Visiting Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan says he expects more economic and political cooperation with China. [Photo/China Daily]
BEIJING - As another economy on the fast track, Turkey is looking for more economic and political cooperation with China, Turkey's deputy prime minister said on Friday in Beijing.
"We hope that trade settlements can be conducted using our currencies - China's yuan and Turkey's lira," Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said in an exclusive interview with China Daily. Babacan is on an official visit to China until Sunday.
Babacan attended a G20 seminar on Thursday in Nanjing, where he talked with Vice-Premier Wang Qishan and central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan.
Wang expressed hopes that Turkey will recognize China's market economy status as soon as possible, according to Xinhua News Agency.
Babacan told his Chinese counterpart that the issue will be discussed with Turkey's relevant ministries and departments.
"We were asked about this question yesterday for the first time, so I should not say something misleading," said Babacan, although adding that the issue is under serious consideration.
Babacan sees great opportunities for bilateral economic cooperation in boosting exports to China and investments in both countries.
Bilateral trade volume has increased rapidly, he said, "but if we just look at the sheer figures, it's not enough" considering the scale of economic growth in the two countries.
China is Turkey's third-largest trade partner with trade volume worth $19.44 billion in 2010, increasing 36.4 percent from the previous year.
Figures released on Thursday showed that Turkey's economy grew 9.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, exceeding expectations by reaching an 8.9 percent annual growth rate.
Infrastructure, notably high-speed railway construction projects, is another sector for further cooperation with China, Babacan said.
China was involved in the construction of a high-speed railway, that connected the cities of Istanbul and Ankara in Turkey.
The Mediterranean country is discussing with Chinese authorities to extend Turkey's high-speed railway network, Babacan said.
He also hopes Chinese people will "have a better understanding of Turkey", given the country's increasing number of tourists.
Chinese tourists to Turkey in 2010 amounted to 77,000, compared with 4 million from Germany, 3 million from Russia, 2 million from the United Kingdom and 1.8 million from Iran.
Babacan said he encouraged Chinese tourists who have visited Turkey to write blogs about their trips because those blogs can promote positive images of the country.
There has also been progression in bilateral political relations, Babacan said. The two sides discussed bilateral issues and global issues on North Africa and the Middle East.
He said cooperation between China and Turkey on counter-terrorism might start this year but did not elaborate on the details.
Li Zhuowei contributed to this story.