AMBASSADOR OF TÜRKIYE TO UZBEKISTAN
Politics & Diplomacy I Interview I Uzbekistan 2023
_BIOGRAPHY Born on November 8, 1969, in Gülnar, he holds a PhD in Political Science from Universitat Wien, with a Master of Arts in Turkish Revolution History from Ankara University and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the same university. previously he served as the Turkish Ambassador to Mogadishu, Somalia, from 2014 to 2018.
“UZBEKISTAN AND TÜRKIYE HAVE STRONG BILATERAL RELATIONS THAT HAVE ALSO TRANSLATED INTO A CLOSE ECONOMIC COOPERATION EXPECTED TO GROW FROM U$3.5 BILLION TO U$10 BILLION IN THE MEDIUM TERM.”
WHAT IS THE CURRENT STATUS OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TÜRKIYE AND UZBEKISTAN?
Let me start by expressing my deep gratitude for the extraordinary solidarity and humanitarian campaign led by the Uzbek nation and its government following the devastating earthquakes that struck Türkiye on 6 February 2023. We are truly indebted for the solidarity displayed during these difficult times. Uzbekistan is our ancestral land that in its profoundness harbors the roots of our shared culture, language and civilization. Turkish and Uzbek peoples have always preserved their heartfelt ties and sincere affection for one another and supported each other throughout history. The latest humanitarian campaign proved to be yet another testament to our unshakable solidarity.
We are proud to be the first county to have recognized the independence of Uzbekistan on the 16th of December 1991, subsequently establishing diplomatic relations on the 4th of March 1992. Building upon our centuries long strong and historic ties, our bilateral cooperation have greatly expanded and today it has embraced almost all areas of human endeavor. 2022 was truly a remarkable year that culminated with four Presidential meetings and numerous high level visits. President Erdoğan’s visit in March 2022 resulted in the proclamation of the ‘‘comprehensive strategic partnership’’ between the two countries. Signing of the Preferential Trade Agreement as well as the Military Framework Agreement were major achievements from that visit. President Erdoğan visited Uzbekistan on two more occasions, namely the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in September and Organization of Turkic States Summit in November. The sheer frequency with which the two Presidents come into contact provides a solid foundation to build upon. Contacts between the other echelons of our governments were no different. Since 2022, there were also six reciprocal visits at the level of Foreign Ministers.
HOW CAN BILATERAL AND MULTILATERAL INITIATIVES BENEFIT UZBEKISTAN?
Türkiye and Uzbekistan enjoy close cooperation in the multilateral and sub-regional platforms, all of which benefit our region and beyond. The Middle Corridor initiative, envisaging the revival of the ancient Silk Road, creates a natural synergy with the Belt and Road Initiative of the People’s Republic of China, which aims at developing connectivity between east and west. In this framework, Türkiye supports the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) on the basis of “win-win” principle.
Uzbekistan, heir to the Silk Road, is on a path to become a regional hub and a strategic route for global commerce yet again with its immense potential in terms of connectivity. Thanks to our joint efforts, trade between Uzbekistan and Türkiye has increased almost three times in the six years alone. To illustrate the potential in our region even further, we should take a closer look at Uzbekistan’s trade volume with Azerbaijan, which has increased sevenfold in the last six year. Uzbekistan’s accession to the Organization of Turkic States in 2019 was truly a milestone in terms of promoting a full-spectrum cooperation among Turkic-speaking countries. The Organization enables multi-faceted cooperation among its Member and Observer States in more than 20 different areas, ranging from economy to transport and customs, energy to agriculture, from education to youth and sports, digitalization to justice and security as well as from culture to tourism and health. The OTS takes concrete steps for the welfare of its Members and Observers through various projects and initiatives, including Turkic Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Turkic Investment Fund, Trans-Caspian Transport Corridor, Sister Ports Process, Health Science Board as well as Modern Silk Road and Tabarruk Ziyarat Projects, Orkhun Process, Youth and Sports Projects.
Promotion of Middle Corridor and interconnectivity in our region was another achievement, elevating the visibility of the Organization of Turkic States. Last year, we launched the Trilateral Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Trade/Economy and Transport of Türkiye, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan. From the first meeting held in Tashkent on August 2, 2022, we have opened a path that will take cooperation between the three brotherly countries to new horizons, especially in trade and transport. We have no doubt that this mechanism will play an important role in linking Central Asia, the South Caucasus and Europe as well as contributing to peace and prosperity in all of these geographic regions. The connectivity agenda offers new opportunities in many areas, ranging from trade to investment, from the global value chain to logistics.