ANKARA, June 17 – Turkish President Abdullah Gul will visit China on June 23-29 in a bid to boost bilateral ties and look into prospects of increased economic cooperation, his office said Wednesday.
Accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, who is reponsible for the economy, Gul is expected to hold talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing and attend a business forum before visiting different parts of China, the statement said.
The meetings "will serve to evaluate all aspects of our relations and prospects of diversifying and strengthening cooperation areas," it added.
Trade volume between the two countries has grown over the years to some 17 billion dollars in 2008 — heavily in China\’s favour with 15.6 billion dollar\’s worth of exports to Turkey.
But the global slump has seen the volume steadily decrease since November. Bilateral trade shrank by 37.6 percent in the first quarter of 2009.
Turkish press reports have said that the two countries are looking into carrying out their trade with their national currencies rather than dollars and euros.
Turkey and China have no problems on the political front, with Turkey supporting China\’s territorial integrity and opposing any separatist movement from East Turkestan, west China\’s predominantly Muslim Xinjiang region.
Turkic-speaking Uighur separatists have been fighting to re-establish an independent state of East Turkestan in Xinjiang. They accuse the ruling Chinese of political, religious and cultural repression.