Journal of History School


Beginning of the 21st Century Turkey-Kazakhstan Relations

Since gaining independence in 1991 with the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan has been following a foreign policy that is based on international power balances and "multi-dimensional foreign policy" defined by Nursultan Nazarbayev. Kazakhstan, which has prioritized Russia and would like to maintain positive relations with China, also intends to establish close relations with neighboring countries, the US, and European Union countries. Besides all these, Turkey has been an ally and a fellow country for Kazakhstan. Turkey is the first country to recognize the independence of Kazakhstan. This can be regarded as a political initiative having very important symbolic meanings beyond just establishing a diplomatic relationship. The role of love and yearning for Central Asian Turks was great in this brave conduct of Turkey. Unfortunately, this sentimental approach marked later relations, steps unaware of cultural backgrounds and present situations of Central Asian republics had not become permanent. Consequemtly, improving relations soon after their independence, declined after 1993, they ascended since 2002, and then they followed a bumpy run. Troubles of Turkey with its policy of the Middle East caused a desire to trend alternative geographies besides orientation of Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), in the increased concern of Turkey towards Turkish World especially after 2016. The common historical, cultural and spiritual ties between Turkey and Kazakhstan, have provided the basis for rapid development of bilateral relations. After gaining independence, relations in various areas with plenty of agreements signed between Kazakhstan and Turkey have been regulated on cooperative basis. In parallel with the level of political relations between Kazakhstan and Turkey, it has become one of the most important political and economic partner of Turkey in the region. Particularly since the AK Party came to government in 2002, relations have gained a great deal of vitality. Significant steps have been taken in cooperation with the Central Asian Turkish Republics in the Turkish Summit held in Antalya in 2006. Again with the visit of Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev to Turkey in October 2009, by signing of Strategic Partnership Agreement, relations have reverted to a new dimension. By the way it is necessary to assert that Nazarbayev has been playing for the leadership of Turksih World. It can be said that Nazarbayev has taken example of Atatürk in some of his actions like supporting Kazakh identity in his country and in his attempt of building a state. In this context, Kazakh language courses were established in schools, written and virtual press organisations were enforced to broadcast and publish in Kazakh language in specific amounts, and for appointment for some public missions speaking Kazakh language became an obligation, additionally transition to Latin alphabet has been provided. On the other hand, when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Kazakhstan in May 2012 with the title of prime minister in the High Level Strategic Cooperation Council (YDSK) was established so Turkish-Kazakh relations have gained institutional basis. Today, the most prominent issue between Turkey and Kazakhstan is oil pipelines. Turkey has been importing oil and gas from Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan in order to diversify its energy sources. In this context, it can be claimed that motivation of Turkey to Turkish Republics is mainly economical and related to energy resources. The bilateral trade amount between Turkey and Kazakhstan January-September period of 2017, came close to 2 billion dollars totally. The common objective is to raise it to $ 10 billion. Kazakhstan's regional and international cooperation with Turkey has been developing rapidly. As a result of the cooperation the two countries have maintained in the direction of peace and stability in the Eurasian geography, the Summit of Turkish Speaking Countries has been institutionalized in the leadership of the two; In this context, Kazakhstan, Turkey and the Turkish Council has played an important role in the establishment of TURKPA (Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic Speaking Countries). TURKSOY, the institution that regulates the cultural relations between the Turkic Republics, depends on the Turkish Council. Kazakhstan is also host to the International Turkish Academy, which was established within the Turkish Council. The ongoing cooperation in the field of education and culture is another important aspect of the relations between the two countries. Hoca Ahmet Yesevi International Turkish-Kazakh University, which is located in Central Turkistan, has an extremely important function. This study aimed to analyze and clarify exactly the size of Turkish-Kazakh relationships during AK Party period. In this article, basic features of foreign policies of Turkey and Kazakhstan first, then political, social, cultural and economic relations between the two countries during AK Party period will be enlightened and evaluated.


Turkey, Kazakhstan, Bilateral relationships, R. Tayyip Erdogan, Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Author : Mustafa BOSTANCI - Taner LÜLECİ
Number of pages: 715-754
Full text:
Journal of History School
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