Last month, Astana witnessed a historic event that left an indelible mark on the Turkic World—the 10th Anniversary Summit of the Organization of Turkic States. Why was this summit particularly significant?
No doubt, the 10th OTS Summit was a momentous occasion, capturing the attention not only of Turkic nations but also resonating with global entities connected to the Turkic sphere. Our international partners keenly observed the proceedings, given the relationships we’ve cultivated with various institutions on the world stage over the past year.
This summit wasn’t just a run-of-the-mill meeting; it was a convergence of minds, a reaffirmation of shared values, and a blueprint for the future. Gathering for the tenth time, the Leaders engaged in high-level discussions on multilateral Turkic cooperation under the umbrella of our Organization. The Summit’s motto, “TURKTIME” wasn’t chosen randomly. It’s a message, a testament from current Turkic Leaders to the future generations of Turkic youth.
The Heads of State exhibited a profound understanding of the challenges and opportunities ahead, laying the groundwork for impactful decisions under the theme “TURKTIME” – Traditions, Unification, Reforms, Knowledge, Trust, Investments, Mediation, and Energy“ which serves as the guiding principles, outlining a detailed roadmap for the future endeavors of the OTS. Each element of “TURKTIME” represented a crucial aspect, from preserving Traditions to fostering Unification, implementing Reforms, advancing Knowledge, building Trust, attracting Investments, engaging in Mediation, and intensifying cooperation in the Energy sector.
Set against this dynamic backdrop, our 10th Summit underscored the maturity of our Organization and its adaptability to the ever-shifting currents of the times. In the spirit of its motto, it symbolized a collective commitment, showcasing the Organization’s resilience in the face of modern challenges and reinforcing its credible standing in the global arena.
What were the pivotal conclusions and decisions made by the Heads of State during this Summit?
Before diving into the key decisions, let’s applaud the successful Chairpersonship of Uzbekistan. The Organization’s cooperation areas, now totaling 30, have expanded significantly in the past year. The success of our Organization hinges on the effective implementation of decisions, and in the last 11 months, we’ve held a whopping 110 events covering various fields.
During the Uzbekistan Chair, aligned with the Turkic World Vision 2040 document, strides were taken, goals were set, and a fertile ground for the next Chair was cultivated. The Summit acknowledged and congratulated Uzbekistan on its successful term. I’d like to highlight that Uzbekistan, having capably held the rotating Chairpersonship for the past year, has made substantial contributions to fostering synergy and a spirit of cooperation within the Organization. Despite joining in 2019, Uzbekistan has played an essential role in advancing the Organization’s work and contributing to its ongoing development.
In Astana, our Leaders delved into various areas of work within the Organization, particularly focusing on the political and economic issues. They sought opportunities to enhance our Organization’s influence and collaboratively address pressing global issues. Discussions on regional challenges were paramount, emphasizing joint security measures and environmental sustainability projects.
The Summit conveyed deep concern at the deterioration of the situation in Gaza, condemning all attacks targeting civilians. It underscored the urgent need for an immediate ceasefire while emphasizing the paramount importance of pursuing a two-state solution in Palestine. The just cause of Azerbaijan in restoring its sovereignty and territorial integrity found renewed affirmation, and the Leaders celebrated Türkiye’s 100th anniversary with pride.
Economic cooperation took center stage, with a focus on developing transport, streamlining trade procedures, and discussing initiatives like the Turkic Investment Fund and the TURANSEZ special economic zone. These initiatives aim to strengthen economic ties, foster innovation, and create a favorable environment for trade and investment on the global economic stage.
An exciting announcement was made, designating Astana as the 2024 Turkic World Financial Center and Istanbul as the 2025 Turkic World Financial Center.
Transport activities along the Trans-Caspian International East-West Central Corridor received a green light, along with an emphasis on developing physical and digital transport infrastructure projects. The Leaders welcomed the Action Plan for the Implementation of the OTS Transport Connectivity Program, showcasing a commitment to advancing transportation cooperation.
Addressing a significant aspect, the Leaders highlighted the work of the Common Alphabet Commission and committed to continued efforts in this direction.
An instrumental decision during the Summit was the conferment of observer status upon the ECO at our Organization. Numerous countries and international organizations aspire to attain this status within our Organization, signifying its esteemed international standing. Consequently, with the unified decision of our Leaders, the Organization for Economic Cooperation became an observer—an unprecedented development as ECO is the first organization within the OTS to achieve this status.
A notable occurrence during the Summit was the proposal by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of the Republic of Kazakhstan, resulting in the awarding of the “Supreme Order of the Turkic World” to President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan for his significant contribution to strengthening Turkic unity under his exceptional leadership. This accolade, unique globally, was established by our heads of state four years ago and is conferred through a joint decision and signature of all heads of state. It’s noteworthy that no similar application exists elsewhere in the world.
