Ankara, Turkey – The EU and Turkey are linked by a Customs Union agreement, which came into force on 31 December 1995. Turkey has been a candidate country to join the European Union since 1999, and is a member of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership.
NATO member Turkey ‘ s independent policy, increasing economic, political and technological power, leads to an influential voice in the global power system. In the 21st century, the Turkish world is experiencing a serious awakening period. Turkey-Azerbaijan relations is closely affects the entire Turkish world is no longer possible to determine the future of the world without the Turkish people. The future of the Turkish world is extremely bright.
Towards the end of 20th century , there was only one Turkish state, that is, Turkey, and more or less followed an independent policy, since the end of the century, 5 more states were added to the list of independent Turkish States, the TRNC (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus) and 7 independent Turkish Republics: Republic of Turkey, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan.
Turksish people live in autonomous republics of Russia: Bashkiria, Chuvashia, Tatarstan, Tuva, Yakutistan. Autonomous republics where Turks live in minority are Altay, Balkar, Dagestan, Khakasia, and Karachay. Autonomous regions where Turks live: Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Gagauzia, Karakalpakistan, and Nakhchivan.
20th century had some problems making the transition to the 21st century, which was understandable, Turkey for a long time was under the influence of the West and NATO, Azerbaijan and Central Asian Turkish States were dominated by the influence of Russia. This created some problems in the development of relationships in Turkish States.
From time to time these problems disappeared. In particular, for example, a strong strategic union began to occur in Turkey and Azerbaijan. In this sense, nationalist forces in the Turkic world began to come to the fore. That Turkey-Azerbaijan relations have entered a new phase , also it affects the Turkish state in Central Asia, as well as non-independent autonomous republics.
In this sense, one must significantly emphasize 40 million South Azerbaijani Turks in Iran. There is a serious awakening in Turkish world, although not the same as 30 years ago. In addition, nationalist forces in other Turkish-speaking regions are seriously emerging and have a good opportunity to express their views. All this gives reason to say that the future of the Turkish world is extremely bright.
Earlier Turkey and Azerbaijan and the Central Asian states has created an alliance partly involuntary, but now, especially after the establishment of the Turkish Council of this process has accelerated. Hungary’s participation in this process and Ukraine, North Macedonia and Pakistan’s desire to participate in this process is a very meaningful process.
The fact that Christian and Muslim Turks were able to unite around a national ideology showed that no religion or belief could separate Turkish peoples. The fact that Turkish Union’s emergence as a world power already exists, and this process, Turkey-Azerbaijan fraternity entered a different stage in the case. Undoubtedly, this will go down in history as an event that will change the destiny of not only the region but the whole world. And it will no longer be possible to determine the fate of the world without the Turkish peoples.
Turkic Council inaugurates office in Budapest
In September 2019, Turkey, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan attend inauguration ceremony. The Turkic Council inaugurated an office in Budapest in a ceremony attended by top diplomats from many Turkic nations.
Speaking at the ceremony, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said it is a proud occasion for the community of Turkic speaking nations.
“With in a decade of its establishment, the Turkic Council proved its importance as an effective international organization and this family is growing,” Cavusoglu said. He said fields such as economy, trade, customs, information technologies, logistics, diaspora and education bring together Turkic states.
Also speaking, Hungarian Foreign and Trade Minister Peter Szijjarto said his country has always worked for the cooperation of East and West. The Turkic Council was established in 2009 as an intergovernmental organization aiming to promote comprehensive cooperation among Turkic speaking states. Its four founding member states are Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey, but Hungary obtained an observer status in 2018. Cavusoglu also announced that Uzbekistan applied to the Turkic Council for membership and Turkmenistan expressed its intention to be an observer state.
Hungary to provide diplomatic status to Turkic Council
The Hungarian government introduced a bill to parliament to provide diplomatic status for the representative of the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States in Budapest.
This step was taken in consideration of the close historical and cultural bonds between Hungarian and Turkish people, the bill, which was brought by Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto to parliament. In September 2019, the Turkic Council opened a representative office in Budapest. Hungary joined the Turkic Council during the organization’s summit in Kyrgyzstan.
The Turkic Council was established in October 2009 by Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Uzbekistan finalized its accession to the organization during the 7th summit of the Turkic Council on October 15, 2019, in Baku. Hungary and Turkmenistan are observer states. The council aims to promote comprehensive cooperation among Turkic-speaking states.
