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History and Future of Turkey-Tajikistan Relations from Independence to This Day

The Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Turkey started their diplomatic relations on January 29, 1992. This year marks the 29th anniversary of Tajikistan-Turkey diplomatic relations.

And these 29 years have witnessed quite positive developments in different areas of the diplomatic relations between the two countries. Up until now, our relations have laid the foundations of mutual cooperation in an environment of trust, having the necessary political and legal infrastructures. Along with the economic, commercial, and investment aspects of our relations with Turkey, we also give priority to raising our political and security relations to a satisfying level.

Since the days of Tajikistan’s independence, the countries have signed 65 agreements and other documents to reinforce our cooperation. These agreements all contribute to the cooperation of countries in areas of politics, economy, trade, industry, investment, education, healthcare, and culture on a societal and human level. Turkey and Tajikistan continue to negotiate for about 30 agreements as well.

Since the independence of the Republic of Tajikistan; leaders of the two countries, high-level mutual visits, and the constructive negotiations in-between have played a crucial role in developing and strengthening the cooperation between them.

In this period, the official visit of Mr. Emamoli Rahmon, President of Tajikistan, and the Founder of Peace and National Unity – Leader of the Nation, to Turkey in 2012 and our President Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s working visit to Tajikistan in 2019 are also worth mentioning in the acceleration of our mutual relations. The officials from the two countries all emphasise that they strive to fulfil their duty and show the necessary sensitivity in order to realise all of the mutual agreements signed within the framework of mutual visits.

The two countries also signed a “Joint Statement on the Establishment of a Cooperation Council between the Republic of Turkey and the Republic of Tajikistan” during the Tajikistan President’s 2012 visit to Turkey in order to provide an institutional basis for their relations. Today, both sides state that they continue their preparations for the Cooperation Council at a high level. We believe that this Cooperation Council will allow us to address more issues and achieve further cooperation. We also need to mention how the phone calls between the leaders of the countries were important in these relations.

Additionally, at the end of 2016, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu made an official visit to Tajikistan. And Tajikistan’s Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin came to Turkey as a part of his official visit in 2019. These visits of the ministers created a positive ground for the development of contacts and cooperation between the two countries.

Relations of the countries are also strengthening at the parliamentary level, and the contribution of the Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group is also quite important.

Comprehensive issues of cooperation and the future relations of the two countries are constantly discussed in Dushanbe and Ankara within the framework of the Joint Economic Commission (JEC) Meeting, Political Consultations, Consular Consultations, Legal Affairs Commission and Businessmen Forum.

Economic and commercial cooperation is, in fact, one of the most fundamental areas of our mutual relations. The countries’ mutual relations greatly contributed to the economic and commercial cooperation between the countries, and the current situation pleases Turkey. In recent years, both sides have shown efforts to increase their mutual relations and their capacity, and Tajikistan’s friendly nation Turkey continues to be the fifth trade partner of the country.

The analyses reveal that the two countries show great potential in increasing their cooperation, and the trade increase is also very promising in this regard. Leaders of the countries have made it their goal to increase the trade volume to $1 billion, and our country considers this as one of its most important commercial goals. We have all the opportunities to achieve this goal, and the relevant authorities of the two countries continue to work on practical solutions.

As an important partner in Tajikistan’s trade, Turkey imports aluminium semi-products and cotton from Tajikistan and exports construction and contracting services, construction supplies, carpets, furniture, cosmetics, food products, textile products, ready-wear, and chemical products to the country.

The Republic of Tajikistan recognises the positive impact of Turkey’s direct investments on its economy, providing all the necessary means and infrastructure for investors. Investment analyses show an upward trend of Turkish investments in Tajikistan. Turkey’s investments between the years 2007-2020 are approximately $200 million, and favourable conditions for developing this cooperation to continue is greater than ever today.

Trade investments in Tajikistan and the establishment of joint industrial enterprises based on local raw materials are a priority of the cooperation between Turkey and Tajikistan. Today, around 90 companies with joint or only Turkish capital operate in different sectors in Tajikistan. While the great examples of this cooperation are ‘’Coca-Cola İçecek A.Ş’’, AKIA, and other large companies, there are also negotiations going on with other companies to establish joint factories.

