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Extraordinary Summit of the Organization of Turkic States. New integration projects and support by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

photo: yenisafak.com
19 March 2023
Yuri SolozobovYuri Solozobov

Yuri Solozobov

Candidate of Science, Physics and Mathematics, Regional Programs Director of CISS

Pre-election backing

On 16 March, the extraordinary summit of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS) dedicated to managing natural calamities and humanitarian aid took place in Ankara. This extraordinary summit was initiated by Baku, and the participants besides the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan included Ilham Aliyev, the President of Azerbaijan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the President of Kazakhstan, Sadyr Japarov, the President of Kyrgyzstan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the President of Uzbekistan, as well as representatives of observer-countries: Ersin Tatar, the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Viktor Orban, the Prime-Minister of Hungary, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the ex-President and now the Chairman of the Peoples Council of Turkmenistan. The main objective was to demonstrate the example of solidarity of the Turkic states, their readiness to come together at the right moment to provide political support to Turkey. In his keynote speech President Erdogan emphasized that the extraordinary OTS summit was a compelling indicator of the unity and cohesion of the Turkic world. [1]

The Turkish leader thanked the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev for the initiative of holding the extraordinary OTS summit and expressed his appreciation to Uzbekistan currently presiding in the OTS for assigning the right of hosting the summit to Turkey. Recep Tayyip Erdogan reminded that the first summit of the Turkic states leaders also took place in Ankara 31 years ago. According to him, that was quite symbolic and highlighted the leading role of Turkey, who has been consistently promoting the unity and cooperation across the Turkic world during all these years. Mevlut Cavusoglu, the head of the Turkish diplomacy, a bit earlier declared at the session of the OTS Council of Foreign Affairs Ministers that such an organization has been a dream of the Turkic states for many years, and now it has come to life. According to Cavusoglu, «the unity of the Turkic states will allow them to manage the historical processes rather than just drift with the geopolitical currents». [2] All these statements by the Turkish politicians fix the new Ankaras claim to view the OTS not as loose ethnic and cultural association, but as full-fledged geopolitical project under the auspices of Turkey.

Erdogan made a focus on the Turkic states being the first ones to come to help Turkey after the ruinous February earthquakes. According to him, that tragedy took the lives of more than 49 thosand people, and 115 thousand peoples suffered in that or another way, while the total population of the disaster zone in Turkey makes 14 mln people. As per the Western banks, only direct economic losses of Turkey from the earthquakes make circa USD 20 bn, and the costs may grow even more. As of now, over 335 thousand buildings are damaged, and the Turkish authorities intend to build 650 thousand of new houses. It is clear that the OTS partners, where Turkey is dominating economically, will not be able to compensate for such substantial losses. They are providing symbolic support and participate in specific humanitarian actions. Thus, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the President of Kazakhstan, announced that his country was ready to build a social infrastructure facility in the disaster zone. The Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev proposed to make 6 February the Remembrance and Solidarity Day and promised to receive the elderly people from the disaster zone for recreation in his country. [3]

The support on behalf of the OTS country leaders to Recep Tayyip Erdogan shortly before the elections in May was much more meaningful. All the speakers at the Ankara summit emphasized that Turkey had become a truly powerful and influential state on the global arena. In their common opinion, the immense merit in this is personally of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the President. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov proposed to nominate Erdogan for the Nobel Peace Prize. [4] Eventually, the leaders of the OTS countries wished Recep Tayyip Erdogan all the success in the forthcoming election and called the fraternal people of Turkey to support him during the voting on 14 May. On the same day, the Turkish media informed that the ruling Justice and Development Party (the AK Party) decided to nominate Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a single candidate for the presidential race. The majority of regional analysts view the extraordinary OTS summit as an important element in Erdogans election campaign and an obvious presentation of his success in foreign policy based on Pan-Turkism. [5]

