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Belt and Road Initiative to boost China-Turkey cooperation

Updated: Apr 22,2015 8:13 PM     Xinhua

ANKARA — Turkish academics and officials believed that bilateral economic cooperation and investment will be boosted as China promotes its Belt and Road Initiative.

On April 21, Chinese embassy in Ankara hosted an academic forum focused on the Belt and Road Initiative, which gathered dozens of Turkey’s economic experts and officials.

In his opening remarks, Yu Hongyang, the Chinese ambassador to Turkey, briefed his audience on the action plan of the initiatives, which was unveiled late last month.

The initiative, which were put forward by President Xi Jinping, aim to promote orderly and free flow of economic factors, highly efficient allocation of resources and deep integration of markets by enhancing connectivity of Asian, European and African continents and their adjacent seas.

According to the plan, the initiatives are open to embrace all countries, as well as international and regional organizations, and to seek common prosperity.

The plan has been established on four principles, openness and cooperation, harmony and inclusiveness, market operation, and mutual benefits, emphasizing policy coordination, connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bonds.

Turkey as a major state located on the ancient Silk Road has already welcomed China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Prof. Ridvan Karluk, chairman of Turgut Ozal University School of Economics, recalled in his remarks that the ancient silk road started from China and ended in Turkey.

He believed that the belt and road initiatives should work to benefit the middle class, urging that trade barriers should be minimized, and a green path be issued for the traders along the route.

Prof. Huseyin Bagci, head of the international relations department of the Middle East Technical University, said that both China and Turkey will benefit from implementing these initiatives as long as China maintains its rapid economic growth in the future.

Guven Sak, director of a Turkish think-tank, hoped his country can attract more foreign investment in the future under the framework of the belt and road plan.

In his speech, Halil Sivgin, president of a Turkey and China friendship and cooperation association, believed that China-Turkey cooperation will have a very bright future.

He urged the two countries to spare no effort in launching more new projects to push forward the initiatives.

Turkish former foreign minister Yasar Yakis believed that the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative will foster an even faster economic growth in related countries.

The Chinese envoy also pointed out China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region has an important and unique location with abundant resources, adding that it has already seen large amount of domestic investment over the years, and will play an essential role in the belt and road initiatives.

The growing ties between Turkey and China in recent years, especially on trade and investment, may catapult both countries to work closely. The two countries improved their ties to the strategic partnership in 2010.

According to official statistics, the two-way trade volume between China and Turkey in 2014 totaled $27.8 billion, registering a slight year-on-year decrease of 1.8 percent.

Turkey, with its booming consumer market, proximity to European, Middle Eastern and African markets, has been important destination for Chinese companies that want to trade and invest.