The organization has various institutions in different fields, including the International Organization of Turkic Culture (TURKSOY) established in 1993, the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic Speaking Countries (TURKPA) established in 2008, the International Turkic Academy established in 2010, the Turkic Culture and Heritage Foundation whose founding document was signed in 2012 and the Turkic Business Council whose founding document was signed in 2011.
Turkic Council’s growing role in tackling crises of 2020
10 years after foundation, Turkic Council continues aim to ensure mutual support on global political scene. In 1991, the map of the world radically changed. The region once known as the Soviet Union became home to reborn free states. Five distinguished Turkic countries, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, gained their independence and started to integrate into the world. In this environment, Turkey became one of the main partners of post-Soviet Turkic countries. Besides being one of the first recognizing their independence, Ankara also took on the role of a bridge between the Western and Turkic worlds. The cooperation between the Turkic-speaking countries evolved on a slow but stable course crowned with the Nakhchivan Agreement on October 3, 2009, which laid the fundamentals of the Turkic Council.
Ten years after its foundation, which was celebrated at its seventh summit in Baku last year, the Council started to project its power in various areas. Originally founded by Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey, the Council extended its full membership to Uzbekistan and even welcomed Hungary, an EU member, to its ranks as an observer country. Thus, the geographic boundary of the Council is expanding together with the potential for greater cooperation among its member and observer states.
Based in Istanbul, the organization is taking a firm stance towards international developments concerning its members. Its developing structure emboldened with historical fraternal ties has let it boost its worldwide image by projecting the common voice of its members.
As an example, the Turkic Council supported Turkey’s rightful military operation, Operation Peace Spring, in northern Syria and condemned so-called “Armenian genocide” allegations against Turkey. On a larger scale, the Turkic Council weighs in on developments in its greater geography as well. It aims to build a strong harmony in the foreign policies of its members and ensure a higher level of mutual support on the global political scene.
The Turkic Council had also issued other joint statements and declarations on developments concerning Cyprus, Egypt and Ukraine in the past, highlighting its common stance towards regional issues affecting the interests of its members.
Azerbaijan’s term as chair of the organization was notable for its swift action, most notably for the call of the Extraordinary Online Summit on the COVID-19 pandemic on April 10, 2020, with the initiative of the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, to discuss the possibilities of cooperation between the member and Observer states which resulted in the adoption of the Baku Declaration, reflecting the will for solidarity and further action. The Turkic Council became the first international body responding to worldwide calls to fight against the pandemic that has held our planet captive.
The extraordinary Summit was a great success and resulted in the first practical solidarity — for example in medical equipment aid — in the region with the inclusion of Hungary. Furthermore, the Council conducted the first video-conference meetings of ministers of health and health coordination committee, as well as the Health Scientific Group and Supply Chain Group that brought together the relevant officials and scientists of the member and observer states on the pandemic and discussed cooperation, medical aid and the possibility of new opportunities during and after the global health crisis.
As a result of the extraordinary Summit, cooperation efforts among the Turkic Council countries gained new momentum also in the areas of transportation, economy, trade, customs and migration. Transport ministers agreed on coordinating the uninterrupted flow of food, medical products and humanitarian aid to maintain supply chains, including the launch of a “green corridor” – an international fast-track transport line for essential goods.
The greater purpose of the crisis meetings on the level of ministers and high-level officials was to coordinate the continuation of supply chains and trade between member states despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Raising the Council’s common voice to show the solidarity among its members was also vital against illegal activities in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. The Council released a common condemnation of the so-called “presidential and parliamentary elections” in the Armenian-occupied Nagorno-Karabakh of the Republic of Azerbaijan on March 31, 2020.
The Turkic Council reaffirmed once again its commitments to the norms and principles of international law and reiterated the importance of the early settlement of the Armenia-Azerbijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, based on sovereignty, territorial integrity and the inviolability of the internationally recognized borders of the Republic of Azerbaijan. In this context, the Secretary-General of the Turkic Council, Baghdad Amreyev, strongly condemned and criticized Armenia’s attack on the Azerbaijani border territory of Tovuz on July 12-14, 2020, a densely populated area that is home to civilians. He urged an immediate end to the fighting and called on the parties to de-escalate the situation and continue to seek ways to resolve the conflict peacefully on the basis of generally accepted principles and norms of international law and the related resolutions of the UN Security Council adopted in 1993. The clear stance of the Turkic Council on the Tovuz clashes showed that the organization was fast and constructive in responding to regional developments.