The new center of power

In addition to the election campaigning, President Erdogan used the OTS summit for non-public political consultations, as well as for promoting a series of new initiatives. Analysts pay special attention to establishing the first coordinated civil defence mechanism in the OTS framework. At the briefing dedicated to the outcomes of the summit, Erdogan informed about an important decision made in Ankara about raising the level of cooperation between the respective agencies of the member countries. The OTS leaders agreed that by October 2023 they would sign an agreement about establishing a single civil defense mechanism of the Organization, and that was reflected in the final communique. It is expected that this system will be launched at the 10th jubilee OTS summit scheduled for October 2023 in Kazakhstan city of Turkestan. [6]

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the President of Kazakhstan, announced at the summit that it was extremely important for the Turkic states to quickly respond to emergency situations and to enhance the interaction between the OTS Secretariat and the members. That is why the leader of Kazakhstan proposed to establish the joint forces for emergency situation within the Organization. According to him, such structure could be setup on the basis of the Center for Emergency Situations Response and Mitigation of the Natural Calamities Risks in Almaty. «You all know that the geopolitical and economic situation in the world is extremely complicated today. In such conditions, the strengthening of cooperation across the Turkic world is extremely important. By setting up such joint forces our Organization will demonstrate that it holds a decent position in the global arena. Our countries need to bring their political, economic and cultural interaction to the new level. This is one of the priorities of Kazakhstans foreign policy», Tokayev noted. [7]

Sadyr Japarov, the President of Kyrgyzstan, welcomed the Turkish initiative of creating the civil defence mechanism for the Turkic states in the sphere of emergency response. In connection with this, he noted that due to the recent tragic events in Turkey the need for developing the mechanism of collective warning and emergencies forecasting had become obvious. «In the conditions of rapidly changing world, our regional cooperation is becoming a more influential and effective tool for modern international relations», Japarov claimed. The President of Kyrgyzstan believes that the OTS can turn into an important international platform. [8] The host of the summit put a final full stop in the discussion. President Erdogan said: «We need to expand the capabilities of the Organization of Turkic States. While the structures not based on historical, cultural and humanitarian values are standing still, the OTS is turning into a new center of power». [9]

The analysts notice that Recep Tayyip Erdogan is constantly demonstrating one of the key skills of an experienced politician, and that is turning the crisis and even catastrophic situations to his own benefit. This is exactly what happened after the ruinous earthquake, which was skillfully used by the Turkish President for domestic political consolidation and promoting the Turkish interests on the international arena. Turkey has always been a special partner for the Central Asian countries, including in the sensitive military cooperation sphere. Ankara has long-lasting forms of influence in the region including joint ventures for manufacturing certain types of military equipment and supplies of modern weapons, as well as training military servicemen in the territory of Turkey. However, previously the project of creating the united army of the Turkic countries the army of the «Great Turan», also known as Timurid Empire was stumbling across certain formal restrictions. For example, Turkmenistan has an official status of a neutral state, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are members of the CSTO, and Azerbaijan lead the Non-Aligned Movement, the members of which cannot participate in any military blocks. Besides, Turkey itself is a member of NATO and cannot initiate a regional military alliance. The new civil defence mechanism of the Turkic states allows for by-passing all these barriers and effectively establish a single regional command under a specious excuse.

Turkic investment fund

Another important novelty of the extraordinary OTS summit was the decision to setup a Turkic Investment Fund. At the first stage, its authorized capital will be USD 500 mln; Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan will contribute equal shares of USD 100 mln. The headquarters of the Turkic Investment Fund will have a status of international finance organization and will be located in Istanbul for 20 years. The objective of the Fund will be to promote economic development by way of expanding regional trade and support of businesses. The initiative of creating the Turkic Investment Fund was proposed by Recep Tayyip Erdogan in November 2022 at the OTS summit in Samarkand. At the extraordinary summit the Turkish President pointed out the new outlook: «I am convinced that the Turkic Investment Fund with its center in Istanbul will contribute to the economic integration of the Turkic world». [10]

Regional experts call the Turkic Investment Fund agreement a real breakthrough. They believe it will be a regional IMF with the objective «to mobilize the economic potential of the OTS members in order to enhance their trade and economic cooperation». One of the most ardent advocates of the investment fund is the President of Uzbekistan, who often talks about the need to enhance trade and economic cooperation within the OTS. Earlier, Shavkat Mirziyoyev proposed to establish an annual International Turkic Economic Forum with active participation of the member countries and the observer countries, as well as the leading representatives of the world business community. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the President of Kazakhstan, proposed to create another OTS fund for venture initiatives with a special focus on digitalization, hi-tec and education. One of his earlier ideas was to establish the OTS Digitalization Center based on the Astana Hub international technology park, as well as to establish the «single educational space for the higher education institutions».

