Along with the emergence of the newly independent Soviet Muslim periphery, the region, has started to be included in Turkish foreign policy agenda, too.Turkey was one of the first countries who recognised the independence of the Central Asian republics. Besides recognitionTurkeyhas declared her willingness and readiness to give spiritual and material support to the newly-independent Central Asian republics. The attempts of Turkey was treated with pleasure by the mentioned republics. We should make it clear that in the begining of the relations period not only the newly- independent Central Asian republics but also Turkey tried to develop intimate relations with these republics taking her multi-dimentional advantages into consideration such as compensating her isolation from the EU, enlarging its sphere of economic, cultural and political influence in the Central Asian region, developing cultural and social relations with these republics and safeguarding herself in this newly-emerged volatile region. According to Bal, the Turkish academic, “There are two reasons for Turkey’s interest in Central Asia and Caucasus (particularly in Azerbaijan). The first and most important one includes cultural issues such as ethnicity, religion, history and language. It answers the question, whether Turkey would be so interested in this part of the world if these republics were not Muslim in religion and Turkic in origin. The second reason includes security issues and Turkey’s international relations in general”. (Bal, 1998, p.59)
However, after a while this sincere relationship has left its place to a more realistic understanding. Soon, while those Central Asian republics began to be aware of the fact that the the solution of the harsh problems they face needs an ally politically, economically stronger thanTurkey, andTurkeyrealized the fact that the economic potential and capability she has will not be able to cover the needs of those republics. So, from then on the relation between sides has placed itself on a more reasonable basis, and turned out to be more cultural-orientated pattern.
In the first part of the article, social, political and economic overview of the Central Asian Republics will be presented, in the second part social, political and economic obstacles that the Central Asian Republics face will be explained and in the last part the role that Turkey has played will be clarified.
Author: Gamze Güngörmüş Kona
Source: Foundation ForMiddle Eastand Balkan Research (Obiv) – Eurasian Studies Annual 5-5
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