The Kazakhstani society is always mindful of the fact that Turkey was the first country to recognize the State sovereignty of our country. A friend in need is a friend indeed, as they say. Kazakhstan, for its part, is now a major partner of Turkey in Central Asia.
These two brotherly countries have always been, and continue to be keen on attaining greater cooperation and on finding ways by which this may be established. A strategic partnership agreement which was signed between these two countries during Nursultan Nazarbayev’s visit to Turkey in 2009, serves as an argument for this statement. Turkey’s place and importance in Kazakh international politics has been growing due to its active and unifying foreign policy.
There are 105,000 Meskhetian Turks (as of 1 January 2014) and more than 10,000 Turkish citizens living in Kazakhstan, while several thousand Kazakh citizens reside in Turkey.
Speaking at the Turkey-Kazakhstan Investment Forum on 12 September, Mithat Yenigun, the vice president of the Turkish Foreign Economic Relations Board, said that Turkey and Kazakhstan intended to boost the turnover between them to $10 billion. Not the first time that kind of trade increase has been projected by these two countries, but without great success up to now.
According to data from the Turkish statistics office, the trade turnover between Turkey and Kazakhstan has decreased from $3.28 billion in 2010 to almost $2 billion in 2017. In our country, the figures for the same period are somewhat different.
According to the Kazakhstani official data, the dynamics of bilateral trade in the last 8 years have been as follows: in 2010 – $1.851 billion (export – $1.235 billion, import – $0.616 billion); in 2011 – $3.303 billion (export – $2.574 billion, import – $0.729 billion); in 2012 – $4.015 billion (export – $3.229 billion, import – $0.786 billion); in 2013 – $ 3.529 billion (export – $2.603 billion, import – $0.926 billion); in 2014 – $ 3.291 billion (export – $2.272 billion, import – $1.019 billion); in 2015 – $ 2.018 billion (export – $1.276 billion, import – $0.742 billion); in 2016 – $1.469 billion (export – $0.851 billion, import – $0.618 billion); and in 2017 – $ 1.876 billion (export – $1.146 billion, import – $0.730 billion). As you can see, the trend in bilateral trade between these two countries has been unfavorable since the early 2010s. It is therefore far from clear whether the above-mentioned objective could be achieved.
Kazakhstan’s main exports to Turkey are petroleum and petroleum oils, natural gas, metal ore and products, aluminum, wheat and other agricultural products, as well as other unprocessed primary products. The country’s imports from there include equipment for industry and construction, textiles, garment materials, plastic, leather goods, shoes and household goods.
It therefore seems that Kazakhstan is providing to Turkey mainly raw materials in exchange for goods with much higher added value, amongst those Kazakhstan is receiving back its own raw materials after being processed, including metal structures for the construction industry.
The amount of total investment made by Turkish investors in Kazakhstan in the last 10 odd years is $2,306.9 million. The amount of direct investment made by Kazakh investors in Turkey is $992 million.
Kazakhstan is important to Turkey as a services market. The data from the Turkish Contractors Association (TMB) show that Kazakhstan ranked fifth with a share of 6.4 percent in terms of the volume of projects that Turkish contractors carried out abroad. Moreover, according to available information, the Turkish construction firms have undertaken more than 480 projects in Kazakhstan with a total value of $22.8 billion by the end of 2017. The number of companies and firms jointly owned by Turks and Kazakhs/other nationals in Kazakhstan is estimated to be 1930. Anyway, it seems that the Turkish businessmen may act unperturbed and enjoy hospitality in Kazakhstan. They are active in areas such as telecommunications, hotel management, food industry, banking and finance, airport management, energy, retail trade and production of cleaning supplies. In summary, it can be said that they are present in practically all economic sectors and all regions of the Republic of Kazakhstan. And those people are of course interested in further strengthening the cooperation between the two brotherly countries.