In Ankara President Erdogan expressed his confidence in the future strategic role of OTS countries not only in expanding transportation routes and supply chains, but also in the context of energy security. He used the examples of cooperation on Baku Tbilisi Ceyhan oil pipeline (BTC) and Trans Anadolu gas pipeline (TANAP). Ankara would like to enhance the cooperation along these lines to increase the volumes of the Caspian gas supplied via TANAP. Azerbaijan, Turkey and Turkmenistan have already signed the Memorandum on such cooperation. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the Chairman of the Peoples Council of Turkmenistan, announced at the Forum that Ashkhabad was ready to immediately review the issue of supplying its natural gas to Turkey. «If such a need emerges, we can also build a power transmission line in parallel with the gas pipeline», Berdimuhamedov added. The politician expressed his hope that Turkmenistan will soon access the OTS as a full-fledged member. [11]

International experts believe that one of the objective of the Turkic Investment Fund may be fundraising to build the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline and develop the infrastructure of the Medial Transportation Corridor. In general, western experts provide positive opinion of the Ankara summit as a sign of strengthening the Organization of Turkic States. In their opinion, the OTS has a number of competitive advantages: it creates a more cohesive in the regional and cultural sense block in Central Asia; it promotes the Medial Transportation Corridor for exporting goods and resources to the European Union via Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan and the Central Asian countries; it facilitates attraction of investment to the strategically important region of Central Asia. They especially emphasize that the USA are not viewing the Turkic states as their competitors in the European energy markets, because the EU needs more resources. At the same time, the United States have neutral attitude to the cooperation of the Turkic states in the sphere of security, but they believe that the economic and diplomatic interaction should prevail over the military cooperation. [12]

Interim results

The extraordinary OTS summit in Ankara should be recognized an obvious political success, mainly for Erdogan, especially with account of his ambition for successful re-election. In the beginning of the race the Turkish leader succeeded in soliciting the support of all the Turkic states leaders. This will be demonstrating the growing influence of Ankara and Erdogan personally on the global arena and the success of the Turkish foreign policy. Against the background of the catastrophic earthquake, the Turkic world showed an illustrative example of political solidarity and mutual assistance. This means a clear message to the Turkish voters about the successful foreign policy of Erdogan in spite of all the external and natural troubles.

Another important outcome of the extraordinary OTS summit was the obvious aspiration of Ankara to bring the political, economic and cultural interaction within the Organization to whole new orbit. At present, Turkey is consistently implementing its own integration project in the Caspian and Central Asian countries. As the analysts of the Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies noted earlier, «step-by-step Ankara is increasing the status and role of the OTS turning it from the harmless «house of Turkic culture» into a full-fledged economic and political block». [13] Two very important novelties introduced by the Ankara summit confirm that: creation of the OTS civil defence mechanism and formation of the Turkic Investment Fund.

The first initiative may result in establishing the common regional command for responding to emergencies and crises. The new civil defence mechanism of the Turkic states allows for by-passing all the existing restrictions (associated with the neutral status or non-alignment principles) under a pretext of the joint counteracting emergencies. In essence, a new pro-Turkish security structure may appear in the region similar to the pro-Russian CSTO and the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) in SCO. The second initiative of setting up the Turkic Investment Fund aspires to create something like a regional IMF. Its objective will be mobilizing the economic potential of the OTS member countries and implementation of the integration projects. Experts believe that one of the tasks of the Fund will be fundraising for new energy-associated projects, such as Trans-Caspian gas pipeline and for the Medial corridor infrastructure development. A rather small size of the Fund at the launching stage may be significantly increased by way of target investment and return of the previously exported capital by regional politicians and business communities.

