터키 ‘중앙아시아 통합’에 어떤 역할?···에르도안 작년말 우즈벡 방문 등 잰 발걸음

[아시아엔=파르코드 톨리포브 우즈베키스탄 ‘빌림카르보니연구소’ 디렉터] 레제프 에르도안 터키대통령은 2016년 11월 17~18일 이틀간 우즈베키스탄을 방문했다. 에르도안의 우즈베키스탄 방문은 이슬람 카리모프 대통령 서거 직후 이루어진 것이다. 이로 인해 양국은 외교관계의 새로운 장을 열게 됐지만 터키와 우즈베키스탄을 포함한 중앙아시아 5개국과의 관계는 여전히 복잡하고 다양한 문제들을 안고 있다.

카자흐스탄, 키르기스스탄, 투르크메니스탄, 우즈베키스탄, 타지키스탄 등 중앙아시아 5개국에는 투르크 민족들이 살고 있으며 터키는 중앙아시아를 투르크세계의 일부로 여기고 있다. 따라서 터키의 對중앙아시아 정책은 늘 투르크국가의 통합에 초점이 맞춰져 있었다.

터키의 對중앙아시아 정책에 뿌리를 두고 있는 민족주의는 자연히 汎터키주의 요소들을 포함할 수밖에 없다. 어느 한 지역의 국가 및 국민들에 관한 문제를 다루면서 같은 민족의 언어와 사고방식을 고려하지 않을 수 없다. 민족주의와 동족(同族)에 관한 정책은 현실에 맞게 수정, 적용돼야 적용돼야 한다.

오늘날의 민족주의 개념은 민주주의와 새로운 국제질서에 기초해서 변형돼야 한다. 그동안 해왔던 방식대로 표준화된 지정학적 조건들에 의해 이 문제를 다룬다면 국가간 이해관계과 얽혀 정치적 혼란이 뒤따르게 된다.

터키와 중앙아시아 국가들은 상호연계성 및 신뢰, 그리고 우호관계의 질을 높이고, 세계정치와 국제문제와 관련된 주요사안들에 대해 같은 입장을 취할 필요가 있다. 또 개별 국가 및 국제안보 측면에서도 포괄적이고 장기적인 협력관계를 유지하면서 ‘전략적 파트너’로 나아가는 것이 매우 필요한 시점이다.

중앙아시아 국가들과 터키는 상호 인정과 지지를 통해 새로운 장을 열어간다면 과거의 전철을 밟지 않고, 중앙아시아 통합이라는 오랜 꿈을 실현할 수 있을 것이다.(번역 송혜원 <아시아엔> 미국 통신원)

 

Central Asia and Turkey: Playwriting the national interests

Dr. Farkhod Tolipov

On 17-18 November 2016 Turkish President Recep Erdogan visited Uzbekistan. This visit took place soon after the death of the first President of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov, on September 2nd, 2016. For a long time, Uzbek-Turkish relations have been a stumbling block in the advancement of Turkey’s overall policy towards a certain Central Asian region. This region consists of five Turkic nations: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and one Farsi speaking nation?Tajikistan. That is why some observers described this event as a kind of resetting of Uzbekistan-Turkey relations, thereby the opening of a new page in Turkey’s relations with members of Central Asia. This, however, is quite a complicated and multifaceted issue.

Alongside the Turkic people living in independent states of Central Asia and the Caucasus, large communities of Turkic peoples live in the Russian Federation. And as Turkey considers Central Asia to be part of the Turkic world, Russia considers the same region a part of Eurasia. In the way Turkey implements normative and information aspects of geopolitics to reach out to Central Asia, Russia does the same in its own favor.

By and large, conditionally speaking, Turkey can pursue its policy vis-?-vis Central Asia based on pragmatic, normative and/or an altogether strategic approach. Here, pragmatic policy refers to selective cooperation in spheres which are available for the time being; it is designed for the short-term perspective. The normative policy stems from the principle of ethics and instrumentalizes, among other things, kinsmen and common cultural assets. A strategic approach is designed for the long-term perspective and highlights deeper cooperation and strong support in the international arena(see below). In a way, the normative approach can be a bridge between the pragmatic and strategic vision.

Unity of Turkic nations has constantly been the main agenda of Turkey’s Central Asia policy. Uzbekistan has, until now, stayed under the radar in the Turkic ensemble. This is perhaps indicative of the relatively minor role of the normative kinsmen factor and the major role of the pragmatic national interests in the State’s domestic and foreign policy. Moreover, Uzbekistan adopted a bilateralism principle for the foreign policy doctrine it adopted in 2012 and thereby has refrained from any multilateral formats of international communications, except perhaps with the SCO. Uzbekistan’s return to the Turkic world summits and its return to the leading role in the Central Asian region might be mutually stipulating of political advancements deserving strong support from Turkey. For this to be true, a new rapprochement between Turkey and Uzbekistan is needed.

Before reaching out to the broader Turkic world on the basis of common ethnic, cultural, linguistic, religious and other backgrounds, Central Asian countries, which represent by themselves a smaller Turkic world of its own with the same preconditions, might have already united within their own region. However, they boldly initiated regional integration in 1991 and then so resolutely stopped it by 2006 that one can easily assume that their international behavior is shaped by multiple determinants.

Meanwhile, the prevalence of nationalism in Turkey’s policy regarding Central Asia cannot but contain the elements of delicate pan-Turkism(like pan-Iranism, pan-Slavism, pan-Arabism).

Understandably, Turkey cannot dismiss its kinsmen rhetoric and mindset in its dealing with peoples and countries of that region. That is why nationalist and the kinsmen-based policy itself, perhaps, needs some modification and adaptation to contemporary realities. Even if one rationalizes a pan-Turkish stance in one way or another, we should remember that any ethnic pan-ideology came into being in a very specific context of international relations in the 16th century that is, during the not-yet-globalized world. Therefore, such ideology has inevitably the legacy and burden of the past. Modern nationalism requires new ideas based on modern democracy and new forms of international life.

When normative and geopolitical reasoning meets the playwriting of national interests, the result is political confusion. By and large, despite a good start, controversial experience and uncertain perspectives symbolize a retreat from overall intra-Turkic rhetoric and communication. This would be a defeat in Turkey’s strategic position in the international arena. Strategic thinking requires not retreating but retreating (re-reading) Central Asia?on the one hand, and re-reading the “Turkish model”?on the other. The “Turkish model” itself should turn from being a simple static picture into a dynamic process of self-criticism, self-improvement, and self-assertion.

When we contemplate about the adequate Turkey’s strategy towards Central Asia, several relevant criteria for evaluation of the content and efficiency of that strategy could be the degree of mutuality in politics, society, culture, as well as the degree of connection between countries of Central Asia and Turkey. A high degree of connectivity, mutual trust, and friendship of states; their common position on key issues of world politics and international order; comprehensive and long-term cooperation in the sphere of national and international security: all these are reflected in the notion of “strategic partnership”. Can we apply such a notion when we talk about Turkey-Central Asia relationships?

Turkey’s new Central Asia-strategy is expedient, similar to those of the EU, USA, Japan, India and South Korea. This strategy should take into account the previous experiences of a good start and controversial implementation of Turkey’s policy toward Central Asia. Relations should be based on recognition, supporting, and assisting the Central Asian regional integration. Only then would this strategy be an innovative policy that could open a new page in Turkey-Central Asia ties. Otherwise, controversies and uncertainties; mistakes made in the past with Turkey’s Central Asia outreach will only linger.

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