17 May 2015 Leave a comment
When PLAN ships were passing through the Turkish Straits, a Turkish frigate was visiting China to return the favor.
TCG Gediz arrived in Hong Kong on 15 May and will stay there till 18 May. The visit of a Turkish warship to a Chinese port is equally rare as Chinese warships passing through the Turkish Straits.
The Turkish navy is paying a rare visit to Hong Kong and mainland waters this week, in a four-day trip that analysts describe as a shrewd move by the European nation to show its traditional allegiance to the West, but also its desire to build ties in Asia, particularly with China.
Last night, Turkey’s top diplomat in Hong Kong, Haldun Tekneci, hosted a reception aboard the frigate TCG Gediz, which docked on Friday in the country’s first naval visit for four years.
“We are super happy and we are so proud to see this warship because it has travelled so far,” he said, adding that the visit was a sign of growing relations with China and the East Asia region.
There was also a meeting at the People’s Liberation Army’s Hong Kong garrison – a courtesy call, Tekneci said – before they head to Qingdao , Shandong , tomorrow.
The TCG Gediz is making Asia the focus of a 122-day tour that started on April 1, taking in 14 nations with 18 stops in the region.
The China stops come at a sensitive time as Turkey’s planned purchase of a long-range missile defence system is still in limbo. It angered fellow Nato members over a 2013 deal to buy from a Chinese firm and has since agreed to look at versions offered by other countries while putting the Chinese deal on hold.
Nevertheless, Ankara’s relations with Beijing have grown significantly in recent years. In 2012, then vice-president Xi Jinping travelled to Turkey, resulting in deals worth US$4.3 billion across industries including finance, renewable energy and mining.