On October 11, 2022, in the Ancient city of Uzbekistan, Samarkand, the 9th Summit of the Heads of State of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS) was held. The President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, the President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov, the President of Türkiye Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Former President of Turkmenistan and Head of the People’s Assembly of the National Council of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and the Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban joined to the summit hosted by the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
The summit, which took place under the theme “Towards Common Development and Prosperity”, is of great importance in terms of the decisions taken and the messages given by the leaders. In his article titled “Towards a Stronger, Integrated and United Turkic World” published on November 10, 2022, Secretary General of the OTS Baghdad Amreyev, whose term of office ended with the summit, put forward the integration efforts in the Turkic World in line with both the spirit of the Samarkand Summit and the vision of the organization. As a matter of fact, in his article, Amreyev made the following statements reflecting the vision of the organization:
“Promoting common cultural richness, values, principles, and interests is at the heart of Turkic cooperation. Turkic states should be united by these commonalities and learn and grow on them.”
As stated by Amreyev, the OTS, which demonstrates cooperation based on the promotion of common cultural richness, values, principles, and common interests, has clearly demonstrated that it is a peace-making actor in the region, which is wanted to be associated with instability, with the decisions it has made at the summit. As a center of regional cooperation, welfare, progress, and security, the OTS is rapidly rising and attracting the attention of the whole world.
In this regard, Mirziyoyev proposed to create a “New Zone of Economic Opportunities,” signaling that the states will deepen their approach that prioritizes mutual interests and thus operates on a “win-win” logic. This indicates that economic integration within the OTS will gain momentum.
In this context, Mirziyoyev emphasized that significant steps should be taken to make the Trans-Caspian International Corridor more operational, demonstrating that the OTS attaches importance not only to regional but also to global cooperation. This shows that the OTS is positioned as an actor that builds bridges of cooperation, not blocks. Therefore, taking into account the situation of the Northern Corridor, which is blocked due to the Russian-Ukrainian War, it can be stated that projects centered on the Trans-Caspian International Corridor, i.e. the Central Transport Corridor; thus, connecting China and Europe through the Central Asia-Caspian Sea-Caucasus route will gain weight.
In addition, Mirziyoyev emphasized the importance of the “Turkic Agricultural Forum” by drawing attention to the global food crisis. Moreover, he proposed to establish a comprehensive partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), as if demonstrating that the Turkic World is a constructive actor at the global level in the face of crises. This is a very important proposal as it reflects the constructive role of the OTS against global crises. It is possible to argue that through cooperation with FAO, Turkic states will make significant progress in agriculture.
Speaking at the Summit, Aliyev emphasized that the Turkic World covers a vast geography of more than 200 million people, has great economic potential, energy resources and transportation lines, and reminded the potential for cooperation within the OTS. In addition, Aliyev gave the message that the heart geography of the OTS is much wider than the borders of the member states by using the following statements:
“I think that it is time for our organization to give importance to the issues such as the protection of the rights, security, and national identity of our cognates living outside the OTS member countries and preventing their assimilation.”
Tokayev, on the other hand, made constructive proposals on the cultural dimension of integration, suggesting the creation of a unified education system among the Turkic states. In this context, Tokayev made the following statements:
“It is necessary to create a unified education system between the higher educational institutions of our countries. In order to enable our youth to learn Turkic languages and get acquainted with the history and culture of fraternal peoples, I propose to consider the issue of creating a unified network of universities of Turkic states in 2023.”
Japarov emphasized that Kyrgyzstan is an integral part of the Turkic World and recalled the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan Railway Project, referring to the Trans-Caspian International Corridor. In other words, Japarov reminded the importance of a cooperative perspective in regional, interregional and global trade. Therefore, the Kyrgyz leader stated that “Strength is in unity” made the following statement:
“In the current crisis conditions, our countries need to cooperate even more closely to expand trade relations within the framework of the organization and find new supply chains.”
