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TURKISH CENTER for ASIA PACIFIC STUDIES
Source: Xinhua | 2018-07-01 02:59:10 | Editor: Chengcheng
by Burak Akinci
ANKARA, June 30 (Xinhua) -- The international trade suffers from new moves by the United States which is pushing countries to cut their oil imports from Iran to zero by November, escalating its bid to pressure Tehran after pulling out of the nuclear deal, said experts.
U.S. President Donald Trump announced in May that the U.S. was leaving the 2015 deal, in which sanctions on Iran, including its energy sector, had been eased in exchange for Tehran agreeing to roll back its nuclear program.
Oil prices rose to a three-and-a-half-year high on Thursday, bolstered by supply concerns over the U.S. move.
Some close allies of the United States are among the largest importers of Iranian crude oil, including India and South Korea. Japan and Turkey also import large amounts of Iranian oil, according to statistics from the U.S. Energy Information Agency.
India would bow to U.S. pressures, said reports that the country's oil ministry has asked refiners to prepare for a "drastic reduction or zero" imports of Iranian oil.
But Turkey will not honor Washington's demand. Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said Wednesday that the U.S. demand is non-binding for Turkey. "We will follow the United Nations on its decision. Other than this, we will only follow our own national interests."
Meanwhile, Iran's media quoted an official at the country's oil ministry as saying on Wednesday that removing Iran's crude oil from the market was an "impossible" thing to happen.
Experts believe that major international players, such as China and Russia, could refuse to comply with U.S. hardball campaign.
Selcuk Colakoglu, director of the Ankara-based USAK Center for Asia-Pacific Studies, said to Xinhua that while China and Russia are resilient to the U.S. demands, small countries are more vulnerable to the pressure and threats from the Washington administration.
"Room for maneuver is more limited for European nations, such as France and Germany which have deep trade and economic ties with the United States. If these allies want to export their goods there, they would have to, in a way, concede to some demands coming from Washington," Colakoglu added.
Turkey, which shares an eastern border with Iran and relies heavily on oil imports, might expect to negotiate a good discount on Iranian crude in return for showing solidarity with its neighbor.
Turkey could also, according to some commentators, use its position to negotiate with Tehran as a bargaining chip in its row with Washington over U.S. denial of delivering F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, unless the Ankara government scraps its ongoing plans to acquire Russian S-400 advanced missile defence systems.
"Turkey is not dependent on U.S. trade ... its soft spot is the defence industry and foreign military purchases," underlined Colakoglu who implied that NATO ally Turkey could still be submitted to Washington's arm twisting diplomacy.
News 17 March 2017
Turkish Threat to Scrap EU Refugee Deal Questioned
Minister’s threat to scrap readmission deal with EU and send thousands of refugees there each month deemed a ‘War of Words’.
BIRN Sarajevo, Ankara
Turkey is unlikely to act on recent threats uttered by Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu who said that they could send 15,000 refugees to Europe a month to shock Europeans.
Soylu issued the threat on Thursday following a diplomatic row between Ankara and Germany and The Netherlands, fuelled by the latter’s ban on allowing Turkish ministers to stage rallies there.
“We have a readmission deal. I’m telling you Europe, do you have that courage? If you want, we will send you 15,000 refugees to blow your mind. You have to keep in mind that you cannot design a game in this region in spite of Turkey,” Soylu said.
The minister was referring to the controversial readmission deal between the EU and Turkey to return migrants to Turkey who illegally cross the Aegean Sea to Greece.
“The current crisis is a ‘war of words’; it is not likely that Turkey would open its borders and send refugees into Europe and the Balkans,” Selcuk Colakoglu, a university professor and an expert on Turkish foreign policy, told BIRN.
He said the dramatic statements and the recent fallout in relations with some European countries should be read as part of the efforts of Turkey's government to win votes in the upcoming referendum on granting the President more powers.
“Turkey wants to remind the EU of its role and of its importance to the EU these statements ... The number of refugees is growing day by day in Turkey and the EU’s financial assistance as part of the readmission agreement between the EU and Turkey is more important than ever,” Colakoglu noted.
Colakoglu also said the divisive elections in The Netherlands – in which far-right leader Geert Wilders targeted an alleged Muslim threat to Dutch identity - had additionally fuelled tensions.
In the Turkish referendum on April 16, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be seeking support for constitutional changes that would effectively scrap the current parliamentary system and strengthen his own position.
