The Organization of Turkic States (OTS) is in "perfect harmony" with Turkey's "Asia Anew initiative" and reflects Ankara's wishes to broaden its relations in Asia, the Turkish ambassador to China said Wednesday.
Turkey hopes to broaden its ties with its Asian partners, keeping in mind the vast political, economic and cultural diversity of the continent and supporting the OTS is one of the many effective tools of regional cooperation, Abdulkadir Önen said in an op-ed published in the daily South China Morning Post.
On Nov. 12, 2021, the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States, in short, the Turkic Council, renamed itself the Organization of Turkic States at its eighth summit in Istanbul.
"Though its name has changed, the primary task of the organization remains the same: Strengthening mutual confidence and good neighborliness among its members, never to the detriment of other regional countries," said Önen.
Underlining that the OTS does not follow ethnicity-based policy among its members or in third countries, he noted that the organization is also in "perfect harmony" with the Asia Anew initiative, which aims to deepen cooperation with the region.
Turkey launched its Asia Anew initiative in 2019 to improve ties with Asian nations in various areas. Announced by Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu at the 11th Ambassadors Conference in August 2019, the Asia Anew initiative indicated that Turkey was determined to more effectively utilize the potential of cooperation in Asia, considered the fastest growing economic region and the continent with the largest economy in terms of its gross domestic product (GDP). The continent has increasingly become the center for global production and trade, while the share of the Asia Pacific region rose from 26.3% in 2000 to 34.9% in 2019.
Since 2009, the Turkish ambassador reiterated that a total of eight summits have been held by the member states, which focused on various issues such as connectivity, youth as well as green technologies and smart cities.
He went on to say that the OTS can be deemed "unique" among other regional organizations as it brings together a NATO member (Turkey), a European Union member (Hungary), two members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan) and a state upholding permanent neutrality (Turkmenistan) under its umbrella.
Establishing friendly ties between OTS members and their neighbors is not only a goal of the organization but also a key component of Turkish foreign policy in the Asian context, Önen underlined.
He said that in this respect, the first meeting of the 3+3 regional consultations at the deputy foreign ministerial level attended by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia and Turkey on Dec. 10 and the launch of a normalization process between Turkey and Armenia – with the first meeting between their special representatives held in Moscow on Jan. 14 – are the latest indicators of Ankara's commitment to regional peace.
The OTS consists of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey and Uzbekistan as member countries, and Hungary and Turkmenistan as observer states.