In 16 April 2015 the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan made an official visit to Kazakhstan with an invitation of President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev. This is the first official visit of Erdogan to Kazakhstan since his election as a President. Nazarbayev gave a solemn welcoming to Erdogan in Astana. In his speech Nazarbayev said that ‘Kazakhstan has highly been appreciating Turkey as the first state who recognized the independence of our country. This year we are celebrating the 550th anniversary of the Kazakh Khanate. Therefore, the visit of the President of Turkey to Kazakhstan has a significant symbolic meaning for both countries. Turkey is one of our closest political and economic partners’. Nazarbayev also indicated that ‘With Erdogan’s leadership, Turkey has reached great achievements for the last 12 years. Turkey is the 16th biggest economy in the world which is mostly due to the great performance of the Turkish government and Erdogan’s efforts. We believe that this visit will level up our relationships’. The relations between two countries were considerably strengthened in 2009 when a treaty for strategic partnership was signed during the visit of Nazarbayev to Turkey. In May, 2012 the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council (HLSCC) was assembled and held its first meeting in Turkey. This second meeting of HLSCC is held in Kazakhstan. In the meeting issues on trade, economy and investment were considered and a number of agreements were signed. On 11th October, 2012, during the first meeting of the HLSCC held in Ankara, Turkey-Kazakhstan New Synergy – Joint Economic Program was signed by the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, former Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, former Minister of Economy of Turkey Zafer Çaglayan, and the Deputy Prime Minister and the Industry and New Technologies Minister of Kazakhstan Aset Issekeshev. According to the Program 14 investment projects total cost of which 1.5 billion USD were accepted. The Program for 2012-2015 period included issues on trade, investment, industry, transport, science, innovation, new technologies, agriculture, energy, mining, banking, financial sector, regional cooperation, industrial areas, tourism and many other industries. The two countries also agreed to start working on the establishment of the Kazakh-Turkish industrial zones. The industrial zones were supposed to be established in Astana, Almaty, Oral and Shymkent regions. The cooperation within New Synergy Program has significant results in various fields. Large Turkish companies have invested in Kazakhstan. A number of small and medium-sized enterprises in food, light and construction industries started investment projects. For the development of transport and transit potential, the two countries have established the process of integration of the Zhezkazgan-Beyneu railway network with Akhalkalaki (Georgia) - Kars (Turkey) railway. To conclude, the implementation of the 3-year period Program can be positively assessed by the both parties. The trade between the two countries became 3.5 billion USD in 2014. On 16th April, 2015, during the second meeting of the HLSCC held in Astana, a list of initial projects to strengthen New Synergy Program has been developed. 23 business ventures for amount of more than 2.8 billion USD have been included in this list with projects on development and production of aluminum radiators, window and door accessories, waterproofing materials, steel pipes, fiber-reinforced concrete, background concrete hydroponic green fodder, construction of commercial and military vessels and development of maritime transportation. After the second meeting of the HLSCC, governmental and business authorities (including the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mevlut Cavusoglu, the Minister of Economy, Nihat Zeybekci, the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Taner Yildiz, the Minister of Agriculture, Mehdi Eker, the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Omer Celik, the Minister of National Security, Ismet Yilmaz and the Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications, Feridun Bilgin) accompanied with more than 400 representatives of the companies participated in Kazakhstani-Turkish Business Forum. In the Business Forum 19 projects, total amount of which was 800 million USD, were signed. With closer economic negotiations after the meeting, cooperation between the two countries has considerably increased. Kazakhstan and Turkey have been continuing to work on 35 investment projects that cost 3.4 billion USD. Some important negotiations with the representatives of these ministries can be evaluated as follows: - The Minister of Economy of Turkey and the Minister of Investment and Development of Kazakhstan approved the protocol on activation of the New Synergy Program. It has been planned to increase the volume of trade up to 10 billion USD and the volume of annual investments up to 500 million USD. - The President of the Council for Scientific and Technological Research of Turkey and the Chairman of the Board of the National Agency for Technological Development of Kazakhstan have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation, which provided cooperation in information, communications, industrial technology, energy, materials, metallurgy, food industry, agriculture, transportation, logistics and civil engineering. - A meeting was held between the President of the Office for Religious Affairs of Turkey and the Vice-Minister of Culture and Sports of Kazakhstan. The parties discussed issues on religion and expressed their desire for further development of mutual cooperation in this field. - The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of two countries considered regional issues such as Eurasian Economic integration and Turkey’s concern on trade with Central Asian countries. After the meeting of the two leaders held a joint briefing. A treaty of cooperation was signed between The Chamber of Foreign Trade of Kazakhstan and the Council of Foreign Economic Relations of Turkey. These two bilateral treaties include The Final Joint Statement of the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council between Kazakhstan and Turkey and the Protocol of Implementation of the New Synergy Joint Economic Program. The official visit of Erdogan ended in Turkestan on 17th April. The President of Turkey accompanied by the President of Kazakhstan enjoyed the visit to the Khoca Akhmet Yassawi Mausoleum. Then, the presidents of the two countries took part in the opening ceremony of “Akhmet Yassawi Mosque” which counts for 2,000 people and has cost 12 million USD to be constructed. The two presidents also presented a Koran to the new mosque. Nazarbayev and Erdogan also participated in the opening ceremony of the library of Khoca Akhmet Yassawi International Kazakh-Turkish University which includes nearly 8.5 thousand students from 32 countries. Totally 3750 students and academicians from Turkey have been studying and working in the University which also cooperates with 52 universities from different countries. Khoca Akhmet Yassawi International Kazakh-Turkish University is the first university that gained an international status among other Turkic countries. The learning language is in Kazakh, Turkish, Russian and English languages. The university staff has been involved in QS international rating and the University plans to be one of the best 350 world universities within 5 years. During the visit, the presidents met with the staff and the students of the Khoca Akhmet Yassawi International Kazakh-Turkish University. The Chairman of Board of Trustee Professor Osman Horata and the Rector of the University Professor Ualikhan Abdibekov extended their thanks to the two leaders for their great contributions to the development of the university. Besides, The President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan was honoured with a title of “Honorable Professor” during the visit. In conclusion, the aim of the visit was to analyze the consequences of the 24 years cooperation, to improve the partnership and develop economic relations between the two countries. Kazakhstan and Turkey have great economic potentials. Various economic projects would strengthen their relations in near future. Kazakhstan can reach European markets through the Caspian Sea while Turkey can develop economic cooperation with the Central Asian countries.
Note: The views expressed in this blog are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the Institute's editorial policy.
Issayeva Meyramgul Ibadullayevna was born in 7th November, 1977, in South Kazakhstan region, Turkestan city. In 1998 finished secondary school named after Ulugbek with honor. Graduated from Kazakh National Pedagogical University named after Abay in speciality of Law.