ASTANA – The 10th-anniversary summit of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS) in Astana on Nov. 3 addressed the need for capacity-building in trade and investment, transport connectivity, security, and sustainability. The heads of Turkic states reviewed the collective responsibility of the Turkic world in preventing global challenges.
Introducing the priorities of Kazakhstan’s chairmanship in the OTS for 2024 to its member and observer states, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev outlined eight pillars toward strengthening cooperation across multiple areas: traditions, unification, reforms, knowledge, trust, investment, mediation, and energy.
President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev congratulated the people of Kazakhstan on the recently celebrated Republic Day, the Turkish people on the 100th anniversary of their Republic Day, and the Azerbaijani nation on “the great victory for the full restoration of territorial integrity.”
“The voice of our fraternal nations, whose language, religion and hearts are inextricably linked, is becoming much louder and more powerful throughout the world,” said Mirziyoyev.
The territory of the OTS countries, brimming with vast economic opportunities, is home to 260 million people. This year, trade turnover between the Turkic states surpassed $22 billion.
Expressing gratitude to participants for their efforts during Uzbekistan’s 2023 chairmanship, the Uzbek leader pointed out that “despite the growing global economic crisis, systematic activities have resulted in a steady growth in the trade volume.”
Solidifying the relations with the Turkic states is among Azerbaijan’s top foreign policy priorities, according to the country’s President, Ilham Aliyev. He emphasized the foundational significance of ethnic and cultural roots, language, and shared history.
“In the past two years, I have paid 20 visits to the OTS member and observer states, and the leaders of the brotherly countries have also visited Azerbaijan on multiple occasions within the same period,” he said.
Aliyev mentioned that Azerbaijan has invested over $20 billion into the economies of Turkic states, primarily in Türkiye. He further spotlighted Azerbaijan’s transit and transport potential.
“Our country is making a valuable contribution to the sustainable functioning of the East-West transportation corridor. Cooperation between the OTS member states in security should also be enhanced,” he said.
President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Sadyr Zhaparov, commended the creation of Turkic Investment Fund, “one of the important results of the target economic cooperation.”
Digital transformation, in his opinion, is another promising area for cooperation. He announced the recent launch of the Park of Creative Industries in the Kyrgyz Republic, a project with favorable tax conditions. The long-term plan is to permit foreign nationals to become residents of the park.
“I would like to take this opportunity to organize the Digital Forum of the OTS member states in the Kyrgyz Republic in 2024. Digital technologies not only solve the needs of the population and the business sector, but also determine the contours and content of the digital economy. This is very important for trade, transport, and business in our economic agenda,” he said.
Türkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan extended his condolences to the Kazakh people and the bereaved families affected by the harrowing mining mishap at the Kostenko mine in the Karagandy Region.
Addressing the global instability and the enduring conflict between Israel and Palestine, he noted that “nothing can explain brutality and crimes against humanity.”
“So far, we have shipped 10 aircrafts of humanitarian aid to the region, and we will continue to send more as and when on-ground conditions permit. Acting in unity and solidarity, the Turkic world should ensure a ceasefire and a lasting peace,” said Erdoğan.
“The repercussions from the Russia-Ukraine conflict in the energy sector, food industry, and transportation have far-reaching implications, touching every corner of the world. Türkiye will strive to ensure a just peace. Moreover, establishing stability in Afghanistan will also provide security and prosperity in the entire continent beyond Central Asia,” he added.
Erdoğan underscored the significance of developing a transportation route connecting the western part of Azerbaijan with Nakhchivan, an enclave within Azerbaijan’s borders. Its opening will make a significant contribution to the wealth of the region and connect Türkiye with Central Asia, “its ancestral homeland.”
He also noted that Türkiye would like to see Turkmenistan as a full-fledged member of the organization.
Leaders representing the OTS observer states shared their views on the organization’s prospects in political and economic cooperation.
Chairman of the Halk Maslahaty (People’s Council) of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, observed that the system of international relations is navigating turbulent times.
“As a result, the global community confronts overarching challenges and threats. To counteract these complexities, which adversely impact the paradigm of universal peace and security, it is crucial for nations to thoughtfully consolidate their efforts,” he said.
Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban shared the European perspective on the ongoing challenges worldwide, emphasizing their potential influence on the relationship between the Turkic world and Europe.
“The global economy has collapsed twice within two short periods, first because of the COVID-19 pandemic, then due to the war in Ukraine when energy prices soared,” said Orban.
“Global security has never been in a worse situation. Since the end of the Cold War, we have never encountered a situation as difficult or complicated as it is now,” he noted.
In 2021, the OTS organized 47 events, and this number increased to 66 in 2022. Member nations collaborate across nearly 30 domains, with an amplified emphasis on trade, transport, customs cooperation, security, education, and digitalization.
OTS Secretary-General Kubanychbek Omuraliyev identified investment, logistics, transport, communications, and energy sectors as the driving forces of economic development.
He also announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the OTS and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat).
“We are now developing a comprehensive roadmap for our collaboration with this organization, which will be finalized shortly. Our future endeavors will focus on the development of social and ecologically sustainable settlements, particularly in Central Asia,” said Omuraliyev.
Following the summit, the heads of states signed 12 agreements to bolster Turkic unity. These agreements encompass a roadmap for the 2023-2027 transport communication program, regulations concerning permanent representatives, the introduction of new flags for Turkic organizations, and the decision to grant the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) an observer status within OTS.