Coordinated by Aurelian GIUGĂL

 

Turkey’s Central Asia policy in the changing world: priorities, policies and actions

 

Farkhad ALIMUKHAMEDOV

Assistant Professor, Turgut Özal University, Ankara, Turkey

 

 

Abstract: Turkey’s Central Asia policy offers an interesting perspective for analysing political and economic interests of Ankara in the region after the collapse of USSR. The political place of Central Asia in Turkish foreign policy priorities has changed slowly, but constantly from 90s to now. Although all Turkish governments and presidents followed friendly cooperation with Turkic speaking countries, the centrality of the region was lost and geoeconomic interests became dominant. However, among institutional cooperation possibilities TİKA has developed major arguments and increasingly intense activities towards the region. 

            The article seeks to understand the reasons behind the changes of Turkish Foreign Policy and the role of Central Asian countries in Turkey’s agenda. Its objective is to underline how the geoeconomic interests may change foreign policy vectors of the countries and show the increasing dependence and involvements of Ankara on bordering countries. Besides enumerating the reasons, we also propose institutional cooperation between Turkey and Central Asian countries which seems to have more positive impact both in bilateral and multilaretal relations.

            The paper tries to frame the relations from Turkey’s perspective and explain the chronology of Ankara’s involvement post-Soviet Central Asia. The datas referring to the policies and starategies are primarily taken from the research articles, but also from reports. The literature review shows also that majority of research and papers are focused on early 90s and post 2000 period, indicating Turkey’s most active periods towards the region.

            The papers outcomes are based on qualitative method and try to explore foreign policy priorities and changes occurring based on geoeconomic interests. We try to describe the variations in Ankara’s policies and explain the relationships between Turkic capitals and leaders of Turkic states. We used open-ended questions such as followings to conduct our research. What are the main interests and priorities of different Turkish governments within Central Asia? What are the main differences and similarities in bilateral political and economis relations? What kind of changes occurred in institutional coopeartion including TİKA, and its activities within the region? Data format is entirely textual and the study design remained flexible.

            The article not only shows the achievements and the limit s of Ankara’s policies in Central Asia, but also tries to indicate the possible ways for the long-term and constructive policymaking in order to create the conditions for Turkey to remain as a player within the region. In the other case, Ankara may easily lose not only positions, but even presence as it happened in Middle East and North African region.

 

Keywords: Turkish Foreign Policy, Central Asia, post-Soviet republics, TİKA.

 

 

1.       INTRODUCTION

 

The aim of the article is to explain how the changes among Turkish foreign policy priorities influence bilateral and multilateral relations with so-called Turkic republics. It also analyses geopolitical atmosphere in post-Soviet space, and the growing importance of geoeconomic interests of powers where Ankara tries to remain as a player.

We used historical approach in our paper in order to understand the mutual needs between Turkey and Central Asian countries from the establishment of Turkish Republic in 1923. It helps us to see how Turkey and Soviet governments played strategic games within Central Asia in order to protect their interests. The main part of the paper is focused on post-Soviet Turkey Central Asia relations covering last 25 years. It analyzes the policies conducted under the offices of Turgut Özal, Süleyman Demirel, Ahmet Sezer and Abdullah Gül. Despite the fact all Turkish governments show many similarities in general approach towards the region, it is also useful to underline different policies and approaches of Ankara in 90s and 2000s.  The paper also questions the centrality of the Central Asia in Turkish foreign policy especially after 2000s where AKP lead government tried to boost bilateral and multilateral relations with many countries. We try to see how regional players and powers influence Ankara’s policies towards the region and how Turkey tries to pursue its own interests in cooperation with other powers. Emerging role of geoeconomics and energy sources increased importance of Central Asian states and increased the number of “external players” within the region. We also focus on how Ankara developed bilateral relations with Central Asian capitals in order to evaluate Turkey’s responsibilities and acheivements. We try to see if Turkey has a long-term strategy towards the region and if Ankara was able to read political changes occurring within the region (such as color revolution) in order to foresee and take the necessary measures. Institutional cooperation and the role of TİKA are considered in the paper as an important area of cooperation. We ask if institutional cooperation may create the sufficient grounds for inter state relations and leave positive footprints in bilateral relations. Within that framework we question Turkish aid policies towards the region and see how successful they are in comparison to other countries having similar approach.  

The article not only describes and evaluates the achievements of Ankara in Central Asian region, but also proposes the possible measures to be taken by Turkish policymakers in order to pursue successful bilateral relations with Central Asian states.

 

 

2.       THE PLACE OF PANTURKISM IN SOVIET-TURKISH RELATIONS

 

Central Asia or Turkestan is commonly accepted as a historical fatherland of Turkic people. Therefore, this geography has an important meaning in contemporary Turkish historical studies. The two regions maintained historically good and friendly international relations. The diplomatic relations were in good terms, and both Ottoman Empire and the Khanates had their diplomatic missions and ambassadors[i]. However, Turkish interest towards Central Asia has risen especially towards the fall of the monarchies initiated by the Russian invasion. It corresponds to the period when the Committee of Union and Progress in Ottoman Empire developed the ideas of Turkism or Turkishness. The reformation movements developed by Jadids[ii] of Tsarist Russia initiated the ideological exchanges between the Islamic movements of Central Asian and Ottoman Empire. The so-called Panislamism understood by the local elite and intellectuals was focused on the union of Muslims of Russia and Ottoman Empire who were predominantly Turks. Therefore, the slogans of Huseyinzade focused on belonging to Turkic, Muslim and European identities were predominantly non-ethnic, but rather religious identity[iii]

The newly established Soviet administration decided to create rapidly new ethnic and regional identities in both Caucasus and Central Asia. Roy defends the idea that the logical strategy of the Soviet administration was the creation of anti-Turkish entities and states in the Caucasus and anti-Iranian entities Central Asia[iv]. Therefore, Turkic speaking states were predominant in Central Asia and the the only non-Turkic - Farsi speaking new nation – Tajiks obtained their state in 1929. The “Tajikization” which was initially a linguistic process was in fact the aim to separate them from Iranian and Afghan influences. Roy considers that, even the founders of the Tajik language were not Tajik themselves[v]. The aim of the Soviet administration was to establish the new ethnic identities and prevent the unity between the peoples of the region. Another problem was related to the division of Panislamist and Panturkist movements. For example, secular Panislamist movements were initiated by Sultan Galiev in Soviet Union[vi] and secular Panturkism in Turkey[vii].