In addition, at the summit, Kurbanyanchbek Ömüraliyev, Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan to Ankara, was elected Secretary General of the OTS, replacing Amreyev, whose term of office expired, and Shahin Mustafayev was appointed as the President of the International Turkic Academy, replacing Darkhan Kydyrali, whose term of office expired. On the other hand, considering that the OTS is in an effort to transform into a full-fledged international organization as of the Istanbul Summit held in 2021, the election of an experienced diplomat like Ömüraliyev to the post is of great importance. Because Ömüraliyev is an experienced diplomat who has served as Kyrgyzstan’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Türkiye, Israel, and Permanent Representative to the Commonwealth of Independent States. In fact, the signing of the “Protocol on Amendments to the Nakhchivan Treaty” in the context of the functioning mechanism of the OTS reflects the will to transform into a full-fledged international organization.
In his speech, Erdoğan drew attention to the global instabilities and problems in the context of the Ukraine War and emphasized the peacemaking role of the Turkic World. In addition, Erdoğan said, “It is important that we increase the visibility of our organization in the international arena,” referring to the steps taken by the OTS towards becoming a full-fledged international organization. In addition,Erdoğan drew attention to the need for a “Joint Investment Fund” in terms of developing economic integration. In fact, Erdogan’s proposal was accepted on the occasion of the Samarkand Declaration. The election of Amreyev as the chairman of this fund shows that Amreyev’s contributions to the integration of the Turkic World will continue. At this point, considering that the Council of Banking Associations of Turkic States was established on November 4, 2022, it is possible to state that economic integration will gain momentum.
On the other hand, the fact that OTS declared 2023 as the “Year of the Rise of Turkish Civilization”to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Republic of Türkiye is an event that should not be ignored and clearly reveals the spirit of solidarity among the states of the union. Similarly, another development reflecting the mentioned solidarity culture was the awarding of the “Supreme Order of the Turkic World” by the OTS to Erdogan for his constructive contributions to the integration processes of the Turkic World.
Berdimuhamedov, the Former President of Turkmenistan and the current Chairman of the People’s Commissariat of the National Council, who participated in the OTS with the status of an “Observer Member” at the Istanbul Summit in 2021, stated that the focus should be on the constructive dimensions of cooperation that prioritize mutual interests, and said the following:
“As part of our strategic mission, we contribute to increasing the opportunities of this organization in the fields of trade, energy, transport, environment, culture and humanitarian fields. I consider the transport and energy sectors of Turkmenistan as one of the priority aspects of the OTS.”
Moreover, during the summit, Berdimuhamedov, who served as Turkmenistan’s “OTS Aksakali”, was also presented with the “ Supreme Order of the Turkic World” for his services to the Turkic World.
Speaking on behalf of Hungary, another observer member, Orban stated that the Trans-Caspian Transport Corridor means the most rational road map in the context of the global energy crisis. In addition, Orban expressed the Budapest administration’s belief in OTS by saying, “Our country supports the work of OTS and will work for the successful implementation of the Turkish vision in the next decade.”
On the other hand, it should be noted that one of the most critical decisions taken at the summit was the approval of the observer membership of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Because this decision shows that after the Karabakh conflict, the Cyprus issue is also considered a common issue of the Turkic World. At the same time, the decision shows that OTS tends to expand and grow, and is considered by other actors in the form of an attraction center. Furthermore, the decision also heralds that there may be new developments regarding the recognition of the TRNC. In fact, TRNC President Ersin Tatar, who made a statement after the TRNC was accepted as an observer member of the OTS, said the following:
“Our state has gained this status as the TRNC with its constitutional name for the first time in an international organization. This element, which is a milestone that will pass to the pages of history, is an additional occasion of pride for us.”
In addition, when looking at the messages given at the summit, it is seen that the need to deepen cooperation on security issues such as terrorism, separatism, extremism, human and drug trafficking was also highlighted. Undoubtedly, this situation means that integration will also progress in the security dimension. This means that the OTS will take more initiative on issues related to regional security, especially the Afghan Problem, both because of its peacemaker role, which emphasizes mediation diplomacy, and because of its understanding of front-line diplomacy in the face of crises.
