МОСКВА, 02 декабря 2021, Институт РУССТРАТ.
Last week, the eighth summit of the Turkic Council was held in Istanbul, during which the leaders of the Turkic world met. At the summit, the Turkic Council was renamed the Organisation of Turkic States. At Ankara’s request, important decisions were made that will change the balance in world diplomacy.
The summit on «Green technologies and smart cities in the digital age» was attended by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Zhaparov, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban and Secretary General of the Turkic Council Baghdad Amreyev.
The leaders of the Turkic Council countries adopted the «Vision of the Turkic World — 2040» and came to an agreement on the principle of the need not only for indigenous partnership, but also partnership in the vision of the future. An agreement was also reached on strategic cooperation with a foundation for the future in various areas where the Turkic states have common interests. To this end, it was decided to prepare a «Strategic roadmap of the Organisation of Turkic States for 2022-2026».
It is an indisputable fact that the Government of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), which carried out regime change, in recent years has increased the number of religious, cultural, ethnic, nationalist organisations in different countries, using state institutions and even some institutions operating outside the country.
In Central Asia, the Balkans and North Africa, there is an increase in the number of organisations positioning themselves as Turkic and Islamic unity, and in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Senegal, calling themselves Islamic religious unity. In addition, the EU countries reacted sharply to the oppressive control over Turks living in Europe for this purpose.
Organisations such as the Department of Religious Affairs, the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) and the Cultural Center named after Yunus Emre have been repeatedly characterised in the European press and academic studies as «the outstretched hand of the Erdogan regime around the world”.
At the 8th summit of the Turkic Council, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev handed over the presidency of the council to President Erdogan for the next period. Turkey will be the Chairman of the Turkic Council in the coming period. This means that another important channel for spreading the ideas of the Ankara regime has been established.
If Turkmenistan can be persuaded, an important step on the way to the Great Turan will be realised. Granting observer status to Tajikistan, whose language is not similar to Turkish, solves another problem in this chain. Visa cancellation at the next stage will allow Tajik citizens to travel to Turkey for work.
Final Declaration and Ankara’s progress in Northern Cyprus
After the summit, a final declaration consisting of 121 points was published. Noteworthy were the statements of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as well as some provisions regarding the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), noted in the final declaration.
The AKP government declared «the need to find a just, permanent, sustainable and mutually acceptable solution to the Cyprus problem based on the facts voiced on the island”, and also expressed «solidarity with the Turkish Cypriots in their desire to ensure fundamental and equal rights”.
Noting the need to include the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in the Turkic Council, Erdogan said: «We sincerely hope to see the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus among us in the near future, so that our family picture becomes even richer.»
The declaration supporting Kyrgyzstan’s efforts to find a peaceful solution to the situation on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border notes that dialogue between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan is welcome, and that both sides are required to take the necessary steps to strengthen mutual trust and prevent conflicts in the future.
The declaration notes the decision to develop cooperation in the fight against terrorism, extremism, separatism, racism, discrimination, xenophobia, Islamophobia and all forms of hate speech and coordinate efforts in this direction in the international arena.
The declaration also notes that the necessary measures have been taken to create favourable conditions for mutual trade and investment activities between the member countries, and the relevant authorities have been instructed to monitor the implementation of the decisions taken.
The document states that work has begun on the establishment of Turkish Trading Houses (TTE) in order to increase trade, export potential and investment between member and observer countries, and emphasises the importance of implementing the «Memorandum of understanding between the member states of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking Countries on the exchange of knowledge and experience between different economic zones”.
The declaration also notes that it was instructed to prepare the final version of the «Agreement on Combined International Cargo Transportation between the member states of the Organisation of Turkic States», which is an important step to facilitate transport operations along the international East-West transport corridor through the Caspian Sea.
The declaration expresses regret and serious concern about environmental disasters such as forest fires and floods that have occurred in Turkey and in the region, and notes that, at the suggestion of Turkey, it was instructed to start work on the creation of a disaster response unit in the Organisation of Turkic States called the «Civil Protection Mechanism of the Organisation of Turkic States» to conduct joint search and rescue and rehabilitation work in order to reduce the consequences of natural disasters and promote recovery.