 Despite the leader of young Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, is considered to have opposed to the ideas of Panislamism or Panturkism or Turanizm according to Hale[viii], Turkish identity was at the center of his domestic and international politics. Ankara had excellent relations with the neighbour - Soviet Union during the 20s. Even though, Atatürk’s famous motto “Peace at Home, Peace Abroad” is usually qualified as isolationist foreign policy, his policies towards Turkic countries were constructive. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk had two ideas regarding Turks living in USSR: strengthening cultural ties and fostering good neighbourhood relations with USSR. In his speech Atatürk states that the Soviet Union was the friend, neighbour and ally, and Turkey needed that friendship. However, he also stated that in case it dissolves as Austri a-Hungary or Ottoman Empire, Turkey should be prepared and know what to do in that case. It explicitly meant that Turkey should have its prepared long term policy towards the region.

The relations with Turkic countries were also useful for young Turkey to establish “Turkicness”[ix] or “Turkishness”[x] inside the country. Ankara deliberately followed the policy of national and ethnic identity in order to strengthen the Turkish ties of the new country. In political terms, Turkey tried to keep the close ties with Central Asian countries and Azerbaijan. An important geographical success was related to the purchase of 11 km borderland from Iran in order to have the direct borders with Nahchivan region of Azerbaijan. Even today, that tiny land plays an important role in Turkey’s relations with Azerbaijan and Armenia. Atatürk also brough the term dış Türkler - Turks living abroad and included it into Turkeys political agenda. In line with these ideas Turkey accepted Latin alphabet in 1926 following Azerbaijan. Later Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan also adopted Latin alphabet in 1928.  In fact during 20s Turkish and Soviet interests coincided in Central Asia, Europe and partly in the Caucasus. Turkishness and Turkic identity was useful for both countries in their domestic politics. Turkey’s de facto secular Panturkism was used by Soviet Union as an example during 20s. Therefore, Turkeys Turkishness owes much to Soviet Turkicness and Soviets owe a Turkey for non-interference in Soviets Central Asian politics. That positive environment allowed Turkey keep cultural ties between the Turkic speaking countries. That coincided with Soviet interests, because Stalin needed Turkey and the idea of Turkism to overcome Islamic identity still dominating in Central Asian region in 20s. Symbolically, that allowed to Turkic people of Central Asia to remain confident that Soviets were not trying to cut the bridges between Turkey and Central Asia. In reality, Turkey and Soviet Union followed their national interests and Central Asian region became predominantly communist towards the end of 30s. Even though, Turkey seemed to keep ties with Turks abroad in reality, Ankara created real gaps between domestic and non-domestic Turks by putting into practice the idea of Turks abroad. According to Bugra Kılıçbeyleroğlu, Atatürk also preferred that Turkic minorities living outside Turkey remained in their host countries (USSR, Bulgaria, Greece, etc) rather than migrating towards Turkey[xi].  Towards the World War II and afterwards, Turkey internationally was in a “defensive” position and mainly focused on protecting itself from the USSR rather than having a structured policy towards Turkic people of Central Asia.

Political realities of 30s showed that Turkicness was a step for Soviet leaders in order to create a “homo sovieticus” – Soviet Man. Gökay thinks that, by early 30s only Turkicness and Communism remained as ideologies within Central Asian region[xii] replacing Islam and Panislamic thinking. However, by the late 30-s, the majority of Central Asia intellectuals predominantly Panturkist thinkers were send to GULAG and the more than thousand of them were executed[xiii]. Turkicness was announced as a dangerous ideology by the Soviet political apparatus and therefore Communism became the only viable ideology and identity in the region. Parallelly to that, Latin alphabet was replaced by Cyrillic in Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. The relations between Turkey and USSR also degradated in 30s and excluded Turkey as an actor both in the Caucasus and Central Asia.  

 

 

3.                   DEVELOPMENT OF TURKEY CENTRAL ASIA RELATIONS IN POST-SOVIET PERIOD

 

The new chapter in Turkey’s Central Asia policy was opened by the fall of the Soviet Union. Four presidents – Turgut Özal, Süleyman Demirel, Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Abdullah Gül’s tried to leave their footprints in Turkish foreign policy towards Central Asia during almost 25 years.

The re-opening of Turkish Central Asian “chapter” was already initiated during the Turgut Özal period in late 80s and early 90s. Despite the fact that Özal’s was sometimes called as neo-Ottoman, his approach was far from being Pax Ottomanica in practice. His main objective was focused on European Community membership and Turkish government faced complex relations in the Middle East especially during Iraq war.  Besides that, he fostered very active and strong bilateral relations with all Central Asian countries. Therefore, Özal is remembered as the most active Turkish (Anatolian) leader inserting Central Asian policy. His statement “The XXI century will be the century of Turks”[xiv] shows how important Turkic people were at the center of his duty. In order to have an important place in the region Turkey was the first country to recognize all Turkic speaking countries. From 1991 to 1993 president Özal left important footprints in the relations between Turkey and Central Asia. TÜRKSOY, ECO (Economic Cooperation Organization) membership of Central Asian countries were rapidly confirmed. TİKA (Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency) was created by to support Central Asian countries logistically and the Ministry of Education established the Grand Student Project (Büyük Öğrenci Projesi) in order to provide student exchange between Turkey and Turkic speaking countries. Financially, Turkish Eximbank provided important loans to Central Asian economies[xv].  

Turgut Özals policies towards Central Asia were also affected by Turkey’s domestic and international situation. After the failure of EU membership, Turkey decided to focus also on other regions and play an active role in Newly Independent States in Balkans, Caucasus and Central Asia. Economically the place of Central Asia was an important opening for Turkish businessmen who were looking for the new destinations. Turkish investment was highly encouraged to participate in business activities along with the schools and higher education institutions those einforcing Turkey’s positions within the region.

According to Sedef Zeyrekli Yaş during Turgut Özal’s and Süleyman Demirel’s offices Turanist and Islamist rhetorics were predominant in Turkeys Central Asia policy[xvi]. She claims that Ankara was in reality unprepared and did not have a long-term Central Asian politics. Zeyrekli argues that Süleyman Demirel paid also much attention to relations with Central Asian countries and participated in all meeting of the leaders of Turkic speaking countries[xvii]. Demirel also encouraged and supported Turkish businessmen working within the region. Similarly to Özal, president Demirel also regularly visited Turkish schools and universities and one of the Turkish universities in Kazakhtsan was named after him. (Süleyman Demirel University)

According to Erhan Büyükakıncı Turkey followed three strategies during Özal-Demirel era[xviii]:

1.       developing bilateral financial, commercial and cultural relations

2.       establishing organizations supporting Turkeys Central Asia policy

3.       supporting private sector and businessmen in investing in the region

However, Turkey being enrolled in domestic politics towards late 90s could not keep the same political and economic position as it was during Özal era[xix]. The priorities of Turkey were focused on guaranteeing the status gained in Özal era without proposing the new dimensions for her policy in the region.

