It’s not worth waiting for appearance Army of Turan

In November 2022, the IX Summit of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS) is expected. The ideological and organizational leadership in it belongs to Turkey. Ankara views the OTS as an instrument of its own international influence. Experts are increasingly talking about the organization as an independent actor, not only in charge of humanitarian projects, but also influencing the political climate in Central Asia. The Russian analytical center describes how the structure and program document of the Turkic world correlate with Ankara’s ambitions, and whether the OTS threatens Russia’s interests.

The Turkic vector of Turkey’s foreign policy received a new development after the ruling Justice and Development Party (Tayip Erdogan’s party) entered into a coalition with the nationalist National Movement Party Devlet Bahceli.

After the alliance’s victory in the 2018 elections, the Turkish leadership began to take into account the interests of partners in the ruling coalition: Bahceli’s supporters called for turning to the “Turkic world.” Certain adjustments were made to Ankara’s foreign policy, IA-Center claims.

It cannot be argued that the Turkic vector has replaced the pan-Islamic direction of Turkish politics. Both vectors complement each other, allowing the country’s leadership to pursue a harmonious and balanced foreign policy.

How far do Turkey’s ambitions extend?

Turkey’s relations with most of the OTS member countries have never gone beyond the strategic partnership, the level of which differs from country to country. The only exception is Azerbaijan, whose ties with Turkey are allied.

Therefore, fears that the OTS may in the foreseeable future turn into a military-political and economic alliance that poses a threat to Russia in the post-Soviet space are hardly grounded.

The interests of the countries participating in the OTS are too multidirectional. The states that are members of the organization adhere to diversified approaches to building foreign policy. Both the West, and Russia, and China, and to a certain extent Iran still remain significant partners for the large “Turkic world”, the Center says in the material.

Moreover, Turkey does not have common borders with most of the OTS partners. It will also be an obstacle to potential military-political cooperation between them.

In addition, Ankara has declared its interest in joining the SCO, in which most of the OTS states are already full members.

Turkey’s potential entry into the SCO will most likely reduce Ankara’s involvement in the OTS’s economic projects, many of which are already being duplicated within this Organization.

OTS and the influence of Ankara in the socio-cultural sphere

At the VIII Summit of the Turkic Council, held in Istanbul on November 12, 2021, it was transformed into the Organization of Turkic States (OTS ). As a result of the forum, a new development program for the organization “Vision of the Turkic World 2040” was adopted. The document calls for strengthening the role of the OTS as a multilateral platform for regular dialogue, consultations and cooperation.

The program draws attention to the need to strengthen and represent the common Turkic identity as a “source of cultural wealth in the unification of peoples.” The OTS intends to promote the Turkic culture, values, traditions, art and heritage throughout the world together with relevant international organizations. It is expected to achieve further harmonization of the national, cultural, educational and youth policies of the participating countries.

The most ambiguous for Russia’s interests is the item on achieving a unity of the alphabet and terminology to improve communication between member states.

It involves replacing the Cyrillic alphabet with the Latin alphabet. Despite the fact that most of the Turkic states began the transition to the Latin alphabet long before the adoption of this provision, in a number of countries this process has not yet been completed.

Another alarming direction in the OTS’s activity is the increase in cooperation with the Visegrad Four, which includes Poland, one of the most unfriendly states to Russia.

There are no plans for a single army

There is no talk of any “Army of Turan”, to which many publications in the media were devoted, in the OTS program. Also, the TAKM agreement, signed in 2013, is mistaken for the prototype of the “common Turkic army”. In fact, it concerns the coordination of the work of the internal troops, the gendarmerie and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of four states: Turkey, Azerbaijan,  Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia (TAKM). But the agreement has nothing to do with military-political cooperation, writes IA-Center.

The Turkic World Vision 2040 draws attention to security cooperation. But, unlike the SCO, in the OTS this direction has not yet been institutionalized and does not have a coordinating body like the RATS – the regional anti-terrorist organization under the SCO.

At the moment, it is planned to create a special information network. It is supposed to help cooperation and exchange of information within the OTS to combat the threats of radicalization, violent extremism, Islamophobia, xenophobia and terrorism. The network will also serve to ensure border security.

In addition, OTS members intend to establish multilateral channels of communication on migration issues in order to coordinate efforts in the field of humanitarian assistance, education, medical services, etc.

At the moment, cooperation within the OTS on security issues is far from creating an army, and there are no intentions of military integration even at the level of declarations. In the direction of economic cooperation, there are also no direct indications of plans to create our own Free Trade Zone. There is only a desire for the free movement of goods, capital, services, technologies and population among the member states of the organization.

It can be stated with confidence that the OTS will continue to promote and implement socio-cultural projects. At the same time, its activities will cover not only the territory of the participating countries, but also other Turkic states and regions, the Information and Analytical Center of Moscow State University is completing its calculations.,
Sept. 29, 2022