Kazakhstan - Turkey's gateway to Central Asia
Baku, Azerbaijan, April 15
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:
The expansion of political, economic and cultural relations with Turkic-speaking countries is one of the priorities of Turkey's modern foreign policy. It was initiated by Ahmet Davutoglu, former foreign minister, current prime minister.
After the ruling Justice and Development Party came to power, Turkey did a lot to have close relations with the Turkic-speaking countries.
One of the most important allies of Turkey among Turkic-speaking countries in the South Caucasus is Azerbaijan but in Central Asia - Kazakhstan. The Turkish authorities value these relations.
Turkey is one of the first countries which recognized the independence of Kazakhstan. This testifies to the special status of Kazakhstan in Central Asian policy of Ankara.
Today, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will pay a state visit to Kazakhstan. The two presidents will take part in the second meeting of the High Level Strategic Cooperation Council. The Turkish-Kazakh Business Forum will be also held.
Erdogan's visit to Kazakhstan will last from April 15-17.
At present, Turkey is the fourth country after the US, South Korea and Great Britain investing in Kazakhstan ($ 2 billion).
In addition, more than 1,800 Turkish companies operate in Kazakhstan, and this figure exceeds the number of other foreign companies operating in the country. The total cost of projects implemented by Turkish contractors in Kazakhstan is about $17.5 billion.
Over the last three years, the trade turnover between the two countries has doubled - from $2 billion to $4 billion, and this figure is projected to reach $10 billion within the framework of the program New Synergy, adopted by the heads of the two states.
It should be also noted that all Turkish satellites were launched into space from the Kazakh cosmodrome Baikonur.
It is expected that the development of economic relations will be mainly discussed during the visit of Turkish president to Kazakhstan. It is also expected that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will invite Kazakh counterpart to take part in a festive procession, which will be held April 24 to mark the anniversary of the Battle of Canakkale.
Given the political and economic development of Kazakhstan, one can say that Ankara considers this country a gateway to Central Asia.
Rufiz Hafizoglu is the head of Trend Agency's Arabic news service, follow him on Twitter: @rhafizoglu