The unity in the decision-making process in the Turkic Council was held in high regard by President Ilham Aliyev as a great asset in one of his recent speeches. President Aliyev stated that despite the premier of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, seeking help from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) after the Tovuz clashes, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, members of both CSTO and Turkic Council, stood beside Azerbaijan. It showed that the potential of the Turkic Council and organic bonds based on shared values and culture between its members can be superior to the bonds between the members of the CSTO. Eventually, Azerbaijan liberated Karabakh from 30 year Armenian occupation during September 27, 2020 – November 10, 2020.
Therefore, the common declarations made by the Council hold strategic importance to understand the position of the member states in various strategic issues, such as security and political affairs.
These examples of responses to both security and public health threats in 2020 show the Turkic world’s joint approach to global crises and fast response to international calls. The increasing need for a united voice and regional solidarity to stand against the common threats strengthen the role of the Council as a major contributor to global peace and stability. Furthermore, the organization is preparing to increase its geographic scope and fully integrate post-Soviet Central Asian Turkic countries under its umbrella which can make it a “kingmaker” in regional politics. Also, as mentioned, the Turkic Council derives its main power from the organic bonds between its participating countries, which allow the organization to build values based on the shared history and mutual trust, rather than the purely political interests.
Turkish president congratulates Turkmenistan on 25th anniversary of its permanent neutrality via video message. Marking the 25th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s permanent neutrality, the Turkish president on Saturday reiterated wish for the Central Asian country to be included in the Turkic Council.
“We follow the active involvement of Turkmenistan both in cooperation among the Central Asian countries and the dialogue process they perform with states and international organizations outside the region. By this means, I would like to stress once again that we wish Turkmenistan is included in the Turkic Council as soon as possible,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a video message.
Erdogan said that Turkey was the first country to recognize the independence of Turkmenistan and also supported the UN resolutions in 1995 and 2015 to enable recognition of its neutrality. He stated that they closely follow the work carried out with the UN and other international organizations for the establishment of international peace, security and stability within the framework of Turkmenistan’s neutrality policy and are determined to continue their cooperation in this field.
Erdogan also stated that they were very pleased with Turkmenistan’s contribution to the establishment of lasting and sustainable peace in Afghanistan.
“The exemplary steps taken by Turkmenistan in the fields of transportation, energy, industry, trade, health, and environment in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals shed light not only on the future of Turkmenistan, but also on the future of the region,” he said.
Despite the economic difficulties caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the bilateral trade volume between the two countries increased by 18% in the first nine months of 2020 compared to the same period last year, the Turkish leader noted. He said that the two countries will hold meetings within the framework of existing cooperation mechanisms again when the pandemic alleviates.
Turkic Council stands with Turkey against US sanctions
Council’s deputy secretary general calls US decision to impose sanctions on Turkey ‘unfair’. The Turkic Council on Tuesday voice support for Turkey against the US sanctions. Gismat Gozalov, deputy secretary general of the council, said: “The US decision to impose unilateral sanctions on Turkey is unfair.”
“We stand with Turkey and support the proposal to address this issue in an objective, realistic and politically unbiased manner via dialogue and diplomacy,” he wrote on Twitter.
The US on Monday imposed sanctions on Turkey, a NATO ally, over its purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system. In April 2017, when its protracted efforts to buy an air defense system from the US proved fruitless, Turkey signed a contract with Russia to acquire the S-400 shield.
US officials have voiced opposition to their deployment, claiming they would be incompatible with NATO systems and would expose F-35 jets to possible Russian subterfuge. Turkey, however, stressed that the S-400 would not be integrated into NATO systems, and poses no threat to the alliance or its armaments. Turkey has also repeatedly proposed a working group to examine the technical compatibility issue.