Zeyrekli’s comparison of Demirel and Sezer clearly shows that from 2001 and 2006 the relations with Turkey and Central Asian countries were politically poor[xx]. It is hard to say that Sezer prioritized Central Asia in his agenda due to fact that during his office Turkish president could organize the annual meeting of Turkic speaking countries only once[xxi]. Eventually, the priorities of the Central Asian countries and Turkey coincided on the area of security cooperation during those years[xxii].

During Gül’s Office, the relations with Central Asian countries gained again a momentum and the relations turn to be more fruitful. According to Carlo Frappi, “AKP policy towards the CARs got new impetus with the 2007 election to the Presidency of the Republic of Abdullah Gül, who made Central Asia a priority of his own foreign policy”[xxiii]. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Turkish Foreign Policy towards Central Asia has following five components:

1.       Developing bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the fields of energy, economy, commerce, culture, society, politics, etc.

2.       Assisting them to find a peaceful solution to the frozen regional conflicts.

3.       Serving as an energy terminal.

4.       Prodiving assistance to the regional states in their nation- and state-building processes.

5.       Helping them develop and maintain close relations with the other countries[xxiv]

 

The priorities of Turkey were clearly different in post-Sezer era with multi vector diplomacy and zero-problem policy with the neighbours. Turkey’s interests in the region seem to be rather economic than political and focused on energy trade rather than developing cultural ties during Gül’s office. As Efegil argues “By using its geopolitical advantage, located at the center of East – West, North – South and South – North energy corridors, Turkey desires to become an important energy transit country, energy terminal and the fourth energy source of the European Union, after North Sea, Russia and the Middle East”[xxv]. However, Thomas Wheeler considers that “clear, coherent and well-coordinated foreign policy towards Central Asia is open question”[xxvi] related to the recent Turkish policy towards the region.

 

 

4.       WHERE IS CENTRAL ASIA IN TURKEY’S FOREIGN POLICY?

 

Primarily, the possible grand Turkic unity including Turkey and Central Asian countries was a harsh and rapid political response for European Community showing how Turkey was important even after the Cold War. The symbolic unity from “Adriatics to China” was probably the perception management without having the solid bases. Therefore, according to Efe Çaman, Turkey deliberately used the term Turkish[xxvii] to identify the people and languages in Central Asia instead of using the official namings promoted by independent countries[xxviii]. He considers that linguistic and cultural ties between the countries helped to consolidate Turkic identity and therefore increasing Turkey’s role in the region[xxix]. Secondly, Turkey has also economic interests in the region and especially it considered the region as an important market for Turkish goods. Not surprisingly, Turkish businessmen and industry was present in the region from early 90s. Last but not least, Central Asia was already from 90s an important energy supplier and Turkeys plans for being energy hub was planned in advance. Therefore, the place of Central Asia was very important in 90s due to the above priorities. However, the place of the region among Turkish foreign policy priorities changed after 2000 due to Turkish political involvement in the Middle East. For example, according to Hakan Fidan, head of Intelligence Servive of Turkey Central Asia cannot be placed as the main priority of Turkish Foreign Policy. He proposed an explanation, based on the Wave (Four-Zone) approach, where he places Central Asia in the second wave in order to explain less active AK Party’s Central Asia policy[xxx]. According to Akçay and Alimukhamedov Ankara’s policy towards the region in 90-s was based on mutual needs and Turkey could fill up the geopolitical space after the collapse of USSR. Besides that, they also noted Özal’s imprint on Central Asian politics[xxxi]. Carlo Frappi used the terms “naivete versus pragmatism” related to Turkey’s Central Asia policy in 90s and an also underlines the fact that the USA was “the main sponsor for proposing the so-called Turkish Model for the region”[xxxii]. According to Kılıç, USA support for “Turkish model” just after EU refusal, made Central Asia a new priority field[xxxiii]. Sometimes the term –“rationality”[xxxiv] is used to identify the difference of Turkey’s priorities in the region. According to Davutoğlu, before AK Party administration Turkey followed “emotional policy” in Central Asia[xxxv]. That statement shows at the same time the shift of interests in Central Asia especially during AK Party government. Turkey, in fact reduced its political involvement in the region during the last 10 years. As Davutoğlu states in his turn, that “the interests of international actors in Central Asia, as well as the regional perspectives, should be taken into consideration, while developing a future-oriented vision for the region”. He continues by stating that “Turkey’s official policy is strengthened by civilian initiatives and business activities”[xxxvi] and acceps that in NGO’s and businessmen play a very important role in contemporary Turkish foreign policy towards the region. As a matter of fact, as Carlo Frappi writes, it seems evident that 25 years later after the collapse of USSR, “From being a foreign policy priority, Central Asia progressively lost its centrality to Turkish foreign policy planning – and, broadly speaking, to Turkish strategic thinking”[xxxvii].

 

5.                   REGIONAL ACTORS AND THEIR INFLUENCE IN TURKISH FOREIGN POLICY TOWARDS CENTRAL ASIA

 

Turkey as an emerging power has long been qualified along other powers as one of the key players of the so-called “New Great Game in Central Asia”. Some scenarios were stating that “From the Turkish perspective, possibilities of military conflict between Turkey and on the one hand and either Iran or the Russian Republic on the other, is not only particularly important, but also more probable”[xxxviii].  However, Turkeys role and functions were very rapidly questioned and its “model” also desappeared. Especially, the rise of Putin’s Russia, very active Chinese economic policies in the region followed by USA entrance to Afghanistan took Turkey away among the key players in the region.

 During Turgut Özal era USA and the West were important sponsors of Turkeys Central Asia policy. The recognition by the West occupied the major place in the agenda of all Central Asian countries in early 90s. Ankara played the role of the “bridge” between East and the West both politically and economically. Therefore, Turgut Özal’s Turkey could successfully export “Turkish Model” towards Central Asia. The major aspects of “Turkish Model” were based on two elements: secularism “a la turca”and Ankara’s open- market policies.  Turkey tried to play an independent and active role during early 90s via cooperating with all regional actors. For example, Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) was created with the presence of Russia and another regional actor - Iran was the part of Economic Cooperation Organization. At the same time, Ankara created the platforms for political cooperation with Central Asian countries and supported the initiatives for Central Asian regional cooperation. For example, Central Asian Economic Union created by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan in 1994 was perceived as regional initiative and symbolized the regional independence for the countries. Turgut Özal era marked a real “zero-problem”, “win-win” outcome with all Central Asian regional actors including Russia, China, USA, European Union and Iran. 