Based on all this information, if we need to refer to the final declaration of the Samarkand Summit, it can be said that the most important development is the adoption of the “2022-2026 OTS Strategy Document.” Thus, OTS has shaped the first roadmap for the 2040 Vision Document. In fact, the other elements reflected in the final declaration of the summit focus on two main issues. The first of these is to maintain the regional peace and security environment and to ensure stability. The second is the effort to intensify economic and energy-based cooperation.
First of all, if we look at the main recommendations put forward by the OTS in the context of regional security and peace searches, the most important point is that the OTS attaches importance to regional cooperation is to underline the importance given to the consultation meetings held between the Heads of State of Central Asia. Because this situation can be interpreted as an indication that the OTS also attaches great value to Tajikistan. In fact, the declaration emphasized the need to solve the border problems between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan by peaceful means. In other words, OTS wants a stable Central Asia.
Similarly, the declaration called for the mutual recognition of the problems between Azerbaijan and Armenia on the territories recognized by international law by the states. This is closely related to the special attention paid to the safety of corridors. Because a stable Turkish world needs a secure Caucasus where peace prevails.
One of the most important security problems of the region is the Afghan Problem. In Fact, in the Samarkand declaration, referring to the proposal of the President of Uzbekistan Mirziyoyev at the Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia, the establishment of a commission coordinated with the UN was called for the establishment of an inclusive government and it was stated that the initiative to establish a “High-Level International Afghanistan Negotiation Group” for this purpose was welcomed. Moreover, the OTS members reflected their will to cooperate in international organizations within the scope of the fight against separatism, extremism and terrorism in the text.
In the economic dimension, as well as in the speeches of the leaders, the importance of the Trans-Caspian International Corridor was highlighted. In addition, it would not be right to think of the “2023-2027 Energy Cooperation Program” adopted at the summit independently of the corridor. Therefore, it should be emphasized that the Trans-Caspian International Corridor is not only a transit corridor, it is also important as an energy corridor.
In addition, the declaration also drew attention to the importance of the agreement signed on the “Simplified Customs Corridor.” Therefore, it can be mentioned that there is a strong will on economic integration, which is one of the main goals of the summit. Moreover, the International Combined Freight Transport Agreement has revealed the will of the Turkic World, which focuses on corridors, to be the bridge that establishes the connection between Asia and Europe. In fact, satisfaction with the adoption of the “OTS Trade Facilitation Strategy” was reflected in the declaration and the desire to conclude the Trade Facilitation Agreement and the Digital Economic Partnership Agreement with the OTS Member States was emphasized.
As a result, the OTS Samarkand Summit hosted by Mirziyoyev revealed to the whole world that the integration processes of the Turkic World are gaining momentum. In this sense, the Turkic World is positioned as the peace making actor of the world, which wants to be dragged into chaos by instabilities and crises. In this context, the OTS member countries, which have demonstrated their will to strengthen the connection between Asia and Europe in the context of economic cooperation and corridors, have reflected their approach to the Samarkand Declaration, which sees dialogue as a guarantee of peace in the face of crises. It has been decided that the Summit of the Heads of State of the OTS in 2023 will be held in Kazakhstan. It is foreseeable that in the process leading up to this summit, the OTS countries will strengthen their relations with each other, their regions and the world and continue to take the concrete steps necessary for the organization to turn into a full-fledged international organization.
 Mehmet Seyfettin Erol, “Organization of Turkic States Samarkand Summit: “Towards Common Development and Prosperity” in the Turkish World”, ANKASAM, https://www.ankasam.org/organization-of-turkic-states-samarkand-summit-towards-common-development-and-prosperity-in-the-turkish-world/?lang=en, (Date of Accession: 11.11.2022).