There are all the grounds to believe that after the presidential race in Turkey and the victory of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ankara will be dramatically stepping up its political and economic activities in the historic territories of the Ottoman Empire, first of all in the OTS countries. In such conditions Russia needs to undertake determined efforts for affiliation with the Organization of the Turkic States, at first in the capacity of the observer country. It may be done at least on the grounds of the Russian Federation having huge Turkic territories as its constituent entities Tatarstan and Bashkortostan. Russias membership in the OTS is no less justified than the membership of Hungary, a Finno-Ugric country, or of the unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is currently under sanctions. Moreover, the OTS includes seven friendly countries, with which Moscow has successful relations in politics and economy. The resent research by The Economist shows that the OTS countries together with India and China are part of the 10 countries with the most favorable attitude towards Russia in the conditions of the Western sanctions. RFs participation in the OTS will positively affect the implementation of various infrastructural and energy-related projects in the Caspian Region and will allow for successful integration of the Medial Corridor and the North-South ITC. In general, pro-active work with the promising OTS format should become of the new strategic objectives of Russian foreign policy.

1. OTS summit in Ankara is an evidence of unity and cohesion of the Turkic world. Zircaloy.az, 16.03.2023. https://zerkalo.az/sammit-otg-v-ankare-pokazatel-edinstva-i-splochennosti-tyurkskogo-mira/

2. Cavusoglu: The strength of the Turkic states is their unity! Report Information Agency, 16.03.2023. https://report.az/ru/v-regione/chavushoglu-sila-tyurkoyazychnyh-gosudarstv-v-edinstve/

3. Mirziyoyev proposed to announce February 6 the Remembrance and Solidarity Day. Anadolu Agency, 16.03.2023. https://www.aa.com.tr/ru

4. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov proposed to nominate Erdogan for the Nobel Peace Prize. TASS, 17.03.2023. https://tass.ru/mezhdunarodnaya-panorama/17292875

5. Erdogan is using the Turkic alliance to assure his victory in the presidential race. Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 16.03.2023. https://www.ng.ru/cis/2023-03-16/5_8682_leaders.html

6. Erdogan announced the creation of the OTS civil defense mechanism. Minval.az, 16.03.2023. https://minval.az/news/124311669

7. Tokayev: The Turkic countries need to assure immediate response to the emergencies. Anadolu Agency, 16.03.2023. https://www.aa.com.tr/ru

8. Japarov: OTS may turn into an important international platform. Anadolu Agency, 16.03.2023. https://www.aa.com.tr/ru 

9. Erdogan acknowledged the OTS turning into a new center of power. Minval.az, 16.03.2023. https://minval.az/news/124311677

10. The OTS countries created the Turkic Investment Fund with the initial capital of USD 500 mln, The share of Uzbekistan is USD 100 mln. Gazeta.uz, 16.03.2023. https://www.gazeta.uz/ru/2023/03/17/fund/

11. Turkmenistan is ready to start the natural gas supplies to Turkey Berdimuhamedov. Orient.tm, 16.03.2023. https://orient.tm/ru/post/49124/turkmenistan-gotov-uzhe-segodnya-rassmotret-vopros-postavki-gaza-v-turciyu-berdymuhamedov

12. The Organization of the Turkic States has a number of advantages the American expert. KAZINFORM, 28.02.2023. https://www.inform.kz/ru/organizaciya-tyurkskih-gosudarstv-obladaet-ryadom-preimuschestv-amerikanskiy-ekspert_a4040463

13. Organization of the Turkic States: the integration horizons and the outlook for Russias participation. Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies, 16.11.2022. https://caspian.institute/product/direkciya-mezhdunarodnyh-programm-kisi/organizaciya-tyurkskih-gosudarstv-gorizonty-integracii-i-perspektivy-uchastiya-rossii-38371.shtml

