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A New Actor in Central Asia: Germany

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Central Asia, as the name suggests, is perceived only as a region in the center of Asia. However, its geographical position can be accepted as a center of a wider area. Therefore, in the 19th and 20th centuries, Britain was a rival against Tsarist Russia in terms of the “Big Game” as a European country in the region. In addition, the Theory of Territorial Dominance of Mackinder defines Asia, Europe and Africa as an island of the world. In that sense, the part including Central Asia is defined as “heartland.” Besides, island of the world could only be administrated by the power, who captures this region.

The various geopolitical importance of Central Asia is presented through different theories. At that point, it is the center of not only Asia, but also a wider geography. Today, there are significant findings and studies that suggest Central Asia is the center of Eurasia with Caucasus. Geopolitical importance of Central Asia is increasing thanks to globalization and multilateral foreign policy of the region’s states including Kazakhstan. Therefore, the value of the region, that is neighboring the powers such as Russia, China and India, and who has rich underground resources is increasing. In that context, many countries in the world desire to increase their relations with Central Asian countries.

Lately, Germany is the one of the countries that has attention to Central Asia. Germany, a country counted as one of the most developed countries in terms of economy, has become the third trade partner of Central Asia, following Russia and China. 8 billion euros of the 27-billion-euro trade volume of the European Union (EU) belong to Germany. 250 thousand of Germans living in Central Asia in that period is a significant detail here.[1] Since the Soviet Union has exiled Germans, gathered in the 1940s, to Central Asia.[2]

It is possible to say that there is continuing interest of Germany to the Central Asia even though the exiled Germans returned back to their countries. Because, in the latest period, it is crucial that Germany increased communication between the Central Asian states in different levels and in various issues.

Primarily, Mr. Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the President of Uzbekistan held a phone call with the President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier on August 29, 2022. The leaders discussed the short-term cooperation and long-term partnership. In addition to that, leader of Germany congratulate the independence of Uzbekistan and mentioned the issues of regional cooperation and peacemaking in Afghanistan. On the other hand, German corporations are opening new factories and the trade volume between the countries rapidly increasing.[3]

Another significant call has come from Tajikistan. Imomudin Sattarov, Ambassador of Tajikistan to Germany has attended to the online webinar “Environment Protection Technologies Focused on the Provision of Hydroelectric and Water”, to where Embassy of Dushanbe of Germany, Asian Development Bank (ADB), United States of America Agency of International Development (USAID), German Agency of Foreign Economic Affairs and various corporations also attended.

Sattorov has indicated that Tajikistan stands by the development of relations with Germany in terms of economics and investment. He clarified that strengthening cooperation in the areas of hydroelectric and renewable energy resources especially in terms of “green” economy and implementation of co-investment projects are promising areas.[4]

Germany has also increased connections with Kazakhstan. Mr. Qasim-Jomart Tokayev, the President of Kazakhstan has hosted an economic committee of Germany. The Kazakh leader has indicated that they are ready for deepening partnership in terms of energy, industry, agriculture, transport and logistics, education, science and education of technical human resources, and that they are ready for preparing appropriate environment for German investments.[5] In addition, Roman Sklyar, the First Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan has expressed that Kazakhstan can increase the export to Germany to 1 billion euros.[6]

On the other hand, on September 6, 2022, Kazakh-German Business Forum was held in Nur-Sultan. Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan has declared that they signed an agreement on moving of offices and employees of 40 German corporations to Kazakhstan.[7] This development shows that Kazakhstan transforms it geopolitical position into geoeconomic chance.

As a result, the relations of Germany and the Central Asian states are developing at multidimensional and various levels. There are many reasons for Germany’s inclination towards Central Asia. Primarily, Germany wishes to reach wider markets. Secondly, it turns to new alternatives for overcoming the negative effect of energy dependence on Russia. Third, Germany desires to increase its presence in Central Asia against Russia and China. It can be stated that the main reason for this policy is the desire to be a remaining global power. Finally, the presence of Germans in Central Asia forces Germany to be interested in this region. In this context, trying to be a new actor in Central Asia, Germany means a new economic partner for the states of the region.


[1] “Germany and Central Asia”, Federal Foreign Office, 2010, https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/blob/1496762/51488be16e2241241b09f76e156f5867/zentralasien-engl-data.pdf, (Date of Accession: 07.09.2022).

[2] Nate Schenkkan, “The Sad Story of Central Asia’s German Community May Be Ending”, The Atlantic, https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/11/the-sad-story-of-central-asias-german-community-may-be-ending/248137/, (Date of Accession: 07.09.2022).

[3] “O’zbekiston va Germaniya prezidentlari YeI doirasida muloqotni rivojlantirishni muhokama qildilar”, Gazeta.uz, https://www.gazeta.uz/oz/2022/08/29/germany/, (Date of Accession: 07.09.2022).

[4] “Participation of the Ambassador in the webinar titled “Environmental Protection Technologies with a focus on hydropower and water supply””, Embassy of the Republic of Tajikistan in the Federal Republic of Germany, https://mfa.tj/en/berlin/view/10882/participation-of-the-ambassador-in-the-webinar-titled-environmental-protection-technologies-with-a-focus-on-hydropower-and-water-supply, (Date of Accession: 07.09.2022).

[5] “Kazakh President receives German economic delegation”, Kazinform, https://www.inform.kz/en/kazakh-president-receives-german-economic-delegation_a3975409, (Date of Accession: 07.09.2022).

[6] “Kazakhstan could increase its exports to Germany to 1bn euros – Roman Sklyar”, Kazinform, https://www.inform.kz/en/kazakhstan-could-increase-its-exports-to-germany-to-1bn-euros-roman-sklyar_a3975503, (Date of Accession: 07.09.2022).

[7] Aida Haidar, “Kazakhstan to Welcome 44 Foreign Companies Relocating from Russia”, The Astana Times, https://astanatimes.com/2022/09/kazakhstan-to-welcome-44-foreign-companies-relocating-from-russia/, (Date of Accession: 07.09.2022).

Dr. Emrah KAYA
ANKASAM Dış Politika Uzmanı Dr. Emrah Kaya, Akdeniz Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nden mezundur. Yüksek lisans derecesini 2014 yılında Süleyman Demirel Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nde hazırladığı “Latin Amerika'da Sol Liderlerin Yükselişi ve Uluslararası Politikaya Etkisi: Venezuela-Bolivya Örneği” başlıklı teziyle almıştır. Kaya, doktora derecesini de 2022 yılında aynı üniversitede hazırladığı "Terörle Mücadelede Müzakere Yöntemi: ETA-FARC-LTTE-PKK" başlıklı teziyle elde etmiştir. İyi derecede İngilizce bilen Kaya'nın başlıca çalışma alanları; Orta Asya, Latin Amerika, terörizm ve barış süreçleridir.