The Turkic Council: a vision for the Turkish Union
The modern Turkic nations trace their origins back to historical Turkic peoples, states, and empires, which dominated the Central Eurasian landmass during the Middle Ages and early modern times. The apex of the Turkic dominance in Eurasia and Northern Africa was presumably the 16th century when the Ottoman, Safavid, Baburid, and Mamluk Empires, all led by Turkic dynasties, exerted power over various parts of the Old World. The Turkic peoples and states, however, were rarely united and continuously clashed with each other, in their Central Asian homeland and beyond. Ultimately, the Turks were subdued, their territories partitioned and incorporated into peripheral empires.
In 1991, five independent Turkic republics emerged in the heart of Eurasia after the downfall of the Soviet Union. Together with the already existing Republic of Turkey, there were now six sovereign states that were Turkic in nature.
Believing history had offered it a unique chance to assert itself in the region, Turkey under late President Turgut Özal moved swiftly to strengthen its ties with the new republics, primarily through investment and education initiatives. However, not only did the frequently repeated slogans of the time promoting “the Turkic world from the Adriatic to the Great Wall of China” or claiming that “the 21st century will be the century of Turks” annoy other international actors in the region, as one would expect, but they were also met with caution in the newly independent states.
In 1992, these leaders joined President Özal in Ankara for the First Summit of the Presidents of the Turkic Speaking States as early as 1992. This first summit was followed by nine more, but the only multilateral outcome of these meetings was summit declarations that consisted of mostly non-binding provisions. The newly emergent Turkic republics spent the first two decades of independence consolidating their sovereignty, showing little interest in committing themselves to any sort of multilateral cooperation or regional integration.
Yet in 2009, at the Ninth Summit of the Presidents of the Turkic Speaking States, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkey signed the Nakhchivan Agreement on the establishment of the Cooperation Council of the Turkic Speaking States, a permanent structure for Turkic collaboration. Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, the two remaining Turkic states, dropped out of the integration process along the way and chose not to join the Nakhchivan Agreement.
The overarching goal of the Turkic Council is to promote comprehensive cooperation among the member states, in the political, economic, and cultural spheres. To this end, the international organization also functions as an umbrella body for all other autonomous collaboration mechanisms like the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic Speaking Countries (TURKPA), International Organization of Turkic Culture (TURKSOY), and Turkic Academy.
Apart from honoring the common historical, linguistic and cultural heritage, each of the Turkic Council member states joined the alliance for hard-headed reasons. Most importantly, the underlying aim is to sustain and promote the members’ position as subjects rather than objects of the geopolitical relations in Eurasia in a unified effort.
Although the primary focus of the Turkish foreign policy under the President Erdogan’s government has been to (re)build ties with the immediate neighborhood, including the Middle East, Balkans, and Caucasus, strengthening relations with Turkic republics maintains a special importance on the list of priorities. The mood has changed from the 1990s as a more pragmatic and realistic modus operandi has supplanted romantic and excessively enthusiastic expectations of the first decade. Turkic republics and more generally Central Eurasia will always be one of the key directions of Turkish foreign policy as the country is keen to capitalize on the advantages of its geostrategic location, historical experiences, and cultural affinity with all relevant regions to the greatest extent possible.
The idea of establishing the Turkic Council is unanimously ascribed to Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Nazarbayev is also the only Head of State who has participated in all Turkic summits since 1992. This should come as no surprise since Kazakhstan, once the most Russified of the non-Slavic Soviet republics, has strived to strike a balance between different powers and geopolitical interests. Kazakhstan’s multi-vector foreign policy has been instrumental in serving the nation’s economic interests as well as avoiding significant tension with any country. The Turkic vector and particularly multilateral cooperation within the framework of the Turkic Council is, therefore, viewed as an important dimension diversifying Kazakhstan’s foreign policy “basket” and opening up additional room for maneuver.
President Nazarbayev’s talk on Turkic unity in the context of the Russia-led Eurasian project is a clear illustration of multi-vector diplomacy in action. One particular example of these “Turkic orations” that stirred up debate was Nazarbayev’s speech during his official visit to Turkey in October 2012 in which he maintained that “Kazakhs live in the motherland of all Turkic peoples” and that “after the regicide of the last Kazakh khan, Kazakhstan became a colony of the Russian Empire and subsequently the Soviet Union”. Another example was Nazarbayev’s proposal at the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in October 2013 to admit Turkey to the Customs Union in order “to cease speculations over Russia’s plans to rebuild the Soviet Union”.
