Turkey caught off guard in Kazakhstan as Russia emerges on prime

Turkey has supplied — belatedly — to assist Kazakhstan in serving to to revive order to the central Asian nation that has been rocked by violent protests triggered by a hike in gasoline costs and underpinned by an influence battle between rival ruling clans.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu advised a gathering of his governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) over the weekend, “Turkey hopes that Kazakhstan will attain stability and peace as soon as possible. For this, Turkey and the Organization of Turkic States will lend all kinds of support.” Cavusoglu was referring to the Istanbul-based worldwide group shaped by Turkey and the previous Soviet states of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan with which it shares ethnic and linguistic ties.

Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar echoed the supply, saying, “Kazakhstan is an important ally of Turkey, and we hope for the earliest possible stabilization of the situation and ensuring law and order in this country. If Kazakhstan makes any request to Ankara, we will be ready to provide it in full.”

Turkey’s deployment of troops to Libya to defend the internationally acknowledged authorities in Tripoli from assault by a Russian-backed japanese warlord and its intervention on the aspect of Azerbaijan in opposition to Armenia permitting the previous to wrest again giant chunks of occupied territory across the contested Nagorno-Karabakh enclave may immediate the uninitiated to ask whether or not it’s providing to do the identical for Kazakhstan. Besides, what could possibly be extra pure than for Turkey’s authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to increase a serving to hand to a fellow despot looking for to quell nationwide protests in opposition to his rule?

The dynamics at play in Kazakhstan are much more advanced than a easy standard backlash in opposition to corruption and mismanagement. They doubtless caught Turkey off guard as analysts say, with its longtime companion, the previous President Nursultan Nazarbayev, on the shedding aspect and Russia, the last word winner.

Nazarbayev is claimed to have performed a key function in serving to restore relations between Erdogan and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin following Turkey’s downing of a Russian airplane over Syria in 2015.

“Turkey was unprepared for this uprising [and] the quick departure of the Nazarbayev regime as they thought that Nazarbayev had fully consolidated authoritarian rule,” famous Gul Berna Ozcan, an educational who focuses on Central Asia on the School of Business and Management, Royal Holloway, University of London.

This may clarify why it took Turkey so lengthy to formally reply.

Nazarbayev’s handpicked successor, President Kassym Jomart Tokayev, who blames the unrest on international provocateurs and referred to as it a “coup attempt,” turned the tables on his mentor-turned-rival, calling on the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) to “help Kazakhstan overcome this terrorist threat.” Thousands of Russian troops have since deployed throughout the nation. “Russia at the invitation of the Kazakh government has effectively occupied Kazakhstan,” Istanbul-based impartial analyst Yoruk Isik advised Al-Monitor. “To imagine any role for Turkey beyond this point would be fantasizing.”

Putin appeared to share that evaluation, telling a digital summit of the CSTO that the physique had managed to “prevent the undermining of the foundations of the state, the complete degradation of the internal situation in Kazakhstan and block terrorists, criminals, looters and other criminal elements.”

He mentioned, “Of course, we understand the events in Kazakhstan are not the first and far from the last attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of our states from the outside.”

Bordering Russia to the north and China to the east, and with a inhabitants of 18 million, Kazakhstan is a gigantic nation the scale of Europe with huge power and mineral assets. Turkey is amongst its key buying and selling companions with the quantity of commerce between the 2 international locations standing at round $2 billion.

The demonstrations erupted on Jan. 2 within the nation’s western oil city of Zhanaozen over the sudden spike within the worth of automobile gasoline and quickly unfold to its industrial capital Almaty as they developed right into a present of anger in opposition to the massively corrupt Nazarbayev and his oligarch cronies. Alleged pro-Nazarbayev vigilantes responded with drive. Over 160 individuals have been killed, together with three kids, in accordance with Kazakh authorities.

On Jan. 5, Tokayev dismissed Nazarbayev from his function as chair of the safety council. He additionally sacked the top of the safety companies Karim Masimov, put in by Nazarbayev to maintain shut watch over him, together with the whole cupboard. Masimov has since been arrested for treason.

At least 8,000 individuals have been detained since Jan. 10, when the violence was at its peak. Thanking Russia for its intervention, Tokayev claimed in the present day that militants from neighboring Central Asian nations, together with Afghanistan, in addition to from the Middle East have been concerned in stoking the unrest with out offering any concrete proof to again his claims. He hasn’t talked about Nazarbayev in any context. Isik reckons that even with all his billions in gathered wealth, with Russian troops on the bottom, Nazarbayev not poses a menace. His whereabouts stay unknown. 

It could have been an oblique swipe at Turkey, lengthy accused by international locations like Egypt, Israel and the UAE of sponsoring Muslim extremist teams resembling Hamas. Ankara has additionally been accused of turning a blind eye to the 1000’s of international fighters who crossed from Turkey into Syria to affix the Islamic State.

Robinson continued, “Turkey has no choice but walk a tightrope in coming days. One can already detect a strong dose of realism, even discomfort in [Turkish] authorities’ statements about where they stand.”

“After years of promoting an Islamic identity among Kazakhs, allowing Kazakh militants free passage to Syria and turning a blind eye to Kazakh mafia elements’ links with the Turkish shadowy nationalists, their unease is understandable,” she concluded.

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