By Ilkay Guder and Fuat Kabakci
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the Belt and Road initiative as “against terrorism” adding that Turkey will give all kinds of support for it.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum in China's capital Beijing on Sunday, Erdogan said the New Silk Road initiative was a very important project covering more than 60 countries and almost 4.5 billion people in the world.
The Belt and Road Initiative was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013.
According to China’s official Xinhua news wire, the goal of the initiative is to build a trade and infrastructure network along ancient trade routes such as the Silk Road that would connect Asia with Europe, Africa and beyond.
"This initiative, especially against the rising terrorism in the world, will be an initiative that will almost eradicate terrorism. I believe this cooperation which will benefit everyone will succeed as a model. We, as Turkey, are ready to give all kinds of support for it, Erdogan said.
“I believe that this initiative, also called the New Silk Road, will mark the future in an effort to link Asia, Europe, Africa and even South America,” the president added.
Pointing out that the success of the project “depends on the route countries’ facilitating trade, co-operating in the customs field, removing non-tariffs barriers and promoting investments”, Erdogan said that allowing the usage of national funds of the route countries along with the Silk Road fund would deepen the financial integration of the project.
Erdogan also highlighted the promotion of comprehensive cultural cooperation in the fields of tourism, science, technology and media along with the increase of student and personnel exchange programs to achieve the goal.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, also speaking at the opening ceremony, said the Silk Road dates back 2,000 years and it connected many civilizations with each other and hence allowed financial and cultural communication between societies.
Xi announced that Beijing promises to provide 540 million Yuan (78 billion dollars) of financial support for the Belt and Road initiative, and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is providing a further 1.7 billion dollars worth of loans to the participant countries.
He said scholarships for 10,000 students will be provided each year as part of the initiative.
The Chinese president also said he will sign trade and economic cooperation treaties with more than 30 countries during the forum.
More than 1500 representatives from 130 countries and 70 international organizations are attending the Belt and Road.