Following the Dutch ban on Turkish politicians holding rallies, Erdogan accused the Dutch of “Nazism and fascism” and blamed The Netherlands for allowing the 1995 massacre of Bosnian Muslims, which took place in Srebrenica during the Bosnian civil war when Srebrenica was under Dutch peacekeepers’ watch.
The diplomatic crisis has been felt beyond Turkey and Holland. At a pro-Erdogan protest organized in Sarajevo, Bosnia, resident Turks and some Bosniaks echoed Erdogan’s accusations about Dutch responsibility for the Srebrenica massacre.
Last year, prior to the EU-Turkey agreement, EU countries were swamped by thousands of refugees from warn-torn and impoverished countries of the Middle East.
One of the main routes to the West led through the Balkan countries, starting from Greece to Macedonia, Serbia and then further north, causing many headaches for the local authorities, including humanitarian and security concerns.
According to a Turkish Interior Ministry report, which was released on February, the total number of refugees in Turkey is now over 3.5 million and Turkey has spent more than 25 million US dollars on looking after refugees up until now.
News Analysis: Trump's speech, national security strategy contradictory: experts
(Xinhua) 08:11, December 20, 2017
CAIRO, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump's speech on his national security strategy in many ways contradicted the document itself, experts in the Middle East said Tuesday.
In a speech outlining his administration's first national security strategy on Monday, Trump touted again his campaign logo of "America First."
But when it comes to several international issues, Trump's speech contradicted what is said in the 68-page document that provides the framework for his administration's foreign policy.
SOFTER TALK ABOUT RUSSIA
The outstanding example is Trump's much softer talk about Russia, which is labelled by the document as a "revisionist" power bent on undermining the U.S. interests, and accused of meddling in the U.S. presidential race in 2016.
But in his speech, Trump not only failed to mention the alleged Russia's intervention in the election that he won, but also touted a phone call from Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to thank him for providing intelligence to foil a major terror attack in Russia.
In fact, Trump has been seeking warmer ties with Russia since he took office in January despite the relentless investigation conducted by U.S. Congress into the suspected link between his campaign and Russia.
"Trump's speech highlighted the gap between his theories and his actions," Norhan al-Sheikh, professor of international relations at the Cairo University, told Xinhua.
"Also in the speech, we noticed remarkable gap between the tough language of Trump towards the rivals of the U.S. (China and Russia), and the actual policies that he has adopted since he took office," al-Sheikh noted.
Theoretically, Russia is called the main strategic enemy of the U.S., but Trump on Monday described happily Putin's phone call, which "seemed to be courting Russia," she pointed out.
Trump also contradicted himself in his speech when he talked about the rising competition from Russia and China.
After calling Russia and China two "revisionist" powers seeking to undermine the U.S. influence, values and interests, Trump immediately called for building "great partnership" with them, al-Sheikh noted.
Trump once again demanded NATO allies share more the cost of protecting Europe by threatening to beat a retreat, though his administration vows to restore the U.S. presence on international issues which diminished under his predecessor Barack Obama.
"Trump's speech is contradictory, and he seems to be dealing with a hypothetical world," al-Sheikh said. "His logic is very strange because of his contradicted polices."
TRUMP'S MORE CONFRONTATIONAL STANCE
However, experts expressed the worry about the more confrontational stance taken by the Trump administration in its new security policy.
Selcuk Colakoglu, director of Turkish Center for Asia Pacific Studies, said the new U.S. strategy indicates a "more confrontational" approach toward Russia, China, Iran and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
"This also supports the argument that further escalation over the Iranian and North Korean nuclear issues is imminent," Colakoglu told Xinhua.
Mehmet Ali Guller, a columnist with the Turkish Aydinlik Daily, tweeted that the new strategy indicates that the U.S. will create more troubles for its rivals in order to curb their influence.
For al-Sheikh, one worrisome fact is that the main focus of the Trump administration's policy "is and will be the U.S. interests," so it could seek to buy new friends through trade and form new alliances even at the expenses of international agreements.
CONSISTENCY IN POLICY TOWARD IRAN
Trump's major consistency appeared on the policy toward Iran, as he denounced the nuclear deal signed by the previous government with Tehran as "disastrous, weak, and incomprehensibly bad."
