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China's Belt and Road Initiative to boost Turkey's economy: expert

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-05-28 13:27

ANKARA - China's Belt and Road Initiative will have profound implications on Turkey's economic prosperity, a Turkish expert told Xinhua in a recent interview.

"The proposal not only strengthens China's diplomatic ties with the rest of the world, but at the same time, has taken full advantage of Turkey's superior geographic position," said Noyan Rona, a Turkish expert on China issues.

Turkey, the very west of Asia and an important gateway to Europe, enjoys a highly strategic significance because of its unique geographic location. For centuries, the country has been a vital hub connecting China with West Asia, and from there, with Europe.

The ancient Silk Road has brought to Turkey economic prosperity in ancient times, making the West of Turkey the most important transfer station and port of transshipment in East-West trading. It was via the Silk Road that China's fine products were taken to Europe and vice versa.

Turkey's Istanbul Topkapi Museum holds a collection of around 1,000 pieces of Chinese porcelain that date back to Ming and Qing Dynasties, most of which were shipped to Istanbul through normal business activities. "Today, when we are amazed by the fineness and the advanced manufacturing technology of Chinese porcelain, we also wonder at the incredible ancient Silk Road," said Rona.

China's Belt and Road Initiative, put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping, will be a chance of a lifetime to revitalize the ancient Silk Road including the Turkish part of the road, he added.

The Turkish government has substantially increased the investment in the railway construction sector in recent years. The high-speed rail project that links the two biggest cities in Turkey has been accomplished under the cooperation of China and Turkey, he said, adding that another 4,500 km of railway is expected to be built in Turkey over the next few years as part of the infrastructure construction along the ancient Silk Road.

Once implemented, the proposal will create unprecedented opportunities for cities along the line in sectors including transport, tourism, trade, communications and education.

The advanced port facilities and the experienced port management talents provides another advantage for developing the Maritime Silk Road in the hope of all-round development and prosperity as it will not only shorten the geographic distance of the two countries, but also bring closer their peoples, the expert said.

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