During Süleyman Demirel era, the relations with regional all actors remained good, but Turkey was pushed to re-consideration economic factors. Already by mid 90s Russia-Turkey bilateral trade relations shadowed Turkey Central Asia economic relations. Unlike the other key players such as China or USA, Russia has very important relations with Turkey in energy sector, tourism etc. Ziya Öniş qualifies Russian Turkish relations as “assymetrical dependence”[xxxix]. If in 90s Russia sometimes was seen as a competitor and Turkish main discourse was about the atrocities of former USSR, in 2000s that picture completely changed. Bulent Aras already at the beginning of 2000s, proposed a “tactical friendship with Russia”[xl], stating that already in 1998 the trade between Russia and Turkey was the double of that between Turkey and all Central Asian countries united. Ten years later the turnover between Russia and Turkey became ten times of turnover between five Central Asian countries and Turkey showing the importance of Moscow as a main trade partner. In the meantime, Turkey lost its importance for several countries in central Asia. The trade between Turkey and Uzbekistan declined in late 90s and did not have significant increase with other countries. Therefore, towards 2000s Turkey lost its significant influence in Central Asia.

 Ankara’s Central Asian policy in early 2000s was unsuccessful and rather problematic. Therefore, the main discourse in Turkey was very critical and the rhetorics about “Big Brother” roles failure were often. However, with the help of Turkish private sector and business initiatives, Turkey could keep its place in Central Asia. The experience of Çalık Holding in Turkmenistan could be a good example of how Turkish business flourished in Central Asia. In the meantime, other regional actors and emerging powers also tries to establish economic and political relations with especially energy supplier countries. For example, India became an important energy buyer and excelled good relations with all countries of the region. China has increased its influence in Central Asia both politically and economically, EU provided logistic aid and increased trade with the region. Some European countries like Germany increased the cooperation up to military area and opened the base in the south of Uzbekistan. USA also increased its assistance to Central Asian countries especially after September 11th. USA military airbases were opened for several years in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Even, the neighbour Iran followed very careful and stable policy towards the region without “exporting Islamic Revolution” as expected by many scholars. In contrary, Islamic Republic of Iran decided to cooperate with Russia and Turkmenistan in the case of Caspean Sea delimitation. Tehran also remained neutral in inter state quarrels between Central Asian countries such as Rogun Dam Project between Uzbekistan and Tadjikistan.   

Unlike in XIX century, the “New Great Game” in 2000s became concentrated on energy routes. Turkey was supposed to sideline with the West in Central Asia against Russia. However, during president Gül office and AK Party government Ankara realized that it lost the role of the bridge between West and Central Asia. In contrary, Turkey’s relations with Russia gained a special place during the last decade. Russia became the 2nd largest trade partner of Turkey in 2013 and Turkey also became 6th trade partner of Russia at the same year[xli].  The rising economic and trade relations, but also energy politics between Ankara and Moscow have changed both countries from being “old rivals to new partners”[xlii]. Russian factor not only became the passage oblige in Turkish Foreign Policy towards Central Asia, but it turned out to be the part of Turkish policy towards Russia. Energy became the center of Turkish foreign policy in Eurasian region due to its increasing industrial needs. Instead of focusing on all Central Asian countries, Ankara decided to cooperate with energy suppliers such as Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan because being energy hub became the main objective of Turkey’s Eurasia policy.

The increasing demand for the energy show that almost all regional actors try to focus on commercial interests. Aynur Nogaeva writes that according to opposition leader in Kazakhstan, USA administration did not support civil initiatives in Kazakhstan as they supported in Kyrgyzstan in 2005[xliii]. Germany did not condemn Uzbekistan in UN General Assembly in 2005 due to its political interests. The increase of the number of regional actors oblige to keep more careful approach towards the region and Turkey has less room for initiates as she has during Turgut Özal era. Budak using Luttwaks geoeconomic theory considers that the competition (or New Great Game) in Central Asia is focused on geoeconomic interests rather than geopolitic[xliv]. He thinks that, unlike other regional actors Ankara could not implement a geoeconomic strategy which could create the dependency of Central Asian economies towards Turkey[xlv].

Turkey should plan the cooperation with the regional actors in Central Asia without forgetting that she cannot have Central Asian policy without excelling good relations with all countries of the region. If the priorities of Turkey will not change in the short and mid term future, Turkey may face real problems related to her political presence in Central Asia. Even though, Russia plays a major role in the region, due to the Crimean crisis, Central Asian countries are more careful in their approach towards Moscow. Therefore, exclusively Ankara-Moscow cooperation in Central Asia may not correspond to Turkish long-term interests. Beijing follows very pragmatic policy in Central Asia and both Turkey and China have very similar approaches towards the region. However, at the same time Turkey and China try to buy energy from the region and dominate regional markets with their products. Therefore, the similarity of the positions and interests may also create the competition in the future. However, Duarte considers that “Turkey inspires itself on the Chinese policy towards Central Asia, which has shown remarkable vigour in recent years, and try to figure out how it can profit from an Ankara-Tehran-Central Asia-Beijing axis, in the context of the Chinese New Silk Road, in order to project its power in the regional sphere and boost (even more) its economy”[xlvi]. He encourages Ankara-Tehran-Central Asia- Beijing axis and take part in Chinese New Silk Road rather than New Silk Road Project conceived by the USA[xlvii]. However, we consider that, Ankara’s political manoeuvres against EU by asking the membership of SCO are not sufficient to convince neither China nor Russia. Unlike in the Caucasus or the Middle East, Central Asian has rather complex situation regarding regional actors. Although the interests of the actors are predominantly based on their energy needs, it is hard to observe the cooperation between them. Russia and China may have common positions in the Middle East, but their economic interest are rather opposite in Central Asia.

For Central Asian countries Turkey’s membership of EU makes Ankara more attractive both politically and economically. Therefore, Turkeys political rhetorics related to membership at Eurasian Union or Shanghai Cooperation Organization did not find the strong support from Central Asian capitals. Turkeys EU agenda is carefully followed by Central Asian elites, because that element is a key one which gives again Turkey the position of the “bridge” between Caucasus, Central Asia, European Union, Middle East and Africa.