Trump touted the sanctions he imposed on Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for its "support of terrorism" and his refusal to certify the Iranian nuclear deal to Congress.
This is in consistent with the charges against Iran in the strategy document, which calls Iran a "rogue" state and blasts Iran's efforts to beef up its influence through proxy groups, weapons proliferation and recommitment to its ballistic missile program. The document also vows to block the path for Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.
An Iranian expert at the Tehran International Studies and Research Institute dismissed Trump's rhetoric against Iran, saying it is not much different from his predecessors.
"It's just a minor issue for the Iranian media and readers as they have become tired of such word game because it happens every year for decades," the researcher, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Xinhua.
"Terrorism and violent extremism are a global threat, the U.S. government should focus on this threat in its security report," he said, charging that the U.S. chooses to ignore the fact that Iran is on the front line of fighting terrorism.
Xinhua | Updated: 2017-03-15 13:23
BEIJING - China will build on the forward momentum and continue its economic structural reforms in 2017, in an effort to provide more opportunities for global growth.
Deepening supply-side structural reforms, aimed at mid- and long-term stable growth, will remain at the center, according to this year's government work report, which sets the GDP growth target for 2017 at around 6.5 percent.
Supply-side structural reforms
China's supply-side reforms started in 2016. Among the efforts, capacity reduction will this year expand from coal and steel industries to sectors including coal-fired power, building materials and nonferrous metal, said the National Development and Reform Commission on March 6.
The government work report urges a decisive market role and an improved government role in resources distribution so as to secure progress in this area.
"Aiming to resolve bottlenecks blocking mid- and long-term growth, the supply-side reforms are timely and necessary for a sustainable growth in China," Selcuk Colakoglu, head of Asia-Pacific Studies at the Ankara-based International Strategic Research Organization, said in a comment.
Former Indonesian vice foreign minister Dino Patti Djalal said,"The resulting economic upgrading will bring more opportunities to the global growth."
Changes are believed to be directly and soon felt in future prices on world markets, of the bulk commodity in particular, as China is the world's second largest economy, as well as the largest coal consumer and steel producer.
For example, China's supply-side reforms last year contributed to an aluminum price hike.
"That (the reform) brings all of us in the industry to a healthier situation, when we see the new levels of prices," Vladislav Soloviev, CEO of the world's leading aluminum producer RUSAL of Russia, told Xinhua during the World Economic Forum (WEF) held in January in Davos, Switzerland.
He attributed the price rise to an expanding demand in all markets especially China, and was confident about sharing a bright future of China's reforms.
"The market is growing, economic reform is happening, there are a lot of infrastructural reforms ...That's why we are quite optimistic about the demand of the future, also about joint ventures with Chinese companies," he said.
Innovation-focused upgrading of economy
It is China's priority to transform and upgrade the real economy in order to release potentials for a sustainable growth. The government work report demands innovation take the lead, which is expected to see new concepts, management modes and technologies.
"Problems in the real economy have their roots in a lack of innovation," said Zhou Guohui, deputy of the 12th National People's Congress and head of the provincial science and technology department of Zhejiang in east China.
He believed innovation highlighted developing new and high tech industries so as to open up more growth spaces, as well as transforming traditional industries with the information technology.
The reforms were challenging for such a developing economy as China, as it was turning into a leading first-class digital economy and the world's manufacturing powerhouse, Joe Kaeser, President and CEO of German giant Siemens, has said.
Apart from new technologies, innovation involved labor force retraining, he said, noting that Germans would like to share the experience for a smooth transition they went through in 1950s and 1960s.
"We are very eager to bring modern manufacturing software to Chinese manufacturing so they are more efficient, high quality and high scale," the Siemens CEO added.
The world expects to see a successful economic upgrading in China, because it is vital to China's growth, and in turn to global growth amid uncertainties largely from a sluggish global economic recovery and a surge in anti-globalization and protectionism in western countries.
"The planned growth level will help keep China's contribution to the global growth at around 30 percent, and this will help avert an economic depression worldwide," said Mihail Delyagin, director of the Russian Institute for Globalization Problems.
Indonesia's economist Yudhoyono Firmanzah, a former presidential economic adviser, said that as Indonesia's biggest trade partner, each one percent of China's GDP growth would be translated into 0.3 percent of that in the southeast Asian country.
A green economic upgrading
The government work report also holds environmental protection as a key factor in China's economic upgrading, to meet people's urgent demand for better environment, especially cleaner air.