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 “Address by President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev at the meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Organization of Turkic States”, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, https://president.uz/en/lists/view/5687, (Date of Accession: 11.11.2022).
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 “Türk Devletleri Teşkilatı (TDT) Devlet Başkanları, Kırgız Cumhuriyeti’nin Ankara Büyükelçisi Kubanıçbek Ömüraliyev’i Teşkilatın Yeni Genel Sekreteri Olarak Atadı.”, Türk Devletleri Teşkilatı, https://www.turkkon.org/tr/haberler/turk-devletleri-teskilati-tdt-devlet-baskanlari-kirgiz-cumhuriyetinin-ankara-buyukelcisi-kubanicbek-omuraliyevi-teskilatin-yeni-genel-sekreteri-olarak-atadi_2677, (Date of Accession: 11.11.2022).
 ““Türk Yatırım Fonu’nun En Kısa Sürede Hayata Geçmesi Yararlı Olacaktır””, Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Cumhurbaşkanlığı, https://www.tccb.gov.tr/haberler/410/141633/-turk-yatirim-fonu-nun-en-kisa-surede-hayata-gecmesi-yararli-olacaktir, (Date of Accession: 11.11.2022).
 Erol, op. cit.
 “OTS Declares 2023 as ‘Year of the Rise of Turkic Civilization’”, News.az, https://news.az/news/ots-declares-2023-as-year-of-the-rise-of-turkic-civilization, (Date of Accession: 11.11.2022).
 “Eski Türkmenistan Devlet Başkanı Berdimuhamedov, Türk Devletleri Teşkilatı Zirvesi’nde Konuştu”, TRT Avaz, https://www.trtavaz.com.tr/haber/tur/avrasyadan/eski-turkmenistan-devlet-baskani-berdimuhamedov-turk-devletleri-teskilati-zirve/636e170d01a30a0740130bbe, (Date of Accession: 11.11.2022).
 “Macaristan Başbakanı Orban, Türk Devletleri Teşkilatı 9. Zirvesi’nde Konuştu”, KonHaber, https://www.konhaber.com/guncel/macaristan_basbakani_orban_turk_devletleri_teskilati_9_zirvesi_nde_konustu-1871306h, (Date of Accession: 11.11.2022).
 “Ersin Tatar: KKTC’nin Türk Devletleri Teşkilatına “Gözlemci Üye” Kabul Edilmesi “Olumlu Gelişme”, Anadolu Ajansı, https://www.aa.com.tr/tr/dunya/ersin-tatar-kktcnin-turk-devletleri-teskilatina-gozlemci-uye-kabul-edilmesi-olumlu-gelisme/2735379, (Date of Accession: 11.11.2022).
 “Türk Devletleri Teşkilatı Dokuzuncu Zirvesi Semerkant Bildirisi”, Türk Devletleri Teşkilatı, https://www.turkkon.org/assets/pdf/haberler/semerkant-bildirisi-2679-164.pdf, (Date of Accession: 12.11.2022), s. 2.
 Ahmad Khan Dawlatyar, “The Approach of CICA Countries to the Afghan Issue”, ANKASAM, https://www.ankasam.org/the-approach-of-cica-countries-to-the-afghan-issue/?lang=en, (Date of Accession: 12.11.2022).
 “Türk Devletleri Teşkilatı Dokuzuncu…”, op. cit., s. 2-3.
 “Türk Devletleri Teşkilatı Dokuzuncu…”, op. cit., s. 5.
 “Türk Devletleri Teşkilatı Dokuzuncu Zirvesi Semerkant’ta Gerçekleştirildi.”, Türk Devletleri Teşkilatı, https://www.turkkon.org/tr/haberler/turk-devletleri-teskilati-dokuzuncu-zirvesi-semerkantta-gerceklestirildi_2678, (Date of Accession: 12.11.2022).
 “Türk Devletleri Teşkilatı Dokuzuncu…”, op. cit., s. 3-4.