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Turkic Council names Turkistan spiritual capital of Turkic world

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The Turkic Council, officially the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States, declared the city of Turkistan in southern Kazakhstan as the spiritual capital of the Turkic world at their informal summit March 31.  The gathering was initially scheduled to take place in Turkistan, but due to the worsening epidemiological situation, it was held online. The meeting adopted the Turkistan declaration. - writes Assel Satubaldina  

Opening the meeting, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said Turkistan is the land of the forefathers, a sacred place and home for Turkic speaking people.

“Our goal is to transform the Turkic world into one of the most important economic, cultural and humanitarian regions of the twenty-first century. We suggest starting the modernisation of Turkic civilisation by introducing the world to the heritage of (Khoja Ahmed) Yasawi and sacred Turkistan. Today’s summit is therefore held with the motto – Turkistan – the spiritual capital of the Turkic world,” said Tokayev.

Common challenges

Tokayev said that despite the unprecedented challenges, cooperation between the Turkic speaking states has remained, and the states need to work together to seek new ways to strengthen relations.

In the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, mass vaccination is crucial to stopping the spread of coronavirus infection. 

He said that the international community acted in isolation in the fight against the pandemic which resulted in vaccine disputes. 

He called on the gathering to support one another and share their experience. 

“At the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, Kazakhstan initiated the establishment of the International Biosafety Agency. I am confident that you will support this idea. There is no doubt that in the future the agency will contribute to the prevention of biological threats and the exchange of data on dangerous diseases,” said Tokayev. 

Economic consequences brought by the pandemic

The Turkic council member countries saw their bilateral trade turnover falling due to the pandemic. 

Last year, the trade turnover between Kazakhstan and other member states amounted to $7 billion, which is 11.2 percent lower than pre-pandemic figures. 

“One of the main tasks for our countries is to boost trade turnover. I would like to mention the broad investment, trade and economic opportunities of Turkistan, historically located at the crossroads between civilizations. Taking into account its vast resource base, human capital and tourism potential, I suggest creating a special economic zone in the Turkistan region, uniting the Turkic countries,” said Tokayev. 

Turkic countries can also benefit from increased cooperation in the water and energy sector. 

“The water issues in the region are very important and can cause serious problems. Efficient and equitable use of transboundary water resources is the key to the stability and prosperity of our countries. We are ready for joint implementation of waterwork construction projects,” he said. 

The pandemic has revealed the importance of promoting new technologies. Tokayev suggested developing cooperation in such areas as artificial intelligence, big data, digitisation, and online commerce.

“Obviously, this step will promote innovative development and strengthen the competitiveness of our countries. In Kazakhstan, new technologies have become a priority. We have e-government working effectively and advanced technologies and digital solutions are widely used in the banking sector and financial system. We are ready for an exchange of experience in these areas,” he said. 

The Turkic Investment and Integration Fund

Tokayev urged the gathering to prepare to create the Turkic Investment and Integration Fund that will become the first joint financial institution. He suggested locating its headquarters at the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) in Nur-Sultan. 

“The AIFC is a platform that combines the best practices of internationally renowned financial institutions with modern tools. Islamic banking and Islamic bonds (sukuk) are widely used here. The centre offers great opportunities for attracting large-scale investments in Turkic countries,” said President Tokayev. 

Cooperation in education, humanitarian and academic fields

To facilitate cooperation in education, Tokayev proposed to establish the Great Turkic People education fund that will coordinate ties between universities on academic mobility, internships and professional development.

“We are ready to allocate 50 grants (Yasawi scholarship) for young people from fraternal countries for bachelor studies at the Khoja Ahmed Yasawi International Kazakh-Turkish University,” he said. 

More archaeological works should be undertaken in Turkistan, a centuries-old city whose history is yet to be discovered. 

“Moreover, it would be good if we built a common architectural object in Turkistan to symbolise friendship and unity of the Turkic peoples,” said Tokayev.

