The acute crisis in Kazakhstan, its intermediate culmination associated with the deployment of the CSTO armed forces in this country, which, according to the charter, “can only act in case of aggression or attack,” increased attention in the world both among politicians and the expert community.
President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, calling the protesters a “gang of international terrorists”, appealed to the CSTO for help, although many understand that the external trigger of the Kazakh unrest masks more: the increase in aggravating socio-economic problems, technically and politically unsuccessful transit of power from Nursultan Nazarbayev to Tokayev, etc.
In the future, these events will be described and analyzed by experts more than once. It is not only the internal problems of Kazakhstan, but also a serious international subtext due to the fact that the country has a stable position in the world. The oil-rich republic, the ninth largest state, has attracted foreign investment, is a member of the CSTO, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the Eurasian Economic Union.
And in the Union of Turkic States (STG), it occupied, if not leading, then leading positions. Now, as the Turkish Daily Sabah writes, “the image of the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, which has long been considered one of the most stable, has been dealt a severe blow.” But from whom?
Bunyamin Yeshil, a Turkish political scientist and expert on Central Asia, claims that he does not agree with those who believe that “certain forces allegedly struck only at Russia through Kazakhstan in order to weaken it in the post-Soviet space.” According to him, Turkey is also being hit.
He calls for paying attention to the decisions of the summit of the new integration association, the Union of Turkic States, held in Istanbul in November 2021. We are talking about the transition of the Kazakh language to the Latin alphabet, the organization of information exchange and simplification of customs control procedures in order to form an economic and military-political alliance between Kazakhstan and Turkey. In this regard, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan put forward the thesis of “six states and one nation”.
That is why Yeshil believes that “only Russia’s intervention will harm it in a broad sense,” although he points out that publications in the Turkish media have become more frequent, containing judgments that “the ruling elite of Kazakhstan can implement European integration only through an alliance with Turkey,” and the Union of Turkic States “becomes the main tool of the West in the fight against Russia and China.”
Now the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet states with “surprise”: “The CSTO countries quickly responded to the request for assistance from the President of Kazakhstan Tokayev by sending a peacekeeping contingent to the country,” and “we need to wait for targeted confirmation of the external origin of Kazakhstan’s shocks and terrorist groups.” The turbulent events in Kazakhstan are likely to last for some time. Ankara suspects that a certain part of the Kazakh elite is playing this game. They also draw attention to the fact that the unrest in Kazakhstan coincided with the preparation of the Russia—USA—NATO summits. According to the Turkish publication Habertürk, “everything is just beginning,” and soon “East Turkestan” will become the arena of a big game.” At the public level, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said that it “closely follows the events in Kazakhstan” and “attaches great importance to the stability of a friendly state.” Turkey has its own reasons for such a “focus”. In it, as in Kazakhstan, there is a problem of transit of power and inflation is rampant. And the main factor is the rise in prices for natural gas and fuel, not to mention the drought. In Turkey, too, everything can flare up “suddenly”.