Kazakhstan, Turkey Discuss Regional, International Cooperation

ASTANA – President Nursultan Nazarbayev met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Akorda presidential residence on April 16.

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The two presidents discussed strengthening cooperation in trade, the economy, investments, industry, transit and transport, culture and humanitarian affairs, as well as international issues.

Nazarbayev noted that relations between the two countries are characterised by a brotherly and friendly essence.

“Turkey has made great progress over the past 12 years under your leadership. It ranks sixteenth in the world in terms of economic indicators, which is the result of the work of all the people of Turkey and your personal efforts. You arrived in Kazakhstan with a large delegation that will take part in a bilateral business forum. I am sure that your visit will contribute to improving our relations,” Nazarbayev said in welcoming Erdogan for his first state visit to Kazakhstan as the Turkish head of state.

Erdogan expressed his gratitude to the Kazakh President for his visit last year to Turkey and for participating in his inauguration ceremony.

Erdogan noted that despite the difficult global economic situation, Kazakhstan is developing dynamically and achieving significant success. In addition, he wished Nazarbayev victory in the upcoming presidential election on April 26.

After the bilateral meeting, the presidents attended a meeting of the Kazakhstan-Turkey High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council.

During the roundtable, the parties discussed issues of strengthening cooperation in various fields, as well as the joint economic programme, the New Synergy. The programme, developed under the patronage of the presidents of Kazakhstan and Turkey, is a fundamentally new concept regarding trade and economic cooperation and is aimed at increasing mutual trade turnover to $10 billion by 2015.

“Many Turkish companies have successful operations in Kazakhstan. A large amount of Turkish capital is dispersed amongst more than 1,600 enterprises operating in our country. It should be noted that Turkish businesses were a big part of building Astana, Kazakhstan’s new capital. The total volume of contracted work carried out by Turkish businesses in Astana totals about $20 billion. Currently, Turkish businessmen are involved in implementing 14 investment projects totalling $1.5 billion. Trade turnover between the two countries has reached $3.29 billion. This figure is less than it used to be, but we should take into account the negative impact of the global financial crisis,” Nazarbayev said.

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He noted that Kazakhstan adopted the Nurly Zhol programme as a response to the global financial crisis. This programme provides great opportunities for businessmen from both Kazakhstan and other countries.

It was mentioned that Turkish companies received an offer from Kazakhstan on the joint implementation of 25 projects that will strengthen trade and economic relations.

“Kazakhstan and Turkey play an active role in the issues of regional and international security. It is reflected in the interaction within the framework of organisations, such as the United Nations, Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation, the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation, Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia, the Turkic Council and TURKSOY. Turkey is planning to take part in the V Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, which will be held in Astana June 10-11,” Nazarbayev said.

“Turkey supports Kazakhstan’s candidacy in becoming a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2017 and 2018. Turkey is planning to participate in EXPO in Astana in 2017. We hope that in the near future, talks on Kazakhstan’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) will be completed. We intend to continue supporting our brother Kazakhstan in its aspirations,” Erdogan said at a joint press briefing of the two leaders following the talks.

Following the talks, the heads of state signed a joint statement of the second meeting of the Strategic Cooperation Council, as well as a protocol on implementing a plan of action as part of the New Synergy.

During the Kazakh-Turkish business forum on the same day, agreements on the implementation of 19 projects totalling $800 million were signed between companies of the two countries, the press service of the Ministry for Investment and Development of Kazakhstan reported.

“The first list of projects in order to activate the work within of the New Synergy programme was created. It includes 23 business initiatives totalling more than $2.8 billion. Today, the documents on implementation of 19 out of 23 projects, worth more than $800 million, were signed during the business forum,” the report stated.

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Turkey was the first country to recognise Kazakh independence on Dec. 16, 1991. The Turkish Embassy in Almaty was opened in March 1992 and later moved to Astana.

Today, Turkey plays a leading role in the Kazakh construction industry.

Kazakhstan is one of Turkey’s most important political and economic partners in Central Asia. The frequency of high-level bilateral visits reflects the level of relations between the nations and provides a platform upon which to exchange views on bilateral, regional and international issues. Erdogan’s visit to Kazakhstan in 2012, then as prime minister, helped expand cooperation between the two countries.

On April 17, Nazarbayev and Erdogan jointly visited the spiritual centre of the Turkic world, Turkestan, a town in the south of Kazakhstan. There, the two leaders attended the opening of major cultural and educational facilities, including a mosque, the construction of which started about 15 years ago.They also visited the Khoja Akhmet Yassawi mausoleum and spoke to students at the International Kazakh-Turkish University.

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