Energy

Kazakhstan will continue to increase oil production under OPEC+ agreement

Astana Times

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Kazakhstan will continue to increase oil production in May, June and July of 2021 following the 15th meeting of OPEC (Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and non-OPEC ministers meeting that took place virtually, the Kazakh Ministry of Energy press service reported, writes Abira Kuandyk in Business.   

“On 1 April, a ministerial meeting of the countries participating in the OPEC+ agreement took place. Collectively countries decided to increase the current production level of OPEC+ countries by 350,000 barrels per day in May and June and by 450,000 barrels per day in July,” said the Kazakh Ministry of Energy in a press statement. 

Kazakhstan’s obligation under the OPEC+ agreement states that oil production will amount to 1.46 million barrels per day for May and June and 1.47 million barrels per day for July. 

The data on the trading platform illustrates that the cost of Brent crude oil has risen in price by almost 3.6 percent and rose to US$65 per barrel. 

The Meeting welcomed the positive performance of participating countries. “Overall conformity reached 115 per cent in February 2021, reinforcing the trend of aggregate high conformity by participating countries,” said OPEC in a press statement.  

On 4 March, Kazakh Energy Minister Nurlan Nogayev participated in the 14th meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC ministers after which Kazakhstan and Russia were allowed to increase oil production to 20,000 barrels per day and 130,000 barrels per day, respectively, in April. 

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Kazakhstan

More airlines resume international air travel to Kazakhstan

Astana Times

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As the global airline industry steadily recovers from months on hold, several international airlines announced that they will resume their flights to Kazakhstan, writes Assel Satubaldina in International.  

Regular domestic air travel has been resumed in Kazakhstan, while international air travel is steadily rebounding.

LOT Polish Airlines will have their flights resumed to Kazakhstan from 27 April, according to the schedule available on the company’s website. The flights will be operated on the Nur-Sultan-Warsaw route on Tuesday and Friday on a Boeing 737-800. 

Air Arabia from the United Arab Emirates will restart flights from Sharjah to Almaty from 2 May and will operate them on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. 

Hungarian Wizz Air also plans to launch flights to Turkistan, Almaty and other regions that are of interest to businesses and tourists, said the company representatives at their meeting with Kazakh Prime Minister Askar Mamin this week. 

The company’s low-cost airline, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, established by Wizz Air Holding and Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company, will also launch flights on the Abu Dhabi – Almaty and Abu Dhabi – Nur-Sultan routes May 14 as was agreed during Mamin’s visit to the United Arab Emirates in March. 

The flights to Almaty will be operated twice per week on Mondays and Fridays, while flights to Nur-Sultan will be operated on Thursdays and Sundays.

Starting 12 May, Latvian capital Riga and Kazakhstan’s largest city Almaty will have a direct flight operated by airBaltic on Monday, Wednesday and Friday on Airbus A220-300.

Kazakhstan’s SCAT airlines will also resume Shymkent to Istanbul flights on April 5. It will operate the flights twice per week. 

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Turkistan declaration of the informal summit of the co-operation council of Turkic speaking states

Astana Times

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Informal Summit of the Co-operation Council of Turkic Speaking States (hereinafter referred to as the Turkic Council) was held via videoconference on the theme of 'Turkistan – A Spiritual Capital of the Turkic World'.

The meeting was presided over by H.E. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and attended by H.E. Nursultan Nazarbayev, First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – Elbasy and the Honorary Chairman of the Turkic Council, H.E. Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, H.E. Sadyr Zhaparov, President of the Kyrgyz Republic, H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of the Republic of Turkey, H.E. Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, H.E. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, President of Turkmenistan, and H.E. Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary as well as H.E. Baghdad Amreyev Secretary General of the Turkic Council.

