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Turkey and China: An Account of a Bilateral Relations Evolution


Note n°22 de l’Observatoire de la Chine, par Mehmet Söylemez (PhD in Political Science, Hong Kong Baptist University)

Turkey-China bilateral relations have an interesting story to tell. At the two opposing sides during the Cold War and especially having complicated relations on the Uyghur issue, Turkey and China still became strategic partners in 2010. This partnership remains significant in terms of diplomatic, economic and security cooperation. Indeed, China is Turkey’s second trade partner and Turkey has become the first NATO country to hold substantial military exercises with China. Turkey has also declared its willingness to participate in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and has joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as a founding member.
This article provides first an historical background, then focuses on the evolution of the Turkey-China bilateral relationship since the 1990s and presents in details the major features of the current relations between both countries.

  • Introduction
  • A Young Relationship between Two Old Empires
  • Enhancing Relations to the Strategic Partnership Level?
  • Major Features of the Current “Strategic Partnership”
    • The Uyghur Issue
    • Economic relations
    • Belt and Road Initiative
    • Military cooperation
  • Conclusion