6. Development of bilateral relations

From the early beginning of the relations, Turkish presidents considered Central Asia as a one common space divided into several entities under Soviet regime. Therefore, Ankara preferred to name Central Asia as a Turkic World rather that focusing on particular state. Turgut Özal, the president of Turkey, visited all Central Asian states during his official trips showing that Turkey considered them as equal and important partners. Süleyman Demirel also followed Özal’s line in bilateral relations although he was not as successful as Özal. As it is given in the table below, president Demirel clearly prioritized Turkic speaking countries without making real differences between them. The main problem during Demirel’s office occurred with Uzbekistan related to Uzbek opposition leader Muhammed Salih who was hosted in Turkey during a while. Despite that political crisis Demirel tried to overcome the problems and was one of the strongest supporters of president Karimov after the terrorist attacks occurred in Tashkent.

 

Table 1. Official visits of Turkish President Demirel to Central Asia and Central Asian presidents to Turkey

 

Turkmenistan

Kyrgyzstan

Uzbekistan

Tajikistan

Kazakhstan

Demirel’s official visits to Central Asia

1994

1998

2000

1995

1997

1998

1996

1999

1995

1995

1996

Central Asian visits to Turkey

1994

1996

1997

1999

1994

1997

1996

1994

1998

Source: Compiled by Zeyrekli Yaş Sedef, p. 13.

As it shown in the above table, Demirel visited all Central Asian countries paying more visits (3) to Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan.

However, Özals Central Asian or Turkic vision has been slowly replaced during 2000s which priorities more “Eurasian” approach rather than Central Asian or Turkic. During Sezer office the relations with the Turkic speaking countries were quite complex and nearly stalled. However, in the meantime Ahmet Necdet Sezer was the first Turkish president to pay official visit to Russia[xlviii]. A dramatic decision was taken during Sezer presidentship - Central Asian citizens were required to get Turkish visa during his office - a decision highly criticized in Turkey. From the other part, Sezer was also the one who broke the unwritten rule of the Turkish presidents who usually do not pay official visits accompanied by Turkish businessmen. He paid his visits to Czech Republic and Slovakia along with the representatives of Turkish private sector[xlix]. During his visits to Central Asia he tried to follow the similar line as Demirel and Özal by visiting all Central Asian countries during one official trip. However, security cooperation was privileged with Uzbekistan, while Turkmen gas and Kazakh oil were primary elements of cooperation[l]showing the modifications in Turkish foreign policy. Within that framework Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan which are Central Asian countries, Azerbaijan from the Caucasus and Russia constitute very important partners pushing Turkey to have Eurasian approach rather than Central Asian[li].

According to Turkey’s president’s website[lii], former President Abdullah Gül paid most of the visits to Turkmenistan during his Office (6 times). Turkmen president Bermukhamedov is also leader in paying visits to his Turkish partner having 5 visits between 2007 and 2014. Kazakhstan also plays important place in President Gül’s agenda. President Nazarbayev is the president who paid the first visit after Gül’s election as a president. In total Kazakh president visited Gül 4 times and Turkish president visited Kazakh president for 5 times and once visit was organized to celebrate Kazakh president’s birthday along with other leaders. The places of other Central Asian countries remained less important in Gül’s agenda. Even though Kyrgyz and Tajik leaders received and paid visits to Turkish president in lesser extent, it seems that Turkey established priority vectors even among Central Asian countries. Unfortunately, Gül paid no visits to Uzbekistan and never received president Karimov during his office. Therefore, he is the only Turkish president having paid no visits to Uzbekistan.

 Table 2.  Presidential visit exchanges between Abdullah Gül and Central Asian leaders.

 

Turkmenistan

Kyrgyzstan

Uzbekistan

Tajikistan

Kazakhstan

Gül’s visits to Central Asia

2014

2013

2011

2010

2008

2007

2012

2011

2009

 

2009

2010

2010

2010

2008

2007

Central Asian presidents visits to Turkey

2014

2012

2012

2009

2008

2012

2012

 

2012

2012

2009

2008

2007

Source. Prepared by author (Compiled from abdullahgul.gen.tr)

 

The problem of the change in Turkey’s political concept of Central Asia may not be realized by Turkish policy-makers very rapidly. However, we think that Turkeys Eurasian vision may create difficulties especially with some countries such as Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan without stating Tajikistan a country that received usually less attention from Ankara. Central Asian countries have an important meaning for Turkish foreign and domestic policy only if they are considered as a common region. Otherwise, it will be difficult for certain countries to find their place in Turkey’s foreign policy and Ankara may also lose its centrality in the region.

Among Central Asian countries, Kazakhstan is probably the most important partner for Turkey in Central Asia having established bilateral cooperation successfully in all fields. One of the reasons for that liea on proactive foreign policy of Kazakhstan who is willing to  consolidate its independence vis-a-vis Russia and other regional powers by participating actively in all international platforms. Kazakhstan tries to put into practice well-balanced policy following mutual interests simultaneously on different areas. According to Serdar Yılmaz the relations between Ankara and Astana are heavily influenced by the private sector[liii]. He states that Turkey was ranked ahead USA, England and South Korea regarding their investment in Kazakhstan between 1993 and 1997[liv]. He qualifies “Economy Comes First” in order to describe the relations between the two countries[lv]. Foreign trade between the countries has increased steadily and increased by 10 in 15 years[lvi]. However, Ankara should consolidate its economic interests with strong cooperation in cultural and education sector. Turkey’s important advantage in Kazakhstan lies on educational institutions which are academically predominant in Kazakh secondary education. Turkey should take the advantage of this situation in order to strengthen the ties between societies after successful political and economic relations.

Economic ties are predominant in Turkey’s relations with Turkmenistan. The trade between the two countries is increased by 8 between 1999 and 2010 according to DEİK[lvii]. Büyükakıncı considered in early 2000s that economic tools are inevitable in Turkey-Turkmenistan relations[lviii] advising that Turkey should remain focused on this area of cooperation[lix]. However, Ankara and Ashgabat also developed their political cooperation too. For example, UN General Assembly voted three times related to the situation of human rights in Turkmenistan in 2003, 2004 and 2005 (http://www.un.org/documents/resga.htm UN GA 2003, 2004, 2005) Turkey didn’t participate in voting (non-voting) in all three cases avoiding condemning Turkmen government related to its poor human rights records.In return, only Turkmen leader from Central Asia took part in political events organized by Turkey such as Gallipoli Commemoration in 2015[lx].

Even if Kyrgyzstan has excellent relations with Turkey and takes active part in all platforms with Ankara, Bishkek understands that it has lost its place in Turkish foreign policy. For Kyrgyzstan, Turkish investment is still very important which occupies fifth place in Kyrgyzstan[lxi] showing the economic place of Turkey.  According to the web page of Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs “Turkey continues to support Kyrgyzstan’s economic recovery through economic, trade and credit tools. The Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TİKA), which has supported Kyrgyzstan with more than 20 million USD through a variety of projects to date, continues activities in this country”[lxii]

But, Dinara Mirzaeva from American University of Central Asia criticizes that approach in bilateral relations considering Kyrgyzstan as a “country in need”.

