Türkiye will continue to support Kazakhstan’s territorial integrity, stability and peace, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Wednesday at a joint news conference with Kazakh counterpart Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
“We will continue to support the stability, peace, sovereignty and territorial integrity of brotherly Kazakhstan, which has a deep historical background and state experience,” Erdoğan said.
The two countries are determined to enhance their bilateral cooperation, he added.
“We will continue to work to strengthen our links in the field of transportation and energy, especially the development of the Middle Corridor,” Erdoğan said adding that the countries aim to raise bilateral trade volume to $10 billion (TL 185.89 billion).
“This high level of our relations is, of course, powered by the common ties of history, language, religion and culture between our peoples,” he stated.
The president said they evaluated “the excellent relations” between the two countries, adding that the two countries will take additional steps toward the integration of the Turkic world.
For his part, Tokayev, said Türkiye is the “closest and most reliable” strategic partner of Kazakhstan.
“Thanks to your (Erdoğan’s) constructive policy, Türkiye’s prestige in the world has increased. The entire international community respects your country as a developed state with great potential,” he added.
Tokayev also said Kazakhstan supports Türkiye’s initiatives to resolve global crises and regional problems.
Meanwhile, Erdoğan was also awarded the Order of Friendship by Tokayev.
“This award will undoubtedly be inscribed in golden letters in the annals of bilateral relations. I am ready to continue to direct all my efforts to strengthen friendship and mutual understanding of our peoples,” Tokayev said.
Erdoğan was welcomed with an official ceremony in the Kazakh capital Astana. Erdoğan and Tokayev held one-on-one talks and inter-delegation meetings to discuss bilateral relations and international issues.
The presidents also co-chaired the fourth meeting of the Türkiye-Kazakhstan High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council to enhance political, economic, cultural and defense ties, followed by a joint news conference.
Ahead of the high-level meeting, Erdoğan said regional and global developments require the Turkish world to stay in close coordination and strengthen solidarity.
“I attach great importance to the security, stability, territorial integrity, and prosperity of Kazakhstan,” he added.
Erdoğan also said Türkiye and Kazakhstan agreed to sign six agreements to enhance the ties.
It is expected that concrete steps will be taken to expand the strategic partnership between the two countries during Erdoğan’s official visit to the country on Oct. 12-13, symbolizing the new era of bilateral relations with Kazakh President Tokayev, who established official contact with Ankara for the first time in May.
Since Erdoğan’s last visit in 2017, Kazakhstan has been experiencing a new political and socioeconomic process that came with the change of power.
This year, Türkiye and Kazakhstan celebrated the 30th anniversary of establishing their diplomatic relations.
Türkiye was the first country to recognize the declaration of independence of Kazakhstan, which was a part of the former Soviet Union for about 70 years and gained its sovereignty with the dissolution of the union.
Kazakhstan established diplomatic relations with Türkiye in March 1992, about two months after officially announcing its independence.
Türkiye opened its embassy in Almaty, the country’s capital at that time, and pioneered the establishment of the first diplomatic mission in independent Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan also set up its embassy in Ankara in the same year. In 2009, bilateral relations between the countries gained the status of strategic partnership.
While in Astana, Erdoğan on Thursday will participate in a summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA).
The two-day event will address political, economic, humanitarian and environmental issues, as well as new challenges and threats.
Kazakh Foreign Ministry spokesperson Aibek Smadiyarov said on Monday that 11 heads of state, including from Azerbaijan and Palestine, will be attending the summit.
Established in 1992, CICA is a multi-national Asia-focused forum with 27 member states and more than 10 other countries and inter-governmental organizations with observer status.
Meeting with Putin
On the sidelines of the summit, Erdoğan is expected to hold bilateral talks with participating leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The presidents will meet on Thursday to discuss Ukraine and bilateral relations, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.
Türkiye on Tuesday called for a cease-fire in Ukraine just days ahead of the meeting between the leaders of Türkiye and Russia in the Kazakh capital Astana.
Erdoğan, who won plaudits for securing a grain deal as well as a Russia-Ukraine prisoner swap, has long sought to bring together Kyiv and Moscow for truce talks that neither side particularly wants.
Ankara’s call comes ahead of the meeting set for Thursday between Putin and Erdoğan, who has a good working relationship with the Russian leader despite disagreements on several issues including in Syria.
NATO member Türkiye, which has stayed neutral throughout the conflict in Ukraine, also has good ties with Kyiv.
But increasing Russian attacks on Ukrainian cities are further diminishing the chances for a diplomatic solution which Ankara has longed for since the war began in February.
“Unfortunately (both sides) have quickly moved away from diplomacy” since the talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators in Istanbul in March, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said in a televised interview.
“As the Ukraine-Russian war drags on, unfortunately, the situation gets worse and more complicated,” added the Turkish diplomat, who called for an immediate cease-fire.
“A cease-fire must be established as soon as possible. The sooner the better,” he said.
The Kremlin confirmed that Putin will meet Erdoğan in Astana on Thursday.
“Preparations are underway for the meeting,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
The talks will be an opportunity to discuss the situation in “Ukraine, bilateral ties and exchange views on current issues,” he said.
Türkiye has refrained from joining Western sanctions against Russia.
Erdoğan, who met Putin on the sidelines of a regional summit in Uzbekistan last month, is keen to boost trade with Moscow as he tries to stabilize the Turkish economy in the run-up to elections next June.
During the interview on Tuesday, Çavuşoğlu called for a “just peace” based on Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
“There must be a just peace for Ukraine. Where is the war going on? It’s going on on Ukrainian soil,” he said.
“A process that will ensure Ukraine’s border and territorial integrity should start. Without a cease-fire, it is not possible to talk about those issues in a healthy way: a viable cease-fire and a just peace.”
Türkiye has rejected Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian provinces as a “grave violation” of international law and called for negotiations to end the conflict.