Moreover, this serves as a driving force, NPC deputy Zhou said.
For example, economic mode changes entail cutbacks in coal consumption while working to improve energy efficiency. Official data showed a continuous fall in coal use in the past three years in China, where energy use was however up 1.4 percent only for a 6.7 percent growth last year.
China plans this year to close down, halt and delay coal-fired power capacity of at least 50 million kw in total, while quitting coal production capacity in excess of 150 million tons.
In a larger sense, this means China will contribute more to the global fight against climate change.
Macharia Munene, a Nairobi-based foreign relations scholar, praised the latest Chinese move to meet environmental challenges.
As part of innovation efforts, China is taking measures including use of green technologies to mitigate climate change and reduce air pollution, he told Xinhua recently.
China's economy is moving to "a lighter economy, a modern economy, and this is also reflected in the Chinese energy portfolio very much," Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, has said.
"I think some of the reforms, some of the steps China is making can also be an inspiration for other countries in the world, " he said, while noting a slowdown in energy demand growth as well as big and rapid leaps in the development of clean energies in China.
Source: Xinhua | 2017-06-15 11:39:34 | Editor: Mengjie
by Xinhua Writer Yu Zhongwen
BEIJING, June 15 (Xinhua) -- China has exerted more efforts in recent years to participate in world affairs and exercise its vision to improve global governance.
INSPIRATION FOR DISPUTE SETTLEMENT
Dr. Selcuk Colakoglu, Director of the Turkish Center for Asia Pacific Studies and professor of International Relations, said China's foreign policy approach, which is based on peaceful development, is a source of inspiration to promote the settlement of disputes.
China under President Xi Jinping has successfully followed the guideline of peaceful and cooperative diplomacy and contributed to creating the concept of "a human community with shared destiny", said Colakoglu.
"It can be clearly said that China is one of the leading countries with a positive agenda for international cooperation and globalization," said Colakoglu.
"China has increasingly played a responsible leadership role in global governance since the global financial crisis in 2008," the expert said.
China also identified inclusiveness as one of the G20 priorities during its Presidency in 2016. China had worked under the banners "inclusive growth", "inclusive finance", and "green finance" as the G20's core agenda, said Colakoglu.
China has also been financing numerous infrastructure projects all around African LDCs mainly through the Exim Bank of China, and the newly established Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is expected to contribute substantially to such investments in the future. China's Belt and Road Initiative foresees the installment of a wide range of cooperative efforts, from infrastructure to developmental aid, elaborated Colakoglu.
Finally, China is playing a crucial role in the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement in the name of "green finance," added Colakoglu.
By Wang Xinxin
2017-05-17 19:15 GMT+8
Turkish analysts differ as to whether President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to the US will help restore ties between the two countries. Although the two sides are still at odds over Washington's decision to arm the YPG, a Kurdish militia operating in Syria, some think bilateral relations have a chance to become stronger.
Professor Selcuk Colakoglu from Ankara thinks the meeting could be a chance for President Erdogan and US President Donald Trump to develop a personal relationship, and to understand each other’s “individual leadership capacity”, which could be an important outcome.
“Turkey and the US can develop a common vision for Syria, because there are also some similarities. When we compare with Russia, the Turkish and American positions are closer than the Russian position on Syria, maybe the joint position, joint stance against the Assad regime," he said.
President Trump hosted Erdogan at the White House on Tuesday, the first face-to-face meeting since Trump took office. Trump said the US supported Turkey’s fight against ISIL and the PKK (a Kurdish militant group). However, the Trump administration decided to supply weapons to the YPG, which has caused tensions in Turkey, with some saying the Syrian Kurds are allied with the Turkish Kurds.
2017 - CGTN
Spotlight: China brings stability, inspires confidence amid global uncertainties
Xinhua, July 1, 2017
by Xinhua writer Qu Junya
BEIJING, July 1 (Xinhua) -- With its steady and strong economic growth and continued commitment to globalization, China remains a strong engine for the global economy, serving as a stabilizing factor and source of confidence in a world full of uncertainties.
Its new ideas and initiatives are also helping improve the world order amid uncertainties created by global economic sluggishness, a surge in populism and protectionism in Western countries, the Brexit process, terrorism and geopolitical black swans, among others.