“As for Kyrgyzstan, as a country in need (need of not only financial resources, but also Turkey’s experience in many spheres, including business, state-building, banking, education system, and many others.), it will maintain friendly relations with Turkey. However, Kyrgyzstan’s leadership also needs to change the way it sees Turkey by focusing on mutually beneficial cooperation (not only “receiving part” with high expectations), that would promote national interest.”[lxiii]

It seems that, Turkey’s contemporary foreign policy unfortunately reduced Kygyzstan simply to a country that shares common history and does not have long-term strategy towards this country.

Uzbekistan tries to consolidate its independence vis-à-vis regional powers by taking initiatives and avoiding joining any political and military organizations. Sovereighnty and non-interference on domestic issues are very key elements for Uzbek foreign policy. Without being disconnected from the economic realities, Tashkent tries not be involved in any ideological camps. Therefore, reducing Uzbek foreign policy to the bargain between East and the West is the false analysis. Tashkent follows very pragmatic foreign policy where economy and financial outcomes play an important role. Unfortunately, every Turkish president after Özal had incidents with Uzbek government during their office. Muhammed Salih, Uzbek political opposition leader who was hosted in Turkey in the 90s influenced negatively Turkey Uzbekistan relations during Süleyman Demirel era. During Sezer office Uzbekistan was condemned by Turkey in 2005 at UN General Assembly. During Gül’s office unfortunately there are no presidential visit exchanges between the two countries.  As a matter of fact, Turkey’s foreign policy towards Uzbekistan influenced not only political, but also economic relations.

Ankara should not be influenced by the internal problems in Central Asia in choosing her partners. Implication in internal problems may decrease Turkey’s potentials and capacities in the region. Therefore, Turkey does not have much room for manoeuvres in Central Asia in bilateral political relations. Davutoğlu’s vision related to cooperation based on NGO and business initiatives is rather unrealistic in contemporary Turkey Central Asia relations even though it could be excellent opportunity in the future. However, Turkey may shift the relations to another level and move from state-state relations to institutional basis of cooperation. Among the possible institutions we think TİKA can be important actor in developing both bilateral and multilateral relations.

 

 

6.       THE ROLE OF TİKA AS A FOREIGN AID AGENCY IN CENTRAL ASIA

 

In order to increase the capacity of cooperation several inter governmental institutions were created. They proposed multiple platforms for the meetings on different levels such as presidential, Ministers and Member of Parliament levels. If ECO is focused on economic Cooperation, Turkish Council organizes annual meeting of the heads of the governments. Another institution - TÜRKSOY was created in 1993 in order to develop cultural ties between the countries.

After 2000s, Gül’s office other institutions between Turkey and Central Asian countries were created such as TURKPA (Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic Republics) and TDİK (Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States)in order to increase and better institutional links with Central Asian countries. However, among the institutions TİKA plays a key role due to its institutional capacity and rich experience in the field.

It is important to understand TİKA primary philosophy and aims towards the region. According to Demirtepe and Özkan “TİKA, being a development aid agency, was basically founded as a new instrument for Turkish foreign policy in the hand of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs”[lxiv]. They consider that TİKA’s main aim was to promote Turkey’s experience of the free market economy, democratization via “Turkish Model” with Western support in order to curb Iranian influence and weaken Soviet/Russian position in the region[lxv]. From the other hand they consider that “Turkey, as a Turkic country sharing similar ethnic, cultural and historical roots, felt a moral obligation to assist these Turkic republics in their so-called transition period.”[lxvi] and over USD 1 Bln aid was given to Turkic states in 1992[lxvii]. However Fidan and Nurdun consider that Turkey started her donor activities before the creation of TİKA[lxviii]. They think that, “Turkey’s initiative was also demand-driven as these countries more and more expected Turkey to meet their needs considerably”[lxix].

Already in 90s TİKA faced the great challenges and could not provide the sustainability of its aid and projects. Demirtepe and Özkan considered thatTİKA’s role in the Turkish development aid activities remained very small due to its limited budget and lack of professionalism.”[lxx]. Gülay Kılıç showed that alongside Turkey, other countries such as Japan and USA also provide assistance to Central Asian countries showing the importance of the region. As is shown in the table below, Turkey lost its leading donor position in the region by the end of 90s.

 

Table 3. Gülay Kılıç, Turkish Foreign Aid Policy towards Central Asia from a Comparative Perspective, Master Thesis, METU, Ankara, 2011, p. 90.

 

 

After political and economic instability in Turkey in late 90s, TİKA was positively influenced in 2000s by domestic and international settings. Firstly, in 1999 it was linked directly to the Prime Ministry showing importance given to the institution by Turkish government. Secondly, not only the philosophy of TİKA, but its organizational structure was also modified. The promotion of so-called “Turkish Model” in Turkic speaking republics was finally inapplicable and Turkey had to recalculate its positions in the region. TİKA’s new philosophy was very much influenced by “multi-vector foreign policy” of Turkey aiming to establish “win-win” outcome with neighbouring countries and regions. TİKA prioritized focusing on “the development of socio-economic infrastructure, improvement of productions and communication sectors, cultural cooperation and contributions to social peace and humanitarian aid in Central Asia and Caucasus”[lxxi]. From the other part, TİKA adjusted its criterias and functioning to the International Development Aid Community with strong emphasis on EU commitments and UN Millenium Development Goals[lxxii]. TİKA developed the cooperation with other donor institutions within the region and systematically increased Turkish ODA from “$66.6 million in 2003 to $339.15 million in 2004 and $601.01 million in 2005, and then followed the amounts of $714.2 million in 2006, $602.24 million in 2007, $780.86 million in 2008 and $707.17 million in 2009”[lxxiii]. TİKA became an important donor not only in Central Asia and Caucasus, but also in the Middle East, Africa and other regions.

Unfortunately, towards the end of the decade TİKA’s position in Central Asia was fragilisized due to the Turkish Foreign Policy priorities in Africa and the Middle East. The share of the aid towards Central Asian countries was decreased. Jeanine Hausmann considers that Turkey “does not attribute any central strategic significance to the international discussions on the topic of aid effectiveness”. The same issue has risen by Fidan and Nurdun who considered that “a key challenge facing TIKA is now how to become an effective aid agency, in comparison to the other donors like GTZ, JICA, DFID and USAID”[lxxiv]. Besides that, Hausmann critisized the “lack of medium or long-term programming”, “absence of Country Strategy Papers”, and “deficits in the areas of monitoring and evaluation” as the major areas to be re-studies. Haussman also stresses “very small” amounts of Triangular Cooperation and “still at a very early stage” Turkish NGO’s role in TİKAs Central Asia activities[lxxv].

