Full text of interview of the Secretary General Mr. Jandos Asanov
November 26, 2013

Five years ago on 21st November in Istanbul the heads of the parliaments of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Republic of Azerbaijan, Kyrgyz Republic and the Republic of Turkey signed an agreement on the establishment of the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic Speaking Countries (TURKPA). Ever since TURKPA has gone through a certain stage in its development. In this connection Mr. Jandos Asanov gave an interview to Azerbaijan State Telegraph Agency AzerTac and talked about the role of the Parliamentary Assembly in the Turkic cooperation.

Question: First of all, welcome to Baku, to Azerbaijan. You assumed your current duties on 1st October this year and how do you find the TURKPA Secretariat’s host country?

Answer: If to characterize Azerbaijan in a nutshell I would say that here I met friendly people and saw a beautiful country. I have been impressed by the attractive architecture of Baku that blends old traditions with modernity. I would also like to thank Milli Majlis of Azerbaijan for its support to the activities of the TURKPA Secretariat. I have started learning the Azerbaijani language and I hope that in a year’s time I will be able to maintain conversation in it.

Q: The Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic Speaking Countries (TURKPA) was established in 2008. Why the institution was established and what are its main goals and objectives?

A: It is widely known that this regional inter-parliamentary institution was established on the initiative of the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev. In the last several years other Turkic cooperation institutions, such as Turk Keneşi and Turkic Academy also came into existence. The Turkic speaking nations and communities have always had close ties throughout the history. Geopolitical changes that took place in the 90s of the last century led to the emergence on the political map of the globe new Turkic speaking states, and relations among them were established and started deepening and expanding. The scope of these relations is diverse and covers many areas. For example, on 12 July 1993 in Almaty, Kazakhstan the agreement on founding the International Organization of the Turkic Culture (TÜRKSOY) was signed and it has facilitated the popularization of the cultural legacy of the Turkic nations and communities in the world as well as their rebirth and revival. Since the 90s cooperation in the field of education has been quite productive. During these years many educational facilities of Turkey were opened in other Turkic countries and currently there is a vast opportunity for our students to go to another Turkic speaking country and study at local universities. Representatives of mass media also have established close links and currently information flow among the countries is growing day by day. Economic interaction among Turkic countries has been remarkable. If to give figures within the TURKPA format, Kazakhstan’s current bilateral trade turnover with Turkey stands at $4 bln., with Kyrgyzstan has exceeded $1 bln and with Azerbaijan reached $0.5 bln. mark. Kazakhstan’s bilateral economic cooperation with Azerbaijan is growing and that can be observed from the frequency of flights between various destinations of the two countries. Growing ties between Turkic countries demanded establishment of the structures that would deal with coordination of the interstate relations and multifaceted cooperation. As its result in 2008 TURKPA and in 2009 the Cooperation Council of the Turkic Speaking Countries (Turk Keneşi) came into being. The main objective of the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic Speaking Countries is to shape a legislative basis for the ever growing ties among the Assembly’s member countries. In one word TURKPA is the parliamentary dimension of the Turkic world.

Q: Why Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have opted to stay out of TURKPA?

A: To become a member of our parliamentary assembly or not is an entirely internal issue of any country. However I hope that after the passage of time the parliaments of the brotherly countries will join the institutions of Turkic cooperation.

Q: With what range of issues did TURKPA deal within the five years since its establishment?

A: From 1st of October 2009 the permanent working body of TURKPA – its Secretariat started its activities and permanently accommodated in Baku. This year the position of the TURKPA Secretary General on a rotating basis was handed over from Azerbaijan to Kazakhstan. There are four commissions within TURKPA and they deal with issues in the fields of culture, education, economic cooperation, legal and international affairs. So the TURKPA’s institutionalisation is ongoing. At the same time, TURKPA has established links with other international parliamentary institutions, such as the Inter-parliamentary Union (IPU), Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States, OSCE PA and others.

Q: What is the cooperation potential among Turkic countries and what kind of contribution can TURKPA make to the expansion of the existing relations among the mentioned countries?

A: Any member-state of TURKPA is a nation rich for domestic developments, with speedy economic advancement. However, there are many areas for joint work among the Turkic speaking countries. For example, President Nursultan Nazarbayev in his speech at the Third Summit of Cooperation Council of the Turkic Speaking Countries held in Gabala, Azerbaijan, emphasized the need “to strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation among the brotherly peoples and neighbouring countries” and drew attention to the fact that while the joint GDP of the Turkic countries constituted $1 trillion 150 bln, the trade turnover among them was well below the existing potential.
Indeed the overall economic capacities of our countries are increasing year by year. Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkey are the countries that have their own space programme. Besides that all the four TURKPA member-countries are introducing into their economies new technologies and innovations, thus developing local value added industries. Hydrocarbon pipelines, motorway and railway networks are being constructed or renovated: in the next two years the Kazakh section of the international Western China – Western Europe motorway line will be completed, Kazakhstan has already commissioned Qorghas – Jetigen and Janga Ozen – border with Turkmenistan railway links and it is building a huge railway line that connects the Central Kazakhstan with the Western Kazakhstan, next year Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway link will be completed, shipment between the sea ports Aqtau and Baku is growing. All these projects should lead to the restoration of the ancient Great Silk Road and further increase trade and investment cooperation within the format of Turkic cooperation.
I would also like to draw the attention to the following. Our countries are the members of various international and regional organizations. That is why the Turkic institutions have the potential to act as a bridge between various intergovernmental organizations of the East and West, North and South. The agenda of TURKPA needs to cover the extent of the above mentioned issues and one can observe that ahead of us there are many things to tackle. In order to keep abreast of the contemporary world the Turkic countries need to increase the channels of mutual information exchange. Therefore there is enough work for our news agencies and journalists. We need experts, specialists and scientists with good knowledge of other Turkic languages and this will ensure timely exchange of information on our achievements in the fields of culture, science, education and other spheres.

Q: Along with the cooperation opportunities that exist in the geography covered by the Turkic speaking countries, there are also long standing political and security problems such as non-resolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, as well as other challenges and threats. What is the position of TURKPA on these issues?

A: TURKPA is firmly committed to the principles and norms of the UN Charter. Apart from that all of our countries are the members of the OSCE and share this organization’s goals and objectives. The issues mentioned in your question are reflected in the Bishkek and Ankara declarations adopted by TURKPA, where our organization expresses the importance of the peaceful settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on the basis of sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of the borders of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Q: Mr. Secretary General, I would like to thank you for informative conversation and wish you achievements in your current position.

A. Thank you. While concluding our conversation I would like to emphasize that TURKPA is to become an efficient mechanism for the advancement of cooperation and interaction among the member-countries. Our Parliamentary Assembly is comprised of members of our national parliaments and various gatherings within the Assembly help deal with issues arising in the interstate relations and multifaceted cooperation and find proper solutions.