Turkey says ‘yes’ to China’s trade initiative, ‘no’ to its missiles

Country to take part in ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative, but cancels controversial tender

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 November, 2015, 10:09pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 November, 2015, 11:31pm

Turkey says it will actively take part in Beijing’s “One Belt, One Road” economic and trade initiative, but has cancelled a controversial tender for a Chinese-made missile system.

An official at the Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s office told Reuters yesterday Ankara had cancelled a US$3.4-billion long-range missile defence system tender provisionally awarded to China in 2013.

“The decision was signed off by the prime minister this week,” the official said.

READ MORE: Turkey hints at scrapping China missile system deal

The Nato member’s decision to award the tender to China Precision Machinery Import and Export Corp as the preferred candidate for the deal had stirred American and Western concern. 

But the official told Reuters Turkey was now planning to launch its own project to build such a system.

The news came hours after President Xi Jinping arrived in the Turkish city of Antalya for the G20 summit and held a meeting with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan said his country was ready to join hands with China to lift bilateral trade to a higher level.

Turkey was willing to actively participate in the One Belt, One Road initiative and was glad to see Chinese enterprises invest more in Turkey in fields such as infrastructure, Erdogan said.

The initiative was proposed by Beijing in 2013 as a trade and infrastructure network. It will connect Asia to Europe and Africa through the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

Xi said China was ready to explore ways with Turkey to facilitate bilateral trade and investment, and that both sides should make full use of platforms such as the Silk Road Fund and the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank to innovate, cooperate and achieve common development and prosperity, Xinhua reported.

Xi suggested expanding the use of the two countries’ currencies for bilateral trade and investment and called for deepening security cooperation.

[Cancelling the tender] was signed off by the prime minister this week
Spokesman for Turkish PM

The pair also discussed Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris.

Erdogan said Turkey would never allow any group to conduct on its soil anti-China activities or actions that undermined the Sino-Turkish relationship.

Beijing had blamed Ankara for undermining its anti-terrorism efforts, with media reporting that Turkish diplomats and businessmen in Southeast Asia had helped Uygurs from Xinjiang obtain fake documents so they could travel to Syria and join terrorist groups.

Overseas activists have long condemned Beijing’s ethnic and religious policies in Xinjiang as repressive, but Beijing insists there is religious freedom and blames violence on extremists.

Xi would use the G20 summit to elaborate China’s views on the world economy and explore new avenues for growth, Xinhua said.