Yet, the need for TİKA and its activities are increasingly important in Central Asia due to the complex geopolitical situation. TİKA has the best experience and strongest institutional links in Central Asia. The capacity of Agency and its place cannot be compared to other bilateral or multilateral institutions supported by Turkey. TİKA may open a new phase of its activities with the better institutional capacities in the region. For that, TİKA should increase its efficiency via cooperation with other donor institutions in the region to increase sustainability of Turkish aid. Agency’s institutional capacities may also be increased via enlarging its fields of activities in the region. For example, other Turkish institutions may conduct their activities under TİKA’s regulations in order to give an impetus for Turkish aid. The scholarship programs for international students run by the Presidency for Turks and Related Communities (YTB) could be transferred to TİKA in order to maintain its institutional presence in Central Asia for a longer period.

But the most important challenge lies on the philosophy of TİKA in the post 2015 period and the place of Central Asia in Turkish Foreign Politics. TİKA as a state institution should be able to keep Central Asia as a primary priority zone without being very much influenced by Turkish domestic politics. The Agency is still among the rare institutions capable of carrying efficient policies in the region and be present in all countries without exception.

 

 

7.       CONCLUSION

 

Central Asia plays an important role in Turkish foreign policy since the creation of Turkish Republic. However, the paper shows that the national interests predominated in Ankara’s policies vis-à-vis the region. Turkey always followed its short-term priorities while establishing Central Asia policy. Ankara’s policies were also influenced by other powers and therefore shaped her relations with Central Asian countries. Therefore, if in 90s Turkic speaking countries dominated the political discourse and donor activities of Turkish administrations, by 2000s Central Asian politics did not have the same importance. 

However, Turkey’s balanced approach towards Central Asia in 2000s by has also opened the new economic possibilities. Turkey became an important trade partner for the majority of Central Asian countries while business opportunities for Turkish investors were increased within the region. Ankara could keep good and stable economic relations with all Central Asian countries with the particular focus on Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. An urgent economic strategy has a high importance for Turkey to continue its presence for a long term in the region.

Ankara also remains an important political partner for Central Asian countries, but may increase its potential by becoming a member of the European Union. However, Ankara’s willingness to take part in the regional organizations such as Eurasian Union and SCO dominated by Russia and China respectively shows the increasing cooperation of Turkey with non-Western countries within the region.

Bilateral relations of Turkey experienced ups and downs with increasing role of energy producing countries in Turkish foreign policy agenda. Astana and Ashgabat became the main vectors of regional priorities while Tashkent’s potentials were not clearly identified by the latest Turkish governments. If Ankara wants to be a key player in the region, Turkish policymakers have to develop friendly and stable relations with all Central Asian capitals. 

Therefore, institutional cooperation is an important asset for developing multilateral relations. In foreign policy priorities, Turkey tries to put a stronger emphasis on NGO activities as a tool of its foreign policy. However, TİKA which has rich experience and good knowledge of the region has more potentials and capacities than other institutions. TİKA’s cooperation with local and international institutions gives an important momentum for Ankara’s presence within the region. Turkish governments should focus on strengthening its institutional capacities and bringing together Turkish donor activities under TİKA’s umbrella to have a long-term and fruitful institutional cooperation.

 

 

 

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[i] Galip ÇAĞ “Osmanlı Devleti ve Orta Asya Hanlıkları arasında diplomatik faaliyetlerde bulunan elçiler ve karşılıklı verilen hedyeler”, Ekev Akademisi Dergisi, Vol. 12, No. 35, Spring 2008, p. 35.

[ii] Reformist Muslim movement in Central Asia and Russia in late XIX and early XX centuries.

[iii] Olivier ROY, Yeni Orta Asya ya da ulusların imal edilişi, Metis Yayınları, İstanbul, 2009, p. 72.

[iv] Ibidem, p. 107.

[v] Ibidem, p. 118.

[vi] Ibidem, p. 81.

[vii] Ibidem, p. 73.

[viii] William HALE, Türk Dış Politikası: 1774-2000, İstanbul, Mozaik, 2003, p. 42.

[ix] The term Turkicness - Türkçülük is mainly used by the Turkic people living outside Turkey.

[x] The term Turkishness – Türkçülük is used by the Turks living in Turkey.

[xi] Bugra KILIÇBEYLEROĞLU, Türkiye’nin Orta Asya’daki Türk Devletleri Politikası üzerindeki Rus Politikasının etkisi, Master Thesis Atılım University, Ankara, 2010, p. 31.

[xii] Bülent GÖKAY, “Pursuit in Central Asia, «Social Gene» and New Models”, Bilge Strateji, Volume 1, No 1, p. 12.

[xiii] Ibidem, p. 13.

[xiv] Sedat LAÇİNER, “Turgut Özal Period in Turkish Foreign Policy: Özalizm”, USAK Yearbook of International Politics and Law, Vol. 2, 2009, pp. 153-205.

[xv] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, http://www.mfa.gov.tr/turkiye-orta-asya-ulkeleri-iliskileri.tr.mfa, Acessed:  30.06.2015.

[xvi] Yaş, Sedef ZEYREKLİ, “Türkiye’nin Orta Asya Politikasında Süleyman Demirel’in Rölü”, Electronic Journal of Political Science Studies, June 2013, p. 3.

[xvii] Turkish Council, http://www.turkkon.org/tr-TR/zirveler_sureci_bilgi_notu/4/52, Acessed: 07.07.2015.

 

[xviii] Erhan BÜYÜKAKINCI, “Sovyet Sonrası Orta Asya’da Türkiye’nin Dış Politika Açılımları: Özbekistan ve Türkmenistan ile İlişkiler”, ed. Faruk Sönmezoğlu, Türk Dış Politikasının Analizi, Istanbul, 2004,  pp. 793-794.

[xix] Ibidem, p. 793.

[xx] Yaş, Sedef ZEYREKLİ, “Türkiye’nin Orta Asyacit, p. 21.

[xxii] Erhan BÜYÜKAKINCI, “Sovyet Sonrası Orta Asya’da… cit.”, p. 801.

[xxiii] Carlo FRAPPI, “Central Asia’s place in Turkey’s Foreign Policy”, ISPI analyses no. 225, December 2013, p. 9.

[xxiv] Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Turkey, Synopsis of the Turkish Foreign Policy, www.mfa.gov.tr.

