Turkey's Erdoğan calls for cooperation with China, including defence

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a guest op-ed for China’s Global Times that Turkey and China had major responsibilities in an emerging new world order.

Erdoğan was in Beijing on Tuesday to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping, looking to improve bilateral relations at a time when China is suffering from a trade war with the United States and Ankara is embroiled in a dispute with Washington over its planned acquisition of Russian air defence missiles.

Erdoğan said that Turkey was and China had maintained economic and cultural relations for centuries through trade along the ancient Silk Road and pointed to Turkey’s early endorsement of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to call on Chinese companies to invest in Turkey.

“Among our goals is to double our bilateral trade volume with China to $50 billion and, subsequently, $100 billion on a more balanced and sustainable footing to serve the interests of both sides. I call on the Chinese business community to invest in Turkey - the crossroads of Asia and Europe, and the heart of the BRI,” Erdoğan said.

The president said he was committed to strengthening cooperation with China in all areas, including defence.

“In the area of defence, Turkey and China proved their technological and manufacturing capabilities to the world by launching original projects in recent years. I am confident that our two nations can cooperate in this area as well,” he said.

China-Turkey bilateral trade reached $23 billion in 2018, according to the Turkish Statistics Office, making China Turkey's third largest trading partner.

Relations between the two countries suffered escalated in February when Turkey criticised China’s treatment of its Uighur population.