Caparov’s Visit to Turkey: What are the Reasons for Central Asian Countries to Strengthen Their Relations with Turkey?

President of Kyrgyzstan Sadir Caparov, who took office at the beginning of 2021, came to Turkey on 9 June 2021 on the purpose of an official visit. It is believed that this visit, which is planned to last until 11 June 2021, will be a new milestone in the development of bilateral relations between Ankara and Bishkek. The economic problems in Kyrgyzstan, the increasing tension on the Tajikistan border in the last month and the search for multifaceted foreign policy make Caparov’s visit significant.

At the 5th Meeting of the Kyrgyzstan-Turkey Strategic Cooperation High Council held on the first day of the visit, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Caparov discussed bilateral and multifaceted cooperation as well as current interaction issues within the framework of the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking states (Turkic Council). In the meeting held to strengthen ties between the two countries, the state leaders; not only evaluated increasing commercial, cultural and humanitarian cooperation topics, but also evaluated the interaction in the fields of economy, energy, education, health, defence, transportation and investment. In this context, “Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Plant Protection and Plant Quarantine”, “Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Field of Copyright and Related Rights”, “Agreement on Cultural Cooperation between the Government of the Republic of Turkey and the Council of Ministers of the Kyrgyz Republic”, “Agreement on the Establishment and Operation of Cultural Centers” , “Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Field of Youth between the Ministry of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Turkey and the Ministry of Culture, Information, Sports and Youth Policy of the Kyrgyz Republic”, “The Protocol on the Implementation of the Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Physical-fitness Exercises and Sports”, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic” as well as “Joint Declaration on the Results of the 5th Meeting of the High Level Strategic Cooperation Council between the Republic of Turkey and the Kyrgyz Republic” were signed .[1]

As can be seen, the two countries attach special importance to strengthening the economic relations between them. This is not surprising. Because Kyrgyzstan is looking for ways to establish promising economic relations with different countries of the world. Moreover, significant changes are taking place in Bishkek. At this stage, the mission of the Caparov administration is to implement policies that can promote the economy. In this context, Turkey is an essential partner in the development of international relations for Kyrgyzstan. Because Caparov occasionally expresses his moderate approach to Turkey. For example, in response to Erdogan’s congratulatory address, Caparov replied:

“I would like to especially emphasize my desire to maximize relations with Turkey. Because our foreign policy towards Turkey is continuous and stable. Turkey is not only a strategic partner of Kyrgyzstan; It is a brotherly country beyond its borders. By taking this opportunity, I would like to express my belief that the relations between our countries will develop and strengthen in every field.”

In addition, Caparov drew attention to the importance of expanding industrial cooperation, establishing joint ventures and business relations in various economic sectors during the visit of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu to Kyrgyzstan on March 10, 2021.

Emphasizing significant projects that meet the economic potential of Kyrgyzstan and Turkey should be realized, Caparov said that the parties should make every effort to increase their joint trade turnover to 1 billion dollars. In this context, the Bishkek administration has assuranced to take all necessary measures to ensure the legal and physical security of Turkish investments in Kyrgyzstan.

Diplomatic relations between the parties were established on 24 December 1991. In April 1992, the Turkish Embassy was opened in Bishkek and in October of the same year, the Kyrgyzstan Embassy was opened in Ankara. Looking at the historical development of relations between Kyrgyzstan and Turkey, it is possible to state that diplomatic relations between the two states have reached a high level in the last 30 years.

Since Kyrgyzstan gained its independence, values such as common history, culture, language and religion have come to the fore in relations. This creates the opportunity to develop close cooperation in the political, commercial, economic, cultural and humanitarian fields. The fundamental documents reflecting the content and spirit of the relations between the two countries are as follows:

  • Treaty on Eternal Friendship and Cooperation between the Kyrgyz Republic and the Republic of Turkey of October 24, 1997
  • Joint Declaration of the Heads of the two countries “Kyrgyzstan and Turkey together in the XXI century”, made on July 1, 1999
  • The Statement on the establishment of the Supreme Council for Strategic Cooperation between Kyrgyzstan and Turkey dated 2011

In short, the cooperation between Kyrgyzstan and Turkey plays strategic role. Because of this reason, relations have been developing dynamically. Caparov’s visit to Turkey and the signed agreements will contribute to the deepening of relations between the two countries. Deepening of relations does not only provide advantages to the two countries; It also provides advantages for all Turkish states and especially Central Asian countries. In this sense, the aforementioned visit also contributes to the initiatives on the integration of the Turkish World.

Recently, the steps taken towards the integration of the Turkish World are gaining momentum. Ankara announced in 2019 that it considers relations with Central Asian countries as a priority within the scope of the “Asia Anew”. This is accompanied by unprecedented diplomatic activities and huge investments. It is possible to give examples of this situation both from the large projects implemented by the leading Turkish companies in the field of real estate and infrastructure, and from the activities of thousands of small Turkish companies operating in various sectors of the economy. Just because of this, the volume of Turkey’s trade with the countries of the region reached 8.5 billion dollars in 2019.

One of the factors pushing the Turkish World to close cooperation is energy security. After the Second Karabakh War, the establishment of a direct land connection between Turkey and the Turkish World via Nakhchivan opened the door to the establishment of significant energy, transportation and trade corridors.

As a result, the rise of the Turkish World has become clear advancement. Increasing cooperation and solidarity among the countries of the region encourages this rise. Besides Turkey and Kyrgyzstan; Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Hungary stand out as the most substantial factors of this process. It can be said that Caparov’s visit to Turkey and Erdogan’s sincere approach will accelerate the developments in the aforementioned process. This will contribute positively to the rise of both the Turkish World and Asia in global politics. This contribution will serve regional peace as well as increasing the importance of the Turkish World, which is a bridge between east and west.


[1] “Cumhurbaşkanı Erdoğan: Omuz Omuza Vererek FETÖ Tehdidinin Üstesinden Geleceğiz”, TRT Haber, https://www.trthaber.com/haber/gundem/cumhurbaskani-erdogan-omuz-omuza-vererek-feto-tehdidinin-ustesinden-gelecegiz-587410.html, (Erişim Tarihi: 10.06.2021).

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