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Turkey Seeks for a Firm Foothold in Central Asia

Sunday 3 May 2015
Turkey Seeks for a Firm Foothold in Central Asia

Alwaght- the Turkey president, Erdogan, along with 200 Turkish merchants, in his 3-day journey to Kazakhstan to participate in the second meeting of the Turkey-Kazakhstan High Level Strategic Cooperation Council (HLSCC). Erdogan in his tour met his Kazakh counterpart and exchanged views about development of bilateral cooperation in industrial, investment, transportation, cultural, regional and international areas. His entourages were ministers of foreign, defense, economy, agriculture, energy, transportation, culture and tourism.

Nazarbayev described Kazakhstan-Turkey relations friendly and brotherly and the cooperation level of Astana-Ankara as excellent. He also announced that Erdogan’s visit to Astana opens a new page in Turkey- Kazakhstan relations. As he said, Kazakhs respect Turkey so much because it was the first country to recognize the independence of Kazakhstan.

Erdogan’s visit to Kazakhstan, which has Turkish roots, is a symbolic action. Turkey is one of Kazakhstan’s closest and most reliable political and economic partners. As Nazarbayev said, there are more than 1600 Turkish firms in Kazakhstan now and Turkish merchants play an important role in construction of Astana, the new capital city of Kazakhstan. Total volume of Turkish firms’ contraction amounts to 20 billion USD and 14 investment projects worth 1.5 Billion USD are going to be conducted. Moreover, cooperation for fulfilling 25 new industrial projects is recommended to Turkey.

Erdogan recognized Kazakhstan not only a friendly and brotherly country but also a strategic partner. He portrayed Nazarbayev’s visit to Turkey in 2009 a historic event in which the strategic agreement between two countries was signed. Expressing his delight with the development of the countries relations, Erdogan announced that from 2009, the Turkey-Kazakhstan relations have been entered a strategic phase and by forming the HLSCC in 2012, condition for deeper ties were provided.

In Erdogan’s viewpoint, the two countries have a lot of capacities for development of relations and Kazakhstan plays an important role in connecting the central Asian countries to international markets through the Caspian Sea. According to Erdogan the agreement inked between two countries will help to increase the region’s welfare.

Turkey supports non-permanent membership of Kazakhstan in NU Security Council for 2017-2018.

Describing Kazakhstan's economic programs as worthy of appreciation, turkish side proposed cooperation with Kazakhstan in two economic programs named “strategic program 2050” and “economic program of Kazakhstan”.

The Caspian Corridor project will form the most important part of Kazakhstan's economic program. Nazarbayev invited the Turkish employers to participate in 25 projects of Expo 2017 hosted by Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan aims to become the 30th biggest economy of the world in 2050 and is going to produce 265 new industrial goods.

Turkish firms have invested 2 billion USD in Kazakhstan so far, making more than 15000 jobs. The Turkish contracting firms have signed more than 400 projects worth 20 billion USD in Kazakhstan.

During this visit updating joint action plan of the two parties which was signed in 2012, has been inked. The joint action plan includes 19 projects worth 800 million USD such as producing building materials and manufacturing military and commercial ship.      

During past ten years, Turkey has invested more than 1.8 billion USD in Kazakhstan and now the parties follow conducting 35 joint projects worth 3.5 billion USD.  Making industrial Turkish-Kazakh zones in provinces of Almaty, west and south Kazakhstan is under the agenda of joint cooperation.

Visiting the University of Professor Ahmad Yasavi in the city of Turkestan, Erdogan received the honorary doctorate. At this ceremony, Erdogan pointed out his country’s positions about Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Palestine, Libya Afghanistan and Myanmar and emphasized on Turkey’s attempts and initiatives to form an international system based on peace, calmness, welfare and security. He  criticized UN security council saying that “security council that just observes the massacre of 300000 Syrians, how can promise a safe future for millions of people? An international system which supports a dictator who seized the power by overthrowing an elected president, how can promise a free future for humanity”. He also claimed that “number of Syrians and Iraqi refuges has reached to 2 million and UN has just helped 250 million. Turkey has paid 5.5 million for refuges so far”.     

Erdogan went on saying that “ISIS continues to poison the space of Islam world. We are concern about Libya's future since it is governed by two rival governments from August 2014. Egyptian government which came to the power after a coup refuses to return back to democracy and sentences people to jail”. “Clashes in Yemen are going to bipolarize the region, and regional tensions are increasing due to Israeli politicians’ actions. At a time when the world is changing fast and security issues and common future are going to be more complicated an appropriate appraisal is of great importance and international agencies should cooperate with each other.”  

Presenting in work assembly of Turkey-Kazakhstan in Astana, he severely criticized the recent European parliament verdict on considering the Armenians’ killing in 1915 as genocide and calling on Turkey to recognize it. During this visit, the mosque and complex of “Khawaja Ahmad Yasavi”, constructed by Turkey’s religious and endowments affairs organization, was inaugurated. A joint statement was signed by the parties about the results of HLSCC and protocol of conducting economic joint program of “new cooperation”. It was the first visit of Erdogan to Kazakhstan after presidential election of Turkey in August, 2014.     

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