The main task of the Turkic Council for the next 10 years is to expand ties in the fields of transport, trade and tourism in order to deepen internal integration, Farid Shafiyev, chairman of the board of Azerbaijan’s Center for Analysis of International Relations, told Trend Oct. 15.
The year 2019 marks the 10th anniversary of the creation of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States (Turkic Council, CCTS). In this regard, the 7th CCTS Summit is being held in Baku.
Shafiyev said that deepening and expanding ties with the Turkic Council is one of the priority directions of Azerbaijan’s foreign policy.
“The holding of this summit in Azerbaijan confirms that President Ilham Aliyev and Azerbaijan are a reliable and strong partner in the region and the world,” the chairman noted. “President Ilham Aliyev, speaking at the 6th Turkic Council Summit in 2018, said that Azerbaijan expanded cooperation with Turkic-speaking states, and positive results were reached in the political, economic, trade, energy, transport and humanitarian spheres.”
“The main goal of the Turkic Council, created Oct. 3, 2009 by the signing of the Nakhchivan agreement by the Azerbaijani, Kazakh, Kyrgyz and Turkish presidents, is to expand cooperation among Turkic-speaking states in the cultural, political, economic, transport spheres, in the field of regional and global security and law, deepening integration within limits,” Shafiyev added.
“In 2009, when the Council was created, despite that there are six Turkic-speaking countries in the world, only four of them entered it. Turkmenistan didn’t become a member because of the status of neutrality adopted by the UN, and Uzbekistan because of the closed foreign policy course. But the events of the past 10 years have increased the interest of states in the Turkic Council. Hungary, a EU member, became an observer member of the Turkic Council, and with the election of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in Uzbekistan and the implementation of an open foreign policy course, this country also became a member of the Turkic Council,” the chairman said.
“In this sense, a significant event for the Turkic Council is not only the 10th anniversary, but also Uzbekistan’s membership,” said the chairman. “In terms of GDP, Uzbekistan ranks fourth among the Turkic-speaking states with an indicator of $50 billion, and ranks second in terms of population of 34 million people. This potential of Uzbekistan will serve to its active participation in many activity areas of the Council. For this reason, in the future, external interest in the Turkic Council will increase, and the implementation of many projects will accelerate,” he added.
Shafiyev noted that the opening of the office of the Turkic Council in Budapest, the capital of Hungary, which is an observer member of the Council, Sept. 19 this year, is also a significant event.
“The office, which was opened with the participation of Secretary General of the Council Baghdad Amreyev and the foreign ministers of the member states, will promote cooperation with European countries,” said the chairman of the board of Azerbaijan’s Center for Analysis of International Relations. “As a member of the EU, Hungary can serve to develop relations between the Turkic Council and the European Union. Hungarians consider themselves descendants of the Huns and according to Article 22 of the Nakhchivan agreement, their full membership in the Council is permissible.”
“On the other hand, in the future such countries as Russia, Iran, Georgia, where the Turks live, or such states as South Korea, Japan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, which have close ties with Turkic-speaking states, may want to join the Turkic Council,” Shafiyev added.
He went on to say: “But it must be emphasized that opinions on the expansion of the Council differ. Some experts believe that until the Council is fully formed, membership of the above mentioned states may slow down decision-making. For this reason, according to the Nakhchivan agreement, in connection with the status of non-Turkic speaking states, in the future, the agenda may include the issue of their cooperation with the Council in the capacity of an observer, dialogue partner or just a partner. According to the Article 16 of the Nakhchivan agreement, the Turkic Council can give observer status to states, international organizations and international forums.”
The chairman said that the main desire of the member countries, and the Turkic Council as a whole, is Turkmenistan’s membership.
“Even though Turkmenistan is not a member, it is an active participant in various activities of the Council,” Shafiyev noted. “Turkmenistan’s officials also participate in the Council’s summits, and representation of this country at the prime minister’s level at the 7th Council Summit in Baku is a clear example of Ashgabat’s support for the activity of the Turkic Council. Turkmenistan’s membership would strengthen the economic and political power of the Council and the role of this country on a regional and global scale.”
“After Uzbekistan and Hungary became members of the Turkic Council, its economic power amounted to $1.706 trillion, and the total population - to 161 million people,” the chairman said. “At the same time, there is a need for further expansion of trade among the member states of the Council. Of course, for the development of transport links, the relevant authorities of the member countries continue to discuss competitiveness and speed of the medium transport corridor, which is also supported by Azerbaijan.”
“Successful completion of these discussions will positively affect both trade and tourism relations, which are important factors accelerating integration,” Shafiyev added. “In this sense, the main task of the Turkic Council for the next 10 years is to expand ties in the areas of transport, trade and tourism in order to deepen internal integration.”
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