The Heads of States of the Turkic Council,

Celebrating Nowruz, a holiday which welcomes the vernal equinox and symbolizes the renewal of nature and the beginning of new life;

Congratulating the upcoming 30th anniversary of the restoration of the independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan; and expressing gratitude to the Republic of Turkey for immediate recognition of independence of the Turkic Speaking States in 1991;

Highlighting the remarkable political and socio-economic progress that the Turkic Speaking States achieved during the last decades and highly valuing the evolution of multilateral relations in the Turkic World and expressing their strong commitment to further deepening cooperation among the Turkic States;

Commending the liberation of territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan from military occupation and welcoming the end of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict;

Reiterating their determination to lay down long-term vision and goals for closer cooperation and enhanced solidarity in the Turkic World and to shape the strategic orientation; 

Emphasizing the valuable achievements of the Turkic Council since its inception and reaffirming the intention to enhance its role in ensuring cooperative and coordinated action in the Turkic World and further promoting the values and interests of the Turkic World in the regional and international arena;

Underlining the significance of the multilateral economic cooperation as a tool for contribution to the peace, stability, security and prosperity for the benefit of their peoples;

Acknowledging the spiritual significance of the city of Turkistan in bringing peoples together from across the wider Turkic World;

Praising the heritage of Kozha Akhmet Yasavi as a great inspirational figure, who founded Turkic school of Islamic morality and exerted a powerful influence on the development of philosophy across the Turkic World;

Expressing the importance of continuation of holding consultations on regional and international issues affecting the interests of the Turkic World in order to develop a consolidated position of the Member States of the Organization on them in line with the Nakhchivan Agreement on the Establishment of the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States.

Declared that they:

1. Proclaimed the city of Turkistan as a Spiritual Capital of the Turkic World. Agreed that other prominent ancient cities of the Turkic World might be accorded with similar statuses on a rotating basis in the future; and instructed the Secretariat to prepare a regulation on this matter in cooperation with the Member States to be adopted by the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) prior to the 8th Turkic Council Summit in Turkey;

2. Supported the initiative of H.E. Nursultan Nazarbayev, First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – Elbasy and the Honorary Chairman of the Turkic Council to change the name of the Turkic Council and instructed the Foreign Ministers and the Secretariat to prepare the relevant documents to lay the basis for this decision at the 8th Summit of the Turkic Council envisaged to be held in the fall of 2021 in the Republic of Turkey;

3. Commended the Secretariat for the preparation of the initial drafts of the “Turkic World Vision -2040” and “Turkic Council Strategy 2020-2025”, and instructed the relevant authorities of the Member States to work with the Secretariat to prepare them for the possible approval in line with their respective national procedures at the next Summit in Turkey;

4. Expressed solidarity with the Government and the People of Azerbaijan in their effort to rehabilitate, rebuild and reintegrate conflict-affected territories and supported the normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan on the basis of mutual recognition of and respect for each other’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of internationally recognized borders;  

5. Stressed the importance of the economic outlook for enabling the Turkic Council to set more ambitious and achievable goals, undertake and effectively implement regional projects of strategic importance, in particular in the field of transport, customs, energy and infrastructure;

6. Noting the great merits of the famous poet and statesman Mir Alisher Navoi in the eye of the Turkic people, who made a great contribution to the development of the literature, art, social-economic, scientific and cultural life of the Turkic world, as well as in connection with the wide celebration of his 580th anniversary this year, agreed to establish the Alisher Navoi International Prize within the Turkic Council;

7. Instructed the relevant authorities of the Member States to hold in collaboration with the Turkic Cooperation Organizations coordinated events for celebration of the 1005th anniversary of Zhusup Balasagyn, 880th anniversary of Nizami Ganjavi, the year of Yunus Emre and the Turkish language, the 580th anniversary of Alisher Navoi, 175th anniversary of Zhambyl Zhabayev, 155th anniversary of Alikhan Bokeikhan, and the 120th anniversary of Huseyin Karasaev, prominent poets, philosophers and statesmen of the Turkic World who made significant contributions to the development of literature, art, science and culture of the Turkic World;

8. Commended the significant achievements in the activities of the Secretariat of the Turkic Council since the last Summit.

The Heads of States express profound thanks to H.E. Nursultan Nazarbayev, First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – Elbasy and the Honorary Chairman of the Turkic Council for initiating the Turkistan Informal Summit and H.E. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan for steering the deliberations at this meeting to a successful conclusion.

Adopted on 31 March 2021 at the videoconference in the Azerbaijani, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Turkish and Uzbek languages.

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