China’s President Xi Jinping met his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday, urging “political mutual trust” between the two sides during a regional security meeting in Central Asia, Agence France-Presse reported.
Xi and Erdoğan met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
Turkey is a dialogue partner of the SCO, which was set up in 2001 and consists of China, India, Pakistan, Russia and several ex-Soviet states.
“The two sides should consolidate political mutual trust, respect each other’s core interests and consolidate the political foundation of China-Turkey strategic cooperative relations,” Xi said, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.
“We should focus on development cooperation (and) give full play to the role of various cooperation mechanisms and respective strengths between the two countries,” China’s leader was reported as saying.
Xi also pushed for more cooperation on his signature Belt and Road global trade initiative, and said the two countries should “contribute to safeguarding international industrial and supply chains, food and energy security”, according to CCTV.
Beijing’s ties with Ankara have been overshadowed by international criticism of China’s alleged human rights abuses against Uyghurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority in the northwest Xinjiang region.
The readout of the meeting made no mention of Xinjiang or Uyghurs.
Xi also met Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran’s Ebrahim Raisi at the regional security summit, which the Chinese leader is attending on his first trip abroad since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.