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Extraordinary Summit of the Organization of Turkic States. New integration projects and support by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

photo: yenisafak.com
19 2023
Yuri Solozobov

Yuri Solozobov

Candidate of Science, Physics and Mathematics, Regional Programs Director of CISS

Pre-election backing

On 16 March, the extraordinary summit of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS) dedicated to managing natural calamities and humanitarian aid took place in Ankara. This extraordinary summit was initiated by Baku, and the participants besides the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan included Ilham Aliyev, the President of Azerbaijan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the President of Kazakhstan, Sadyr Japarov, the President of Kyrgyzstan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the President of Uzbekistan, as well as representatives of observer-countries: Ersin Tatar, the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Viktor Orban, the Prime-Minister of Hungary, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the ex-President and now the Chairman of the Peoples Council of Turkmenistan. The main objective was to demonstrate the example of solidarity of the Turkic states, their readiness to come together at the right moment to provide political support to Turkey. In his keynote speech President Erdogan emphasized that the extraordinary OTS summit was a compelling indicator of the unity and cohesion of the Turkic world. [1]

The Turkish leader thanked the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev for the initiative of holding the extraordinary OTS summit and expressed his appreciation to Uzbekistan currently presiding in the OTS for assigning the right of hosting the summit to Turkey. Recep Tayyip Erdogan reminded that the first summit of the Turkic states leaders also took place in Ankara 31 years ago. According to him, that was quite symbolic and highlighted the leading role of Turkey, who has been consistently promoting the unity and cooperation across the Turkic world during all these years. Mevlut Cavusoglu, the head of the Turkish diplomacy, a bit earlier declared at the session of the OTS Council of Foreign Affairs Ministers that such an organization has been a dream of the Turkic states for many years, and now it has come to life. According to Cavusoglu, «the unity of the Turkic states will allow them to manage the historical processes rather than just drift with the geopolitical currents». [2] All these statements by the Turkish politicians fix the new Ankaras claim to view the OTS not as loose ethnic and cultural association, but as full-fledged geopolitical project under the auspices of Turkey.

Erdogan made a focus on the Turkic states being the first ones to come to help Turkey after the ruinous February earthquakes. According to him, that tragedy took the lives of more than 49 thosand people, and 115 thousand peoples suffered in that or another way, while the total population of the disaster zone in Turkey makes 14 mln people. As per the Western banks, only direct economic losses of Turkey from the earthquakes make circa USD 20 bn, and the costs may grow even more. As of now, over 335 thousand buildings are damaged, and the Turkish authorities intend to build 650 thousand of new houses. It is clear that the OTS partners, where Turkey is dominating economically, will not be able to compensate for such substantial losses. They are providing symbolic support and participate in specific humanitarian actions. Thus, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the President of Kazakhstan, announced that his country was ready to build a social infrastructure facility in the disaster zone. The Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev proposed to make 6 February the Remembrance and Solidarity Day and promised to receive the elderly people from the disaster zone for recreation in his country. [3]

The support on behalf of the OTS country leaders to Recep Tayyip Erdogan shortly before the elections in May was much more meaningful. All the speakers at the Ankara summit emphasized that Turkey had become a truly powerful and influential state on the global arena. In their common opinion, the immense merit in this is personally of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the President. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov proposed to nominate Erdogan for the Nobel Peace Prize. [4] Eventually, the leaders of the OTS countries wished Recep Tayyip Erdogan all the success in the forthcoming election and called the fraternal people of Turkey to support him during the voting on 14 May. On the same day, the Turkish media informed that the ruling Justice and Development Party (the AK Party) decided to nominate Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a single candidate for the presidential race. The majority of regional analysts view the extraordinary OTS summit as an important element in Erdogans election campaign and an obvious presentation of his success in foreign policy based on Pan-Turkism. [5]

