Shortly after the China-U.S. talks in Alaska and the China-Russia talks in Guilin, on March 24 Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi set out on a tour of the Middle East with the aim of strengthening China's role in the region. After his first stop in Saudi Arabia, he arrived in Turkey on March 25, where he met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip ErdoğanTurkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.
In these meetings, Wang stressed that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Turkey-China diplomatic ties, stating: "The bilateral relations are at a historic moment of building on past achievements and opening up new prospects. China is willing to work with Turkey to enhance mutual trust, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, and elevate the strategic cooperative relations to a new level."
Wang also underlined that China seeks to strengthen its "strategic coordination" with Turkey in supporting "multilateralism," while rejecting the West's "unilateralism." The two countries, he said, should "safeguard" the international system with the "United Nations at its core" and "the international order based on international law," and "jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind."
According to a Turkish Foreign Ministry report on the meetings, Wang discussed the situation in Xinjiang with his Turkish counterpart Çavuşoğlu, and the latter conveyed Turkey's "sensitivity and thoughts on Uyghur Turks." It is worth noting that although Turkey has for years been a haven for Uyghur activists, in 2017 Turkey and China signed an extradition agreement, and Beijing announced on December 27, 2020 that it had ratified the extradition deal. The deal still needs to be ratified by the Turkish parliament. It was reported that on March 25 nearly 1,000 Uighurs rallied in Istanbul as Wang was meeting with his Turkish counterpart.
The talks in Turkey also focused on further promotion of the the synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Middle Corridor project, and on COVID-19 vaccines. Turkey is using the COVID-19 vaccine developed by China's Sinovac Biotech and is negotiating new deliveries.
Below are reports by the Chinese and Turkish Foreign Ministries on Minister Wang Yi's visit to Turkey:
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (Source: Fmprc.gov.cn)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Meets With Chinese FM Wang Yi
Below is the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs' report about the meeting between Chinese FM Wang Yi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which took place on March 25, 2021:
Chinese FM Wang Yi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (Source: Fmprc.gov.cn)
This Year Marks The 50th Anniversary Of The Establishment Of Diplomatic Ties Between Turkey And China
"On March 25, 2021 local time, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Ankara.
"Erdoğan asked Wang Yi to convey his sincere greetings and best wishes to President Xi Jinping and warmly congratulated the Communist Party of China (CPC) on the 100th anniversary of its founding. Erdoğan said the Justice and Development Party of Turkey looks forward to enhancing its communication with the CPC, so as to make contributions to the cooperation among the political parties around the world. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Turkey and China. Turkey attaches great importance to developing its relations with China, firmly opposes any form of terrorism, and hopes to build closer ties and exchanges with China for further developing bilateral relations.
"Erdoğan said, I myself have been publicly vaccinated with China's COVID-19 vaccine, aiming to show the safety and effectiveness of the Chinese vaccines to Turkish citizens as well as the whole world. Turkey is willing to deepen its vaccine cooperation with China and explore the potential of conducting such cooperation with a third party. Turkey looks forward to increasing Turkey-China high-level exchanges, boosting mutual trust, making good use of the existing cooperative mechanisms, promoting the synergy between its Middle Corridor project and the Belt and Road Initiative, enhancing cooperation in the fields including connectivity, infrastructure construction and investment, seeking more balanced development of bilateral trade, and encouraging local currency settlement. Turkey attaches great importance to China's five-point initiative for achieving the security and stability in the Middle East and is willing to deepen communication and coordination with China on regional affairs.
Chinese FM Wang Yi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (Source: Tccb.gov.tr)
'The Two Countries Should Further Promote The Synergy Between The Belt And Road Initiative And The Middle Corridor Project'
"Wang Yi conveyed the cordial greetings from President Xi Jinping to Erdoğan. Wang Yi said that China, under the CPC leadership, has found a development path that fits its national conditions and is now embarking on the new journey to fully building a modern socialist country. China is willing to deepen friendly cooperation with Turkey and strengthen exchanges of experience in state governance.
