A Historical Step in the Center-Periphery Relations in Kazakhstan: Akim Elections

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Kazakhstan, as one of the countries that has been increasing geostrategic and geoeconomic importance day by day at the reality of Rising Asia, continues to make significant strides at the democratization and reform process on the 30th anniversary of its independence. In this context, “Akim Elections”, held on July 25, 2021, emerges as an important step to strengthen center-periphery relations in Kazakhstan. Thus, aforementioned elections described as “main line of democratic development in Kazakhstan” and evaluated as an important initiative/development in the formation of the democratic culture of the peoples, internalization of democracy by the people.

July 25 when Kazakh people elected their village, town, rural, neighborhood and district administrators, called akims, for the first time,it is accepted as the symbol and history of the beginning of the new period in the country.

It is seen that 2297 candidates out of 2582 candidates were approved and 1419 of them were independent in the elections, held to determine the administrators of 730 settlements with a turnout rate %78,5. Another important detail that should not to be ignored here is that the election process should be completely transparent and that no objections are raised.

It is understood the importance of this detail more clearly when the aforementioned turnout rate, number of candidates and candidate profiles are evaluated. This development that emerges as an indicator of participation of the people to process of the political decision-making process, democracy culture and development of the system, is undoubtedly proof that Kazakh people trust’s in the system with their interest in politics, the awareness of democracy increased and democracy in the country strengthened.

Kazakhstan is a country to come into prominence  with the modernization and democratization processes as well as the developmental process. It is clear that thanks to the wisdom and experience of the Founding Head of State Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev who is taking the right decisions by following the political situation both in Asia and in the world and the implications of the President Mr. Kasım Cömert Tokayev, Kazakhstan’s future policies will be stronger and healthier. Especially, it can be said that democratization stages in Kazakhstan in parallel with the people’s desire of the decision making process. This situation shows that there are strong connection between administrators and the public.

Kazakh people that establish strong lines with the world aware that main source of their wisdom comes from the great steppes of Kazakhstan. For this reason, including of the people who in the rural areas in the decision making process can be read as a reference to historical roots and wisdom. This process is the strongest indicator of Kazakh administrator’s trust to themselves, public and their histories.

The policy followed by Kazakhstan is one of the most outstanding step that built social peace and stability. It is possible to say that these steps can be strength in the future processes. The statements of the President Mr. Tokayev reveals the missions adopted by the Kazakh administrators and in this context their determination. He said: “If we really want to improve the welfare of our citizens we must actively involve them in this work. All future political reforms should aim to more include society to governance.” Thus, President Mr. Tokayev gave the message about this process at the Address to the Nation titled “Kazakhstan in the Face of a New Reality: Time for Action” held on September 1, 2020.

Based on the various speeches of the Founding President of Kazakhstan Mr. President Nazarbayev and the President Mr. Cömert Tokayev, it is seen that they try to carry out the modernization and democratization processes of Kazakhstan in the most correct way and try to built a strong society-state structure.

While countries are becoming authoritarian in the face of the problems in the world; Relying on the wisdom of the Great Steppes, President Mr. Kasım Cömert Tokayev shares his powers with the politicians elected by the will of the people within the framework of the experiences of the Founding President, Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev.. This situation shows that not only implement strong relations with the regional and global actors but also cares about the welfare and interest of its people It shows that carries out a balanced-well, strong center-periphery policy on a country, regional and global basis.. “Akin Elections” has been an indicator of its.

