Post-Soviet Turkic States’ Seeking for Cooperation

26.03.2024

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, five independent Turkic States were established. These countries, lacking in political, economic, and military aspects, aimed to form new alliances within the scope of regionalization and cooperation. Border conflicts and water sharing issues among the states in Central Asia, as well as instability factors, have directed these countries to form alliances with actors outside the region. The newly independent Turkic Republics of Central Asia have tried to adapt to the new order by maintaining their relationships with other former Soviet Union countries, including Russia, and by establishing relations with the United States (US) and European Union (EU) countries. However, these actors have not supported the development of policies that would help solve the problems of the Central Asian Turkic states. Within this context, the existing power asymmetry in alliances with states outside the region has led to a deepening of conflicts and instability, which in turn has increased external influence over the region.

Türkiye, not remaining indifferent to the newly formed international system, has developed cooperation policies in many areas towards these countries, with which it shares linguistic, historical, and cultural commonalities. Aiming to support the new republics in achieving full independence and in pursuing independent policies in economic and commercial areas, Türkiye organized the “Summit of Turkic Speaking Countries” on October 30, 1992.

From 1992 until the establishment of the Turkic Council in 2009, Türkiye, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan held ten summit meetings, referred to as the “Summit Process,” aimed at strengthening bilateral and multilateral relations among the Presidents of these states. In these meetings, the parties agreed on principles such as mutual respect for sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs, and discussed cooperation in various sectors including customs, free trade, telecommunications, transportation, natural resources, and energy. To effectively coordinate this process, several institutional structures were established, such as the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) and the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic Speaking Countries (TURKPA).

These institutions have served as a bridge for cooperation in culture, health, and education among the Turkic States. On October 3, 2009, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Türkiye signed the “Nakhchivan Agreement” for the establishment of the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking Countries, and the agreement officially entered into force on November 17, 2010. Accordingly, the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking Countries has become a supreme institution adopting the standards of international law.

In 2019, with the inclusion of Uzbekistan, the number of members of the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking Countries increased to five, with Hungary and Turkmenistan obtaining observer status. In 2021, at the Summit celebrating the 30th anniversary of the independence of the Turkic States, the organization’s name was changed to the “Organization of Turkic States (OTS).”

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