The new center of power

In addition to the election campaigning, President Erdogan used the OTS summit for non-public political consultations, as well as for promoting a series of new initiatives. Analysts pay special attention to establishing the first coordinated civil defence mechanism in the OTS framework. At the briefing dedicated to the outcomes of the summit, Erdogan informed about an important decision made in Ankara about raising the level of cooperation between the respective agencies of the member countries. The OTS leaders agreed that by October 2023 they would sign an agreement about establishing a single civil defense mechanism of the Organization, and that was reflected in the final communique. It is expected that this system will be launched at the 10th jubilee OTS summit scheduled for October 2023 in Kazakhstan city of Turkestan. [6]

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the President of Kazakhstan, announced at the summit that it was extremely important for the Turkic states to quickly respond to emergency situations and to enhance the interaction between the OTS Secretariat and the members. That is why the leader of Kazakhstan proposed to establish the joint forces for emergency situation within the Organization. According to him, such structure could be setup on the basis of the Center for Emergency Situations Response and Mitigation of the Natural Calamities Risks in Almaty. «You all know that the geopolitical and economic situation in the world is extremely complicated today. In such conditions, the strengthening of cooperation across the Turkic world is extremely important. By setting up such joint forces our Organization will demonstrate that it holds a decent position in the global arena. Our countries need to bring their political, economic and cultural interaction to the new level. This is one of the priorities of Kazakhstans foreign policy», Tokayev noted. [7]

Sadyr Japarov, the President of Kyrgyzstan, welcomed the Turkish initiative of creating the civil defence mechanism for the Turkic states in the sphere of emergency response. In connection with this, he noted that due to the recent tragic events in Turkey the need for developing the mechanism of collective warning and emergencies forecasting had become obvious. «In the conditions of rapidly changing world, our regional cooperation is becoming a more influential and effective tool for modern international relations», Japarov claimed. The President of Kyrgyzstan believes that the OTS can turn into an important international platform. [8] The host of the summit put a final full stop in the discussion. President Erdogan said: «We need to expand the capabilities of the Organization of Turkic States. While the structures not based on historical, cultural and humanitarian values are standing still, the OTS is turning into a new center of power». [9]

The analysts notice that Recep Tayyip Erdogan is constantly demonstrating one of the key skills of an experienced politician, and that is turning the crisis and even catastrophic situations to his own benefit. This is exactly what happened after the ruinous earthquake, which was skillfully used by the Turkish President for domestic political consolidation and promoting the Turkish interests on the international arena. Turkey has always been a special partner for the Central Asian countries, including in the sensitive military cooperation sphere. Ankara has long-lasting forms of influence in the region including joint ventures for manufacturing certain types of military equipment and supplies of modern weapons, as well as training military servicemen in the territory of Turkey. However, previously the project of creating the united army of the Turkic countries the army of the «Great Turan», also known as Timurid Empire was stumbling across certain formal restrictions. For example, Turkmenistan has an official status of a neutral state, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are members of the CSTO, and Azerbaijan lead the Non-Aligned Movement, the members of which cannot participate in any military blocks. Besides, Turkey itself is a member of NATO and cannot initiate a regional military alliance. The new civil defence mechanism of the Turkic states allows for by-passing all these barriers and effectively establish a single regional command under a specious excuse.

Turkic investment fund

Another important novelty of the extraordinary OTS summit was the decision to setup a Turkic Investment Fund. At the first stage, its authorized capital will be USD 500 mln; Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan will contribute equal shares of USD 100 mln. The headquarters of the Turkic Investment Fund will have a status of international finance organization and will be located in Istanbul for 20 years. The objective of the Fund will be to promote economic development by way of expanding regional trade and support of businesses. The initiative of creating the Turkic Investment Fund was proposed by Recep Tayyip Erdogan in November 2022 at the OTS summit in Samarkand. At the extraordinary summit the Turkish President pointed out the new outlook: «I am convinced that the Turkic Investment Fund with its center in Istanbul will contribute to the economic integration of the Turkic world». [10]

Regional experts call the Turkic Investment Fund agreement a real breakthrough. They believe it will be a regional IMF with the objective «to mobilize the economic potential of the OTS members in order to enhance their trade and economic cooperation». One of the most ardent advocates of the investment fund is the President of Uzbekistan, who often talks about the need to enhance trade and economic cooperation within the OTS. Earlier, Shavkat Mirziyoyev proposed to establish an annual International Turkic Economic Forum with active participation of the member countries and the observer countries, as well as the leading representatives of the world business community. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the President of Kazakhstan, proposed to create another OTS fund for venture initiatives with a special focus on digitalization, hi-tec and education. One of his earlier ideas was to establish the OTS Digitalization Center based on the Astana Hub international technology park, as well as to establish the «single educational space for the higher education institutions».

