Opportunity to chart a common course
Updated: 2015-07-29 11:17
|Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends a wreath-laying ceremony at the Ninos Heroes monument at Chapultepec Park in Mexico City February 12, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]|
With more than 100 business executives in his entourage, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's state visit to China is heavily business-oriented.
The centerpiece, therefore, is expected to be tomorrow's economic and trade forum, which both President Xi Jinping and his Turkish guests are expected to attend.
Having previously expressed their interest in jointly developing the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, this visit represents the first serious opportunity for them to chart a common course for their shared commitment.
Good-looking trade and investment figures, plus robust tourist flows, present a rosy picture that inspires optimistic anticipation. But those are just initial gains compared with the far-reaching benefits the "Belt and Road Initiative" offers both countries. Advancing the Belt and Road will provide badly needed impetus for both economies to overcome current difficulties.
But the talk should not be all business, because there are obviously other issues requiring face-to-face communication at the highest level.
The recent troubles regarding the so-called Uygur issue, for one, if left unattended may poison ties and derail cooperation. Both governments have remained sensible and prudent and done a good job in damage control in the face of recent incidents. But the shared vision of a closer partnership entails additional endeavors to eliminate suspicions and cultivate trust.
That is why we hope the presidents of the two countries avail themselves of the short visit to compare notes and address possible misunderstandings.
President Xi should brief his Turkish counterpart on the country's real policies and practices regarding the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, and inform him that popular concerns in Turkey about alleged government misconduct are groundless and unnecessary.
President Erdogan should try to convince his Chinese counterpart that the alleged issuance of travel documents for Uygurs who illicitly left China was not the outcome of Turkish government policies, and that his country will stop potential terrorists.
Since both countries are vulnerable to terrorism and Islamic extremism, they should join hands in dealing with such concerns.
Lack of effective communication has resulted in misunderstandings. The recent anti-China protests in Turkey were symbolic of the harmful consequences of public misconceptions, a reminder that something must be done, and done now.