Expert: Integration processes in Turkic Council driven by geographic proximity, shared cultural heritage (Exclusive)

Expert: Integration processes in Turkic Council driven by geographic proximity, shared cultural heritage (Exclusive)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 16

By Fakhri Vakilov-Trend:

Integration processes in the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States (CCTS-Turkic Council) are driven by the geographic proximity and shared cultural heritage of all member states, Tobias Vollmer, senior analyst at PRISM Political Risk Management - a London-based consultancy covering the Caspian and Central Asia, told Trend in an interview.

“What could accelerate the integration internally is the relative balance between the participating countries. While integration in other prominent organizations in the region, such as the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) or the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), is at times hampered by political reservations in smaller member states against policy efforts of the dominant countries, Russia and China, the CCTS is based on an economically more symmetric relationship,” he noted.

Vollmer stated that the Turkic Council is a crucial organization in the Caspian region fostering political, cultural and economic integration of its five member states.

“As any regional integration project, it provides a platform for nation states to discuss potential political tensions in a peaceful manner and tackle shared economic problems for the prosperity of their people,” he stressed.

In the regional context, Vollmer said, CCTS gives smaller economies a framework to align their political and economic interests and speak with a more confident voice on the global stage. From a geopolitical perspective, the countries are located at a crucial crossroads between East Asia, the Middle East and Europe which is of significant interest for larger powers.

“The creation of a joint chamber of commerce will facilitate trade between the member states”, PRISM’s Senior Analyst noted.

He added that the possible creation of a $700 million investment fund would be a meaningful step to mend regional discrepancies between the member states and internally. It will enhance regional economic integration with potential spill-over effects in the immediate vicinity.

“However, the member states account for only about 1 per cent of global GDP. Their trade volume of approximately $500 billion is only a fraction of worldwide turnover,” Vollmer said.

The 7th Turkic Council Summit was held in Baku on Oct. 15.

A meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Turkic Council was held in Baku on Oct. 14.

The Turkic Council was established on Oct.3, 2009 in Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. Its goal is the development of full cooperation between member states. Since its establishment, six meetings of the council have been held.

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Follow author on Twitter:@vakilovfaxri

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