In the numerous responses to the turbulent events in Kazakhstan, the reaction of the Turkish side is of particular interest. After all, for at least two decades, Ankara has been stubbornly building up its influence in this country, actively investing in its economy, increasing its penetration into political life, including through the Organization of Turkic States (OTR). And now, when the armed forces of the CSTO have been introduced to pacify the situation, a difficult moment has come for Turkey, when many years of efforts can go to waste.
By the way, on January 6, OTR expressed “firm solidarity with the member state of the organization Kazakhstan” and declared its readiness “to provide the necessary support to the people and government of the republic.”
Representatives of the Turkish authorities are still restrained in their assessment of the events taking place in Kazakhstan. Speaker of Parliament Mustafa Shentop On January 6, he tweeted: “We believe that Kazakhstan and the brotherly Kazakh people with common sense will overcome these difficult days and will return to peace and stability in the near future. Turkey is always close to Kazakhstan. “
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar in a television interview on January 8, he said that Ankara is ready to provide Kazakhstan with “every assistance” in resolving the difficulties that have arisen. He stressed that “Turkey was and will be next to Kazakhstan.”
The former head of the Turkish government, the leader of the opposition Party of the Future, spoke more emotionally Ahmet Davutoglu… On his Twitter account, he expressed concern over the fact that the Kazakh leadership “asked for the support of an organization led by Armenia.” As you know, at present the Chairman of the Council of the Association is the Prime Minister of Armenia. Nicole Pashinyan…
At the same time, in Turkey, the mass media and representatives of public structures express rather sharp criticism of the presence of the CSTO peacekeeping forces in Kazakhstan. One of the leading newspapers Hurriet writes that “President Tokayev could not provide evidence of an attack on Kazakhstan by terrorists directed by external forces,” therefore “in the current situation, the CSTO intervention is regarded as a rescue operation. Tokaeva and the part of the Kazakhstani elite that he represents ”. The author of the publication claims that “the presence of Russian troops in Kazakhstan, where 3.5 million Russians live, can push the people to oppose Russia.”
But the daily newspaper Yeni Safak, which is said to be close to the ruling Justice Party, assures readers that the mass rallies in Kazakhstan were initiated by Moscow, since preliminary work was carried out earlier to prepare a “Russian invasion”.
According to the editor of the edition “MK” in Turkey Yashara Niyazbayeva, Kazakhstani events are undoubtedly discussed in Turkey, but it is impossible to say that they are in the center of attention.
– The Turkish public is more concerned with internal affairs – economic problems, local political struggle. The topic of what is happening in Kazakhstan is more analyzed by journalists, they are trying to explain the reasons for what happened and give the latest reports from there.
“SP”: – How do the leaders of public opinion in Turkey react to the introduction of the CSTO peacekeeping forces?
– Differently. Some do not get hung up on this fact at all, someone points to the existence of agreements that preceded the introduction of troops. Many are convinced that what is happening in Kazakhstan is still very different from the Ukrainian events of 2014 and will not lead to any new phase of the conflict. There are also those who negatively perceived the fact that military assistance was provided not by the OTR, but by the CSTO.
“SP”: – And what about the Turkish leadership?
– The authorities themselves are still bypassing this issue and prefer not to speak out about it. So far, criticism of the military operation sounds more from the opponents of the current government, who accuse it of unwillingness to do something really to implement the idea of Turkic solidarity. Perhaps, in their words there is some kind of correctness, but, rather, they use criticism in their political interests.
“SP”: – Which ones?
– Partly in order to offend the authorities, and also in the hope of pulling off a part of the pro-government electorate, for example, pan-Turkists or pan-Islamists. The same ex-prime minister Davutoglu said that the situation in Kazakhstan showed the weakness of the solidarity of the Turkic peoples. In his opinion, in fact, at an extremely important moment, the unity of the Turkic states was not demonstrated.
“SP”: – That is, he is addressing Erdogan’s supporters?
– Exactly. Moreover, local nationalists seem to be of little concern with the topic of Kazakhstan – in their media, short messages are most often devoted to it. But politicians of a religious persuasion are actively discussing this topic, and sometimes they are not too shy in their assessments, which, apparently, greatly offends Erdogan and his entourage.
According to the candidate of historical sciences, political scientist Grigory Mironov, the Turkish authorities are hiding their irritation with the CSTO peacekeeping mission.
– The fact is that within the Turkish society, as never before, revanchist sentiments are strong. There are a huge number of different organizations and movements that defend the idea of the revival of the Ottoman Empire. And this is no longer a secret, the idea goes to the interstate level. Turkey is expanding in Syria, other countries of the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Balkans. Of course, the Turkish authorities hoped that they would increase their influence there. Perhaps these sentiments were also influenced by the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, where, according to Ankara, they extended a helping hand to the Azerbaijani people. In Kazakhstan, the Turks clearly wanted their participation. Perhaps they would even have achieved it if the country had plunged into the abyss of wars and turmoil. Therefore, for them, the introduction of CSTO troops is a lost geopolitical chance for expansion into Central Asia.
“SP”: – Can we say that the peacekeeping operation dealt a blow to the “Big Turan” project, which, according to some experts, is being implemented by Ankara?
– Of course, this idea resonates with a part of Turkish society. What for? To justify an aggressive foreign policy, as well as to distract their population from economic problems. “Great Turan” has been maturing in Turkish society for many decades. It includes Kazakhstan and even Russian Yakutia. That is, on the one hand, the Turkish elite has plans. But for their implementation, not only propaganda is needed, but also financial opportunities. But at the moment, Turkey does not have the opportunity and resources to restore some kind of new Ottoman Empire.
SP: Will the introduction of troops somehow affect Russian-Turkish relations?
– Unlikely. Ankara would like to be in Russia’s place, but the Turks are afraid to openly oppose our country. But you have to be always on the alert with them. In the event of a weakening of the Russian statehood, they will certainly “climb” not only to Central Asia, but also to the Crimea and the Caucasus.