Using a paradigm of five interrelated variables the paper examines the opportunities and challenges for security cooperation between Turkey, a predominantly Muslim society, and China, a society still dominated by the Communist Party. The five variables consist of military capabilities, economic capabilities, essential natural resources, ethnic and religious tolerance, and political legitimacy. The paradigm demonstrates that their interests help to promote security cooperation between Turkey and China, but also lead to strains in their relations along every variable. Both states are concerned about separatist groups but the Turkish public and some politicians are supportive of the Uighurs. Trade is growing but is unbalanced. They compete for energy sources but cooperate on development of alternative energy. Each of the variables in turn affects the political legitimacy of both regimes. Despite these instances of divergence in their national interests, Turkey and China can make policy choices that would strengthen their security relationship.
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