ANTALYA, Turkey, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) — Since China-Turkey relations were elevated to a strategic partnership in 2010, Beijing and Ankara have been striving to promote mutual trust and deepen trade, economic and investment ties.
The two countries, having many common interests and Asian attributes, have been working closely at the Group of 20 (G20) platform as emerging economies, and have always been boosting cultural and tourist exchanges.
The ongoing G20 summit in Turkey’s Mediterranean coastal city of Antalya will provide a good opportunity for further cooperation between the two countries.
Turkey, located at one of the western ends of the ancient Silk Road, applauds Chinese President Xi Jinping’s initiative of building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
As emerging economies, China and Turkey have been coordinating on policymaking and communication on major international issues through various channels, such as the G20, which gathers major economies of the world and represents nearly 80 percent of global trade.
Against the backdrop of a weak global economic recovery, both China and Turkey have made efforts to maintain robust growth to inject impetus into the world economy and promote fair global governance.
Criticizing some global economic and financial institutions as outdated in handling crises, Ramazan Tas, the director of Ankara-based HESA Economic Research Center, said that they are very far from enhancing good global governance and must be reformed.
“Developed countries must open their markets generously to developing countries to stimulate fair, shared and sustainable global trade and global economic growth,” said Tas, who also heads the Economics Department at Turgut Ozal University.
“The G20 leaders’ summit opens a golden window of opportunity for establishing a good global governance for every global citizen,” he said.
Turkey and China, the current and upcoming host countries of the G20, have already been coordinating on several issues on the G20 agenda along with Australia, last year’s host, as part of the G20 troika.
It is expected that the cooperation between Beijing and Ankara, especially on governance issues for the global economic and financial bodies, will continue after the Antalya summit.
Cooperation beyond trade
In the past decade, China and Turkey have become important trading partners. According to Turkish official statistics, two-way trade in 2014 totaled nearly 28 billion U.S. dollars, five times of that in 2004.
In 2004, China was only Turkey’s sixth-largest source of imports and its 19th export destination, while in 2014 China became its second-largest source of imports.
Despite challenges of the current world economy, the two emerging economies are weathering the difficulties and keeping their trade volume steady this year.
In the first nine months of 2015, trade stood at 20.2 billion dollars, which is roughly the same amount of the same period of 2014, according to Turkey’s State Institute of Statistics.
“Turkish-Chinese relations are multi-dimensional and have enormous potential,” said Hasan Kanbolat, the director of the Ankara Policy Center.
He said the two countries could expand cooperation in such new fields as finance, energy, aviation, aerospace and communication, especially under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.
Talking about large capital reserves and know-how held by developing countries like China, Ussal Sahbaz, an analyst with the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey, said: “The Belt and Road Initiative aims to mobilize these resources to modernize the vast region of Eurasia.”
Taking infrastructure cooperation as an example, the Ankara-Istanbul high-speed railway built by a Chinese company has reduced the time of a one-way trip from 10 hours to less than four hours.
With its booming consumer market and proximity to European, Middle East and African markets, Turkey has been an important destination for Chinese companies that want to trade and invest.
In particular, since Turkey is running an account deficit, Chinese cash infusion and investment in the country will fill the funds gap and generate a positive effect for its modernization.
Chinese companies like Hainan Airlines, locomotive maker CSR and agribusiness New Hope Group have invested in Turkey in transportation, energy, telecommunications, mining and tourism.
“Both countries have strong Asian attributes that are deeply rooted in mutual respect,” said Abdullah Bozkurt, a columnist of Turkish daily Today’s Zaman.
“If that respect is preciously valued at the bilateral ties, and enhanced by political trust, then there is no obstacle before a solid cooperation that will certainly benefit both countries and advance ties further,” he said.