ORGANIZATION OF THE TURKIC STATES: IN THE FUTURE - MULTIPLE COOPERATION
For consular and visa issues, please contact the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Berlin:
Perleberger Str. 62, 10559 Berlin
Tel.: +49 30 394 098 30/80
Fax: +49 30 394 098 62
Hotline of the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs of Uzbekistan:
+998 71 233 28 28
On March 16, 2023, Ankara hosted the Extraordinary Summit of the Heads of State of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS), dedicated to the theme of “Disaster-Emergency Management and Humanitarian Assistance”. The event is notable for the fact that for the first time the heads of the Turkic countries gathered at the highest level to discuss issues related to the development of cooperation in the fight against natural disasters and their consequences.
At the summit, held in solidarity with Turkiye in connection with the strong earthquakes experienced in the southeastern regions, the leaders of the countries worked out mechanisms for multilateral cooperation and coordination within the framework of the OTS in the fight against emergency situations. This is important in order to prevent the recurrence of similar disasters in other countries, to be ready to act in such cases.
As is known, the member states and observers of the OTS showed great solidarity and extended a helping hand to Turkiye in this difficult period, sent search and rescue teams and humanitarian aid. They fully share the principle that the strength of the Turkic states lies in unity. The earthquake in Turkiye prompted closer ties, and the Ankara summit highlighted this trend.
Uzbekistan, as a strategic partner, a brotherly country and a member of the OTS, did not stand aside and showed solidarity with Turkiye. Our republic has made a feasible contribution to overcoming the consequences of the catastrophe.
Our search-and-rescue and mobile medical teams worked out in the disaster zone, and several batches of humanitarian aid were sent to the victims. Our rescuers (100 people) in two weeks removed 18 people alive and more than 190 dead bodies from under the rubble of buildings.
Also, the medical detachment of the Ministry of Defense of Uzbekistan (71 people) provided all possible assistance to a total of 3,860 citizens, of which 1,795 were men, 1,177 women and 888 children.
In addition, collection points for critically needed goods for earthquake victims were organized in Tashkent by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan jointly with the Youth - Our Future Foundation and with the support of Turkish companies.
To date, 25 trucks filled with necessary goods have been sent to Turkiye. Six batches of humanitarian cargo were sent as well - medicines, blankets, tents and other essentials.
At the same time, our country is ready to continue to provide the necessary assistance in overcoming the consequences of devastating earthquakes.
Within the framework of the summit, the President of Uzbekistan put forward an important initiative to set up a systemic Cooperation Platform of the Organization in order to prevent and mitigate the consequences of emergency situations with the introduction of specific implementation mechanisms. In particular, Uzbekistan considers it necessary to develop a multilateral agreement within the framework of the OTS aimed at preventing natural disasters and emergencies as soon as possible.
In addition, a proposal was made on the need for a significant intensification of partnerships between our ministries and departments for emergency situations and the preparation of a joint program of action in the most priority areas.
An initiative has also been put forward to create the mechanisms of support to address social and economic problems in times of such unexpected disasters. We are talking about the unimpeded delivery of food and building materials, the launch of cooperation projects aimed at restoring the industry. Tashkent considers it possible to attract the first financial resources of the officially established Turkic Investment Fund to these projects.
As for the prospects for the development of the OTS, it should be noted that the organization has a huge potential, and its implementation will depend on what specific mechanisms and tools the Turkic states will rely on to achieve the strategic priorities outlined in the concept of "Turkic World Vision – 2040", adopted at the Istanbul Summit in 2021.
Against the backdrop of geopolitical processes, great prospects are opening up for cooperation between the Turkic states, including in the energy sector. Large energy projects such as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Oil Pipeline and the Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline project (TANAP) are already being implemented.
In addition, cooperation in the transport and logistics sectors is important, which will increase the productivity of the Middle Corridor.
As we noted above, an important initiative in the OTS space is the Turkic Investment Fund, created at the summit in Samarkand.
As President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has repeatedly pointed out, the priority of the OTS states should be the search for new opportunities for active development and expansion of trade and economic cooperation.