In Ankara President Erdogan expressed his confidence in the future strategic role of OTS countries not only in expanding transportation routes and supply chains, but also in the context of energy security. He used the examples of cooperation on Baku Tbilisi Ceyhan oil pipeline (BTC) and Trans Anadolu gas pipeline (TANAP). Ankara would like to enhance the cooperation along these lines to increase the volumes of the Caspian gas supplied via TANAP. Azerbaijan, Turkey and Turkmenistan have already signed the Memorandum on such cooperation. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the Chairman of the Peoples Council of Turkmenistan, announced at the Forum that Ashkhabad was ready to immediately review the issue of supplying its natural gas to Turkey. «If such a need emerges, we can also build a power transmission line in parallel with the gas pipeline», Berdimuhamedov added. The politician expressed his hope that Turkmenistan will soon access the OTS as a full-fledged member. [11]

International experts believe that one of the objective of the Turkic Investment Fund may be fundraising to build the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline and develop the infrastructure of the Medial Transportation Corridor. In general, western experts provide positive opinion of the Ankara summit as a sign of strengthening the Organization of Turkic States. In their opinion, the OTS has a number of competitive advantages: it creates a more cohesive in the regional and cultural sense block in Central Asia; it promotes the Medial Transportation Corridor for exporting goods and resources to the European Union via Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan and the Central Asian countries; it facilitates attraction of investment to the strategically important region of Central Asia. They especially emphasize that the USA are not viewing the Turkic states as their competitors in the European energy markets, because the EU needs more resources. At the same time, the United States have neutral attitude to the cooperation of the Turkic states in the sphere of security, but they believe that the economic and diplomatic interaction should prevail over the military cooperation. [12]

Interim results

The extraordinary OTS summit in Ankara should be recognized an obvious political success, mainly for Erdogan, especially with account of his ambition for successful re-election. In the beginning of the race the Turkish leader succeeded in soliciting the support of all the Turkic states leaders. This will be demonstrating the growing influence of Ankara and Erdogan personally on the global arena and the success of the Turkish foreign policy. Against the background of the catastrophic earthquake, the Turkic world showed an illustrative example of political solidarity and mutual assistance. This means a clear message to the Turkish voters about the successful foreign policy of Erdogan in spite of all the external and natural troubles.

Another important outcome of the extraordinary OTS summit was the obvious aspiration of Ankara to bring the political, economic and cultural interaction within the Organization to whole new orbit. At present, Turkey is consistently implementing its own integration project in the Caspian and Central Asian countries. As the analysts of the Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies noted earlier, «step-by-step Ankara is increasing the status and role of the OTS turning it from the harmless «house of Turkic culture» into a full-fledged economic and political block». [13] Two very important novelties introduced by the Ankara summit confirm that: creation of the OTS civil defence mechanism and formation of the Turkic Investment Fund.

The first initiative may result in establishing the common regional command for responding to emergencies and crises. The new civil defence mechanism of the Turkic states allows for by-passing all the existing restrictions (associated with the neutral status or non-alignment principles) under a pretext of the joint counteracting emergencies. In essence, a new pro-Turkish security structure may appear in the region similar to the pro-Russian CSTO and the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) in SCO. The second initiative of setting up the Turkic Investment Fund aspires to create something like a regional IMF. Its objective will be mobilizing the economic potential of the OTS member countries and implementation of the integration projects. Experts believe that one of the tasks of the Fund will be fundraising for new energy-associated projects, such as Trans-Caspian gas pipeline and for the Medial corridor infrastructure development. A rather small size of the Fund at the launching stage may be significantly increased by way of target investment and return of the previously exported capital by regional politicians and business communities.

