The protests that started in Kazakhstan in the first days of 2022 for economic reasons turned into acts of violence in a short time. In this process, there was a perception that Central Asian countries would be affected by the protests. In the emergency meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) on January 10, 2022 on the situations in Kazakhstan, President of Belarus Aleksander Lukashenko said, “The lessons that have been talked a lot about Kazakhstan should be learned, first of all, Uzbekistan. If these lessons are not learned, according to our information, they have already been set on Uzbekistan.” he said.
When Lukashenko’s speech is carefully examined, it can be said Lukashenko’s speech actually represents Moscow’s views. The target here is not originally Uzbekistan; in the context of Uzbekistan, the target is the geography of the Turkic World, Central Asia and, more generally, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Moscow is trying to build its hegemony in the geography of CIS again. Lukashenko has expressed this.
Under normal circumstances, Moscow wants to make countries dependent on itself with threatening discourses such as terrorism. In this context, it is possible to invite other states to cooperate closely with Russia through the call made to Uzbekistan on the occasion of the actions in Kazakhstan. However, there is one detail that has been forgotten at this point. Regional states, especially Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan; they want to protect their independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and unitary structures. Uzbekistan also states that it has the power to do this and that it does not need anyone. Because, there is a strong relation between the administration and the society or in other words; the center and the periphery in Uzbekistan. The solid stance of the Uzbek administration and people against threats is the strongest aspect of Tashkent. Undoubtedly, the Tashkent administration is aware of who made Lukashenko say these words.
President of Uzbekistan, Mr. Shavkat Mirziyoyev, said following statement about his country at the Security Council meeting on January 13, 2022:
“The other day, unfounded statements were made by a leader of one states that Uzbekistan should learn lessons from the events that took place in Kazakhstan. We are closely monitoring the situation in the region, all the security challenges and threats. We have all the necessary potential and power to adequately respond to any threat”
In this context, the image below gives an idea about the power and deterrent potential of Uzbekistan, which has the world’s 51st strongest army.
Figure 1: Uzbekistan Army in Numbers
Moreover, the Tashkent administration is taking important steps to increase its military capacity against threats. Knowing that the country’s stable development can take place in an environment of peace and tranquillity, the Tashkent administration implements a multi-dimensional policy within the framework of the use of new technologies, strengthening the air defense system, ensuring information security, training of military personnel and increasing morale.
In fact, Lukashenko’s speech showed the real intention of the Kremlin on the basis of the Organization of Turkish States. Especially the Spokesperson of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zaharova’s statement, “We expect that Turkish officials will continue to refrain from such ill-conceived reasoning out loud,”, draw attention. In addition, it is seen that Zakharova has taken an accusatory attitude with the statements “This tragic, complex, extraordinary situation for Kazakhstan required conjugation of efforts and definitely should not be considered as an opportunity to harm, to catch fish in troubled waters”. However, neither Turkey nor the Organization of Turkish States has not an aggressive and imperial approach as the Kremlin claims. Along with there is no such purpose, the Organization of Turkish States announced in the Turkish World 2040 Vision Strategic Document that it acts as a transparent organization with the aim of both strengthening the solidarity among member countries and developing relations with other actors.
Lukashenko’s speech dealt a major blow to the options discussed between Tashkent and Moscow until yesterday, including the option of observer membership to the CSTO. Considering at the statements made in Tashkent, it can be said that Uzbekistan has demonstrated its strength and determination to ensure its security.
Even though Uzbekistan has been independent for 30 years, it has been able to eliminate the security problems in its territory with its millennial history and state wisdom. Uzbekistan, which borders a country with security problems like Afghanistan, shows an effective struggle and a constructive policy against various threats today. This shows that Moscow and Minsk underestimate Tashkent. But the reality on the field is the opposite.
Shortly, Turkey and the Turkish World have started a long-term process within the framework of common interest and mutual respect. One of the most significant instruments of this process is the Organization of Turkish States. It is obvious that taking steps backward will not be taken because of Moscow’s reactions. The region also needs a peaceful integration process. The Organization of Turkish States has also set out in this context and it is no longer possible to talk about a return.
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