Turkey seeks to expand its economic and diplomatic cooperation in Central Asia. The region has been under the influence of Russia for years. Observers say that Turkey’s competition with Russia in the region can be supported by Washington.
What is Turkey’s longing for?
In November of this year, the President of the Republic of Turkey met with the leaders of the Central Asian countries at the meeting of Turkic-speaking countries in Kazakhstan. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hopes to strengthen his economic and diplomatic presence in the region rich in oil and gas by using ethnic and religious ties and compete with China and Russia in Central Asia.
“One of the advantages of Turkey is the use of cultural ties. Maybe Russia and China have other advantages. First, Russia is present in terms of security and having a strong hand in the region. Of course, China is an important player in the economy of the countries of the region,” said Kagdas Ungor, professor at Istanbul Marmari University.
But he believes that “none of them have cultural and ethnic ties with the region like Turkey.”
Erdoğan’s presence in Central Asia is considered a part of efforts to reduce Turkey’s dependence on Europe against the background of the country’s cold relations with the European Union. However, Russia, which is under severe sanctions from European countries due to the war in Ukraine, is still trying to maintain its influence in Central Asia.
Tatyana Mitrova, an employee of the International Institute of Foreign Relations in Paris, says, “Russia is facing a serious problem of import and export of goods. His roads to the West are closed and he can no longer use them.”
Russia, China… and America
The United States of America is also interested in Central Asia and is trying to reduce the growing influence of China and Russia in the region. Analysts say that the common goals of Ankara and Washington can bring them together in the region.
According to Mehmet Ogutsu from the London Energy Forum, “Biden met with the leaders of the Central Asian countries on the sidelines of the UN meeting. America is trying to prevent China’s influence through cooperation in Central Asia, to compete with Russia, and Turkey, a NATO member, can help to achieve these goals.”
According to observers, Russia, which considers Central Asia to be its inner courtyard or zone under its influence, will not welcome the presence of Turkey. However, according to analysts, now Putin is trying to maintain good relations with Erdogan in order to find support and bypass sanctions.
Tatyana Mitrova from the International Institute of Foreign Relations of Paris said: “Maybe Russia will overcome its weaknesses and compete with Turkey. I believe that Russia and Turkey will compete, but not in the next two years, because Russia is under economic pressure and must adapt to this situation.”
Russia, China and the United States of America have different plans for the countries of Central Asia, the goal of which is greater influence in the region. Analysts believe that the region will become a new competition between superpowers, in which Ankara will play a key role.
Source : Радио Озоди