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Turkish and Chinese leaders discuss foreign investment and Xinjiang controversies


Turkish and Chinese leaders discuss foreign investment and Xinjiang controversies

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Photo: Reuters

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will arrive in Beijing today to meet with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

Ankara slammed Beijing on February 9 with a strong statement condemning China for its treatment of ethnic Uighur Muslims in the country. The statement was issued in response to the alleged death of jailed Uighur poet Abdurehim Heyit.

China responded by issuing a travel warning to its citizens traveling to Turkey and warned Turkey that the downturn in relations would threaten the economic relationship of the two countries.

Turkey has for decades acted as a country of refuge for Uighur Muslims, but has slowly backed down on its policy to court favour with Beijing while negotiations over China’s Belt and Road Initiative continue.

Turkish public opinion has soured considerably as reports reached the country of the renowned poet’s arrest. Mr Heyit is a considerable cultural influence in Turkey.

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Ankara faces the challenge of balancing its desire to maintain an economic relationship with Beijing and its disgust over the government’s treatment the Uighur people. Expect President Erdogan to seek today both a diplomatic detente with President Xi on the Uighur issue and a deal for further investments in Turkish transportation corridor infrastructure and energy projects.

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