New Alliance Between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan

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On November 27, 2022, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan published the draft “Agreement on Allied Relations Between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan”, which is foreseen to be signed.[1] This agreement aims to expand and deepen the economic, commercial, and cultural relations between the two countries, especially security and defence. It can be said that in the draft agreement some articles which will determine the strategic dimension of Kazakhstan-Uzbekistan relations and the balance of power in the region come to the fore. Firstly, statements draw attention to article 2 of the draft agreement:

“In the opinion of one of the parties; in a situation like a threat of armed attack by third states, the parties will consult both on a bilateral basis and within the international organizations of which they are members, in order to take measures to assist the peaceful resolution of the issue.”

The article shows that when there is a situation like an armed attack threat for both Kazakhstan or Uzbekistan, parties will come and try to solve the problem to eliminate this threat. This article carries a mechanism which is envisaged joint action against external threats. Article 3 of the agreement is as follows:

“The parties guarantee not to take actions against the other party. Neither party will allow its territory and resources to be used for aggression or other hostile acts against the other party.

…Moreover, the parties will try to resolve regional disputes through peaceful means/negotiations based on universally recognized international legal norms, and above all to respect and ensure the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and inviolability of state borders.”

The main function of the article is to not allow the other party to use its territory against its neighbour in the face of a threat to one of the contracting states. Article 4 of the agreement is as follows:

“In order to further strengthen the Kazakh-Uzbek multilateral cooperation in the spirit of brotherhood and alliance, to increase strategic partnership and to develop alliance relations, Interstate High Council will be established, which will deal with important issues related to the common interests of the parties. And the Heads of State of the two states will be chaired that.”

And that article constitutes the active side of the alliance relationship. A High Council to be led by the Presidents of the two countries is established and thus alliance relations are placed on solid ground. According to this article, the parties will cooperate more closely on security and defence issues. Article 5 of the Agreement is as follows:

“The parties are in close cooperation in the fields of foreign policy, defence and security and will strengthen cooperation and interaction in the military-technical field to strengthen the defence capability of the two states.”

The article in question clearly states in which areas the actors will cooperate. It is envisaged to strengthen regional security through the implementation of this article. In Article 17 of the agreement, attention is drawn to the following:

“The parties cooperate closely in strengthening the environment of peace and harmony in the region, promoting mutual interests and ideas of regional rapprochement, and conducting mutually beneficial military cooperation to ensure peace and security in Central Asia.”

As can be understood, Article 17 emphasizes that the cooperation between the parties will serve regional stability by mostly referring to regional security. This means that the main priority of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan is the establishment of regional security.

It is seen that the Allied Agreement published by Kazakhstan is a draft and must be signed by the high-level officials of the two states for it to become a final international document. In this context, it is thought that the agreement will be signed during the visit of the President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to Uzbekistan.

The Allied Treaty is important not only for the foreign and security policies of the two countries but also for the security and stability of the Central Asian region. This will contribute to the consolidation of the strategic partnership between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. In fact, it can be said that the parties are preparing to increase this cooperation to the level of alliance on the draft agreement.

On the other hand, it should be noted that; there is no article in the Alliance Agreement stating that in the event of a military attack on one of the parties, this attack will be deemed to have been made against that party and it will be included in the war. In this respect, the document is quite important in terms of revealing the direction of the relations on the Astana-Tashkent line, although it is not considered an alliance agreement in the full sense.

It can be said that the alliance between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan will serve to balance security risks. Because the parties will act in solidarity in the face of possible threats. Especially Kazakhstan gives more importance to border security after the Tragic January Events. Therefore, the agreement will make the northern and southern borders of the country much safer.

In terms of Tashkent, the most critical regional security issue is the possibility of radicalization and terrorism spreading to Uzbekistan within the framework of Afghanistan-based developments. In other words, thanks to the alliance, Uzbekistan will be able to act together with Kazakhstan in the face of the Afghan Problem.

As a result, the cooperation of two of the most powerful states of Central Asia in the field of security will serve the development of regional stability. At the same time, this cooperation will carry a strong and deterrent message against external threats. In short, the countries of the region reveal that they do not want to be the playground of the geopolitical power struggle with the steps they take on the way of the alliance. Because both Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan reveal that they are actors that affect the international balance of power and play a decisive role in the building of regional peace.

[1] “О подписании Договора между Республикой Казахстан и Республикой Узбекистан о союзнических отношениях, Legalacts,, (Date of Accession: 28.11.2022).

Lisans öğrenimini Ankara Üniversitesi Siyasal Bilgiler Fakültesi Uluslararası İlişkiler bölümünde tamamlayan Dr. Sabir Askeroğlu, yüksek lisans derecesini Ankara Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı’nda almıştır. Doktora eğitimini İstanbul Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Siyaset Bilimi ve Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı’nda tamamlayan Dr. Askeroğlu, çeşitli düşünce kuruluşlarında görev yapmıştır. Başlıca ilgi alanları, Avrasya çalışmaları ve Rus dış politikası olan Dr. Askeroğlu, iyi derecede Rusça ve İngilizce bilmektedir.