Made in Turkey? US ally seeks to edge out China

Originally published on asiatimes.com, June 23, 2020

Turkish President Erdogan hopes to win more investment as the US moves to decouple from China

A Turkish-US business council is projecting Turkey as a trading alternative to China with the help of influential Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a close associate of President Donald Trump.

Graham’s agreement to participate in a Wednesday webinar organized by the Turkey American Business Council (TAIK), an affiliate of the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey, the country’s oldest and largest business association, comes amid Turkish efforts to improve relations with the United States as a hedge to its ties to Russia.

“The growing rift between the United States and China creates significant opportunity for geopolitical cooperation. Turkey and the United States would both benefit economically,” said a Turkish businessman.

Criticism of China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has widened the gap between Washington and Beijing and sparked calls for diversification of China-centric global supply chains.

It has also raised hopes in Ankara, suffering its first economic contraction in a decade, that the decoupling of the US and China could create common interests between the US and Turkey.

“The pre-pandemic global economy was built on a single supply chain, with China at its core,” said Turkish Vice-President Fuat Oktay in May.

“For countries like Turkey, with our robust manufacturing sector and our young population, this will be an economic opportunity,” he added.