Like many other phenomena, the economic development of a country has its own threshold and after which the country has to take different strategies to keep the growth wheel moving. In this regard, the current second largest economy of the world, China has initiated a visionary and long-term strategy by the name of Belt and Road Initiative, in short BRI.
What is BRI?
The name BRI or Belt and Road Initiative has been coined by replacing the previous term One Belt One Road or OBOR. This change has been made to make this strategy more approachable and friendly for other nations or countries and at the same time to imply its dynamism and accommodating features. This is a networking in both land and sea, which is popularly known as the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road respectively. This is mainly a platform of cooperation in development initiatives such as infrastructure, trade etc. In this platform, the participating countries will share their experiences in developing each other.
What is the History?
The Maritime Silk Road refers to the ancient sea passage through which China conducted economic and cultural exchange with the rest of the world. The ancient Maritime Silk Road started from the southeast coast of China, through the Indochina Peninsula and the South China Sea, across the Indian ocean, into the Red Sea, reaching East Africa and Europe. The three main starting ports were Guangzhou, Quanzhou, and Ningbo. Quanzhou is recognized as the starting point of the Maritime Silk Road by UNESCO. On the other hand, the Silk Road Economic Belt shares the similar history of Chinese merchandizing in the ancient time throughout the world by the land network.
Conditions of the Times
“The Belt and Road Initiative” conforms to the tide of multi polarization, economic globalization, cultural diversity, and informatization, upholds the spirit of open regional cooperation, and strives to maintain the global free trade system and the open world economy. It aims to promote the free orderly flow of economic factors, the efficient allocation of resources and in-depth market integration, to promote the coordination of economic policy in countries along the line, to carry out regional cooperation on a larger scale and at a higher and deeper level, and to create an open, inclusive, balanced regional economic cooperation framework.
Silk Road Economic Belt focuses on the smooth flow between China through Central Asia, Russia to Europe (the Baltic Sea); and between China through Central Asia, Western Asia to the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean; and between China through Southeast Asia, South Asia, to India Ocean.
The 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road focuses on the direction between China’s coastal ports through South China Sea to the India ocean, extended to Europe; and between China’s coastal ports across the South China Sea to South Pacific.
The Initiative is an ambitious economic vision of the opening-up of and cooperation among the countries along the Belt and Road. Countries should work in concert and move towards the objectives of mutual benefit and common security. To be specific, they need to improve the region’s infrastructure, and put in place a secure and efficient network of land, sea and air passages, lifting their connectivity to a higher level; further enhance trade and investment facilitation, establish a network of free trade areas that meet high standards, maintain closer economic ties, and deepen political trust; enhance cultural exchanges; encourage different civilizations to learn from each other and flourish together; and promote mutual understanding, peace and friendship among people of all countries.
Why does China want to make BRI successful?
Since, 1978 China has been reinforcing its “reforming and opening-up” strategy and has observed a series of miraculous economic growth at two-digit rate. But, in the last few years, China has been lagging behind its previous economic performance. According to many analysis, Chinese economy would face growth trap in the near future and might get worse. Therefore, the Chinese Leaders have realized that they must find a way out to avoid the possible economic shock. In this mission, China has come forward with its idea of sharing a strategy of mutual cooperation and development under the name of Belt and Road Initiative or BRI. To popularize this idea, the Chinese top leaders are conducting regular visits and talks with their strategic partner countries in regular basis. China has also established Asian Infrastructure and investment Bank (AIIB) to promote the BRI.
Turkey in BRI
From the following photo, we can find the countries connected to the BRI Networks.
Turkey with its strategic geographic location could work successfully in this platform as the gateway from Asia to Europe. Turkey and China have been developing an effective strategic cooperation according to the sustainability of long lasted profits that have a critical importance. To move relations between two countries to an ideal point in a global power system which has been shaping in a multi-dimensional way; these relations shouldn’t only tend towards to a construction that can create a common deepening on the political and strategical basement, but also on each parameter. Hence, militarily and cultural dimensions have a different importance, here. In the context of Afro-Eurasia, Turkey who has been controlling the whole strategical passing routes; has a key importance for all the moral and material potential items that have been representing the Silk Road. What will happen to both integration of the Silk Road and the new international system. As President Erdogan has been working hard to build an individual image of Turkey without western influence, this cooperation platform could provide a great opportunity to tie up with Russia and China and hence create a different power circle in the world politics. There has been a hope on China to make necessary multidimensional analysis, including the pressures on both countries, while China has been developing the policies in the same context. Considering the historic Sino-Turkey relationship, it would be beneficial for both the parties in enhancing cooperation in, Finance, Trade, Construction, Technology etc.
Writer is student of AIIB Master’s in International Finance at the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE), Beijing, China.