Importance of Organization of Turkish States from the Perspective of Uzbekistan

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Samarkand hosted the Organization of Turkic States (OTS) Heads of State Summit on November 11, 2022, involving Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Hungary and Turkmenistan. On occasion of this summit, Uzbekistan took over term presidency of the organization from Turkey.

OTS is on the rise as an organization in line with pragmatic and dynamic cooperation reality of the 21st century. Regional organizations are increasingly replacing international organizations of a global nature. For this reason, many states have given weight to regional structures in recent years since regional platforms provide the most suitable ground for mutual cooperation between states. OTS also has this structure.

OTS has undergone a three-stage transformation since its establishment. First of these is Summits of Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States meetings, which started in 1992 and was the first step towards regional integration. The leaders, who came together nine times until 2009, opened the door to a new era with the Nakhchivan Agreement, which was signed on 3 October 2009 and enabled the establishment of the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States (Turkic Council). The period in question continued until the Istanbul Summit on November 12, 2021, when the Turkic Council changed its name to OTS. The Samarkand Summit, dated November 11, 2022, was of great importance as it was the first summit convened with new structure of OTS.

Currently OTS is an organization in which Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey and Uzbekistan operate as full members. In addition, Turkmenistan and Hungary are observer members of the OTS. With the Samarkand Summit, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus joined as an observer. These countries are home to approximately 173 million people, representing more than 2% of the world’s population. At the same time, member states account for more than 3% of their GDP, calculated according to purchasing power parity.

It can be said that OTS has multidimensional opportunities for cooperation. As a matter of fact, according to Article 2 of the Nakhchivan Treaty, objectives of the organization are to strengthen peace and security environment as well as political, economic, cultural, environmental and scientific cooperation. In addition, fields such as education, transportation and finance are also included in this cooperation.

TDT aims to create favorable conditions for mutual trade and investment, to simplify customs and transit procedures, and to develop cooperation in the fields of science, technology, education, health, culture, youth policies, sports, and tourism within the framework of the Turkic World Vision 2040 Document, which was adopted at the Istanbul Summit in 2021.

The Organization operates with six structures to achieve its objectives. These organizations are; International Organization of Turkic Culture (TÜRKSOY), Parliamentary Assembly of the Turkic Speaking Countries (TÜRKPA), International Turkic Academy, Turkic Culture and Heritage Foundation, Turkic Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Organization of Turkic States Delegation in Hungary.

Uzbekistan, which hosted the Samarkand Summit, became a member of the organization in 2019 and with this status, it participated in the Turkic Council Summit, which was held in Baku in 2019. As a matter of fact, OTS member countries are among the main economic partners of Uzbekistan. Therefore, OTS offers additional opportunities for the Tashkent administration to develop cooperation with these partners. As a matter of fact, economic impact of cooperation between OTS member states is clearly seen in the example of Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan traded 9.3 billion dollars with OTS member countries in 2021. This constitutes 22% of Uzbekistan’s foreign trade. When this figure is compared with the data for 2016, it can be concluded that Uzbekistan has tripled its trade with OTS countries.[1]

Uzbekistan exports textiles, electrical, automobile materials, horticultural and ferrous metal products to the markets of OTS countries. In doing so, the country imports metal products, aluminum, building materials, petroleum products and grains.[2]

In this context, it should be emphasized that the President of Uzbekistan, Mr. Shavkat Mirziyoyev, attaches importance to economic cooperation between member states. Mr. Mirziyoyev advocates establishing an economic cooperation strategy between Central Asian countries, eliminating trade barriers, expanding e-commerce and increasing the trade volume. Mr. Mirziyoyev also suggested the establishment of a “Commercial Cooperation Research Center” between the Turkic states in order to explore the potential in this matter and to develop constructive suggestions. As a matter of fact, the first meeting of Ministers of Agriculture of OTS countries was held in Tashkent, where it was decided to develop mutually beneficial relations, including promotion of scientific and technological innovation. In this context, an agreement has been reached to establish five boards under the Agricultural Technical Cooperation Working Group.

For Uzbekistan, the most important priority at OTS point is to increase economic relations and thus bilateral trade volume. This raises issues such as improving infrastructures and developing joint projects. In fact, Tashkent’s approach is also compatible with the Turkic World 2040 Vision. Because OTS envisions a prosperous region. At this point, it is very important to establish a “Joint Investment Fund” within the body of OTS at the Samarkand Summit. Such initiatives will enable countries to coordinate their efforts and increase the efficiency of investments.

At this point it should be noted that; between 2017-2021, OTS member states invested around 2.5 billion dollars in Uzbekistan. This corresponds to 10% of total foreign investment in the country. Moreover, investments made in the country by OTS states increased by 30% since 2017.[3]

Another important issue for Tashkent administration is digital transformation. Because nowadays, digitalization has become the highest development priority of almost every state. Therefore, this issue is of great importance for Uzbekistan in particular and for OTS in general. This issue has already been focused on within the scope of Turkic World Vision 2040. In this context, vision document foresees the establishment of digital connections and the improvement of telecommunication infrastructures. Especially considering that artificial intelligence is the forefront, it can be predicted that cooperation in technological fields will increase with both industry and urban infrastructure dimensions.

Strengthening cultural and human ties can be mentioned as another area of cooperation that Uzbekistan attaches importance to. Because historically, the peoples of OTS member states share the same roots. For this reason, the expansion of cultural and human ties is of particular importance for OTS countries. In particular, it seems possible to increase the cooperation between educational and scientific institutions through academic exchanges and common cultural interactions. For this reason, Tashkent will continue to support activities within the framework of Türksoy.

On the other hand, it should be noted that transportation sector is also important in terms of cooperation between OTS countries. As a matter of fact, this issue was also focused on the Samarkand Summit. Therefore, Uzbekistan values the development of relations in context of corridors. Because OTS countries have the means to connect Europe and Asia. In fact, Mr. Mirziyoyev emphasized that it functions as a bridge that provides the East-West and North-South connectivity of the Turkish peoples.[4] At the same time, Mr. Mirziyoyev drew attention to need for development of Middle Corridor, which starts from China, stretches through the Caspian Sea to Caucasus and then to Europe.[5]

As a result, OTS is a regional organization with a high potential that brings together the peoples of the Turkic World. For this reason, it is becoming an increasingly attractive structure. Therefore, all member states, especially Uzbekistan, are in a desire to develop and deepen their OTS-based cooperation processes.

[1] “Экономика решает все, или зачем Узбекистану нужна Организация тюркских государств. Мнение эксперта”, Podrobno.Uz,, (Date of Accession: 11.11.2022).

[2] “Экономика решает все, или зачем Узбекистану нужна Организация тюркских государств. Мнение эксперта”, Podrobno.Uz,, (Date of Accession: 11.11.2022).

[3] “Эксперты объяснили, зачем Узбекистану Организация тюркских государств”,,, (Date of Accession: 11.11.2022).

[4] “Экономика решает все, или зачем Узбекистану нужна Организация тюркских государств. Мнение эксперта”, Podrobno.Uz,, (Date of Accession: 11.11.2022).

[5] “Мирзиёев: Узбекистан призывает партнеров по ОТГ совместно решать актуальные проблемы”, TASS,, (Date of Accession: 11.11.2022).

Aidana BAKTYBEK KYZY, 1999 yılında Bişkek'te doğmuştur. BAKTYBEK KYZY, 2022yılında Sakarya Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü'nden mezun olmuştur. Halihazırda yüksek lisans eğitimini Ankara Hacı Bayram Veli Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü'nde devam ettirmektedir.