Istanbul, Turkey – After the end of the bipolar political system, the dissolution of the Soviet Union (USSR), and the emergence of new independent states in the Caucasus and Turkestan, Turkey was compelled to restructure its understanding of regional policy and began a new quest in its foreign policy. Turkey has been interacting with this transitional geography, and has a complex set of economic, political and cultural relations with neighboring regions. Turkey is trying to follow a proactive regional policy approach, and solving existing problems with a “One Nation Seven States” policy approach in Turkestan regional geopolitics.
Projectively, Turkey should focus on Turkestan regional policy in the Caucasus and Turkestan. In order to strengthen cultural, economic and political ties with the Turkestan region, Turkey’s foreign policy should engage with the necessary structural and institutional conditions must be established first.
While the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States (Turkic Council) is congratulating Azerbaijan’s heroic victory in Karabakh, Turkmenistan is cordially expected to become a member state of the Turkic Union soon. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the social, economic and political union of Turkic-speaking states has become one of the main issues on the agenda of regional geopolitics in Turkestan.
Turkey’s position on Turkestan countries in Soviet Union era was open in the bipolar political system. As a NATO member, Turkey has carefully maintained close economic and cultural ties with Soviet Union for decades, but soon after the USSR’s collapse, a new potential opportunity has arisen to revive and upgrade its economic, political and cultural dimensions with both Russia and Turkestan.
Thus, the historic dreams about the union of the Turkic people reappeared once again after the collapse of the socialist Soviet Union, and based the scientific concept of Logic, Thought and Action, the motto of “Unity in Language, Thought and Action” became the ideological driving force for future actions of the Turkic Union.
Contemporary philosophy and cognitive science increasingly acknowledge the systematic interrelation of language, thought and action. The principal function of language is to enable speakers to communicate their intentions to others, to respond flexibly in a social context and to act cooperatively in the real world.
The Turkic Union organization will contribute to the understanding of this dynamic process by clearly presenting and discussing the most important hypotheses, issues and theories in philosophical and logical study of language, thought and action.
Among the fundamental issues discussed are the rationality and freedom of agents, theoretical and practical reasoning, individual and collective attitudes and actions, the nature of cooperation and communication, the construction and conditions of adequacy of scientific theories.
In 1991, Turkey was the first country to recognize the independence of the Turkic States Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, and gave promise of political and economic guidance. Also, Turkey recognized the independence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) since establishment in 20 July 1974 – 15 November 1983.The seven Turkic states – Turkey, TRNC, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – should come together and join forces similar to the EU.
As a result, the first Summit of Turkish-speaking heads of state held in Ankara in 1992 was very promising. The progressive ideas objectives such as free movement of goods, people and capital, the establishment of joint ventures, the development bank, the integration of communication systems, and most importantly, the use of Turkey as a major transit hub in the delivery of export of hydrocarbons newly independent states were set a target for economic development.
However, these goals were not immediately met due to various setbacks and significantly the occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh by Armenian forces, the isolationist foreign policy of Turkmenistan, and the low-level relationship between Turkey and Uzbekistan.
However, cultural cooperation did not slow down in Turkic states. The founding of the International Organization of Turkish Culture (TURKSOY) in 1993 was a major step towards future political cooperation initiatives, although its mission was limited to the non-political ties of Turkic-speaking communities from around the world. However, a political and diplomatic presence was required to set the economic and geopolitical goals outlined in the Ankara Summit’s final declaration.
This process accelerated with the initiation of the October 3, 2009 Nakhchivan Agreement by the Turkic Council. The Turkic Union aims to construct the main features of regional economic, cultural and political institutions that contribute to and characterize the Turkic Union organization.
It covers three main themes: Systems of governance, the structure and functions of institutions; and the interdependence of regional politics and political institutions with the other subsystems in the structure and processes of globalization. Since its emergence, the Turkic Council has had high aspirations and has sought to address a wide range of issues, from infrastructure and logistics projects between member states to cooperation in business, education and sports.
For example, the Turkic Council, together with the International Turkic Academy, which is its education arm, prepares a common Turkic History Textbook for member states. The primary aim of the Turkic Council is to fulfill the great gap between the Turkic states created in previous centuries of colonialism and oppressive communist regimes. Now, the Turkic Council organization is on the verge of historical revival that can bring a new understanding of the relations between East and West.
Hungary, an EU member state, showed a strong interest in the Turkic Council mission. Hungary’s application to become an observer state, and Hungary’s declaration of respect to its Turkic roots culminated with the opening of the Turkic Council’s office in Budapest. The presence of an EU member state in the Turkic Council not only contributes to the enhancement of the Turkic Council’s image, it can also reassure other nations that share a common heritage with the Turkish states to join the organization.
Following the interest of Hungary as an observer country, Turkmenistan started to break the ice in their foreign policies towards Turkic countries. Turkmenistan gave a green light to the cooperation between the Turkic states with the declaration of the city of Mary as the “Cultural Capital” of the Turkic World by TURKSOY in 2015.
Obviously, the need for a new understanding and alternatives to East-West relations is the main driving force behind interest in the Turkic Council. Initiatives such as the New Silk Road, Belt and Road initiative or the potential future economic union of Turkish-speaking States could be a game change.
As the dissolution of the Soviet Union brought winds of change to the Turkestan region, now is the time for the Turkic Council to build a new reality in regional geopolitics and realize the dreams of unified Turkic cooperation in the name of common good, peace and prosperity in the world. Turkic Union is more confident about its economic-cultural -political-cooperation-seeking to establish regional geopolitics particularly among the Turkic nations and in the former Turkic countries of the Soviet Union.