Turkey’s Erdogan affirms importance of ties with China

July 2, 2019
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping react as schoolchildren wave Chinese and Turkish flags during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Tuesday, July 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

BEIJING (AP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an ostensible U.S. NATO ally, has affirmed the importance of ties with key American rival China at a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.

Erdogan told Xi on Tuesday that Turkey and China have “great potential to grow our relationship” based on historical trading ties and that the two would “contribute to regional and global stability.”

Erdogan is seen as drifting closer to Russia and China despite Turkey’s treaty ties with the U.S. and has stood firm against Washington’s opposition to its purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system.

Turkey is a key link in China’s trillion-dollar “belt-and-road” initiative to build ports, highways, power plants and other infrastructure linking it to Europe, Africa and Asia. Washington has declined to endorse the program.

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