President Nursultan Nazarbayev took part at the 6th meeting of the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States held in Cholpon-Ata in Kyrgyzstan on Monday. The summit was also attended by the presidents of Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan. In addition to those countries, Hungary – as an observer state – was represented by its Prime Minister.
At the Cholpon-Ata meeting, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attracted the most attention of the international community due to his vigorous pronouncements. He, in particular, pointed out that “some states have been resorting to threats and pressure, while disregarding international principles and agreements, instead of using diplomacy, dialogue and multilateralism”. He complained that the U.S. dollar had become an obstacle for Turkey. Mr. Erdogan voiced the opinion that international trade’s dependence on the American currency should be decreased. “We are proposing to trade in our own currencies rather than the U.S. dollar”, he said.
The Turkish President went on to say the following: “Our age also offers us important opportunities for the development of transportation and communication networks. In this respect, we attach importance to the Caspian Transitional East-West Middle Corridor initiative, which reaches China passing through the Caucasus and Central Asia. The most important pillar of this project, known as the “Modern Silk Road-Middle Corridor”, is the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway Project, which we are running together with Azerbaijan. This way, a train departing from Western Europe can uninterruptedly reach the Caspian coast, from where it can reach Shanghai and Seoul via the Aqtau Port. This major transportation line will contribute to boosting the welfare of our peoples and to the development of our relations. We also attach importance to increasing cooperation in the field of energy. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Crude Oil Pipeline and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum Natural Gas Pipeline projects are the most important fruits of this cooperation”.
During his speech at the summit the Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev noted with concern that the geopolitical situation in the world is complicated.
“The economy is not fixed, we know the reasons. Sanctions and taxes are causing investments to decline. They all affect us; we have to solve all of them. We want to present a lot of projects. It is important to maintain economic relations with concrete steps, we need to use them well”, he said.
The summit was hosted by Kyrgyzstan’s President Sooronbay Jeenbekov at the Rukh Ordo Cultural Center in Cholpon-Ata, a resort town on the northern shore of Lake Issyk-Kul, where he said, “I believe that the summit of the Turkic Council, built on common history, culture and language, will elevate the century-old friendship [of the Turkish] world to a new level and open a new page”. He also noted it was important for the Council that Uzbekistan intended to join this inter-State organization as a member, saying, “This step would positively affect the enlargement of the Turkic Council and increase its international influence”.
Uzbekistan participated as an honorary status in the meeting, while Hungary attended it as an observer country.
Speaking at the meeting, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said: “Hungary is ready for opening a new chapter in the cooperation with Turkic states”. The participation of an EU country’s leader in the summit of the heads of Turkic-speaking states has been something new indeed. But that is what has happened.
“Hungary has always focused on the cooperation of Turkic speaking states which nurture their language, culture and traditions even in the modern world”, Viktor Orban noted. “Hungarians consider themselves late descendants of Attila, of Hun-Turkic origin, and Hungarian is a relative of Turkic languages”.
In other words, he made clear that it is not just a matter of efforts aimed at expanding the partnership geography, regarded as the pledge of stability development of national economy; rather, it is a matter of restoring ties of ethnic kinship. It is apparently no coincidence that he started speaking that way. In Europe, Viktor Orban and his ruling Fidesz party have long been accused of creating an authoritarian government, setting up a Russian-style propaganda machine and playing to citizens’ xenophobic instincts against non-European refugees and migrants.
“Only those people can be strong who are proud of their national identity”, Hungarian Prime Minister added. Orban also said that in light of the “fantastic” economic and political development of Turkic countries, “it is to be taken as an expression of praise if Hungarians are called an Eastern people”.
He also couldn’t escape the fact that the Far East, which has expanded as another centre of global economic development, is rising as a new alternative to the Euro-Atlantic or Euro-American region.
In this regard, he emphasized the point that the times when capital and knowledge was moving from West to East was over, and noted that “the new world order will primarily be dominated by the development of countries rising in the East”.
We have to assume, he fully realize that a shift in the centre of gravity of the world economy towards Asia and China, rising intra-Eurasian trade flows, and changes in the economic geography of value are gradually re-establishing Central Asia’s role as a major transit hub of the global network of commercial exchanges. According to Mr. Orban, the member states of the Turkic Council are gaining weight in Hungary’s diplomacy. “Hungary has had a strategic partnership with Turkey, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan”, he said, adding that the goal was to raise ties with Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan to that level, too. Mr. Orban also noted that Hungary’s Eximbank had opened a 1.5 billion dollar credit line to promote economic cooperation with Turkic states.
He paid particular attention to our republic. According to him Hungary and Kazakhstan enjoy close strategic partnership.
Kazinform, in a report entitled “Венгрия и Казахстан имеют стратегический уровень отношений” – “The relationship between Hungary and Kazakhstan is of strategic importance”, and published on 3 September, 2018, quoted Mr. Orban as saying: “We Hungarians speak Hungarian. This is a unique and distinctive language, and it is related to the Turkic languages. We had converted to Christianity, but we are based on the Turkic-Kipchak origins”.
Azattyq.org, in a report entitled “Премьер Венгрии высказался за тесное сотрудничество с Центральной Азией” – “Prime Minister of Hungary spoke in favor of close cooperation with Central Asia”, and published on 4 September, 2018, quoted him as saying: “Hungary knows its origin, Europe sees us as the easternmost people of the West. But at the same time, they [the Europeans] perceive us as the strangers, because our ancestors are not from there. Hungary has been preserving its cultural inheritance”.
Hungarian Prime Minister further recalled that Hungary hosts the Turan International Kurultai of Peoples, being attended by representatives of various nations, including those of Turkic-speaking states. What’s true is true. The 10th Turan International Kurultai of Peoples held in mid-August in Bugac, Hungary. It is being organized by the Hungary – Turan Fund. In 2016, the so-called Great Kurultai started its work in the Hungary Parliament, where Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party was and still is in the majority, and where the representatives of the Turkic peoples came in the national costumes of their countries.
The first such Kurultai was held in the Torgai region of Kazakhstan in 2007. The first Kurultai in Hungary was held in 2008.
The event is conducted on a yearly basis; the number of its participants is constantly growing. It is believed that it contributed much to the revival of the Altaic self-awareness in Hungary and among Hungarians.
For reference: The Turkic Council is an international organization comprising some of the Turkic countries. It was founded on 3 October 2009 in Nakhchivan. The General Secretariat is in Istanbul, Turkey. The member countries are Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkey. The remaining two Turkic states, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are not currently official members of the council due to their neutral stance; however, they are possible future members of the council. Uzbekistan announced its intention to join the council on 30 April 2018. The idea of setting up this cooperative council was first put forward by the Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev back in 2006.
Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Alliance is a national-conservative and right-wing political party in Hungary. It has dominated Hungarian politics on the national and local level since its landslide victory in the 2010 national elections on a joint list with the Christian Democratic People’s Party, securing it a parliamentary supermajority that it retained in 2014 and again in 2018. Fidesz also enjoys majorities in the county legislatures (19 of 19), almost all (20 of 23) urban counties and in the Budapest city council. Viktor Orbán has been the leader of the party for most of its history.