Erdoğan meets Jiabao on milestone China trip

Erdoğan meets Jiabao on milestone China trip

Erdoğan meets Jiabao on milestone China trip

The Turkish and Chinese delegations meet in Beijing with no female members. The Chinese prime minister says Erdoğan leaves a good impression in Xinjiang. REUTERS photo

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao welcomed Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with a formal ceremony during his “milestone” visit to the country. Erdoğan’s visit is the first to China in 27 years by a Turkish premier and follows a February trip by Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping to Ankara and Istanbul.
At the start of the meeting, Wen said Erdoğan was the first Turkish Prime Minister to have visited Xinjiang -- whose roughly nine million Uighur share linguistic and religious links with Turkey. Wen said Erdoğan had left a “good impression” there but gave no further details about the stopover in Xinjiang’s capital Urumqi, which analysts say is significant given Ankara’s past criticism. Erdoğan was the most vocal foreign leader to criticize China following deadly riots in July 2009 in Urumqi that saw at least 184 people killed. Erdoğan described the Chinese government’s actions in Xinjiang as “almost genocide” in 2009.

Both countries want to strengthen friendship and cooperation, said Wen, adding that the mutual understanding and confidence between the two countries would be boosted thanks to this visit. The Chinese press defined Erdoğan’s visit as a “milestone” in the relations of the two countries, and wrote that it is very important to develop relations with Turkey.

Hot topics: Syria, Iran

During their closed-door talks, the two leaders touched on the crisis in Syria as well as global tensions over Iran’s disputed nuclear activities, China’s state television reported, without giving further details. The issue did not come up in opening remarks between Wen and Erdoğan in front of reporters.

Erdoğan said that 2012 was the 41st year of diplomatic ties between Turkey and China, adding that he was paying this visit with a large delegation of businessmen. Erdoğan also said the Turkish president invites the Chinese president to Turkey.

Erdoğan was to meet with President Hu Jintao today. He is later scheduled to travel to Shanghai, China’s financial center. Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ, Energy Minister Taner Yıldız, Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım, Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan are accompanying Erdoğan.