President Erdogan recently an op-ed for the Chinese newspaper Huánqiú Shíbào titled: Turkey and China: Two countries that share a common vision. The article focuses on the histories of the two nations and the need for the two countries to pave the way for the betterment of humankind.
Here is the article in English, in full:
Turkey and China both have a duty to help establish a new world system.
Turkey and China have always been culturally and economically close countries despite the geographical divide. The Chinese, at the eastern end of Asia, and the Turks, at the western end of the continent, have both been historical protectors of the Silk Road, and thus contributing to both trade and cultural interactions around the world.
The cooperation between the two countries continues to thrive today, thanks to my friend Xi Jinping, the president of China, and his Belt and Road initiative. As Republic of Turkey, we fully support this venture. In fact, we were one of the first states to support the project back in 2013. Today, we are very happy to see Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road vision turn into the greatest development project of the 21st century, encapsulating over 100 countries and international organizations.
Turkey’s Middle Corridor initiative is at the heart of Belt and Road. Our initiative concerns connecting Turkey to Georgia and Azerbaijan by railroads, and extending it over to Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan and finally over to China.
We have recently completed the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railroad project as part of this venture. Our other infrastructure projects such as Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge over the Bosporus, Marmaray and Eurasia Tunnels that run below the Bosporus, divided roads, highways, high-speed train routes, logistics bases and communication infrastructures will also act to directly serve the ultimate aim of Belt and Road: connecting Peking to London.
The Middle Corridor project offers a time advantage as well as a year-round availability, which will contribute greatly to the Belt and Road project. WE will continue to work with our Chinese friends to integrate Middle Corridor with Belt and Road.
The relations between China and Turkey have been on a steady incline, and has reached a strategic level partnership back in 2010. We aim to make more headway through our common visions for the Belt and Road initiative.
Both Turkey and China have been in development stages late than their Western counterparts, and they are both trying to make up for the difference in the 21st century. In other words, we both want to achieve what we deserve in the current century. The Chinese calls it the “Chinese dream,” and we, Turks call it the “Turkish dream.” Just as China has the years 2021 and 2049, for the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party and the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China respectively, we have similar targets for 2023 and 2053 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic. These are some other common visions we share for our peoples.
Our increased cooperation is also causing an increase in our interactions, particularly with regards to tourism. 2018 was Turkey’s Year of Tourism in China during which we staged dozens of activities. We are also happy to see a tremendous increase in Chinese tourists visiting Turkey. Our common goal of “1 million Chinese tourists in Turkey” with Xi Jinping is expected to be reached in the coming years.
We also aim to double our current trade volume to 50 billion dollars, and to 100 billion dollars afterwards. I call upon all Chinese investors to invest in Turkey which lies at the heart of the Belt and Road project, and also is the dead center of Europe and Asia.
Don’t forget that you will not only be investing in a population of 82 million consisting of mostly youths, and the 16th largest economy in the world. You will also be investing in the hinterland of our country which accounts for 1.6 billion people and a GDP of 24 trillion dollars. Perhaps, even more importantly, an investment in Turkey is an investment in the Belt and Road project and will benefit both our nations. We strive for increased cooperation between our countries. We are thinking of ways to cooperate in education as well -particularly through opening joint colleges and universities. I also believe Turkey and China may cooperate in the defense industries as two countries that have developed their own genuine projects and technologies.
Today, the world is brimming with global challenges. On one hand we have a deepening of economic globalization, while on the other we are threatened by the outcomes of a true global free trading system. These challenges stem from the disillusion that the world is still unipolar, and are detrimental to world peace and stability.
As Turkey, we share a common goal with China with regards to peace, security, stability, multilateralism, and protecting free trade. It is obvious that, during these times when the world is trying to establish a new delicate balance, we need to establish a new international system. And we believe that both Turkey and China as two countries with the oldest civilizations in the world, have a lot to contribute to this process.