China and Turkey are known to have had a stable economic relationship ever since the emergence of China's Han Dynasty, when the ancient Silk Road from China to Europe was first established. However, bilateral trade was rejuvenated in 1971 when both countries re-established a diplomatic relationship.
Logistics have played an important role in the Chinese economy for centuries. Now, in an attempt to continue this tradition, China is working towards establishing a network of commerce throughout its so-called Belt-and-Road initiative.
Since Turkey has the capability to connect China to the West and from there Europe, it plays an important role in the development of China’s trade lines.
"Turkey's geographic position and its interaction with economic blocs can evaluate opportunities in this region in the best way possible. Turkey has taken firm but cautious steps forward in the region so far,” said Omer Cihad Vardan, Chairman of the Turkish Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK).
One hundred members of the DEIK are currently accompanying Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in his visit to China and Indonesia.
The main focus of the visit will be the economic relationship between the countries.
In recent years Turkey has signed several agreements with China. Its main foreign supplier for the construction of the Ankara-Istanbul high-speed railway was the China based Locomotive maker CSR. Both Turkey and CSR are once again expected to work together in upcoming projects.
Additionally, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has recently acquired a 75.5 percent stake in Turkey’s Tekstil Bank, thus becoming the first Chinese-owned bank to operate in Turkey.
Turkey also signed a membership agreement with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which aims to have more than $100 billion in initial capital.
Trade volume between China and Turkey exceeded $1 billion in 2000 and has continued to grow ever since, totaling $28.6 billion in 2014. Chinese exports to Turkey reached $24.9 billion last year and were predominantly electronics, machinery, clothing and raw materials. Turkey, on the other hand, requested shipments of technology and resources.