Turkey and China are keen to boost bilateral trade ties, said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Friday.
Speaking at a joint press conference in Beijing after meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, Cavusoglu said that Turkey and China are working together to realize important strategic projects.
“Today we also discussed important issues such as renewable energy, nuclear power plants, and construction of a third nuclear power plant.”
“We can also work together on the defense industry, there are joint projects. On tourism, there's an almost 100 percent rise in the number of tourists coming to Turkey from China, a 98 percent increase,” Cavusoglu said.
He added that leaders of the two countries are determined to take relations forward.
Cavusoglu is in China for a two-day official visit at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart.
“During the meetings, bilateral relations, as well as regional and international issues, will be discussed," said a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement on Monday.
Turkey-China projects ongoing ‘smoothly’
Wang said that a number of mutual agreements have been reached during the in-depth and friendly meeting.
He recalled an April phone call between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in which the two leaders set a direction to increase cooperation in all fields.
He said that China wants to increase its cooperation with Turkey and to synchronize Beijing’s “Belt and Road Initiative” which aims to revive the historical Silk Road with Ankara’s Middle Corridor Initiative.
According to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, the Belt and Road Initiative was first pronounced by the Chinese president in 2013 and it “aims to connect Asia with Europe and Africa”.
“Turkey supports this initiative as it has parallel aims with its vision of transport corridors,” according to the ministry.
The Middle Corridor Initiative starts from Turkey to Georgia and Azerbaijan via railway and continues through the Caspian Sea via ferry to Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, passing through other Central Asian Republics, Afghanistan, Pakistan and reaches China, the ministry said.
The initiative “plays an indispensable role in reviving the Ancient Silk Road and facilitates establishing an uninterrupted connection between Asia and Europe,” the ministry added.
Turkey and China signed a memorandum of understanding on “Aligning the Silk Road and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and the Middle Corridor Initiative” to harmonize the two projects on November 2015 during the G20 summit in Turkey’s Mediterranean province of Antalya.
The Chinese foreign minister said that the harmonizing process of the two projects was ongoing “smoothly”. He said that the projects would boost Turkey’s economic development.