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The successful anti-terror operation in Kazakhstan led by CSTO, in which Russia plays a big part, has brought back Moscow’s central role in Central Asia which is part of its immediate neighbourhood and where it has major stakes. The situation in all regions of Kazakhstan, where riots took place on January 2-7, has now stabilized. But the damage exceeded 87 billion tenge (about 200 million dollars).

While Russia has come to the immediate rescue of its strategic partner Kazakhstan, there are doubts over Turkey’s ties with the region following the crisis. Turkey has initiated an online meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Turkic States (OTG), dedicated to the events in Kazakhstan. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, after a conversation with his Kazakh counterpart Mukhtar Tleuberdi, said that the event will take place on January 11. Turkey appears concerned over Moscow’s stature in Central Asia which has further grown.

Victoria Panfilova, Observer of the department of politics of the neighboring countries of the “Nezavisimaya Gazeta” said that the events in Kazakhstan were in the focus of attention of Ankara, the leader of the “Turkic world”. Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said, “We believe that our brothers will overcome all difficulties with their own means and abilities. We declare that we are ready to provide all kinds of assistance and support to our Kazakh brothers ”.

Akar signalled to Kazakhstan that Turkey would be more useful than Russia. “Akar’s statements are understandable, especially given the fact that some Turkish experts argue: the introduction of CSTO troops into Kazakhstan marked the collapse of the idea of building a “Turkic world”…The Turkish officialdom openly laments the “loss of Kazakhstan’s sovereignty” and calls on its authorities to act more decisively in this direction…It is very difficult to imagine that Turkey will further strengthen its positions in Central Asia,” according to Nezavisimaya Gazeta

However, according to Stanislav Pritchin, senior researcher at the Center for Post-Soviet Studies at the IMEMO RAS, Turkey had limited room for manoeuvre. “During the acute phase of the crisis in Kazakhstan, Turkey could not do anything. This would cause even greater bewilderment not only in Kazakhstan, but also in Russia and China. The charter of the OTG does not contain any such point like sending its troops in the event of a crisis in one of the OTG countries. The only one who could do this was Uzbekistan, which signed a corresponding package of agreements with Kazakhstan. Therefore, it makes no sense for Turkey to take any serious steps now,” Pritchin told Nezavisimaya Gazeta.

“The idea of creating the Great Turan is not going anywhere. The question is how effectively it will be implemented. The fact is that for Kazakhstan, as well as for all Central Asian republics, the very idea of a “Turkic world” is not entirely acceptable. Being a Turk does not mean being in the “Turkic world”. It’s like Serbs and Russians will never be in the same state, no matter how close they are to each other,” Aleksandr Kobrinsky, director of the Agency for Ethno-National Strategies, told Nezavisimaya Gazeta.

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