Ankara's ambassador to Beijing announced on January 3rd that Turkish citizens can now apply for a Chinese online visa. Chinese visa applications for citizens of Turkey have been changed to an appointment system visa the internet as of January 1st.
Abdulkadir Emin Önen said, "the obligation to obtain an invitation from the Chinese authorities for business and commercial trips will be removed." He added that this decision comes after months of negotiations with the Chinese authorities on easing visa restrictions for citizens of Turkey. The changed has been certainly positive and Önen hopes to continue working with China, "we are also aiming for visa-free travel between both countries." The online visa is a step forward in that direction.
Aydin said that China will celebrate 2018 as the Year of Tourism in Turkey, and encouraged Chinese citizens to visit Turkey. The number of Chinese visitors is expected to rise this year, he said, "This year the number of Chinese tourists coming to Turkey probably will be 400,000." Presidents of both countries have met four times in the past two years in order to build stronger bilateral relations.
Turkey and China Relationship Strengthens
As the relationship between Turkey and the United States weakens, Turkey looks to strengthen ties with China. Even though there have been ties between the U.S. and Turkey since the 1950s, their relationship has deteriorated quickly. According to The Diplomat, early in 2017, two causes led to the breakdown in relations between them. For one, there's America's support for the forces fighting for the Kurdish enclaves in Northern Syria. The other is Washington's refusal to extradite the cleric Fethullah Gülen back to Turkey.
In October there was an incident that led to travel bans imposed on each other's citizens. Meanwhile, Turkish and Chinese officials have vowed to increase their relations, especially on trade and tourism. Following an official meeting in Ankara, Deputy Parliament Speaker Ahmet Aydin is planning to visit China in the near future. Turkey hopes to host Chinese President Xi Jinping. Aydin said, "We are planning to gradually increase economic and commercial relations." China is Turkey's largest trading partner in Asia.
Following China's support for Pakistan, Turkey also announced that they would be supporting them saying that Pakistan has "made outstanding contributions to the international anti-terrorism cause." Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called President Mamnoon Hussain to show his support after the allegations made by U.S. President Donald Trump on his Twitter account.