While many in global media focus on Turkey’s relationship with its neighbours, reports have generally neglect the fact that Turkey’s relationship with China continues to grow in a generally positive trajectory.
Turkey remains one of Eurasia’s most important supporters of One Belt–One Road along with Russia and Iran and recently Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu affirmed Turkey’s willingness to strengthen fraternal relations with China during a meeting with China’s foreign minister Wang Yi.
The two leaders recently meet in Beijing, during which Cavusoglu said the following,
“We take China’s security as our security. We absolutely will not allow in Turkey any activities targeting or opposing China. Additionally, we will take measures to eliminate any media reports targeting China”.
“China is willing to work with Turkey to enhance the ancient spirit of the Silk Road, … and in jointly promoting the Belt and Road plan unlock new cooperative potential”.
This shows that Turkey, in terms of its international relations is moving in a slightly more pragmatic direction via-a-vis the last few years when under President Erodgan, Turkey attempted to paint itself as a defender of Turkic Muslims in East Asia.
Mevlut Cavusoglu’s statement seems to imply that Turkey is moving away from this ideological position and instead looks to reinforce cooperation with China by not allowing for criticism of China or related Asian powers with Muslim minorities whose issues are often exaggerated and inflated by the more extreme elements of the Turkish media.
The Turkish government appears to be aware of this issue and is looking to police domestic media more thoroughly so as not to allow an anti-Chinese narrative to foment in Turkey.
With Turkey at odds with the European Union and with the United States over its pro-Kurdish policy, China and Russia are quick becoming the undisputed leaders in trade with Turkey. Ankara now needs good relations with Russia and China in order for Turkey’s economy to thrive.
The recent announcement by Mevlut Cavusoglu in Beijing is consistent with these realities.