On 24 October 2021, Mr. Shavkat Mirziyoyev, a candidate from the Liberal Democratic Party in the general elections held in Uzbekistan, in which 16,212,343 voters cast ballots, was elected President of “New Uzbekistan” with 80.1% of the vote as expected. In this election, the Uzbek people once again elected not only Mr. Mirziyoyev, but also the New Uzbekistan Movement and said to keep going. But does this result count as a surprise? Of course not!
President Mirziyoyev’s successful actions, visionary aspect, ongoing projects, the role he played in the peace and stability of the region during the 2017-2021 period, which came to the fore in domestic and foreign policy, obliged him to take such a task as the leader, even if he did not want it, and the Uzbek people did it through democratic means. He expressed it once again at the ballot box and said, “Continue your duty”. Therefore, the re-election of Mr. Mirziyoyev is not a luxury but a necessity and a “duty” for the “New Uzbekistan” movement. And, of course, the confirmation of the success in the first period…
This necessity is clearly expressed by the Uzbek people, the countries of the region and the leading capitals of the world. Because the growing role and importance of Uzbekistan, which is the heartland of the region in the changing geopolitics of Eurasia, and in this context, the need for strong leaders respected by all parties in terms of the continuity of political-economic stability in the country, made Mr. Mirziyoyev a strong key leader not only for the Uzbek people, but also for all parties/actors.
Four Basic-Critical Issues Awaiting Mirziyoyev in His Second Term
The “Afghanistan Problem”, which came to the fore as one of the biggest threats in the 30th anniversary of the independence of the Central Asian states, undoubtedly seems to occupy the table of President Mr. Mirziyoyev in his second term.
Although the Taliban has no plans to attack another country at the moment, it is a reality that everyone agrees on that radical terrorist groups in Afghanistan are a threat not only to Uzbekistan but also to the region.
It is seen that the very wise policy pursued by Uzbekistan towards Afghanistan, both politically and through special services, continues successfully. As a matter of fact, Mr. Mirziyoyev draws attention to this issue by saying that we will continue to provide all necessary assistance to ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan. However, the deep economic crisis that Afghanistan is in and the cutting of foreign aid and the inability to receive new aid will return to Uzbekistan and the region as a problem after a while. At this point, it is inevitable that Tashkent will continue on its way by enriching its foreign policy, due to the fact that the concentrate of Uzbekistan’s foreign and security policy to a single structure will cause discomfort to other great power.
As a matter of fact, President Mirziyoyev had revealed the strong message that he will follow this policy in the “New Uzbekistan Strategy” announced at the congress of the Liberal Democratic Party, where he was nominated again for the presidential elections:
“We give priority to further developing our relations and expanding the geography of our foreign relations with our traditional partners such as Russia, China, USA, Turkey, India, Pakistan, Germany, France, England, South Korea, Japan, United Arab Emirates.”
When we look at the security investments of the countries around Afghanistan, it is obvious that Uzbekistan focuses on more specific points than these. No one has any doubts that it will make certain investments and keep certain collaborations more solid within the scope of border security and the fight against terrorism. Because, since 2016, President Mirziyoyev’s near abroad policy, which is primarily based on good and strong relations with its neighbours, has started to show its effect in the region and Uzbekistan has turned into a trusted and respected actor in the region with its peace-making diplomacy.
On the other hand, there are very rapid geopolitical developments in the region and in the world. In this context, it seems that the new process that started after the AUKUS agreement signed between the USA-England-Australia will not be limited to the Pacific or the Indo-Pacific region. In the next 2-3 years, AUKUS will have a deep reflection on the Central Asian region. However, I can say that President Mirziyoyev’s isolation from daily politics, successful visionary leadership and his successful visionary leadership who sees far will once again come to the fore as the insurance of security, peace and stability in Uzbekistan against AUKUS and other surprises.
The second critical issue here is economic policies.
