Turkish world has a desire to revive

Instead of being included in a center of gravity within the framework of multi-dimensional policies, countries in the region create a center of gravity themselves.

Turkish world has a desire to revive

The Organization of Turkic States Summit will be held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on 11 November 2022. This will be the first meeting of the organization leaders since the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States (Turkic Council) was renamed as the Organization of Turkic States (OTS) in 2021.

The OTS, which unites modern states for the purpose of comprehensive cooperation between the Turkic peoples, was established by the presidents of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Türkiye in Nakhichevan in 2009. Uzbekistan joined the organization in 2018. Turkmenistan and Hungary were accepted as observer states in 2021.

Pre-summit work

Before the summit on 11th November, joint meetings were held in various fields such as health, media and sports both from political and academic aspects. Additionally, throughout October, OTS Secretary General Baghdad Amreyev was engaged in the preparation of the summit meeting. At the beginning of the month, he discussed the agenda of the meeting with Kazakh Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tleuberdi and went to Türkiye for the opening ceremony of the academic year at the Binali Yildirim University in Erzincan. An international symposium of the Turkic world was also organized there, which brought together more than a thousand politicians, bureaucrats, scientists and NGO representatives.

On 17th October, an emergency meeting of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the OTS was held in Istanbul, where the draft documents planned to be signed during the summit in Uzbekistan were approved.

Then the focus shifted to Azerbaijan. On 19th October, the third meeting of Muslim religious leaders of the OTS member states was held in Baku. The next day, participants of the meeting moved to Shusha, where the signing ceremony of the Regulations of the Council of Heads of Muslim Religious Administrations of the OTS member countries took place. On the same day, an international conference "The richness of the Turkic-Islamic heritage and its value against the backdrop of pressing problems of our time" was held in Baku.

Before the Samarkand summit on 27th-28th October in Tashkent; development of international freight traffic, increasing the region's transit potential and developing alternative transport routes were among the subjects discussed. As a result of the meeting, two important documents were agreed upon. The first one is on international multimodal transport between the member states of the OTS and the other was the Program of Cooperation in the field of transport. These documents are aimed at systematizing transport corridors passing through the territory of the Turkic states, promoting an increase in traffic and increasing the attraction of transport corridors, and stimulating the progressive development of the transport infrastructure of the countries.

At the OTS summit in Samarkand, it is planned to make a decision on the establishment of a Turkic investment fund. Amreyev previously noted that for the OTS joint investment fund, the aim is to increase initial budget to $1 billion. The Karabakh region will be of a particular importance, as it is spotted as a joint area which could contribute to the convergence of the member states' economies.

The developments in the region and a resurgence of competition

Last week, protests broke out in the regional press in Kyrgyzstan. There were arrests over the coup attempt rhetoric. Besides, there were those who wanted to turn the dam issue between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan into a dispute. Given that the water and land are the most sensitive issues, it is remarkable that this was kept on the agenda before the summit.

Looking at the other countries in the region, Russia tries to revive the common Soviet history. Considering the Russian factor, the countries in the region not only remark that the Turkish union is definitely not against other countries, but especially the Kazakhstan administration has to keep good relations with the world's longest land border neighbor. In addition, the countries of the region, which have faced the immigration of thousands of Russian citizens after the declaration of partial mobilization, need to adapt to the new conjuncture.

In the last month, regional visits by the EU officials were also noteworthy. The EU-Central Asia summit was held and strategic cooperation agreements were signed between the countries of the region. After these visits, which are summarized as “technology for raw material”, new routes and horizons are opened for the countries in the region.

In the midst of this busy agenda, it is important that the countries in the region create a center of gravity themselves, instead of being included in a power/center of gravity (pole) within the framework of multi-dimensional policies. In this context, the importance of the Turkish Union emerges. It is extremely vital for the Union to create its own agenda, to comply with the principle of equality within the framework of peaceful policies, to increase mutual recognition, and to act together in the international arena.

Reflections in the press and the Cyprus issue

It is expected that Turkmenistan will become a full member of the OTS and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) will be granted an observer status in the summit. Hence, Ersin Tatar, the President of the TRNC, was among the main guests of the above-mentioned Erzincan Symposium. His and Final Declaration was expected to be announced at the upcoming OTS summit. After the enthusiastic speeches of Ersin Tatar, Binali Yıldırım and Baghdat Amreyev, it was declared that the TRNC could obtain observer status. This is a significant step towards the recognition of the TRNC in the international arena.

These developments are closely followed by both the Russian and regional media. While the media of region countries focuses on developments and evaluate the process for their own interests; Russian media mostly discusses the applicability of the issues raised. In particular, they draw attention to the fact that Turkmenistan acts more slowly than other states and does not participate in many initiatives.

What has been done so far and what should be the next steps?

Türkiye actively focused on finance and tele-radio communication sectors in Turkic states. Scholarship programs opened for students from Turkic countries, and thousands of them have received education in the top Turkish universities.

In the recent period, initiatives have been made in many areas. Institutions like that of OTS, TURKSOY AND TURKPA operate as Turkic academic centers. The Capitals of Culture and Art of the Turkish World implements projects that will serve common values ​​such as common Turkish history, common literature and common geography textbooks.

It was also announced that the "Joint Alphabet Commission" was established in order to accelerate the process of language unity and the transition of Turkish states to a common alphabet.

Thus, Turkish world has a desire to revive. Like the Phoenix reborn from the ashes, it is going through a historical period in the name of the revival and the realization of the dream of unity.