ASTANA – Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev held bilateral talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, participated in the Third Meeting of the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council and met with Turkish business leaders during a Sept. 13 official visit to Turkey.
“Relations between Kazakhstan and Turkey are developing in the spirit of strategic partnership, an important component of which is trade and economic interaction,” Nazarbayev said during the visit.
Turkey is among Kazakhstan’s top 10 trading partners and trade between the two countries grew 27 percent in 2017.
Nazarbayev said Kazakhstan should utilise the intergovernmental commission between Kazakhstan and Turkey, develop new conditions for investment partnership and optimise Kazakhstan’s transit potential under the Nurly Zhol infrastructure programme to make Kazakhstan a leading logistic hub in Central Asia.
Following a visit to the Kulliye presidential complex in Ankara and meeting with his Turkish counterpart, the two leaders, Kazakh and Turkish delegations sat for the Strategic Cooperation Council meeting.
The council with the heads of state and government ministers reviewed cooperation in oil and gas, military industries, transit and education and agreed to develop closer agricultural, tourism, science and technology cooperation.
At a joint press briefing, both leaders praised Kazakh-Turkish relations rooted in common history and shared values.
“Kazakhstan is one of Turkey’s most important strategic partners,” Erdogan said. Calling Nazarbayev a ‘patriarch of the Turkic world,’ he said relations would grow in all sectors after the visit.
Nazarbayev congratulated Erdogan on his reelection in June.
“When Kazakhstan declared its independence on Dec 16, 1991, late President of Turkey Turgut Ozal was the first to call me, just two hours after the announcement, to inform me Turkey recognises our sovereignty,” Nazarbayev recalled. “Since that day, our relationship is only growing.”
Nazarbayev also praised the discussions with Erdogan.
“Astana and Ankara are open to each other in discussing the regional and international topics, our positions are similar,” he said. He said both countries want to strengthen the political dialogue and friendship between the fraternal peoples.
Nazarbayev also met during his trip with Turkish business leaders and noted that 1,800 businesses operating Kazakhstan with Turkish capital, and annual trade volume has reached $2 billion. He said the sides agreed on a new goal of $5 billion.
Nazarbayev met with CEO of Oyak Holding Suleiman Erdem, Board Chairman of Yıldırım Group Robert Yüksel Yıldırım and Board Chairman of Koc Holdings Ali Yildirim Koc, among other business persons.
The Kazakh President and Turkish industry leaders reviewed the interim results of New Synergy Joint Programme, which supports entrepreneurs. The programme has helped launch 23 projects totaling $800 million and created 3,000 jobs.
Nazarbayev also invited Turkish companies to invest in transportation and logistics businesses at Kazakhstan’s Aktau and Kuryk ports.
One day before Nazarbayev’s visit, a Kazakh delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister Askar Mamin participated in the Kazakh-Turkish Investment Forum and signed 24 commercial agreements totaling $1.7 billion. The agreements are in the non-resource sector of Kazakhstan’s economy and are expected to create 3,000 jobs.
The agreements involve chemical industries in Zhambyl region, real estate projects to develop Almaty’s downtown, as well as a large greenhouse project in Turkestan region.
Turkish companies expressed interest in exploring opportunities offered by Kazakhstan’s political stability, growing infrastructural capacity in conjunction with China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the opportunities of the Astana International Financial Centre.