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Strong Cooperation in Rising Asia: Caparov’s Visit to Turkey

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Due to the protests that started on October 5-6, 2020, Sadir Caparov won the early elections held on January 10, 2021 with 79% of the votes and was elected President of Kyrgyzstan. The referendum that took place on April 11, 2021 enabled Caparov to increase his political authority and the Presidential System was adopted.

It can be argued that a stable environment has emerged in the country with the effect of the transformation. Believing in the necessity of implementing an effective foreign policy in order to ensure the stability and social welfare of Kyrgyzstan, Caparov implements an understanding of Politics that considers the balance between major actors based on versatility, attaches importance to cooperation in Central Asia, and takes care to preserve its relations with the West.

As a reflection of the aforementioned approach, Caparov will visit Turkey on 9-11 June 2021. It can be said that the meeting to be held between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Caparov will open the door to a new era in the relations between the two countries. Cooperation to be developed after the contraction of the national economies, especially during the epidemic process, will increase the rapprochement between the parties

One of the primary goals in Ankara-Bishkek relations is to increase the trade volume to 1 billion dollars. In this context, Kyrgyzstan is ready to exempt products such as technological equipment and raw materials from taxes. It is also known that Turkish investments in Kyrgyzstan are close to 1 billion dollars. In the meetings to be held, political, commercial, technological, scientific, cultural and humanitarian issues will be discussed and various agreements will probably be signed.

On the other hand, the Turkic Council-centered relations and current issues will also be discussed between the leaders. It is known that Turkey encourages cooperation between the countries of the region. In this sense, the mission undertaken by the Turkic Council after the Erdogan-Caparov meeting in order to expand regional integration will also increase in importance. Because, speaking at the Turkic Council Informal Summit held in March 2021, Caparov announced that they support the change of the name of the Turkic Council to the Organization of Turkic States.

The agreements that are foreseen to be signed will not only lead to the development and deepening of the relations between the two countries, but also will encourage the rise of the Turkish World by increasing the interaction between the Turkish states celebrating the 30th anniversary of their independence and Turkey. The relations between the two countries have continued in a healthy way since the day Kyrgyzstan gained its independence. Caparov has given friendly messages to Turkey since he came to power. As a matter of fact, in a statement he made one day after his election as President, Caparov stated that they would strengthen their cooperation with Turkey and carry it to higher levels.

During the visit of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu to Bishkek on April 10, 2021, Caparov stated that joint companies can be established and cooperation can be made in many fields from industry to mining. Caparov, who also participated in the Eurasia Agenda Special Program of TRT Avaz on May 5, 2021, expressed his approach to Turkey and the Turkic World with the following words[i]:

 

The relationship between Turkey and Kyrgyzstan has been a fraternal relationship for a long time. Turkish people and Kyrgyz people know this very well. I believe that from now on, the relations between Kyrgyzstan and Turkey will rise to a higher level. We will revive these relationships. We have a thousand years of common history. For this reason, we will make efforts to shape relations with Turkey and other Turkish states in a fraternal manner”.

Caparov’s visit is not only in terms of bilateral relations; It also contains a great opportunity for Ankara’s “Asian Re-opening”. Because, in a period when the Asian continent is on the rise in global politics in terms of geopolitical, geostrategic and geoeconomic terms, Turkey reveals that it can be one of the most important actors in the continent with its policy.

Kyrgyzstan, which is one of the most important actors with which Turkey wants to develop its relations within the scope of the “Asia Re-Opening”, is geopolitically significant due to its proximity to Afghanistan, its border with China, its lands in the Fergana Valley and its proximity to Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. is of great importance. As a matter of fact, in today’s conditions where cooperation and competition between Russia and China are increasing, Kyrgyzstan comes to the fore as a valuable actor. Moreover, Kyrgyzstan’s attitude towards the solution of the problems in the Fergana Valley is important for the establishment of reconciliation and cooperation in Central Asia. Because a conflict involving Kyrgyzstan could destabilize the entire region and hinder the rise of Central Asian countries. On the other hand, Turkey is in a strategic position that will enable Central Asian countries to open up to the West via the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus. With this feature, the region can open the world and increase the welfare level of the people of the region.The Turkic Council can be instrumental in the realization of a “Turkish Corridor” that reaches Turkey from Central Asia by encouraging the resolution of the problems between the Turkic republics by the said states. In this process, besides Turkey, Kyrgyzstan also supports the increase in the effectiveness of the Turkic Council. In addition, the Bishkek administration also defends the idea of ​​establishing the Turkic World Investment Fund and states that the ties should be strengthened by building new railways between the Trans-Caspian International Transport Corridor as well as the Turkic Council member state.

As a result, although the existence of ties such as language, religion and culture between Turkey and Kyrgyzstan provides important advantages for the establishment of strong relations, it is essential to develop economic, political and military cooperation for the continuity of relations. It is obvious that the relations on the Ankara-Bishkek line gained a serious momentum with Caparov’s inauguration. For this reason, it can be argued that bilateral relations will develop further in the near future. Turkey, on the other hand, gives a message to both Kyrgyzstan and the countries of the region that they are not alone, thanks to its strong relations. In this context, thanks to the relations to be developed within the framework of the Turkic Council, the formation of an alternative pole may come to the fore in the world that has evolved into a multipolarity. As a matter of fact, while the discussions about the 21st century will be the “Asian Age”; The Turkish World can also become the shining star of the period by being positioned in accordance with the spirit of the time with the cooperation it will realize.

Undoubtedly, the contributions of the Turkic World and the founding leader of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, in the establishment of the Turkic Council, the support of the President of Uzbekistan, Şevket Mirziyoyev, the leader of the “New Uzbekistan Movement”, the support of the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev from the Caspian and Caucasus. The hand of friendship he extended to the Turkic World, the approach of the President of Turkmenistan, Kurbankulu Berdimuhammedov, who contributes to peace in the region and the world with his Permanent Neutrality Status, the determination of the President of Kyrgyzstan Sadir Caparov, who wants to build strong bridges from Bishkek to Turkey, the Turkish World from the heart of Europe The friendship of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who greets , and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s strategy of “Asian Re-opening”, encouragement of rapprochement and cooperation in the region have a very important place in this new process. The Turkish World is gaining more and more importance as a center of peace, stability and security between east and west


[i] “Kyrgyzstan President Sadir Caparov on TRT”, TRT Haber, https://www.trthaber.com/haber/gundem/kirgizistan-cumhurbaskani-sadir-caparov-trtde-578737.html, (Access Date: 07.06.2021).

Emrah KAYA
ANKASAM Dış Politika Uzmanı