It does not go unnoticed that a significant economic development and reform process has taken place in Uzbekistan, which has put people at the center under the leadership of President Mirziyoyev since 2016. In this regard, we can easily see from Turkey that the “New Uzbekistan” offer all kinds of political power and will to attract foreign investors to the country, and encourages foreign investors within the framework of a flexible visionary perspective.
In this context, I would like to underline another remarkable point. Recently, Termiz has been carrying out successful projects as a candidate city to become the capital of Uzbekistan in regards to economic development. Its closeness to the Afghan border naturally puts Termiz in an important geostrategic and geoeconomic position.
President Mirziyoyev will inevitably develop this policy also in his second term. The administration of Uzbekistan has the necessary energy and vision for the continuation of this policy. For that reason, the progressive movement of the economy and its positive reflection on the foreign policy of Uzbekistan will not suspicious under the new political period. We will witness the efforts of Uzbekistan to attract foreign investors in the new period and it may become the successful example of effective foreign policy for the other states in the region.
The third issue is the Silk Road
It is especially necessary to use the term Silk Road instead of “Belt-Road” because “Belt-Road” is the name of the project that associate with China and decrease the significant meaning of the Silk Road. Moreover, Belt-term monopolizes all transport routes in the region and decreases the importance of the ways. On the other hand, the Silk Road emphasizes the ancient role of this road for human civilization and embraces the whole region.
Uzbekistan may receive the maximal benefit from the Silk Road through the maximum extent, strong coordination with the states of the region. For that reason, integration and a strong strategy are the necessary tools. This issue is very essential nowadays. Without any doubt, Uzbekistan is one of the important pillars of the Silk Road together with Kyrgyzstan. Uzbekistan demonstrates the approach of cooperation and strengthens its relations with other countries in the region. It is necessary to underline that regional prosperity and stability will be successfully achieved by strong Uzbekistan. The activation of the Silk Road will significantly help to resolve the issue of unemployment and develop strategic development in the Central Asia.
The fourth issue facing President Mirziyoyev without doubt concerns the Turkish World
First of all, it is important to emphasize the following: the unity of the Turkish World, and in this regard, the Turkish Council is neither a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), nor a NATO, nor a Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), or nor the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). The Turkish Council, the strong spirit of the Turkish Union, is the harbinger of a new different unity. This new union appears as a structure that does not have a sharp border, but keeps the essence of the solidarity given in Karabakh, and includes political and economic independence, rather than an economic union with a certain process.
So, where is Uzbekistan in this process?
To answer this in medical terminology, as is known, the human heart is composed of four parts. Uzbekistan and Fergana are one of these four parts. Today, Fergana is known mainly from Central Asia. The whole world will learn about this region with the new Turkish unity.
Of course, modern agriculture, and most importantly, the high standards of this agriculture and the marketing of these products should not be very difficult for Uzbekistan. This undoubtedly requires political stability and a strong will. The biggest field where Uzbekistan’s economy can get rid of the pressure and push of some big states is in Ferghana. For instance, it is not to be surprised if we see products written “Made in Uzbekistan” or “Produced in Ferghana” when we go to Europe to Italy.
“The Spirit of Emir Timur” full support to “the 3. Renaissance Vision”
For all of this, the “New Uzbekistan Movement” needed to continue on its path steadily, to choose the right captain who could cross the ocean of crises and land their country and region safely in this storm.
The Uzbek people complete their mission on October 24 and once again said “yes” to President Mirziyoyev, who came to the forefront with his actions in domestic and foreign policy, successful reforms, crisis resolution, and major projects focused on employment-stability.
Knowing that the “New Uzbekistan Movement” and the leadership of President Mirziyoyev in this context are of great importance not only for Uzbekistan but also for the future of the powerful Turkic World, the great spirit who voted in these elections expressed their will for the “Great Turkic World” and they manifested at the ballot box.
I sincerely congratulate the Uzbek people for their choice in this place and wish success to President Şevket Mirziyoyev, one of the leading statesmen of the Turkish World, in his new term.