Ankara seeks to create a new geopolitical environment in the region
Ankara’s efforts to expand its influence through the TÜRKSOY Council are directly related to Moscow. The strategic, cultural and military relations that Turkey tried to establish with the Central Asian countries after the collapse of the Soviet Union are the common interests of Moscow and Ankara.
As a member of NATO, Ankara uses its relations with Russia as a trump card against the West, and moves towards Central Asia — against Moscow. Receiving heavy weapons, S-400 and a large amount of energy from Russia, the flow of investments into Central Asia continues through Turkey. At the same time, if necessary, Ankara acts as a representative of NATO in Central Asia.
After signing the Shusha Declaration, Moscow understood Erdogan’s intentions even better. Ankara is trying to create a new political and geopolitical reality in the region. Erdogan claims not only economic, but also «spiritual and moral» leadership. In fact, his real goal is not to take care of the people living there, but to strengthen his presidential system.
An article published by the Turkish Ambassador to Washington in Defence One on October 17, 2021, contains an important idea that the Turkish military presence helps shift the balance of power in Greater Eurasia in favour of the transatlantic community and that Turkey and the United States have common interests. From this point of view, the purchase of Turkish drones and other military equipment by Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine no longer seems to be a simple commercial agreement.
Turkey has strengthened close relations with Kyrgyzstan. The rapprochement occurred during the conflict on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border. Turkey was one of the first to declare its readiness to provide assistance to Kyrgyzstan and supported Bishkek at the political and economic level.
During the visit of Kyrgyz President Sadyr Zhaparov to Ankara in June 2021, one of the main topics of negotiations with Erdogan was the issue of improving trade, economic and military cooperation. Small countries, such as Kyrgyzstan, are forced to agree to closer cooperation with Turkey. Ankara and especially Erdogan are very good at using this forced consent to their advantage.
In whatever direction Turkey forms its policy today, it refers to historical, religious, ethnic or racial ties. It forms its foreign policy by referring to racial ties with the states in which the Central Asian and Turkic communities live, to religious ties with neighbouring or distant Arab countries, to the common Ottoman history with the Balkan countries. Such links, among other things, display the mental map of those who determine Turkey’s foreign policy.
«Union of Islamic Countries»
Turkish politicians are guided by these assumptions in their perception and interpretation of the world. Through Islamic, racial-ethnic, nationalist, cultural, historical stereotypes, they are trying to create the appearance of Ankara as an expansionist actor striving to be an effective determining force in the region, and the successor of the «great and glorious» empire of the past. Such a distorted ideological approach distances Turkey from rationality. The experience of achievements in the field of foreign policy and security accumulated during the Republican era for decades is being wasted.
The AKP government constantly focuses on the new constitution and on 2023. Preparation began in 2010. However, this was hindered by events related to corruption and bribery that occurred at the end of 2013. Despite everything, Erdogan was able to recover by cooperating with deep structures. He severely punished those who put sticks in his wheels. And he continues his journey aimed at identifying a model that will unite the Islamic countries under one will. For this reason, in recent years, he has become more active in using the Department of Religious Affairs.
There is also the desire to recall the proposal of Adnan Tanriverdi, one of Erdogan’s main advisers and a member of the Security and Foreign Policy Council under the presidential administration, voiced by him at the congress of the Justice Defenders Strategic Studies Center (ASSAM), of which he is chairman of the board, to create a Union of Islamic countries with its constitution, form of government, military force, judicial system, capital, flag, language.
Michael Rubin, a researcher at the American Enterprise Institute and a former Pentagon official, assessed the consequences of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan for the Middle East during the Middle East Forum webinar.
Noting that he expects Turkey to create an alliance with Pakistan and cooperate with the Taliban, Rubin said that Pakistan in 1994 chose the Taliban as an «ambassador» and regarded the US’ withdrawal from Afghanistan as its victory. Noting that the US’ withdrawal from Afghanistan will have serious consequences in the Middle East, Rubin added: «Turkey in the 21st century will become what Saudi Arabia was in the 20th century in terms of Islamism and rejection.”