In addition, by establishing joint factories with Turkey, Tajikistan aims to produce gold, minerals, cotton processing, aluminium, and many more. In the independence of the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkish companies participated in tenders for various projects worth 500 million dollars in the country. On the other hand, TIKA Dushanbe Coordination Agency carries out successful activities to strengthen the economic, social, and cultural ties between the two countries. Thanks to TIKA, many projects worth around 50 million dollars have been realised in Tajikistan.

We believe that the establishment of a suitable cooperation environment in the development of economic and commercial relations, transportation, and communication networks will contribute more to these relations. Within the framework of mutual cooperation documents, mutual cargo transportation and trough transport areas with the Republic of Tajikistan are also in very good conditions. Today, transportation cooperation between the countries is at a positive level with the cargo transportation from other countries to Turkey, from Turkey to Tajikistan, and from Tajikistan to other countries.

And the Republic of Tajikistan is quite satisfied with its capacity and the level of cooperation in air transport. Turkish Airlines and Somon Air have scheduled flights on the Istanbul-Dushanbe line. The development of relations and commercial means in this area is also advantageous for the citizens of the countries. In this respect, Turkey is an important transit country as Tajikistan’s door to the world.

In addition, Tajikistan finds Turkey’s experience and investments quite valuable in areas such as gaining energy independence (which is one of the 4 strategic goals of our country and Tajikistan’s most important topic in its agenda), eliminating the problem of access to international trade routes, ensuring food safety and industrialisation.

The same procedure also applies to the establishment of agricultural products, construction, light industry, and food enterprises just like in Turkey with the use of new technologies under mutual and beneficial cooperation, to economic institutions in realising joint investment projects for free economic zones and to agriculture. Tajikistan examines Turkey’s experience in developing free economic zones and wishes to benefit from this experience.

During the period of its independence, Tajikistan simplified, facilitated, and optimised the legal regulations of the relevant sectors in order to make the investment environment suitable. These regulations provide foreign investors with the most extensive opportunities, especially in terms of tax and customs privileges.

Just like the whole world, the COVID-19 outbreak has delayed the implementation of some measures and other cooperation plans between the two countries. Despite this turn of events, sector representatives and business people of the two countries were able to continue evaluating their topics of cooperation during and after the pandemic in 5 video conferences led by DEIK Turkey-Tajikistan Business Council.

In addition, we are in favour of developing cooperation in the cultural, educational, health, tourism, and other fields of the two countries. A legal framework to contribute to developing extensive cooperation in areas of culture, education, and tourism has been prepared.

We believe that our countries have the common historical and cultural values for further development of cooperation. We share a cultural heritage and common values with Turkey, which take their strength from great thinkers and esteemed personalities such as Mevlana Celalettin-i Rumi. These historical, cultural, and shared values and mutual, candid feelings are the foundations of our relations. We believe that we should use this legacy effectively to further develop our cooperation in various fields.

The birth of Mevlana is celebrated on September 30 with various events in Tajikistan. In this context, an international conference was made in 2018 under the slogan of “Mevlana ties peoples and civilisations together,” with support from both countries. The two countries continue such activities with an agreement to organise their cultural days and other cultural programs in each other’s territories. Also, Turkish cinema, music, and traditional cuisine are very famous in Tajikistan, and the recent program agreement between the countries will allow more promotion and introduction in the country.

Our countries also continue their cooperation in the field of education.  Today, more than 300 students from Tajikistan receive their education in different universities of Turkey, and we believe that they will pave the way for strengthening the ties between the countries. The educational institution “TÖMER” is also operating in the Republic of Tajikistan. In addition to that, negotiations are carried out to further increase cooperation with the Turkish Maarif Foundation.

These are the legal and social agreements aimed at promoting cultural and commercial ties between countries located in remote regions as sister cities. On this occasion, our Ankara-Dushanbe (Tajikistan) and Konya-Kulob (Tajikistan) cities have become sister cities, contributing to the relations between the two countries.

Turkey is an important friend and ally of Tajikistan in the international arena. Tajikistan and Turkey have been conducting their cooperation successfully also in international areas in institutions such as the United Nations and its subsidiaries, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Economic Cooperation Organisation, and many more. Tajikistan and Turkey usually share the same opinions and goals in regional and international areas to come up with solutions in important matters. In this context, the necessary support has always been mutually given to the initiatives and constructive positions put forward by both sides in the international platform.

We believe in the bright future of our friendly relations and effective cooperation with Turkey and will continue to develop these works with pride.

 

Mahmadali Rajabiyon,

Tajikistan’s Ambassador to Turkey             

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