Prof. Dr. Mehmet Seyfettin EROL
Prof. Dr. Mehmet Seyfettin EROL
Born in 1969, Dörtyol-Hatay, Prof. Dr. Mehmet Seyfettin Erol graduated from Boğaziçi University (BU), Department of Political Science and International Relations in 1993. After completing his master's degree at BU in 1995, Erol was accepted to the PhD program at BU in the same year. After completing his PhD at Ankara University in 2005, Erol became an associate professor in the field of “International Relations” in 2009 and a professor in 2014. Erol worked at the Eurasian Center for Strategic Studies (ASAM) between 2000 and 2006 and and served as the General Coordinator of ASAM for a period. In 2009, he served as also Founding Chairman and Board Member of the Institute for Strategic Thinking (SDE). He is also the Founding President of the Center for International Strategy and Security Studies (USGAM) and the President of the International Relations Institute of the New Türkiye Strategic Research Center (YTSAM). Prof. Erol has also served as the Director of Gazi University Strategic Research Center (GAZISAM). In 2007, Prof. Erol received the “Turkish World Service Award” from the Writers and Artists Foundation of the Turkic World (TÜRKSAV), and has received numerous awards for his academic work and his activities in the media. Some of them can be listed as follows: 2013 “Print Media of the Year Award” by the Association of Contemporary Democrats, 2015 “APM 10th Year Service Award”, “2015 Press-Intellectual of the Year Award” by the Writers' Union of Türkiye (YTB), “2016 Volunteer Ambassadors Media Honor Award” by the Anatolian Village Guards and Martyrs' Families, “2016 Türkiye Honor Award” by the Yoruk Turkmen Federations. Prof. Erol has 15 book studies. The names of some of them are as follows: “The United States of Turks from Dream to Reality”, “Türkiye-EU Relations: Foreign Policy and Internal Structure Problems”, “The New Great Game in Eurasia”, “The Search for Strategy in Turkish Foreign Policy”, “The Search for Security in Turkish Foreign Policy”, “The Republic of Türkiye-Russian Federation Relations”, “The Cold Organization of Hot Peace: The New NATO”, “Theoretical Approaches in Foreign Policy Analysis: The Case of Turkish Foreign Policy”, “Crises and Crisis Management: Actors and Case Studies”, “Kazakhstan” and “Current Issues in International Relations”. Since 2002, Prof. Erol, who has carried out radio programs such as “Eurasia Agenda”, “Strategic Perspective”, “Global Perspective”, “Analysis”, “File”, “News Desk”, “The Other Side of the Agenda” on TRT Türkiye's voice and TRT Radio 1 (Ankara Radio), made the programs “Arayış” on TRT INT television between 2004-2007, “Beyond the Border” on Kanal A television between 2007-2010 and “Foreign Policy Agenda” on BBN TÜRK television in 2020-2021. Prof. Erol, whose foreign policy column “Arayış” was published in Milli Gazete between 2012-2018, is consulted for his expertise in numerous national and international media outlets such as television, radio, newspapers, news websites and magazines. Prof. Erol, who also taught at Gazi University Department of International Relations and Ankara University Latin American Studies Center (LAMER) between 2006-2018, has been continuing his academic career as a faculty member at Ankara Hacı Bayram Veli University Department of International Relations since 2018. Since 2006, Prof. Erol has also taught in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Ufuk University. The main areas of interest and expertise of Prof. Erol and the titles of his courses at the undergraduate, master's and doctoral levels in this area are as follows: “Geopolitics”, “Security”, “Intelligence”, “Crisis Management”, “Current Issues in International Relations”, “Turkish Foreign Policy”, “Russian Foreign Policy”, “US Foreign Policy” and “Central Asia and South Asia”. Prof. Erol, whose articles-evaluations have been published in many journals and newspapers, has been editor of academic journals such as “Eurasia File”, “Strategic Analysis”, “Strategic Thinking”, “Gazi Regional Studies”, “The Journal of SSPS”, “Black Sea Studies”. He is currently in the editorial boards of “Regional Studies,” “International Crisis and Political Research,” “Gazi Academic View”, “Ege University Turkish World Surveys”, “Ankara International Social Sciences”, “Democracy Platform”. Prof. Erol, who has been working as the Founding President of the Ankara Center for Crisis and Political Studies (ANKASAM) since 2016, is married and has three children.