The Sheffield golfer carded a five under par 67 to sit two points off joint leaders Tom Lewis and Matthias Schwab.
Willett started quickly with three birdies in the first four holes.
And he went on to have a flawless round with two further birdies and no shots dropped.
Willett finished 73rd in the 78-man field in Shanghai on Sunday and a distant 30 shots behind winner Rory McIlroy, but four days later returned a flawless 67 thanks to a real team effort.
The former Masters champion used FaceTime to work with his coach Sean Foley and both his fitness trainer Kev Duffy and putting coach John Graham changed their plans to fly out to Turkey.
"We've had a really nice year with how things have gone, so it would be nice to finish strongly," said Willett, who won the BMW PGA Championship in September.
"For the guys to rally around and make the effort to come out, it means a lot.
"The first 20 holes last week we played lovely and then it was a bizarre last 52 holes where just nothing went our way. Then you then try and force it and it's even worse and you get in your own head about things.
"Today we played really clever golf, I would have said. When you're out of position you're not trying to do anything too silly, because you have a nice score going. One thing you know, when the scoring is low out here, is that a couple of soft bogeys can annoy you more than anything."
Justin Rose's love affair with Turkey shows no signs of abating after a late hat-trick of birdies boosted his hopes of winning the tournament for the third successive year.
Rose was two under par with three holes to play at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal, but picked up shots on the 16th, 17th and 18th to post a five-under-par 67 and lie just two shots off the lead.
The Olympic champion is now a combined 60 under par for his 13 rounds in the event and also won its precursor, an eight-man match-play event featuring Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, in 2012.