The current situation in the world markets requires strengthening the economic foundation of the OTS - increasing the volume of mutual trade, deepening technological partnerships, supporting large infrastructure projects, investment exchanges in fast-growing sectors and promising areas.
Undoubtedly, summits play an important role in the development of OTS. The firm political support by the heads of state for the promotion and development of comprehensive ties between the Turkic countries is an important aspect that guarantees the constant filling of the cooperation agenda with new breakthrough areas.
In this regard, it should be noted that, thanks to the efforts of the leaders of the countries, the OTS has in a short time become an authoritative organization for effective and open multilateral cooperation. As a unique institution of its kind, the OTS strengthens the interaction of countries in various areas and generally coordinates the development of cooperation in the Turkic world. Currently, active work continues to deepen Turkic integration, a new integration agenda is being formed.
The main goals of the OTS are to strengthen trust and multifaceted ties between fraternal countries, develop cooperation in trade, economy, energy, tourism, transport, cultural and humanitarian spheres, and coordinate efforts to ensure peace and security in the region.
In recent years, cooperation between the OTS countries has become more pragmatic and meaningful. If at the first stages the key importance was attached to the activation of cultural and humanitarian ties, then by now the issues of strengthening trade, economic and investment ties, as well as the development of transcontinental transit corridors have come to the forefront.
The members of the association have created a solid institutional architecture. The International Organization of Turkic Culture (TURKSOY), International Turkic Academy, the Turkic Culture and Heritage Foundation, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Turkic Speaking Countries, whose activities are aimed at developing inter-parliamentary cooperation, have been established.
At the same time, it should be noted that Turkic integration is not only a revival of cultural and humanitarian ties between kindred peoples, but also a promising direction of foreign economic and foreign policy activity for all members of the association.
Analyzing the activities and strategic plans for the development of OTS, it is possible to identify some promising areas in which countries will expand and deepen interaction.
First, the intensification of trade and economic ties. In order to further intensify economic cooperation, it is planned to: 1) widely use the potential of such existing and new institutions within the framework of the OTS as the Turkic Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Turkic Investment Fund; 2) the opening of "Turkic trading houses" in different cities of the OTS countries on the principles of public-private partnership to provide business communities with the opportunity to promote national products and support their entry into new markets.
Secondly, the formation of an interregional branched transport and communication system. In this direction, it is planned to develop a special program to improve transport communication between the Turkic states for: a) harmonization of regional transport policy and technical standards related to cargo transportation; b) identifying factors slowing down the cross-border flow of goods; c) formulating the foundations of a mutually beneficial tariff policy for the carriage of goods.
Third, strengthening cooperation in the energy sector. The OTS working group on energy plans to study the possibilities of cooperation between the Turkic countries in this area through: 1) exchange of experience in the field of energy efficiency and advanced energy technologies; 2) promotion of energy security issues; 3) diversification of energy routes and improvement of intra-regional energy ties.
Fourth, the consolidation of efforts in the field of digitalization and high technologies. To develop the OTS infrastructure, improve the quality of the e-government system and promote digitalization in the OTS space, it is planned to create various promising cooperation mechanisms.
Fifth, coordination of measures in the field of food security. In the light of the observed food crises and the rapid growth of food prices in the world, the OTS countries intend to: a) increase cooperation in the agricultural and livestock sectors on the basis of complementarity and effective cooperation, b) create "green corridors" for the promotion of food products, c) expand the exchange of experience and knowledge through seminars, Agro-Forums and joint scientific research.
Today, the Turkic community is asserting itself as one of the locomotives of integration processes throughout Eurasia. In recent years, the OTS countries, geographically located in a fairly wide and strategically important space, have created a qualitatively new model of regional interaction. This is confirmed by the adoption by the leaders of the OTS countries of the strategic documents "Turkic World Vision – 2040", the Organization’s strategy for 2022-2026 and a number of decisions to further reform the activities of the structure with a serious integration agenda.
Deputy Director of the Institute for Strategic and Regional Studies (ISRS) under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Bobur Usmanov