Ankara keen to increase presence in CPEC: Turkish expert
by Khalid Aziz
ISLAMABAD (June 29): Asia-Pacific expert with a prominent Turkish think tank, Ankara Centre for Crises and Policy Research, Dr. Baris Adibelli said on Monday that Turkey desired to increase its presence in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
However, he said that Turkish investors were yet unaware of the opportunities offered by CPEC, adding that there was a need of attracting them to this regional connectivity project.
Dr. Baris, who also teaches International Relations at Dumlupinar University, was speaking at a regional connectivity webinar hosted by Pakistan’s Centre for Global and Strategic Studies (CGSS). He said that Pakistan and Turkey could connect China and the Indian Ocean to Europe and vice versa. He said that Pakistan had unmatched geographical advantages due to its strategic location.
Dr. Baris said that Turkey had also been planning for long to establish connectivity with China and other Asian countries. In this regard, the Turkish President has proposed a six-nation cooperation platform involving Russia, Iran, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. He added that this plan could complement China’s greater Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in connecting China and the Indian Ocean to Europe and vice versa. He said that the Turkish connectivity plan must not be seen as a rival to BRI or CPEC.
Dr. Mehmood Khan, a member of the CGSS board, suggested that the formation of joint merchandise shipping and transport companies by Pakistan and Central Asian Republics could promote the blue economy in the region by enhancing trade via sea routes through Gwadar Port. He also said that Pakistan and CARs should also form joint-stock exchanges to avail full benefits of trade opportunities offered by Gwadar and the CPEC initiative.
Ayedin Nurhan, former Turkish ambassador and advisor to the President of the Ankara Centre for Crises and Policy Research, said that the Turkish elite had a particular interest in China and Turkish investors could willingly work together with China to enhance connectivity between Asia and Europe.
Prof Sencer Imer, head of the International Relations department at UFUK University, Ankara said that Turkey was pursuing a plan to not only connect the Black Sea with the Mediterranean Sea via the rivers passing through its width but also to connect Turkish rivers with Europe’s second-largest Danube River. It means that goods reaching Turkey from China and other Asian countries will reach Europe via a new shipping route passing from Romania, Serbia, Hungary, Austria, Germany, and Holland and bypassing the Bosporus Sea. This will provide the cheapest trade route between Europe and Asia, he said.