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A Big Year For Turkish-Central Asian Relations

A Big Year For Turkish-Central Asian Relations
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Turkey has been noticeably active in Central Asia this year. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Uzbekistan twice, Kazakhstan, and most recently Turkmenistan in mid-December. Erdogan is pushing for the Organization of Turkic States, which includes four Central Asian states, to move from a talk shop about cultural affinities into a political and economic bloc with international clout. Central Asia is expanding its trade networks to Turkey and increasingly turning to Ankara for security needs. Joining host Bruce Pannier to discuss the topic are Assel Tutumlu, a lecturer at the Department of International Relations and Political Science at the Near East University in Nicosia; and Mukhtar Senggirbay, managing editor at RFE/RL’s Kazakh service, known locally as Azattyq.