Presidents vow to fight terrorism

Updated: 2015-07-30 06:30


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Presidents vow to fight terrorism

President Xi Jinping and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan appear at the Great Hall of the People on Wednesday after agreements were signed to improve bilateral cooperation. [XU JINGXING/CHINA DAILY]

Pledge by China and Turkey comes as the two nations agree in Beijing talks to strengthen their investment and trade links

The presidents of China and Turkey made clear their resolve to combat terrorism, including the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, during talks in Beijing on Wednesday.

Three agreements were also signed to strengthen cooperation in investment and trade.

The talks between President Xi Jinping and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressed a prominent issue that has overshadowed the bilateral relationship recently.

The Turkish government firmly supports China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, opposes terrorism activities-such as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement-that target China, and will protect the relationship from being "distracted", Erdogan said.

The meeting at the Great Hall of the People followed anti-China protests in Turkey over China's alleged repression of the Uygur ethnic group, who live in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and share cultural ties with Turkish Muslims.

Beijing has denied any curbs against the ethnic group and has accused the East Turkestan Islamic Movement of waging violent campaigns for an independent state in Xinjiang and of recruiting followers to train in the Middle East as militants.

Xi said China appreciated the Turkish government's pledge of never allowing anyone in the country to sabotage China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. He also called for closer cooperation on law enforcement.

"The future of China-Turkey relations is very bright and has great potential," Xi said in his opening remarks to the media.

Vice-Foreign Minister Zhang Ming said after the presidential talks that both China and Turkey-which borders Syria and Iraq-are victims of terrorism, and will continue to cooperate on defense.

Amid increasing attacks against Chinese people in Turkey, the Chinese embassy in the country issued a travel warning to citizens planning to travel there earlier this month, and a Chinese orchestra has canceled an August concert in Istanbul.

Wu Sike, a former special Chinese envoy to the Middle East, said the links between the Uygurs and Turkish Muslims should serve as a bond of friendship, instead of being "leverage" exploited by some forces for their own ends.

"Erdogan's visit is a good opportunity to make clear each nation's concerns, especially when Turkey has been looking east for greater cooperation opportunities," Wu said.

Xi said China would like to link its transcontinental Silk Road initiatives to Turkey's development strategy and strengthen cooperation in various areas including trade, financing, investment and tourism.

China is Turkey's second-largest trading partner after Germany, with the two-way trade volume reaching $23 billion last year. But Turkey has registered a large trade deficit with China.

The Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah said the visit to China by Erdogan, who is accompanied by a large business delegation, is expected to contribute to Turkey becoming an economic powerhouse in the Asia-Pacific region.

Turkish businessmen are turning to Asian markets due to political uncertainty in neighboring countries and a slow economic recovery in the European Union, it reported.

A China-Turkey business forum will be held in Beijing on Thursday before Erdogan ends his two-day visit.