BIGGEST CONTRIBUTOR AND POWERHOUSE OF WORLD ECONOMY
Maintaining a gross domestic product (GDP) increase between 6.7 percent and 7.2 percent for 11 quarters, in the first quarter of 2017, China recorded a more-than-expected 6.9 percent year-on-year rise, prompting the International Monetary Fund and other financial institutions to revise up its economic outlook.
In 2016, China's economy grew by 6.7 percent, contributing more than 30 percent to the global GDP total.
"China's growth is an incredible contribution to the global economy," said Klaus Schwab, executive chairman and founder of the World Economic Forum, in Dalian of northeast China during the Annual Meeting of the New Champions, known also as Summer Davos, since 2007.
What's more, China is making the contributions needed to put the sluggish global economy back on track, thanks to its huge domestic market, with demands boosted by reforms in an economic shift to consumption and the service industry.
"More importantly though is that it showed that rebalancing is continuing, with most of the growth coming through consumption, and that is exactly what we wanted to see," leading Australian economist James Laurenceson said, citing the "positive impact" that "more Australian goods and more Australian services go to China than any other country."
Customs statistics show a fall of 35.7 percent in China's trade surplus in the first quarter, with imports worth 423 billion U.S. dollars, or an increase of 31.1 percent from the same period last year.
"Globally, trade has been suffering and slowing down. China is the world's largest trading nation, it is the world's second-largest economy, and is growing at one of the fastest rates in the world," Laurenceson said."So whenever you have such a significant economy experiencing robust trade growth, that's excellent for the global economy too."
With expected long-term growth for a more stable and sustainable economy enabled by innovation and reforms, China will generate more opportunities for other countries and remain a top investment destination, according to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during the 2017 Summer Davos.
IMF chief economist Maurice Obstfeld said, "With those reforms, we are confident in China maintaining stability down the road."
Notably, China's growing outward investment also serves as a driver of the world economy. From January to November in 2016 alone, investment totaled some 157.8 billion dollars, up 55.3 percent from a year earlier.
CHINESE SOLUTIONS TO PUSH GLOBALIZATION
With renewed pledges, China has reasserted its commitment to promoting free and fair multilateral trade and globalization.
At home, China will continue its opening-up. Fresh efforts to improve the business environment for foreign enterprises include increased access to the service and manufacturing sectors, relaxed restrictions on foreign ownership and policy support, according to Li.
"All companies registered in China will be eligible to enjoy the same supportive policies that China offers in accordance with WTO (World Trade Organization) rules to push forward the 'Made in China 2025' strategy and promote technological innovation," the Chinese premier told the Summer Davos held on June 27-29.
In the next five years, China will import goods worth 8 trillion dollars, he added.
Internationally, China has inspired the United Nations and countries with its wisdom and solutions which highlight common development, inclusive growth, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation, injecting new vigor into globalization.
In February, China's concept of "a human community with shared destiny" was included as a consensus in the United Nations Commission for Social Development resolution on new partnerships in Africa's development.
The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative to seek common development and prosperity and the China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) have both won widespread support around the world.
John Brumby, former state premier of Victoria, Australia, said, "We have seen new initiatives obviously, the Belt and Road, the AIIB, these are all instruments to drive and encourage free and global trade, and free and global investment."
In his opinion, "it is unarguable this (Belt and Road Initiative) will lead to greater economic growth," which "will lead to more jobs, more opportunities, better education outcomes, better healthcare for families, and more people lifted out of poverty."
The Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to build infrastructure and trade networks to connect countries in Asia, Africa and Europe along ancient Silk Road trade routes, has gained support from more than 100 countries and international organizations worldwide.
As an important financing instrument for Belt and Road Initiative projects, the AIIB has seen its members increase to 80 since its launch of operation in January 2016.
In addition, "the Belt and Road Initiative has great significance because it is a new approach to reach a new and open cooperation ... and everybody can participate in a win-win situation as an equal partner," Schwab said.
"We are living in an inter-connected and inter-dependent world and we need globalization because our fate is interwoven," Schwab said, adding that "we have to make globalization much more inclusive" to ensure dialogues in a multipolar world and to narrow the widening gap between rich and poor.
China has stressed inclusiveness as a priority for the Group of 20 major economies in order to boost growth in developing countries, working under such banners as "inclusive growth" and "inclusive finance" and proposing new ways of cooperation between rich and poor countries.