[xxv] Ertan EFEGİL, “Turkish AK Party’s Central Asia and Caucasus Policies: Critiques and Suggestions”, Caucasian Review of International Affairs, Vol. 2(3),  Summer 2008, p. 4.

[xxvi] Thomas WHEELER, “Turkey’s role and Interests in Central Asia”, Saferworld Briefing, October 2013,  p. 4.

[xxvii] For example, instead of Kazakh, Turkish administration used the term Kazakh Türkçesi meaning Kazakh Turkish, and intead of Uzbek Özbek Türkçesi whish means Uzbek Turkish.

[xxviii] Efe ÇAMAN “Üçüncü On Yılında Türkiye’nin Orta Asya Bölgesel Politikası: Subjektif Algılardan Gerçeklere”, ed. Turgut Demirtepe ve Güner Özkan, Uluslararası Sistemde Orta Asya. Dış Politika ve Güvenlik, USAK, 2013,  p. 132.

[xxix] Ibidem, p. 135.

[xxx] Hakan FİDAN, “Turkish Foreign Policy towards Central Asia”, Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, Volume 12, No 1, March 2010, p. 110.

[xxxi] Engin AKÇAY and Farkhad ALİMUKHAMEDOV, “Redefining Contemporary Relations between Turkey and Uzbekistan”, Dumlupınar University Journal of Social Sciences, No. 36, April 2013, pp. 235-242.

[xxxii] Carlo FRAPPI, “Central Asia’s place …cit.”, p. 2.

[xxxiii] Gülay KILIÇ, Turkish Foreign Aid Policy Towards Central Asia from a Comparative Perspective, Master Thesis, METU, Ankara, 2011.

[xxxiv] Ertan EFEGİL, “Turkish AK Party’s Central Asia …cit”, p. 86.

[xxxv] Efe ÇAMAN “Üçüncü On Yılında Türkiye’nin …cit.”,  p. 136.

[xxxvi] Ahmet DAVUTOĞLU, “Turkic Republics since Independence: Towards a Common Future”, Center for Strategic Research (SAM), Vision papers, No 5, 2013, p. 11.

[xxxvii] Carlo FRAPPI, “Central Asia’s place …cit.”, p. 11.  

[xxxviii] Aydin MUSTAFA, “Turkey and Central Asia: Challenges of change”, Central Asian Survey, Vol. 15, No. 2, 1996, pp. 157-177.

[xxxix] Ziya ÖNİŞ, Perugia SISP Conference, 11-12 September 2014.

[xl] Bulent ARAS, “Turkey's policy in the former Soviet south: Assets and options”, Turkish Studies, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2001, p. 58.

[xli] European Commission Directorate-General for Trade, “European Union, Trade in Goods with Turkey”, 27.08.2014, http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2006/september/tradoc_113440.pdf , p. 9, Accessed: 20.10.2014.

[xlii] The Economist, “Turkey and Russia: old rivals, new partners”, 13.08.2009, http://www.economist.com/node/14216768, Accessed: 20.10.2014.

[xliii] Ainur NOGAEVA, “ABD’nin Orta Asya daki Demokratilleştirme Politikaları: Araçlar, Devrim Denemelerive Sonuçlar”, Orta Asya ve Kafkasya Araştırmaları Dergisi, USAK, Vol. 5, No. 10, 2010, p. 81.

[xliv] Türkan BUDAK“ Orta Asya’da Küresel Jeoekonomik Rekabet ve Türkiye”, Bilge Stareji, Vol. 5, No. 9, Autumn 2013, pp. 125-142.

[xlv] Ibidem, p. 139.

[xlvi] Paolo DUARTE, “Turkey vis-à-vis Central Asia: a geostrategic assessments”, Alternatives – Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 3, No. 3, 2014, p. 33.

[xlvii] Ibidem, p. 38.

[l] “Sezerle Sil Baştan, Yeni Şafak, 17.10.2000, http://www.yenisafak.com/Arsiv/2000/Ekim/17/d3.html.

[li] Here, we use the term Eurasian mainly from geographical point of view rather than from the standpoint of political thinking.

[lii] http://www.tccb.gov.tr, Acessed: 11.12. 2014.

[liii] Serdar YILMAZ,  “Economy Comes First”. Initiating Turkish-Kazakh Relations, Who Undertook the responsibility?”, International Journal Turkic Studies Review, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2014,  p. 29.

[liv] Ibidem, p. 31.

[lv] Ibidem, p. 28.

[lvi] Ibidem, p. 32.

[lvii] Turkey-Turkmenistan Council, Bulletin of Foreign Economic Relations Board, p. 14. https://www.kobilersizinicin.com/pdf/ulke_bulten/2011/Turkmenistan_bulten_.pdf,  Acessed: 30.06.2015.

[lviii]Erhan BÜYÜKAKINCI, “Sovyet Sonrası Orta Asya’da …cit.”, p. 801.

[lix] Ibidem, p. 802.

[lx]“Çanakkale’ye kimler geldi, Ermenistan’a hangi ülkeler gitti?”, Internet Haber http://www.internethaber.com/canakkaleye-kimler-geldi-ermenistana-hangi-ulkeler-gitti-783345h.htm, Acessed: 23.06.2015.

[lxiii] Dinara MIRZAEVA, “Kyrgyzstan-Turkey Relations: Cooperation in Political and Educational Spheres”, Review of European Studies, Vol. 6, No. 3, 2014, p. 46.

[lxiv] Güner OZKAN, Turgut DEMIRTEPE, “Transformation of a Development Aid Agency: TİKA in a Changing Domestic and International Setting”, Turkish Studies, Vol. 13(4), 2012, p. 647.

[lxv]Ibidem, p. 648.

[lxvi] Ibidem, p. 649.

[lxvii] Ibidem, p. 650.

[lxviii] Hakan FIDAN, Rahman NURDUN, “Turkey's role in the global development assistance community: the case of TIKA”, Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans, Vol. 10, No.1, 2008, p. 99.

[lxix] Ibidem, p. 102.

[lxx] Güner OZKAN, Turgut DEMIRTEPE, “Transformation of a Development Aid Agency …cit.”, 2012, p. 648.

[lxxi] Ibidem, p. 656.

[lxxii] Ibidem, p. 658.

[lxxiii] Ibidem.

[lxxiv] Hakan FIDAN, Rahman NURDUN, “Turkey's role in …cit.”, p. 110.

[lxxv] Jeannine HAUSMANN, “Turkey as a Donor Country and Potential Partner in Triangular Cooperation”, German Development Institute Discussion Paper, 14/2014, p. 13.