Turkey: The odd man in – Part 1/2

Published on Asia Times Online, by Peter Lee, Apr 21, 2012.

With a high-profile visit to China, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan continued his campaign to increase the geopolitical clout of his country.

Turkey has great hopes of emerging (or re-emerging, if one recalls the heyday of the Ottoman Empire) as more than the geographic and economic linchpin of Eurasia. Erdogan hopes to leverage that central position by establishing Turkey as a regional power, a country that can set the agenda for events across the continents.  

Judging from Erdogan’s trip to China, Turkey still has a way to go.
Hurriyet, Turkey’s leading English-language daily, confused Premier Wen Jiabao’s given name and surname and covered the visit as: Erdogan meets Jiabao on milestone China trip [1] … //

… Erdogan’s highest priority on his April 2012 trip was business: to strengthen the economic ties between the People’s Republic of China and Turkey. Trade is booming, but with China enjoying a major surplus. Therefore, Erdogan brought 300 businesspeople in tow, issued calls for increased Chinese investment in Turkey, and talked expansively of a “New Silk Road”, a railway bridging 28 countries and connecting China and Turkey.

At the same time, Erdogan was anxious to demonstrate Turkey’s stature (and his enhanced global profile) by visiting Xinjiang, home to 10 million Uighurs who share cultural and linguistic ties with Turkic peoples across Asia.

The imperatives of Turkish politics and geopolitical self-regard have turned the issue of the Uighurs, and the ongoing political and cultural repression they suffer at the hands of the Chinese government, into another crisis point for Erdogan. (full text).

(Part 2/2).

Links:

relevant links on en.wikipedia:

  • High-speed rail in Turkey;
  • Ankara – Sivas – Kars high-speed lines;
  • Istanbul – Edirne line;
  • Turkey: Kars Province …  is a province of Turkey, located in the northeastern part of the country. It shares part of its border with the Republic of Armenia …
  • Kars …  is a city in northeast Turkey and the capital of Kars Province. The population of the city is 73,826 as of 2010 …
  • Turkey – Edirne Province …is a province of Turkey, located in Eastern Thrace along the Greek and Bulgarian border. The city’s wealth, population and importance increased after it was declared as the capital city of the Ottoman Empire …
  • Edrine … is a city in Eastern Thrace, the northwestern part of Turkey, close to the borders with Greece and Bulgaria. Edirne served as the capital city of the Ottoman Empire from 1365 to 1453, before Constantinople (Istanbul) became the empire’s new capital …
  • Xinjiang Province;
  • Uyghur people: are a Turkic ethnic group living in Eastern and Central Asia. Today, Uyghurs live primarily in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the People’s Republic of China. An estimated 80% of Xinjiang’s Uyghurs live in the southwestern portion of the region, the Tarim Basin[5] …
  • Uyghur riots in Xinjiangin 2009;
  • Kurd ethnic problems;

More Geopolitical Links:

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