"Wang Yi said that taking the opportunity of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations, China is ready to work with Turkey to implement the important consensus reached by the two heads of state, build on past achievements and forge ahead to promote the healthy and stable development of China-Turkey strategic cooperative relations, so as to bring more benefits to the two peoples.
"Wang Yi stressed that both sides need to continue to understand and support each other on the issues related to core interests, and insist on not interfering in each other's domestic affairs, so as to effectively safeguard the political foundation of China-Turkey relations. China is ready to continue to provide help for Turkey in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and fully release the positive energy of the vaccine cooperation between the two nations. The two countries should further promote the synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Middle Corridor project, strengthen cooperation in the high tech sectors including 5G, artificial intelligence, big data and digital economy, and make solid progress in major projects to seek win-win results. China will encourage more Chinese enterprises to import quality products from Turkey and increase the investment in Turkey. As two important emerging economies, China and Turkey should solidify their unity and cooperate on deepening party communications, safeguarding the development rights of each other, and protecting the common interests of the developing countries.
"On the same day, Wang Yi also met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu."
Chinese FM Wang Yi, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Turkish FM Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (Source: Tccb.gov.tr)
Chinese FM Wang Yi Holds Talks With Turkish FM Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu
Below is the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs' report about the meeting between Chinese FM Wang Yi and Turkish FM Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, which took place on March 25, 2021:
Chinese FM Wang Yi and Turkish FM Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (Source: Fmprc.gov.cn)
'The Friendship Between The Two Peoples Has Been Further Deepened'
"On March 25, 2021 local time, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in Ankara.
"Wang Yi said that in recent years, great progress has been made in the China-Turkey strategic cooperative relations under the guidance of the leaders of both countries. In particular, during the pandemic period, the bilateral ties have stood the test of the pandemic as the two countries offer mutual support and assistance to overcome the difficulties. The friendship between the two peoples has been further deepened. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Turkey. The bilateral relations are at a historic moment of building on past achievements and opening up new prospects. China is willing to work with Turkey to enhance mutual trust, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, and elevate the strategic cooperative relations to a new level.
"Wang Yi said that China supports the independence and sovereignty of Turkey, and respects the social system, economic model, and path of development chosen by the Turkish side that fit its national conditions. The essence of Xinjiang-related issues is fighting against violence, terrorism and separatism. China hopes that the Turkish side will continue to offer understanding and support to China on issues related to China's core interests and major concerns.
"Wang Yi said that China will continue to support Turkey's pandemic fight until it achieves a full victory. He believes the China-Turkey traditional friendship will be further solidified through the joint fight against the pandemic. Some powers attempt to politicize vaccine cooperation and attach labels to it, which undermines the global fight against the pandemic and should be rejected by all nations.
"Noting that the China-Turkey cooperation is all-dimensional, Wang Yi said that the two sides should make good use of all kinds of cooperative mechanisms and strengthen policy communication and coordination to increase exports of Turkey's quality products to China, currency swaps, major projects, and people-to-people exchanges, so as to achieve better results in the win-win cooperation.
Chinese FM Wang Yi and Turkish FM Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (Source: Fmprc.gov.cn)
'China Is Ready To Work With Turkey To Maintain Regional Peace And Stability'
"Wang Yi stressed that China is willing to strengthen its strategic coordination with Turkey in supporting multilateralism, rejecting unilateralism, safeguarding the international system with the United Nations at its core and the international order based on international law, and jointly building a community with a shared future for mankind. China has proposed a five-point initiative for achieving the security and stability in the Middle East based on an objective and fair attitude and the wills of most countries in the region. China is ready to work with Turkey to maintain regional peace and stability. China welcomes Turkey's delegation to take part in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games.
