Turk Time - a new era of development

ASTANA — The anniversary X Summit of the Organization of Turkic States will be held in Astana today. The President of the Turkic Investment Fund, Bagdad Amreyev, in an interview with the analytical observer of the Kazinform agency, spoke about the role of Kazakhstan in the OTG, the priorities of the investment fund and shared his expectations from the upcoming summit.

- Bagdad Kultayevich, you were instrumental in the early stages of the OTS's creation and led the organization for nearly five years. Could you share your insights into its formation and evolution?

Photo: from the personal archive of Bagdad Amreev Bagdad Amreyev (BA): The organization that we now know as the Organization of Turkic States began modestly as the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States in 2009. At that time, I served as the Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Turkey and led the working group responsible for establishing the council. Given the geopolitical context and people's inherent wariness of innovation, we initially opted for the less conspicuous name. We later renamed it the Turkic Council and, eventually, the Organization of Turkic States in November 2021.

Over the years, the OTS expanded its areas of cooperation to include politics, economics, culture, education, sports, youth, information technology, and security issues. Today, it stands as a fully operational international association founded on solid ground. International organizations are typically established to pursue common interests, and in our case, this inherently implies a long-lasting need for cooperation. Can one be a temporary brother or sister to fellow Turks?

- Could you shed light on Kazakhstan's role in the OTG's creation and how it has evolved over the years?

BA: Kazakhstan played a pivotal role in the establishment of Turkic organizations. It was Kazakhstan that initiated the creation of the Turkic Council, which united Turkic states in their traditional form. Prior to that, Kazakhstan had championed the Interparliamentary Assembly of Turkic Countries and, in the early 1990s, played a leading role in founding TURKSOY (International Organization of Turkic Culture) in the cultural sector of the Turkic world. Kazakhstan also initiated the formation of the Turkic Academy, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) of Turkic-speaking countries, and, most recently, the Turkic Investment Fund. Kazakhstan's imprint is evident in nearly all Turkic integration structures, establishing it as the initiator and founder of these organizations.

- What were the driving forces behind the creation of an association of Turkic nations?

BA: Multiple factors contributed to this development. Kazakhs have always been open and inclined to build strong, trusting relationships with partner countries. Our diplomatic orientation has long emphasized cooperation. Additionally, our geopolitical location necessitates active international engagement. Kazakhstan is known for its non-confrontational stance toward countries and blocs. Geopolitical location and the need for balance served as the catalysts for these ideas. The Turkic format naturally lends itself to initiating an organization that safeguards the independence and sovereignty of its member states. While most organizations are created to pursue specific objectives, our case is underpinned by historical imperatives. The role of each Turkic state in Turkic integration is unique and indispensable. In 2021, when the Turkic Council was renamed the Organization of Turkic States, it was a testament to the organization's operational maturity and acceptance on the global stage.

- Let's delve into the Turkic Investment Fund. What is its primary purpose, and how does it fit within the broader OTS framework?

BA: To achieve prosperity within the organization, economic development is essential. Jointly fostering economic cooperation has always been a top priority. While encouraging businesses to collaborate through forums and B2B meetings is vital, it is not sufficient. Businesses need financial support, which led to the establishment of the Turkic Investment Fund. The fund aims to financially support projects that serve the interests of our countries and promote integration. Business invariably requires funding, and supporting projects that enhance economic integration is crucial.

The Turkic Investment Fund was formally established last year during the summit in Samarkand. Remarkably, it completed the ratification process in just seven months. This financial institution, staffed by seasoned professionals from global banking structures, will finance projects in various sectors, from industry and construction to agriculture, information technology, tourism, and transport. The criteria for project selection include contributing to the creation of joint ventures that serve multiple countries, financial viability, and the support of small and medium-sized enterprises. Large-scale projects, such as logistics, will also receive funding. The fund will actively collaborate with international financial institutions to finance projects and attract investments.

- Kazakhstan, like other Turkic nations, is keen on expanding its economic independence. Could the investment fund help reduce Kazakhstan's dependence on other countries?

BA: Achieving complete independence from other countries is challenging, but striving for maximum independence is a constant pursuit. Expanding and diversifying relationships while strengthening economic integration is an ongoing effort that enhances a nation's independence, sovereignty, economic growth, and well-being. Kazakhstan, along with other Turkic countries, actively pursues this path, bolstered by the Turkic format of cooperation. This approach is not adversarial but rather aimed at strengthening our countries and their sovereignty, economy, and overall prosperity.

- Finally, could you provide insight into the theme of this year's anniversary summit, "Turk Time," and its significance?

BA: The theme of this year's anniversary summit, "Turk Time," encapsulates the strategic, ideological, and political aspirations for the future of the Turkic world within the framework of OTS cooperation. It embodies the vision of the Turkic world as it seeks to navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. The theme underscores the organization's commitment to advancing the interests and well-being of Turkic nations and solidifying its role as a catalyst for unity, cooperation, and prosperity in the years to come.

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