The diversification incentive is also true for Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan. Turkey has become Azerbaijan’s major strategic partner, and strengthened ties with other Turkic republics are considered beneficial considering the country’s uneasy environment and its predicament over Nagorno-Karabakh. Cooperation in developing transport corridors and energy pipelines is another motive for Azerbaijan to develop relations across the Caspian Sea. Kazakhstan, on the other hand, has become a major strategic partner of the Kyrgyz Republic.
During the past decade, the young Turkic republics have solidified their independence and are now skilled, albeit to varying degrees, at the game of multi-vectoring. Thus the Turkic geography is different from what it was two decades ago with a multipolar configuration now in place, featuring relatively affluent Turkey, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan. This provides a better and more stable ground for coalescing.
Challenges also exist since the countries stretch across three crucial and unstable or potentially volatile regions: the Central Asia, the Caucasus, and the Middle East. They also rely on different security alliances: NATO in Turkey’s case and the CSTO and SCO for Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Complicating matters even more is the fact that Kazakhstan is a member of the Customs Union with Russia and Belarus while Turkey still aspires to becoming part of the EU.
In 1991, the vast swath of Central Eurasia was drastically reshaped by the reemergence of Turkic states. The establishment of the Turkic Council as a permanent broad-gauge cooperation mechanism among these states is, no doubt, the most important milestone of Turkic integration. Differing from the emotional sloganeering of pan-Turkists, this integration is being carried out in a coolheaded, pragmatic, and businesslike manner. Its architects have been at pains to persuade external powers the Turkic Council was not conceived as an alliance against third parties, but that countries which share so much in common should naturally desire to form a union of some sort and promote collective identity. This tendency constitutes the raison d’être of the Turkic Council.
Whether this alliance will evolve into a comprehensive union possessing significant geopolitical clout depends on a number of factors, most importantly on the strategic vision and political will of the national elites. The fact that the geostrategic context of Eurasia as well as the global tectonic shifts, including the rise of regionalization, call for strengthened bonds, cooperation, and coordination does not ensure that the right strategy and policies will be implemented. Turkic integration will have to be buttressed by sound intellectual groundwork, effective structures, and appropriately educated and motivated domestic and international bureaucracies.
The Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States (Turkic Council) was established in 2009 as an intergovernmental organization, with the overarching aim of promoting comprehensive cooperation among Turkic Speaking States. Its four founding member states are Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey. During the 7thSummit held in Baku in October 2019, Uzbekistan joined the Council as a full member. Hungary received observer status at the Turkic Council during its 6th Summit in Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyz Republic in September 2018.
The Turkic Council is committed to the purpose and principles of the Charter of the United Nations (UN) and other universally recognized principles and norms of international law, including sovereign equality, territorial integrity and inviolability of internationally recognized borders of states, as well as the maintenance of international peace, security and development of good-neighbourly and friendly relations.
Turkic Council is an organization dedicated to strengthening peace and stability, promoting wide-ranging cooperation and disclosing the potential for common development among its member states. Although it brings together a particular group of countries, the organization does not take an exclusive approach. On the contrary, by promoting deeper relations and solidarity amongst Turkic speaking countries, it aims to serve as a new regional instrument for advancing international cooperation in Eurasian continent, particularly in Central Asia and Caucasus.
Constructed on four main pillars of common history, common language, common identity and common culture, the Turkic Council does not limit itself to the confines of these commonalities. Rather, it aims to broaden the existing bilateral cooperation areas such as economy, science, education, transportation, customs, tourism and other various fields among the Member States into multilateral cooperation for the benefit of the region.
At the same time, the Turkic Council does not limit itself within the frames of its Member States and willingly cooperates with its neighbouring states in order to ensure peace and stability in its region particularly in the fields such as transport, customs and tourism.
The principal organs of the Turkic Council are the Council of Heads of State, the Council of Foreign Ministers, the Council of Elders, the Senior Officials Committee and the Secretariat. The activities of the organization are also supported by its related and affiliated organizations such as the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic Speaking Countries (TURKPA), the International Organization of Turkic Culture (TURKSOY), the Intenrational Turkic Academy, the Turkic Culture and Heritage Foundation, the Turkic Business Council, the Turkic University Union and the Turkic Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Since 2011, the Turkic Council convenes its annual summits under certain topics, where the Heads of State of the Turkic Council evaluate the past period and set goals for the next year.