Turkish president to attend Belt and Road forum in Beijing

Occupying territory at the crossroads between east and west, Turkey, a key member of NATO, seeks closer economic ties with China to boost trade and economic development

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is planning to attend the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, slated for April, in Beijing, a Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman confirmed.

Hami Aksoy says that Turkey fully supports domestic infrastructure projects which enhance the connectivity between east and west, and backs the Belt and Road initiative as a "win-win" concept, as reported by Xinhua.

President Erdogan attended the first Belt and Road forum held in Beijing in May 2017, along with 28 other foreign heads of state and government. Beijing expects the number of attendees to be even higher for the upcoming event.

Erdogan's relationship with major European powers, as well as the United States, is currently at rock bottom, in spite of Turkey's importance as a member of NATO.   

The geographical position of Turkey is important for rail routes connecting Europe and China via central Asia, and also for sea freight crossing the Black Sea and connecting onwards to the Caspian Sea.

Last December, Binali Yildirim, speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, visited Beijing and met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

At that meeting Yildirim said that the Belt and Road was well-aligned with Turkey's development strategy, and that Turkey would like to strengthen its cooperation with China in areas such as infrastructure construction and trade.

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