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Erdogan's visit boosts relations

Updated: 2012-04-10 09:29

By Cheng Guangjin and Zhou Wa (China Daily)

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Erdogan's visit boosts relations

Premier Wen Jiabao greets Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Beijing on Monday. [Photo/ China Daily] 

Strategic deals signed as Turkish prime minister ends 27-year gap

Nuclear energy and investment deals were signed on Monday during an official visit to China by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The visit, the first by a Turkish prime minister in 27 years, indicates that both countries are enjoying a "honeymoon" period in their relations, an expert said.

Turkey is an emerging power and China attaches great importance to its influence both regionally and globally, Premier Wen Jiabao told Erdogan.

Wen stressed the importance of both countries boosting coordination in the face of instability in the Middle East and North Africa and the sluggish world economy.

After their talks, Wen and Erdogan attended a signing ceremony for six agreements, including nuclear energy cooperation and a declaration of intent for completing negotiations on promoting and protecting investment between the two countries.

Erdogan's arrival comes after Vice-President Xi Jinping's visit to Turkey in February.

Both countries should discuss and map out a mid and long-term cooperation plan for economy and trade, Wen said, and promote major infrastructure projects, including the construction of railways and bridges.

A recently revised agreement on investment protection should be signed and implemented to boost commerce, Wen added.

Turkey is ready to increase high-level exchanges and strategic talks with China, Erdogan said.

Turkey's adherence to the one-China policy was stressed by Erdogan who began his four-day visit on Sunday with a stop at northwestern China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

Major developments in Xinjiang impressed him and Turkey is ready to enhance exchanges and cooperation with the region, he said.

Wen appreciated Turkey's support for China promoting stability and development in Xinjiang, and said the government supports Xinjiang further developing exchanges and cooperation with Turkey.

Both leaders also exchanged views on Syria and Iran, but no details were released.

Analysts said the visit will enhance ties despite differences on some issues.

Zhang Xiaodong, secretary-general of the China Association for Middle Eastern Studies, said that Turkey has changed its past practice of looking predominately to the West and places more emphasis on cooperation with emerging markets in the East.

"Turkey is expecting to boost its economy and win a greater global say through cooperation with China," Zhang said.

Cooperation between both countries is expanding, but more time is needed for this to fully develop, he said.

"The visit of the Turkish prime minister signifies that the Sino-Turkish relationship has really entered into a honeymoon," said Zan Tao, an expert on Turkish studies at Peking University.

The relationship hit a low in 2009 when Erdogan criticized China for its Xinjiang policies. A year later, Wen's visit to Turkey improved ties as the two countries set a target for trade to increase to $50 billion in 2015.

Trade in 2011 hit $18.7 billion, a year-on-year increase of 24 percent.

Economic and trade cooperation tops Sino-Turkish relations, Zan said but politically what China is concerned most about is the stability of Xinjiang.

The Turkish government endorses the one-China policy and it does not allow anti-China forces to use its territory, Zan said. "This has created a good background for the relationship to develop."

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