Turkey and China have some similarities in their cultures. The Chinese and Turkish peoples are similar with their Asian roots and support traditional family values that favour strong networking ties in their daily lives and careers.
Turkey is half-European and half-Asian, which impacts how its people conduct their lives. They have adapted to a modern lifestyle just like the Chinese have. Turkey is located in Western Asia, but still a part of Europe. Turkey’s political life can be so variable, since it’s close to the Middle East, while China is more stable.
The two nations have enjoyed long-held strong ties in history, while academic researchers have taken note of Chinese historical documents that show close relations with Turkey. Both nations cherish their patriotism, historical characters as ordinary people frequently ponder such matters on a daily basis.
The two societies – China and Turkey – consist of different ethnic groups living together, which differ from a number of European countries where minorities do not play substantial roles.
Turkish people believe a patriarchal culture is best for their family and social lives. They show terms of endearment to non-family members, whom they consider friends, by calling them an “uncle.” Turkey’s president is called an uncle or father for their nation.
China and Turkey endorse rational relations among different groups. Developing deeper relations between China and Turkey will likely proceed in stages. News agencies from both nations should introduce one society to another. There should also be stronger economic ties to benefit both countries.
By encouraging more sustainable and confidential relations, the two governments can coordinate on academic support as well.
There can be a bridge between the two societies, such as the New Silk Road initiative, which was proposed by China in 2013. Ancient Turkish sultans, kings and rulers had allowed for a series of Caravans traders and merchants to travel to and from China.
At the moment, many Turkish people do not know much about the Chinese and vice versa. The media from both countries should play a more effective role to introduce one society to another. They can solve this problem by debunking cultural taboos and helping each society respect the other.
Both sides should hold more meetings between the leaders and governments. As former Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in his speech a year ago, “Turkey needs to open a China Studies Institute and China needs a Turkey Study Institute to develop stronger bilateral academic relations.”
The media, academia and governments are responsible for better relations between the two countries. Soon, China will host the 11th G20 Summit in Hangzhou on September 4-5, which would spur new global economic growth. Hangzhou and Suzhou in east China are picturesque and impressive cities, known as, “Heaven on the Earth.” Leaders from 20 countries are expected to participate.
Turkey takes part in China’s New Silk Road, Belt and Road initiative, which can develop stronger economic and cultural activities with countries in Asia, Europe and Africa. Meanwhile, Turkey’s different ethnic groups have roots with neighboring nations and could develop deeper economic ties with its border countries.
Turkey’s southern borders are connected to Arabic countries and close to the Mediterranean Sea, which offers key shipping ports for business. Turkey’s northeastern border stands next to Central Asia and the northwestern border is right next to the Aegean Sea and Greece, a gateway to Europe.
Turkey is the most stable country in the region – economically and politically. The Turkish economy policy is opening its doors to other countries. A company from Turkey can do business in Arabic countries, Europe and Central Asia. To make better relations with other countries, Beijing should encourage its youth to get more involved.
Beijing is calling for more suggestions from academics and young people on how to boost ties with other countries. China would likely push for more economic and social projects. Summits with China and Turkey could develop better bilateral relations. The 2016 G20 Summit as a global economic summit is expected to offer new economic and political opportunities.
Turkey can play a leading role in Central Asia with its historical roots, and China can invest abroad, especially in Central Asia. The two countries stand united in Central Asia, especially economically.
They can build the Belt and Road together, which can establish new bridges for China with other countries. Beijing is bearing more responsibilities in Asia, while some countries in the region do not enjoy much stability. China can afford the risk for greater long-term benefits.
Additionally, the “Chinese Dream” or “the great renewal of the Chinese nation” put forward by China’s President Xi Jinping creates a choice for other countries, which are not strong enough to resist powerful nations. Middle East countries perceive China as friendly with win-win policies.
China should hold a cooperative friendship with Turkey to open up the Middle East and Europe for better economic and strategic ties. More scholars can make new bridges with China and Turkey. There’s a Turkish proverb saying, “actions speak louder than words.” Well, China acts more rather than speaks.
Muhammet Hamza Ucar, Turkey, International Politics and Law student at Yenching Academy, Peking University and Istanbul University Political Science Faculty.