The inaugural Supreme Order was bestowed upon the Honorary President of the Organization of Turkic States, First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, at the 2019 Summit in Baku. In 2021, it was presented to President Ilham Aliyev for his remarkable contributions to the strengthening of the Turkic world and his role in the liberation of occupied Karabakh. In 2022, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Chairman of the Halk Maslakhaty of the Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, were both bestowed with the prestigious “Supreme Order” in recognition of their dedicated services to the Turkic world.
A poignant decision was the declaration of February 6 as the “Day of Remembrance of Disaster Victims and Solidarity.” This initiative, proposed by Uzbekistan, honors the unity and solidarity shown by the Turkic World in the aftermath of the earthquake that shook Türkiye in February 2023.
Underscoring the significance of the final Astana Declaration, adopted by the Heads of State, cannot be overstated. This 156-point Declaration serves as a substantial demonstration of collective will on political matters, encapsulating the comprehensive agenda of the Turkic States. Encompassing cooperation in economic, cultural, and humanitarian spheres, from major events to intricate details, the unanimous adoption of this Declaration further underscores the unity and solidarity of the Turkic world.
How do these results align with the Organization of Turkic States’ objectives?
Quite seamlessly. They foster closer ties among member states, promote economic growth, and address common challenges through joint action and cooperation.
The outcomes of the Summit, both concrete and visionary, embody the essence of “Turk Time.” Concrete agreements on economic cooperation, cultural initiatives, and joint efforts on security issues align with the forward-looking vision of the Turkic states.
Our member states, bound by commonalities in identity, history, language, culture, and more, find a universal platform in the OTS. Shaped around the 2040 Vision and 2022-26 Strategy, the OTS guides activities that pave the way into the future.
The Summit’s decisions create a positive ripple effect, contributing to a more interconnected and harmonious Turkic world. Stability, economic growth, and cultural exchange are at the forefront of this transformative wave.
Our Organization, as a reputable international entity ensuring security and stability in the region, maintains constructive relations with the outside world. The interest shown in the OTS speaks volumes, and we eagerly anticipate fruitful cooperation with the Organization for Economic Cooperation, our newest observer.
By the way, who qualifies to join the Organization of Turkic States, and what conditions apply besides observer status?
According to Article 22 of the Nakhchivan Agreement signed 14 years ago, only Turkic States can become members of the Organization. Typically, these are countries where the majority of the population consists of Turkic peoples, and one of the Turkic languages serves as the state language. Based on these criteria, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Türkiye, and Uzbekistan are the member states of the Organization.
While we appreciate the interest from numerous countries and institutions worldwide seeking observer status in our Organization, we can’t accommodate everyone. We also offer Partner status with more flexible admission conditions. Any country or organization with shared interests and cooperation projects across various fields, including economy, transport, and culture, can establish Partnership ties with the Organization. These partnerships are formalized through the signing of a special agreement.
The Organization of Turkic States is eager to establish partnership relations with countries/institutions worldwide, provided there are common interests. We remain open for constructive dialogue and mutually beneficial relations with all those ready to engage in cooperation.
How does the Organization of Turkic States navigate its relations with other Turkic Cooperation Organizations in the Turkic world?
The Organization of Turkic States, along with other Turkic Cooperation institutions, including TURKSOY, TURKPA, Turkic Academy, TCHF and TCCI stands as selfless and friendly organizations forged between brotherly countries sharing a common goal. Coordination among these organizations is vital, and the Coordination Committee, established under the OTS Secretariat, ensures harmonized activities.
Efforts to coordinate the flags of Turkic Cooperation Organizations reflect the united front these entities present within the Turkic world.
How the Organization of Turkic States prepares for the future and what can be anticipated during the Kazakhstan Chairpersonship?
Following the landmark Astana Summit, our Leaders have established specific objectives, spanning from deepening economic integration to expanding cultural exchange programs. The initiatives in technology, education, human resources and health underscore our forward-looking approach to the challenges and opportunities on the horizon.
Astana Summit has, in essence, set our Organization on a trajectory for the future, with a focus on continuous dialogue, diplomatic engagement, and dynamic strategies. Our overarching goal is to cultivate an environment of cooperation, surmount challenges that may arise, and ensure the collective resilience of the Turkic states.
The Declaration of the 10th OTS Summit is more than a mere document; it serves as a roadmap for the future, projecting the common aspirations of Turkic nations onto the global stage. Envisioning a future where economic strength, cultural richness, and human capital development converge, this declaration paints a vivid portrait of the Turkic world’s journey into the next era.
In conclusion, the 10th Summit in Astana stands as a pivotal milestone in the history of the Turkic states. Turkic States are not merely nations; they are architects of a common destiny, building bridges towards a more interconnected and prosperous future for all.
Looking specifically at the Kazakhstan Chairpersonship, we anticipate a highly productive period marked by significant activities and studies. These endeavors will span diverse fields such as youth and sports, culture, education, health, economy, trade, and new areas that will further strengthen our unity. The upcoming term is poised to be a transformative chapter, propelling the Organization of Turkic States towards even greater cohesion and progress.