China and Turkey are taking steps to reinvigorate their relationship and role as strong bookends to the Asian continent while encouraging new connections along the routes of the ancient Silk Road network. The two countries aim to boost bilateral trade to $100 billion by 2020, and plans are underway to connect Ankara and Beijing by rail. But there are complications, too. Turkey, NATO member, also seeks full membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Both China and Turkey share wariness of US power, but the US has quickly responded to aid Turkey against attacks and spillover conflict from Syria, while China’s policy is hand’s off. China and Turkey are divided, too, over treatment of the Turkic-speaking Uyghurs throughout Central Asia. Other obstacles to reviving a Silk Road network include Central Asian states loosening restrictions on trade, travel and border crossings. Many anticipate a new Silk Road adding to Asia’s prosperity, but heavy traffic is still a distant dream.
Yale Global Online looks into promising yet troubled new relationship between Turkey and China.