Agenda Corner Articles

Turquoise Corridor in Trade

The states of the Turkic world are taking steps towards a new “Trade belt”. With a potential of approximately 350 million, the trade route gives the outlook of a natural bridge between East, West, North, and South in the middle of the world. Having also gained depth with the power of the Turkish proxy, the area shows the potential of a regional production centre.

 THE WORLD IS CHANGING

 The world is going through a change at its backbone these days in the first quarter of 2022. The struggle of the Eurasian-Atlantic Treaty is evolving towards new world order. Against the USA’s Containment Policy, Russia follows the “Perimeter” doctrine. In the Turkic world, a new concept called “Common Mind, Common Future” began to develop. This shows us that a new era of expansion has begun at a time when international trade is being squeezed into a narrower space every day.

Trade diplomacy in the Turkic World is shedding its skin. The lines are closer now more than ever before. Global trade is currently experiencing a major trust problem. Having even more intensified as a result of the pandemic, the raw material problem keeps increasing. There is a more protectionist and nationalist economic transformation. While the world is moving away from each other in the field of Economy-Politics, the opposite is the case in the Turkic world side, which is historically connected to each other. There is some kind of a re-embracement in this geography that has been apart from each other for centuries.

TRADE ROUTE IN THE TURKISTAN GEOGRAPHY

 There is a Turkic and proxy area extending from Beijing to Tashkent, from Kabul to the Caucasus, from Tbilisi to Istanbul and from Istanbul to Hungary. The geography of Turkistan is going to offer new economic opportunities for the future. In case the opportunities that emerged in this period of lockdown in global trade combine with the right steps, a new economic area will be created under the leadership of Türkiye in this trade route, called “Red and White” by us.

THE PERIOD OF SAFE AND RELIABLE RELATIONS 

We are observing a period of radical geopolitical change in Afro-Eurasia. The economic changes here will keep deepening. As a result of the war between Russia and Ukraine, the balances that were almost upside down are currently moving to a new dimension. World politics is experiencing a sharp breakage between East and West. In terms of the economic-political field, the world is undergoing a process of evolving into a new order.

TURANIAN ROUTE

The pandemic and new conflicts in the economy have now caused strategic alliances based on trust to gain importance. It is thought that the activities on a new “Economic Turanian Route” in the Turkic world will have a multiplier effect in this period. Türkiye gained great international trade experience through EU relations and Customs Union activities. Developed in the fields of defence, aviation, construction, agriculture, and logistics, “Know-How” acts as a guide for other Turkic world countries and has a complementary feature for belt countries.

ZANGEZUR CORRIDOR

Through the Zangezur Corridor formed by the last Karabakh War, the Turkic world have united on land. Transportation routes of Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan-Nakhichevan, and Türkiye gained a new depth. A land connection between Central Asia and Türkiye has been established. Nursultan Nazarbayev, the founding father of the Organization of Turkic States, took this emphasis one step further. He named the system to be connected to the “Trans-Caspian Line” over the mentioned routes as “Trans-Caspian International Transportation Route” (Turanian Route). Including two continents and two seas, the “Turanian Route” has been defined as a route that will benefit the countries of the region, especially those that do not have an outlet to the sea, such as Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. The role of the Route and the Caspian Sea has further increased in world trade. The Turkic world has united over this route, and a new era has begun.

EMERGING ASIA PROJECTION

Asia has a significant place in Türkiye’s new international commercial strategy. In the heart of the continent, Central Asia, a new period of making is being experienced. The business world is focusing more and more on the “Emerging Asia” market day by day. Carrying the legacy of the historical Silk Road, Turkic geography is at the very source of China’s Silk Road Initiative. In this sense, it is at the heart of Russia’s Eurasian project and the EU’s Asian strategy as well. Türkiye is an inevitable and indispensable partner. As a sharer of historical heritage, Türkiye, now connecting Asia over the land, will be emerging on the field as a new actor.

The process of strengthening regional connectivity in the Turkic trade route extending from Hungary in the far West to Central and South Asia is a long-standing goal. Landlocked Central Asia will gain access to markets in and trade routes to Europe and the south, while South Asia will gain access to resources and opportunities in the north.

TURKIC TRADE LINE

The commercial belt that will be formed by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, which were collectively known as Turkistan in the past, as well as Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Türkiye will have critical importance. Central Asia had a key role and even a central position on the historical Silk Road. We can tell that the role of Central Asia in the connection point of the Belt & Road to Europe and even to the global market is quite critical. In summary, Central Asian countries will actually be the first countries where China opens to the world in terms of planned Belt & Road routes.

ESTABLISHMENT OF JOINT FUND

Turkic world joint fund has been established under the umbrella of the Organization of Turkic States. The mentioned investment fund will primarily finance food, agriculture and infrastructure investments. First, cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, security, defence, energy, food, textile, and tourism came to the fore. Young people make up 40 per cent of the population of the countries on the line formed by the Turkic countries. Establishing a “Youth Forum” among collaborations is also on the agenda. New agreements were made in terms of trade, transit, visa, security, and cultural cooperation. A unified, democratic, peaceful and connected trade route is aimed.

HAS A STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE FOR TÜRKİYE AND EUROPE

Central Asian Turks are the main producers in the Silk Road trade. In case the production potential is developed in this line, a new production corridor will be formed in the world. The population is young and there are rich natural resources. The Turkic line, including Central Asia, will also offer many opportunities. Access to cheap raw materials including oil, gas, gold, uranium, etc. will be provided. This has geostrategic importance not only for China or Russia in a historical sense but also for Türkiye and Europe. The transportation of gas and oil from Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan to the West will affect the global energy balance.

The heir of the world’s most ancient trade route in history, the Silk Road, Uzbekistan has become the centre of gravity in the region in the current era, which is defined as the “Asian Century”. Türkiye considers the country as a strategic partner in the “Asia Anew” projection.

Kazakhstan, on the other hand, has the largest national income and the richest underground resources in the region and is in a more critical position geopolitically compared to other countries in the region.

The process of strengthening the regional link between Central and South Asia is a long-standing goal. Central Asia will gain access to markets and trade routes in the south, while South Asia will gain access to resources and opportunities in the north. When this potential combines with Türkiye’s commercial capabilities, the Turkic world’s trade area will result in a large area of activity.

Murat Palavar/ Researcher-Writer

 

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