"Çavuşoğlu said that Turkey has always abided by the one-China principle and is committed to elevating the Turkey-China strategic cooperative ties. Turkey will never get involved in any actions that are hostile to China, while prohibiting any violent terrorist acts against China on its territory. The Turkish side appreciates China's vaccine cooperation with Turkey, and expects to deepen such cooperation. Turkey rejects the vaccine politicization and is willing to work with China to jointly push forward the building of a global community of health for all. The Turkish side hopes to strengthen the cooperation with China on implementing major projects, deepen the synergy of its Middle Corridor project with the Belt and Road Initiative, increase exports to China, expand the people-to-people exchanges, and welcome the establishment of cultural centers in each other's countries. The Turkish side appreciates China's initiative for the security and stability in the Middle East, and is willing to enhance Turkey's communication and coordination with China on regional issues. Turkey hopes China to take an active part in the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan. Turkey has always opposed politicizing sports events, welcomes China to host the Winter Olympics and will encourage Turkish athletes to actively take part in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games. Turkey looks forward to working with China to safeguard the multilateral system.
"The two foreign ministers also exchanged in-depth views on international and regional issues of common concern."
Meeting Of FM Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu With Chinese FM Wang Yi
Below is the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs' report about the meeting between Turkish FM Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Chinese FM Wang Yi, which took place on March 25, 2021:
'We Conveyed Our Sensitivity And Thoughts On Uyghur Turks'
"Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu held a meeting in Ankara with Foreign Minister Wang Yi of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on the 50th anniversary of our diplomatic relations.
"During the meeting where the potential of our economic cooperation was discussed, Minister Çavuşoğlu noted that we would enhance our cooperation on the fight against the pandemic and the vaccine, and underlined that we conveyed our sensitivity and thoughts on Uyghur Turks."
 See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 9245, At U.S.-China Meeting, Top Chinese Diplomat Yang States: The U.S. Launches Wars, Whereas China Promotes Peace; The U.S. Should Stop Advancing Its Own Democracy In The Rest Of The World And Focus On Its Own Human Rights Record, March 22, 2021; MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 9249, Chinese Foreign Ministry On U.S.-China Meeting: Our Development Cannot Be Achieved Without CCP Leadership; The U.S. Should Have 'A Correct View Of China's Influence On The World,' March 23, 2021; MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 9252, Following U.S.-China Meeting, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi Meets With His Russian Counterpart Lavrov In China; Chinese Foreign Ministry: 'The Two... Said The International Community Believes That The U.S. Should Reflect On The Damage It Has Done To Global Peace, Halt Unilateral Bullying, [And] Stop Meddling In Other Countries' Domestic Affairs,' March 24, 2021.
 See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 9267, In Riyadh, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Stresses China's Support For Saudi Initiative In Yemen – And Thanks Crown Prince For Saudis' 'Firm Support For China On The Issues Related To Xinjiang, Hong Kong And Taiwan,' Adds: 'China Opposes External Forces Interfering In Saudi Internal Affairs On Any Pretext,' March 31, 2021; MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 9266, On Saudi Al-Arabiya TV, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi Explains China's 'Five-Point Initiative On Achieving Security And Stability In The Middle East,' March 31, 2021.
 See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 9041, Chinese Middle East Scholar Zou Zhiqiang: 'Turkey Disturbs The Geopolitical Structure'; Erdoğan Is 'Seeking To Establish His Own Caliphate,' November 17, 2020.
 Thediplomat.com/2021/01/uyghurs-wary-of-turkeys-pending-extradition-deal-with-china, January 7, 2021.
 News.fx168.com/politics/2103/4860643_wap.shtml, March 25, 2021; News.rthk.hk/rthk/en/component/k2/1582640-20210326.htm, March 26, 2021.
 See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 9153, Russian Daily Izvestia: 'Ankara Continues To Build Transport Corridors Bypassing Russia'; 'Turkey And China Are Now Linked By Rail,' January 25, 2021.
 News.rthk.hk/rthk/en/component/k2/1582640-20210326.htm, March 26, 2021.
 Fmprc.gov.cn, March 25, 2021.
 Fmprc.gov.cn, March 25, 2021.
 Mfa.gov.tr, March 25, 2021.