Approaches of Central Asian Turkish States towards Russia-Ukraine War

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On February 21, 2022, Russia has officially recognized the independency of Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics, which are separationist groups in the southeast Ukraine. On February 24, 2022, the country has announced that they have started a “special military operation” towards Ukraine early in the morning. After those developments, the crisis escalated more. As a response to those actions, Western countries has declared that they will apply new sanctions towards Russia. In that period, when the tension increased, many countries has applied sanctions; while Central Asian Turkish States has expressed that they are defending the peaceful resolution of the conflict. Besides that, those countries did not express any support to the sides of the war. In that context, it should be highlighted that those countries have close connections with both Russia and Ukraine, based on common history. Therefore, those states believe that the problem should be solved by diplomatic means.

The first solid call for the mediation has brought by Kazakhstan. Thus, Kazakhstan has expressed that they are ready to host the negotiations to solve the crisis between Ukraine and Russia.

Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Mr. Mukhtar Tileuberdi has said in his speech of United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council in the following:[1]

“Both Russian and Ukrainian people are brothers of us. That’s why we are concerned. We are ready to help about using mediation services to be used.”

In that sense, it can be said that Kazakhstan has called to the international society and sides of the dispute, for solving the crisis with the diplomatic ways

Approach of Kazakhstan to the question has showed that in addition to the peaceful discourse, states are sensitive about the independence, sovereignty, and territorial unification. Because, Kazakhstan Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expressed before the call for mediation, that there is not an agenda of recognizing separationist structures of Donetsk and Luhansk. The most important reflection of this is the expressions of Mr. Tileuberdi about intervention of the military of Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) as a peacekeeping force:[2]

“You know that CSTO Charter limits the usage of military or peacekeeping forces. Those are only used in CSTO. Recently, Secretary General of CSTO has mentioned a possible appointing peacekeeping forces to Donetsk and Luhansk. As he said, this is a hypothetical question. Which means, it is impossible in practice. For a possible appointment United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) decision and duty are needed.”

About war between Russia and Ukraine, Tashkent also expressed the similar views. Thus, according to Mr. Sherzod Asadov, Press Secretary of the Presidency of Uzbekistan, all disputes should be resolved solely based on international law. The Tashkent administration also defends this. Adding that Uzbekistan has traditionally had friendly relations with both Russia and Ukraine, Mr. Asadov said, “We are interested in ensuring peace, stability, and sustainable development in our region. All disputes must be resolved within the framework of international law.”[3] made his comment.

Turkmenistan, which successfully combines her neutrality with her foreign policy, is in favor of developing peaceful, friendly, and mutually beneficial relations with the countries of the region and the world states. For this reason, the Ashgabat administration under the leadership of Mr. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov advocates the peaceful resolution of the conflict in accordance with international law.

As a result, it can be stated that the Turkish states and countries in Central Asia are in favor of a peaceful and diplomatic solution. At the same time, this approach also reflects the multi-vector foreign policy understanding of the regional states. Considering that the peoples of the region have historical and cultural ties with both sides of the war, it can be argued that the approach of the regional capitals is consistent and prudent.

[1] “Тлеуберди заявил, что Казахстан готов предоставить площадку для переговоров России и Украины”, Inform,, (Date of Accession: 02.03.2022).

[2] “Казахстан не может отправить миротворцев в Украину в рамках ОДКБ – Тлеуберди”, Zakon,, (Date of Accession: 01.03.2022).

[3] “«Узбекистан занимает взвешенную, нейтральную позицию» — пресс-секретарь президента”, Gazeta Ru,, (Date of Accession: 03.02.2022).

İlköğretim ve lise eğitimini Kırgızistan'da tamamlayan Perizat RISBEKKIZI, 2019 yılında Kırgızistan-Türkiye Manas Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü'nden mezun olmuştur. 2020 yılından itibaren yüksek lisans eğitimini Yurtdışı Türkler ve Akraba Topluluklar Başkanlığı (YTB) burslusu olarak Ankara Hacı Bayram Veli Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı'nda sürdürmektedir. Lisans döneminde İstanbul Ticaret Odası, Kırgızistan Din İşleri Devlet Komitesi'nde staj yapmıştır. İyi derecede Rusça ve İngilizce bilmektedir.