If You Whistle We Are There!

After Greek Prime Minister Karamanlis and Chinese President Hu Jintao made agreements on many issues including “maritime transportation” in Beijing on January 20, 2006 (1) COSCO signed an agreement to operate the Port of Piraeus on November 26, 2008. (2) At the signing ceremony, Karamanlis said, “Greek ports can work as transit hubs for Chinese products to the European Union (EU), Southeast Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean” and Hu Jintao said, “We want to use Greek Ports as transit hubs.” (3)

Visiting Greece on November 10, 2019, Chinese President Xi Jinping described the Port of Piraeus as the “Head of the Dragon” and called for “deeper cooperation with Greece in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative (OBOR)”. (4)

Signing an agreement with Thessaloniki Port Authority on 12 July 2020, China Merchants Port Holdings manager Dr. Bai Jingtao, at the signing ceremony, said, “This cooperation can be considered as a continuation of the OBOR Project, not just the maritime movement.” said. (5)

All companies today; It strives to bring its products to the market as soon as possible, to reduce stock holding time, to reduce the amount of stock held and to reduce the cost of inventory.

China, which sends goods to Europe by sea (container) between 45-60 days, tried to develop solutions in order to shorten this period. China, which initially chose the Port of Piraeus as its operation center for easy entry into Europe, but could not shorten the time, officially announced the OBOR Project in 2013, which aims to reduce the time of transporting goods to Europe to less than 20 days or even 15 days.

About 30 days decrease in the delivery time of goods from China to the EU; It will enable Chinese goods to be brought to the EU market 30 days earlier, 30 days less inventory held, and less inventory costs.

I, State Minister of the time, Mr. Zafer Çağlayan, on 29 May 2009, “Choose Turkey instead of China, if you whistle, we will come immediately. We are that close to you.” I got very excited when I read the quote. On the other hand, a few years after this statement, I was surprised when I read the words of different politicians at different times such as %22We will connect London to Beijing by rail%22 or %22The train from Beijing will reach Europe in 1 week%22.

How will Turkey be affected if China, which is Turkey’s rival in selling goods to the EU, reaches the EU in 15 days?

After learning about COSCO’s relationship with the Port of Piraeus, I started following this topic and the OBOR Project. By sharing my thoughts on these issues with my articles (6) and social media messages, I stated that China’s relationship with Greece and the OBOR Project are not to Turkey’s advantage, and in fact, %22Turkey’s China’s access to the EU at a cheaper cost, in a shorter time,%22 I tried to emphasize that it will help him sell more goods”.

Turkey should return to its “whistling” strategy and policy.

NOTE: “US approach to OBOR”, “US approach to Piraeus and Thessaloniki Ports”, “Armenia and OBOR relationship”, “Iran and OBOR relationship” and “Thessaloniki-Burgas-Burgas-Bulgaria-Bulgaria-Bulgaria-Bulgaria-Bulgaria-Turkey relationship” Developments such as “double track rail between Varna-Ruse Ports”, “How does it affect Turkey?” Another article can be written for.

  1. http://www.chinaconsulatesf.org/eng/xw/t232561.htm
  2. http://www.ship.gr/news5/coscopac8.htm
  3. https://www.ekathimerini.com/60772/article/ekathimerini/news/greece-china-turn-new-page-in-cooperation
  4. https://www.ekathimerini.com/246317/article/ekathimerini/news/xi-eyes-deeper-cooperation-on-occasion-of-visit-to-greece
  5. https://splash247.com/china-merchants-cosies-up-to-thessaloniki-port/
  6. “Seeing the Glass Half-Full (06.09.2009), “Chinese China (20.11.2010)”, “Your Beauty Doesn’t Matter, If It Wasn’t for Love in Me (02.08.2012)%22, Again CHINA CHINA (29.07.2013).