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Businessmen shaking hands China and Turkey

Turkey-China Relations: 5 Geopolitical Effects You Need to Know

1. Basis of Turkey-China relationship

Turkey and China have a large trade cooperation that helps maintain the two countries’ relations, as Turkey exports Marble and travertine, chromium, copper, lead, among other raw materials to China while importing automatic data processing machines, wireless telephone devices, toys, audio-visual devices and many more products from China. China is Turkey’s third trade partner globally, and first trade partner in East Asia, while China is Turkey’s 16th export partner and second import partner after the Russian Federation in 2018. This is the strong foundation and basis of the Turkey-China relationship, which is constantly growing. Turkey considers tourism as a potential area for further developing economic and cultural relations with the PRC. Chinese tourists, visiting Turkey in a steadily rising number since 2002, are strengthening ties between Turkish and Chinese people.

2. Erdogan says Xinjiang camps shouldn’t spoil Turkey-China relationship

In early July, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took a soft line on China’s mass detention centres in Xinjiang while in the Chinese capital Beijing, in a departure from the previous harsh criticisms made by his government. After meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Erdogan said he believed it was possible to “find a solution to this issue that takes into consideration the sensitivities on both sides,” according to his communications director. Erdogan was in Beijing after visiting Osaka, Japan, for the G20 summit in late June. The Turkish leader said he had discussed the “Uyghur issue” with Xi, but cautioned that when the issue is “exploited” it reflects “poorly on the Turkish-Chinese relationship.” This is a clear indication that Turkey is choosing to push aside the Uighur issue in order to maintain their relationship with China, which it views as increasingly important, in light of strained US relations.

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