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Turkish president visits Urumchi
By Lei Xiaoxun (China Daily Xinjiang Bureau)
Updated: 2009-06-30 15:29

The historical bond between Turkey and Xinjiang will soon be rejuvenated to a new level, as the Uygur autonomous region is now on the fast track to resume its place as the most important business and trade center along the new Silk Road. This is according to H.E.Mr.Abdullah Gul, president of the republic of Turkey, who visited Xinjiang yesterday, wrapping up the final leg of his China tour.
President Abdullah Gul made the remarks when he addressed students and faculty with a keynote speech at Xinjiang University, one of the top institutions in China’s northwestern Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

The Xinjiang visit, although short, surprised him and his delegation with Urumqi city’s developing pace, Gul said. “What I have seen in Urumqi makes me believe that the amazing city will resume its luster as a pivotal transition point in the Silk Road, which started in Xian, passed through Xinjiang and ended at Istanbul.”

Xinjiang is shaping into a regional trade and economic center and becoming increasingly attractive to Turkish business people, Gul added, noting that there were many entrepreneurs in his delegation who all agree that Xinjiang is now a hotspot for business and investment.

In his speech, Gul emphasized Turkey’s long lasting cultural and historical bond with Xinjiang, which dates back to 1,500 years ago, when the Turkish people relocated westward from the region where Xinjiang is now located.

“The Uygur people are a bridge of friendship between Chinese and Turkish people. I believe the Uygur people in Xinjiang can shoulder such an honorable responsibility,” Gul said. The role of the Uygur population in Xinjiang is becoming more and more significant, with both countries benefiting from the sound and stable diplomatic relationship, he added.

Gul believes his visit will also boost the exchange and communication of the two countries’ young people, stating: “I am convinced that there will be Turkish students coming to study in Xinjiang University, and Chinese students going to Turkey.”