Turkish ambassador discusses Arab unrest, relations with China

Source: Global Times
 [05:26 April 13 2011]
By Harvey Dzodin

Turkish Ambassador Murat Salim Esenli. Photo:Harvey Dzodin

While many countries in the Middle East have been wracked by severe unrest, one Muslim country seems to maintain its stability while its neighbors disintegrate.To find out why, the Global Times columnist interviewed Murat Salim Esenli, the Turkish ambassador to China, about this and other issues related to Sino-Turkish relations.

Ambassador Esenli does not believe that Arab countries are crumbling but sees them as undergoing "a very intense evolutionary political process."

He said that it is up to the countries themselves to decide which political model is most suitable for them. According to the ambassador, "any imposition of a specific formula or system, unless it is home-grown and enjoys social consensus, is doomed to fail."

While some commentators have pointed to Turkey as a role model of a democratic secular republic with an overwhelming Muslim population, the ambassador prefers to see Turkey as more of an inspiration.

"Turkey stands as an island of stability due to its stable government, pluralistic society, exemplary economic performance, strong military and independent foreign policy that aims for resolution of all outstanding problems through peaceful means," he said.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Turkey. Turkish President Abdullah G&uumll came to China after 14 years, and Premier Wen Jiabao visited Turkey after eight years. Other highlights include the inception of a formal strategic partnership and joint military exercises. Esenli also pointed out that G&uumll was the first Turkish president to visit the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region upon being invited to do so by China.

"The president had given the basic message that he would like to visit Uyghurs as a bridge of friendship between Turkey and China, and we would like to see the Uyghurs, as law-abiding Chinese citizens, contributing to this friendship. We want them to be productive, helping China in any way they can, and of course we want them to benefit from the security, prosperity and stability that China has to offer," the ambassador told the Global Times.