Turkey vows to crush anti-China activity


Ankara—In a major shift from its previous foreign policy stances, Turkey has pleased China with vowing to crush any form of dissent against Beijing.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday that his country would not tolerate anti-China forces on its territory, saying protecting China’s security was of high importance to Ankara.

“We treat China’s security as our own security,” Cavusoglu said during a visit to Beijing, adding, “We absolutely will not allow any activities opposing or aimed against China within Turkey or its territories, and we will take measures to eliminate any media reports aimed against China.”

Cavusoglu, who was speaking after a meeting with Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, said China and Turkey have agreed to increase cooperation in the fight against terrorism. He also hailed China’s increasing assistance to Muslim countries.

“We greatly praise China for the work it has done so far to tackle the issues confronting Islamic countries,” Cavusoglu said.

The pro-China remarks come in clear contrast to Turkey’s previous criticism of Beijing over its treatment of minority Uighur Muslims who live in China’s far western region of Xinjiang. President Reccep Tayyip Erdogan had even accused Beijing of involvement in “genocide” against the Uighurs, who have cultural ties with Turkey and speak a Turkic language. Turkey has also granted asylum to a number of families that had escaped China’s crackdown.

The shift in tone also comes following a series of political developments in the Middle East over the past years. The crisis in Syria and a failed coup in Turkey last year has caused Turkey to pivot away from the West and seek political and economic opportunities in Asia.

China has also sought closer bonds with Turkey. It has vowed to complete a high-speed rail linking the eastern and western regions of Turkey while a economic corridor will be established between the two countries as part of China’s expansive Belt and Road initiative.

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