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Samarkand summit of the Organization of Turkic States: agenda and key decisions

ASTANA. KAZINFORM The summit of the leaders of the Organization of Turkic States kicked off on November 11 in Samarkand, addressing a wide array of issues in cooperation between the five member states and two observer countries. More about the agenda of the meeting and key decisions are in the latest article of Kazinform.The Organization of Turkic States, formerly known as the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States, was established in 2009 as an intergovernmental organization to promote comprehensive cooperation among Turkic States. Its four founding member states are Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Türkiye. Uzbekistan joined as a full member during the 7th summit in Baku in October 2019. Hungary received observer status at the organization during its 6th Summit in Cholpon-Ata in September 2018, and Turkmenistan became an observer member during the 8th summit in November 2021 in Istanbul.
    The Istanbul summit is deemed a key milestone in the development of OTS, as it was when the Turkic Council got its new name – the Organization of Turkic States (OTS) – and became a full-fledged international organization, and when leaders adopted the Turkic World Vision – 2040, which supports Turkic countries’ integration efforts and lays out their cooperation’s long-term goals.
    The Samarkand summit is taking place under the slogan A New Era of Turkic Civilization: On the Way to Common Development and Prosperity.
    Samarkand Summit, therefore, completes the historical decisions taken at the Istanbul Summit in terms of adopting amendments to the Nakhchivan Agreement, establishing the Turkic Investment Fund and adopting the five-year strategy of the organization.
    Samarkand Summit focused on deepening economic cooperation, improving transport connectivity, food security, and digitalization to promote the socioeconomic development of the member states.
    The need to boost cooperation, including in new promising areas such as digitization and IT, was the overarching message delivered by the leaders of Turkic states at the summit in Samarkand.
    Addressing the summit, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev reaffirmed the country’s commitment to the development of comprehensive interaction within the organization. According to him, the role of the organization, encompassing a vast region of more than 170 million people, is growing today.
    «Kazakhstan makes a significant contribution to the strengthening and expansion of friendly and good-neighborly relations between the Turkic states. A striking example of this is the policy document the Turkic World Vision – 2040,» he said.
    The five-year strategy of the organization, which was adopted during the summit, will contribute to enhancing interaction and strengthening the belt of stability.
    «Actively participating in addressing the issues of regional and global agenda, we should become a powerful and influential force. The current geopolitical and geo-economic contradictions have a negative impact on the economy and transport and logistics system of the Eurasian continent. We must show solidarity to jointly confront all challenges and threats,» said Tokayev.
    Türkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose country passed the chairpersonship at the organization to Uzbekistan during the summit, said the countries are going through a «fragile period» that offers risks as well as opportunities to the countries.
    «We see that it is critical more than ever for us to strengthen the cooperation, solidarity and harmony among us during this period,» he added.
    Transport and transit Tokayev called the development of the transport and logistics sector a priority. He urged the leaders to use the strategic location of member states, including through the development of the Trans-Caspian international transport route, which runs through the territories of Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Türkiye.
    The development of transport and logistics potential has been a priority for Kazakhstan too, which spent US$35 billion on this effort in the last 15 years alone.
    Kazakhstan boasts a network of transit, transcontinental corridors, and routes. 13 international corridors pass through Kazakhstan, including 5 railways and 8 auto corridors.
    «Our country is interested in diversifying transport routes and developing logistics. We plan to attract another $20 billion in investments for these purposes by 2025,» he said.
    Expanding transport and transit corridors between Turkic states can be possible through modernizing border checkpoints, developing alternative rail and road transport routes and introducing digital technologies to optimize cargo registration procedures, provide a prompt exchange of transport documents and provide additional opportunities for entering the international market.
    President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev agreed with Tokayev, saying that the organization should focus on increasing the competitiveness of transit corridors in the region, introducing the most favorable tariffs for business and creating a modern transport infrastructure.
    «For instance, we are speaking a lot about the Trans-Caspian international corridor, but we have to accomplish a lot to achieve tangible results. For example, Uzbekistan transports only 10 percent of its foreign trade goods through this transport corridor. To fully utilize our transport and transit potential, we need to find answers to the following questions - what should we do in this direction, what additional measures should be taken and when and by whom should they be taken,» he said.
    Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov declared the plans to start practical implementation of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railroad project in the near future. This project will complement the railways and road connections of the Trans-Caspian transport route, speeding up cargo deliveries to Western countries.
    New promising areas In his remarks, Tokayev stressed in the current geopolitical conditions, countries are increasingly isolated from each other in terms of technology. To boost cooperation in this sector, he proposed to create the Digital Center of the Organization of Turkic States at the Astana Hub international technopark.
    «It will develop digital solutions, so necessary for trade, transport, use of water resources, information security and other important sectors. For effective implementation of this initiative, I propose to establish a Venture Fund of Turkic countries, which will attract investments in important start-up projects,» he said.
    He also focused on the need to develop green economy projects, citing the devastating impact of climate change.
    «The environmental consequences of this phenomenon are also holding back the progress of our countries. Over the past seven years alone, the world s nations have spent over $2.5 trillion on green bonds. To expand the capital market in this sector, I propose creating a Green Finance Council, which could be set up at the Astana International Financial Centre, considering its experience and credibility among the world s major companies. In addition, the AIFC can be entrusted with the duties of the Secretariat of this Council,» he said.
    Uzbek leader Mirziyoyev drew attention to the joint potential of the member states to address the growing food security problem.
    «We have the potential to supply the agricultural and food products not only to our countries, but also the foreign markets. (…) First, it is high time to adopt a multilateral agreement within our organization to create an effective system of food supply based on the needs of global and domestic markets and the production capacities of our countries. Second, it is important to establish a comprehensive partnership between the Organization of Turkic States and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to accelerate innovation, modern knowledge and advanced technology in the industry,» he told his counterparts.
    Energy issues Erdoğan emphasized the common geography that lies at the crossroads of strategic energy corridors and suggested the leaders expand cooperation in energy both at the bilateral level and within the organization.
    «In fact, Türkiye has long been taking uninterrupted steps to support its own and the region s energy supply security. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline is among the most successful energy projects globally. The Southern Gas Corridor is designed as the fourth artery to transport gas to Europe. This corridor, of which the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline is the backbone, can be further developed with additional gas supplies,» he said.
    Culture and education Tokayev said it is necessary to strengthen the scientific and educational ties of Turkic states. He announced Kazakhstan s plans to hold the Second Turkic University Games in Kazakhstan in 2023 under the auspices of the Union of Turkic Universities.
    He also encouraged measures to develop academic mobility and create conditions for strengthening intercultural dialogue between students.
    The Kazakh leader also proposed to develop a road map for studying the common written heritage of Turkic people.
    «Valuable evidence of the history of the Turkic civilization is increasingly being found in different parts of the world. This is the common heritage of our people. Therefore, I consider it an important task to study and systematize the available historical and linguistic sources. We need to organize active interaction of scientific institutions and more widely present the results of their research to the world community. The work of our organization should not be limited to diplomatic summits and meetings with the signing of final documents,» said Tokayev.
    Uzbekistan will chair the organization in 2023 As the organization’s chair for the next year, Uzbekistan President Mirziyoyev suggested institutional reforms in the organization. He proposes to create separate committees at the ministerial level on priority areas in politics and security, trade and investment, transport, agriculture, energy, information technology, tourism, innovation and education, medicine, and youth.
    «The active involvement of experts and scientists, public and private sector representatives in their activities shall undoubtedly have a great effect,» he said.
    The secretariat of the organization should also be restructured for a more effective organization of the work.
    He also stressed the need to strengthen the strict monitoring system of implementation of all decisions and documents adopted by the heads of state.
    «Our Turkic world has an enviable great history, great ancestors and incomparable wealth. And I believe that the Turkic world has a great future. No doubt, we shall create this future together with our hardworking, magnanimous and noble people. Our summit in the ancient city of Samarkand shall usher in a new stage of growth in the modern history of the civilization of the Turkic world,» said Mirziyoyev.
    The significant achievements adopted at the Samarkand summit in the cooperation between Turkic states are encouraging. At a time of fundamental geopolitical transformations, the integration agenda of Turkic countries is gaining momentum and the key task that remains is to make the adopted decisions a reality.
    Written by Assel Satubaldina Photo: akorda.kz

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