There are all the grounds to believe that after the presidential race in Turkey and the victory of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ankara will be dramatically stepping up its political and economic activities in the historic territories of the Ottoman Empire, first of all in the OTS countries. In such conditions Russia needs to undertake determined efforts for affiliation with the Organization of the Turkic States, at first in the capacity of the observer country. It may be done at least on the grounds of the Russian Federation having huge Turkic territories as its constituent entities Tatarstan and Bashkortostan. Russias membership in the OTS is no less justified than the membership of Hungary, a Finno-Ugric country, or of the unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is currently under sanctions. Moreover, the OTS includes seven friendly countries, with which Moscow has successful relations in politics and economy. The resent research by The Economist shows that the OTS countries together with India and China are part of the 10 countries with the most favorable attitude towards Russia in the conditions of the Western sanctions. RFs participation in the OTS will positively affect the implementation of various infrastructural and energy-related projects in the Caspian Region and will allow for successful integration of the Medial Corridor and the North-South ITC. In general, pro-active work with the promising OTS format should become of the new strategic objectives of Russian foreign policy.

1. OTS summit in Ankara is an evidence of unity and cohesion of the Turkic world. Zircaloy.az, 16.03.2023. https://zerkalo.az/sammit-otg-v-ankare-pokazatel-edinstva-i-splochennosti-tyurkskogo-mira/

2. Cavusoglu: The strength of the Turkic states is their unity! Report Information Agency, 16.03.2023. https://report.az/ru/v-regione/chavushoglu-sila-tyurkoyazychnyh-gosudarstv-v-edinstve/

3. Mirziyoyev proposed to announce February 6 the Remembrance and Solidarity Day. Anadolu Agency, 16.03.2023. https://www.aa.com.tr/ru

4. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov proposed to nominate Erdogan for the Nobel Peace Prize. TASS, 17.03.2023. https://tass.ru/mezhdunarodnaya-panorama/17292875

5. Erdogan is using the Turkic alliance to assure his victory in the presidential race. Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 16.03.2023. https://www.ng.ru/cis/2023-03-16/5_8682_leaders.html

6. Erdogan announced the creation of the OTS civil defense mechanism. Minval.az, 16.03.2023. https://minval.az/news/124311669

7. Tokayev: The Turkic countries need to assure immediate response to the emergencies. Anadolu Agency, 16.03.2023. https://www.aa.com.tr/ru

8. Japarov: OTS may turn into an important international platform. Anadolu Agency, 16.03.2023. https://www.aa.com.tr/ru 

9. Erdogan acknowledged the OTS turning into a new center of power. Minval.az, 16.03.2023. https://minval.az/news/124311677

10. The OTS countries created the Turkic Investment Fund with the initial capital of USD 500 mln, The share of Uzbekistan is USD 100 mln. Gazeta.uz, 16.03.2023. https://www.gazeta.uz/ru/2023/03/17/fund/

11. Turkmenistan is ready to start the natural gas supplies to Turkey Berdimuhamedov. Orient.tm, 16.03.2023. https://orient.tm/ru/post/49124/turkmenistan-gotov-uzhe-segodnya-rassmotret-vopros-postavki-gaza-v-turciyu-berdymuhamedov

12. The Organization of the Turkic States has a number of advantages the American expert. KAZINFORM, 28.02.2023. https://www.inform.kz/ru/organizaciya-tyurkskih-gosudarstv-obladaet-ryadom-preimuschestv-amerikanskiy-ekspert_a4040463

13. Organization of the Turkic States: the integration horizons and the outlook for Russias participation. Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies, 16.11.2022. https://caspian.institute/product/direkciya-mezhdunarodnyh-programm-kisi/organizaciya-tyurkskih-gosudarstv-gorizonty-integracii-i-perspektivy-uchastiya-rossii-38371.shtml