogan also wrote that the Middle Corridor will save time and serve the world the whole year round, which is a “valuable contribution” to the BRI. He added that the two countries would continue efforts to integrate the two projects.
- Strategic relations
Erdogan said bilateral relations reached the level of a strategic relationship in 2010, as both Turkey and China kept developing “mutual respect and common interests.”
“We aim to further improve win-win relations by sharing a vision for the future -- as embodied by the BRI,” he wrote.
Erdogan also underlined that both countries, "as late modernizers," are seeking to cover the development gap with Western nations in the 21st century.
He called achieving China’s “deserved place” on the world stage a “Chinese dream,” and to witness Turkey secure the place it deserves in the international arena a “Turkish dream.”
On the countries’ development plans, Erdogan said China has goals for the Chinese Communist Party's centennial in 2021 and the centennial of the People's Republic of China in 2049, just like Turkey has a series of goals for 2023, the centennial of the Republic of Turkey, and for 2053.
“Those targets, which aim to transform our countries into welfare societies, are among the many things that Turkey and China have in common,” he wrote.
- Tourism and trade
“Our strengthening bilateral cooperation promotes greater interaction between our peoples and facilitates progress in the area of tourism. China marked the Turkey Tourism Year in 2018 and hosted dozens of events around the country,” Erdogan wrote, voicing pleasure over the considerable rise in the number of Chinese tourists visiting Turkey.
“As we work toward our goal of hosting 1 million Chinese tourists, a target that I set together with President Xi, the bilateral relations between our countries will further improve,” he noted.
He also wrote that the two countries’ goals include doubling their bilateral trade volume to $50 billion and then redoubling that to $100 billion.
Erdogan urged Chinese business people to invest in Turkey, which has a strategic location as the crossroads of Asia and Europe.
He also said Chinese investments in Turkey “will be a commitment to the world's 16th-largest economy with 82 million young and dynamic citizens as well as our nation's hinterland with 1.6 billion people and a $24 trillion gross national product.
“Most important, an investment in Turkey is an investment into the BRI and our dream of building a future together.”
He reiterated Turkey’s firm commitment to strengthening cooperation with China in all areas, including education -- by taking the initial step to establish joint universities -- and defense.
“In the area of defense, Turkey and China proved their technological and manufacturing capabilities to the world by launching original projects in recent years.”
- Global threats
On global challenges, Erdogan said that the threats to the global free trade system put all economies at risk, as economic globalization deepens.
“Such threats, which reflect the misconception that we still live in a unipolar world, undermine global peace and stability,” he wrote.
Stressing the need for a new international order which would serve the interests of all humanity, Erdogan wrote:
“Turkey and China, the world's most ancient civilizations, have a responsibility to contribute to building this new system.”