Turkey, China should ‘cement’ confidence

Turkey, China should ‘cement’ confidence

URUMQI - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey, China should ‘cement’ confidence

Responding to a question, Kılıçdaroğlu said he would be proud to lecture at Xinjiang University, in his life after politics. He was on a week-long China trip. DHA photo

On his last day of a week-long trip to China, Turkey’s main opposition leader has said that bilateral ties between Ankara and Beijing have gained a global dimension but mutual confidence should be better cemented in order to further deepen relations.

“Turkish-Chinese relations have reached a point of international interest as they have gained a global dimension. However, further cementing mutual political confidence will help the two countries realize their real potential,” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said during an address at Xinjiang University, where he was bestowed with an honorary PhD.

“I believe the strategic partnerships that will be built between Turkish and Chinese people will make contributions to both regional and global stability,” he said.

Following meetings in Beijing and Shanghai, the 120-strong CHP delegation arrived Jan. 18 in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang-Uighur autonomous region. Turkey and China have suffered problems in the past, as some political and religious groups in Turkey have condemned the Chinese government for oppressing Uighur people, who are Muslim of Turkic descent.

“Uighur has a special meaning for us as the homeland of friendship and brotherhood,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, expressing “wholehearted greetings” from Turkey for the Uighur people.

“By leaving these lands, we migrated to Anatolia, Turkey 1,000 years ago. By staying here, you made important contributions to the improvement and rise of China, and within the ethnic richness of China you are still doing this today.”

Addressing the university students as “comrades,” Kılıçdaroğlu praised developments in bilateral relations since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1971.

“On the occasion of the 40th year of our relations, cooperation increased in every field and as part of this improvement, the doors of the Xinjiang-Uighur autonomous region have been opened to Turkey,” he said, highlighting that 2012 had been declared the “Year of China” in Turkey, and 2013 the “Year of Turkey” in China.

The CHP leader stressed that China, Turkey’s third-largest economic partner, was very important given that its economy is set to become the world’s largest by 2016.

Kılıçdaroğlu celebrated Turkey’s strategic relationship with China, yet noted that in order to balance the bilateral trade volume to eliminate Turkey’s current disadvantage, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Turkey should be increased. He also called for China’s technological investments in the Middle Eastern and African markets to be transferred to Turkey.

Message to Uighurs

Describing the Uighur people as a bridge between Turkey and China and an element to further cement bilateral ties, Kılıçdaroğlu stressed that hardworking Uighur people will increase prosperity and push for further development in their regions.

“The motto of our revolution’s leader, [Mustafa Kemal] Atatürk, ‘peace at home, peace in the world,’ should also be a principle for you. A secular understanding that is based on tolerance and love will always provide the formation of a healthy, peaceful and stable environment, everywhere.”