09/16/2021, 12.24
KYRGYZSTAN-TURKEY
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Ankara dictates conditions for cooperation with Bishkek

by Vladimir Rozanskij

Economic aid and commercial opening in exchange for the fight against the network of Fethullah Gülen, Erdogan's arch-enemy. The "Gulenists" have a strong presence in Central Asia. The goal is to bring trade to the billion dollar mark. Expert: the Turks act like masters in Kyrgyzstan.

 

Moscow (AsiaNews) - Turkey wants to step up its investment in the mining industry in Kyrgyzstan. The goal is to support energy production, tourism, health and education in the Central Asian country, bringing bilateral trade up to a billion dollars. Starting with Biškek, Ankara is continuing its plan for neo-Ottoman unification in Central Asia.

In return, the Turks expect concrete help in the "fight against terrorism".  This means pressure on the "Gulenist" exponents still present in Kyrgyzstan. They are the supporters of Fethullah Gülen, historical former ally and now enemy of Turkish President Erdogan. Gülen is the founder of the Hizmet movement and many of his followers have integrated themselves into the Kyrgyz administrative and economic system.

Kyrgyzstan is in desperate need of financial support and is forced to bow its head to "Sultan" Erdogan. Ankara and Biškek discussed plans for cooperation on September 10. The meeting took place in the Kyrgyz capital, during the 10th Economic Forum of the Turkish-Kyrgyz Intergovernmental Commission for Business Cooperation, which was attended by the chairman of the Kyrgyz Council of Ministers, Ulubek Maripov, and Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay.

According to Oktay, "the billion plan is just the beginning - we need to work towards a billion budget." In the first eight months of the year, trade between the two countries stopped at just over half a billion dollars: still a 78% increase over 2020.

About 300 Turkish companies work in Kyrgyzstan, mostly in construction, transportation and trade. "Our potential is much more ambitious - Oktay added - and concerns the textile sector, agriculture, logistics, energy and digitalization." Turkish specialists will make an assessment on hydro-energy goals, to build a large hydroelectric station on the Naryn River soon.

The Turks are also willing to solve the Kyrgyz customs problems, provide know-how for the development of tourism and much more. Maripov assured that Turkey is considered one of the main partners in Biškek. He proposed a number of perspective projects, and the creation of a special investment fund, according to the will of Kyrgyz President Sadyr Žaparov.

Turkish-Kyrgyz relations have improved greatly since Žaparov's visit to Ankara last year, when the two governments signed memoranda that could now move into the implementation phase. That is, if the Kyrgyz manage to get rid of the Gulenists. Andrej Grozin, an expert at the Russian Academy of Sciences doubts it. Interviewed by Nezavisimaja Gazeta, Grozin points out that the network of educational and academic institutions "Sepat", created by Gülen in the various Central Asian republics, is still active in Kyrgyzstan. Only Uzbekistan and Tajikistan closed them immediately, accepting Erdogan's demands.

So far the Kyrgyz have limited themselves to renaming it "Sapat". To date, it remains the main educational network in the country, which has caused a chill in relations with Turkey, which considers all Sepat-Sapat students to be terrorists. Just before Žaparov's visit to Ankara, the Turkish secret service had kidnapped the director of the Sapat network, Orhan Inandi, from Kyrgyz territory, demanding that the leader of Biškek condemn him as a terrorist.

"Turkey feels in a certain way as the master of Kyrgyzstan, without fully recognizing its sovereignty," says Grozin, according to whom the "cleaning up of Kyrgyzstan" has a symbolic value from the cultural and social point of view. Maripov and Oktay together inaugurated the "Maarif" school complex in Biškek, dedicated primarily to the study and dissemination of the Turkish language. Students will be offered to finish their studies in Turkey. Another very effective symbol is the beginning of the construction of a large mosque in the Kyrgyz capital, financed by the Turks for about 35 million dollars.

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