It differs from Moscow and Washington’s reading of events.. How does Ankara view the protests in Kazakhstan?
Ankara- The crisis of protests in Kazakhstan opened the discussion about its relationship with Turkey, as the “land of the Kazakhs” is one of the large Turkish-speaking countries; Turkey and Kazakhstan have close historical relations and great interests, due to the similarity of culture, ethnicity and language between them, as well as the growing trade exchange.
In a statement, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed – on Wednesday – its full confidence in the ability of the Kazakh administration to overcome the crisis of protests in the country, which erupted as a result of the increase in liquefied gas prices.
In a previous statement, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Ankara and Nur Sultan hold the key to security and stability in the region, in light of the fact that Kazakhstan is a link between Central Asia and global markets across the Caspian Sea.
In the following, we present a number of questions and answers that explain the strategic relationship between the two countries and the impact of the rolling protests on them.
What are the roots of the relationship between Turkey and Kazakhstan? How did it develop into the strategic alliance stage?
Turkish-Kazakh relations have been characterized by rapid development since the first days of the establishment of diplomatic relations on March 2, 1992. Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize the independence of Kazakhstan after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The late Turkish leader Turgut Ozal contributed to the establishment and development of fruitful cooperation between the two countries.
The cultural and linguistic factor played an important role in bringing relations closer, especially with the summit of the establishment of the Turkish Academy in Astana in 2010, and the summit of Turkish-speaking countries in 2011 in Almaty, which is currently witnessing more protests.
There are military agreements between the Kazakh army and the Turkish defense industry company Aselsan. At present, about 700 Turkish students are studying in Kazakhstan, and dozens of Turkish professors work there, as well as 400 Turkish companies operating in Kazakhstan, which have so far implemented projects worth $16 billion. .
During 1998, the Ankara Declaration was signed, in which the heads of state of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Uzbekistan and the Secretary of Energy of the United States of America stressed the importance of laying oil export pipelines across the Caspian and Caucasus Seas.
Kazakhstan also sponsored the Astana talks on Syria, with the participation of representatives of the guarantor states, Turkey, Russia and Iran. Kazakhstan has sent two helicopters and a fire brigade to Turkey in order to participate in extinguishing forest fires that broke out in several states over the past year.
In 2015, Turkish President Erdogan paid an official visit to Kazakhstan, during which it was decided to accelerate work in launching the Joint Unified Action Council at the highest levels. The visit witnessed the signing of 19 contracts worth one billion dollars in various fields of industry and trade, and the establishment of a joint industrial zone between the two countries. Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev also visited Istanbul at the end of 2021, in the context of attending the summit of the Organization of Turkish States.
How does Ankara read the ongoing protests in Kazakhstan? What is the impact of these events on Turkey?
The researcher in Turkey’s foreign policy and Caucasus affairs, Dr. Basil Al-Hajj Jassim – in his speech to Al-Jazeera Net – sees that Turkey views with concern what is happening today in Kazakhstan, due to the many ties between the two countries of different dimensions, so any chaos in the space of the Turkish-speaking countries has a political and economic impact on Turkey, which has been working for years to strengthen the Turkish states under its leadership.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry indicated that it is “closely following the protests that started on Sunday (last) and led to the resignation of the Kazakh government,” noting that it “attends great importance to the stability of friendly Kazakhstan.”
Is it possible that we witness Turkish mediation or the Organization of Turkish States to contain the events?
Turkish mediation is excluded at this stage, according to Dr. Hajj Jassim, who said, “We are facing an unconventional scene. We do not see opposition to protests, but rather protesters against raising fuel prices, and until this moment there has been no leadership for these protests so that they can mediate between them and the authorities, especially The president froze the decision to raise prices, which was a direct cause and spark of protest, and dismissed the government.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry expressed its “hope to ensure the security and well-being of the brotherly Kazakh people,” stressing “its confidence in the wisdom of the Kazakh people,” and its aspiration “for the protests to end as soon as possible.”
In the event that events deteriorate further there; Will Ankara stand with the Kazakh president or with the demonstrators?
The author of the book “Kazakhstan and the Syrian Astana” Hajj Jassem confirms that the situation today in Kazakhstan has taken a different turn, after the protesters took control of the airports in the country’s former capital and the city of Aktau (the Kazakh oil capital on the Caspian Sea).
It is believed that the president’s announcement that terrorist organizations took control of vital facilities and aircraft, including foreign ones, and his request for help from the partners in the collective security organization led by Russia, confirms that the crisis is not between an opposition and a government, so Turkey stands next to stability and the Kazakh presidency in the face of chaos.
Where does Ankara’s vision with Moscow and Washington differ in addressing the crisis in Kazakhstan?
Observers point out that the vision of Ankara and Moscow intersects in the necessity of restoring calm and stability to the country and the survival of the current president and the non-dislocation of the regime, while meeting the social and economic demands of the protesters, despite their fierce competition in Asia Minor.
According to Turkish reports, Washington will be happy with the development of the protests, so that it will invest them in stifling Moscow.
For his part, Hajj Jassim considers that Kazakhstan’s importance to Moscow is equal to that of Ukraine, especially with the success of “post-Soviet Kazakhstan” in establishing a balance in its relations between major powers such as China and the United States without going far and irritating its ally Moscow, but it remains with Moscow. Its calculations and sensitivity to any changes brought by governments through protests or street movement, while we find that these manifestations receive American support and support.
Turkey competes with Russia in the South Caucasus, Syria and Ukraine, and in more than one forum, Kazakhstan has described Turkey as a “strategic partner”.
What is the importance of Kazakhstan to Turkey economically?
According to official data, the two countries achieved a trade exchange of 3 billion and 127 million dollars in 2019, which represents an increase of 1.233 billion dollars over the year 2018.
Kazakh exports to Turkey recorded a significant increase of 89% compared to 2018, and the value of these exports was about 2 billion and 308 million dollars, at a time when Turkish exports to Kazakhstan increased by 25%, meaning that their value reached 819 million dollars, after it was 655 million dollars in 2018.
The two governments are seeking to raise the ceiling of trade exchanges to reach $10 billion in the coming period.
The most prominent Turkish exports to Kazakhstan are electrical products and textiles. In contrast, Kazakhstan’s exports to Turkey are raw materials such as copper, natural gas, oil, zinc and others.
The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Turkish Eurasian Economic Relations Association, Hikmet Eren, said that there are more than 500 projects with Turkish-Kazakh capital in Kazakhstan, as well as 160 projects with Turkish capital.