Former Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr thinks that the Belt and Road Initiative can also help the world to better understand a rising China.
"The question we have all asked ourselves is what will be the character of Chinese foreign policy. And the Belt and Road Initiative answers that. It's multilateralist. It's about peaceful engagement. It's about roads and bridges," he said.
LARGER ROLE IN GLOBAL GOVERNANCE TO BENEFIT SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
In the opinion of Selcuk Colakoglu, director of the Turkish Center for Asia Pacific Studies, "It can be clearly said that China is one of the leading countries with a positive agenda for international cooperation and globalization."
"China has increasingly played a responsible leadership role in global governance since the global financial crisis in 2008," the professor of international relations said.
As a major contributor to global growth and an important driver of globalization, China is playing an increasingly visible role in the world economy as well as in global governance.
Its new ideas and initiatives are helping improve the world economic and financial order, especially by championing a world order with more say for developing countries. Its reaffirmed commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement after the withdrawal of the United States in June 2017 is vital to shaping the world's future economic landscape.
Strong political will and ongoing reform and innovation efforts towards a green economy by the world's largest developing country and second-largest economy indicate a leading role for China in the global fight against climate change.
Focusing on sustainable development and the planet's survival, the fight against global warming means an evolution towards a low-carbon economy and lifestyles that are expected to generate more, new and better quality jobs as well as opportunities for businesses and development around the world.
Moreover, China's peaceful growth and past economic success stories, such as reducing poverty, fighting corruption and conducting reforms, demonstrate new possibilities concerning development and growth modes for countries.
Shada Islam, policy director of Friends of Europe, a Brussels-based leading think tank, said the European Union "remains very interested in China as the global partner" in promoting peace, prosperity and growth.
"I think the EU as a smart power can work very closely with China, and China with Europe, to advance multilateral trade, climate change, ideas, everything to do with counter-terrorism, piracy, all of the key global challenges," he said.
Peter J. Li, associate professor of East Asian politics, University of Houston, described China's increasingly active participation in global governance as "a commendable development."
It "also suggests that Beijing is willing to shoulder greater responsibilities," he added. Enditem
By Yu Lintao | Web Exclusive
Turkey, which connects Europe and Asia, is an important country involving the Belt and Road. The China-proposed development initiative will enhance the role of Turkey as an important player on the Eurasian continent, said Professor Selcuk Colakoglu, Director of the Turkish Center for Asia Pacific Studies, in an interview with Beijing Review before the opening of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which will take place in Beijing from May 14 to 15.
The professor said Ankara views the Belt and Road Initiative favorably, as it firmly believes that the commercial relations between Turkey, countries in the Caucasus region and Central Asia and China will be amplified through the implementation of prospective projects in the near future.
As to the prerequisites for the realization of the Belt and Road Initiative, reinforcing transportation infrastructure and improving intra-regional logistics links come to the fore, added Colakoglu. "In that regard, the Belt and Road Initiative is expected to form the backbone of a greater vision of multi-dimensional integration between Turkey and the rest of the region concerned and raise the level of relations between these countries to their highest level."
Colakoglu noted that the Belt and Road Initiative will set the scene for closer bilateral relations between regional countries based on mutual trust and substantial economic cooperation, as new railway lines envisaged by the initiative will carry significant numbers of passengers and freight volume in both directions.
Moreover, Colakoglu said that bilateral economic relations will be protected from the potentially disturbing effects of fluctuations in the value of the U.S. dollar thanks to two-way trade in national currencies instead.
According to Colakoglu, Ankara is also looking forward to capitalizing on Turkey's geostrategic advantage, which essentially derives from its position at the intersection of traditional transport routes connecting Europe and Asia. With this initiative, Turkey wishes to place itself once again at the center of inter-continental transport routes, this time by way of hosting a major railway corridor between Europe and Asia that will facilitate trade in energy resources, agricultural produce, other raw materials and manufactured goods.
"For the improvement of its Middle Corridor, Turkey aims to complete missing links on the route with mega projects, promote intermodal transport opportunities, enhance logistics and corridor management capacities, and remove bottlenecks, especially on border crossings," said the professor.
Summing up, Colakoglu said the Belt and Road Initiative provides potential leverage that can enable Ankara to increase its economic and political influence and become the ultimate playmaker in the Eurasian arena.
Copyedited by Chris Surtees
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