Azerbaijan's pivot toward Central Asia
    Interregional interaction

    ANALYTICS  11 May 2024 - 09:17

    Fuad Shahbazov

    On February 14, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev underscored in his inaugural speech the strategic importance of Azerbaijan's belonging to the Turkic family. He outlined the country's new foreign policy paradigm, a shift towards multivector diplomacy, and emphasized the strategic significance of strengthening ties with Central Asian nations. This pivot, initiated in 2021, is a response to Azerbaijan's strained relations with some EU member states following the post-Karabakh war in 2020.

    Due to the common historical, linguistic, and cultural factors, Azerbaijan's pivot to Central Asia did not have a shock effect, though it enabled it to boost its geopolitical profile by providing a viable route to the West to Central Asia. Azerbaijan's foreign policy priorities highlighted Baku’s plans to continue strengthening ties with Türkiye and the four Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. In the following months, Aliyev hosted Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on March 11 and 12 and Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov on April 24 and 25. Regional experts pointed out that these talks laid the foundation for a new era in Azerbaijan’s ties with Central Asia.

    Moreover, in the context of the tripartite level, Azerbaijan played an important role in the creation of two important platforms, namely the Turkey-Azerbaijan-Kazakhstan and Turkey-Azerbaijan-Uzbekistan tripartite platforms. These platforms facilitated Azerbaijan's engagement with two important actors in Central Asia. The five Central Asian countries see Azerbaijan as a way to the outside world without going through Russia or China. For them, this relationship is strategic, and they are ready to welcome Azerbaijan into their midst with pleasure.

    For instance, according to Kazakh data from April 2023, Baku has invested about $306 million in Kazakhstan over 17 years, and Astana, in turn, has invested $95 million in the Azerbaijani economy. This mutual investment underscores the potential for economic cooperation. Turkmenistan is also seeking collaboration with Azerbaijan on gas exports, demonstrating the potential for mutually beneficial energy projects. Similarly, Uzbekistan is eager to jointly develop the Middle Corridor, a crucial route for accessing the European market for all Central Asian economies.

    Even the geographical distance between Azerbaijan and Tajikistan, another regional state, did not become a serious obstacle to establishing a legal foundation for their bilateral cooperation through approximately 62 agreements covering various areas of collaboration. On April 5, 2023, an additional 14 agreements spanning various sectors were introduced. A development fund is not a particularly new concept. Azerbaijan already has arrangements similar to those of several Turkic states, including Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan.

    Moreover, the joint fund between Astana and Baku has the potential to foster insightful cooperation, particularly in developing infrastructure in the Caspian Sea. This fund can also be leveraged to finance projects in other Central Asian and European countries, including Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Turkey, thereby facilitating international trade. These countries all stand to benefit economically from the Middle Corridor, a route designed to enhance Chinese-EU trade via the Caspian Basin, further highlighting Azerbaijan's growing influence in global affairs.

    Indeed, the enhanced partnership between the CA region and Azerbaijan was made possible through the Organization of Turkic States (OTS). Consequently, member countries of OTS focused on improving economic cooperation, transport connectivity, and food security. Baku's engagement with Central Asian countries increases its geopolitical importance, not only for the regional powers but also for the EU and China. The close engagement with the CA region will pave the way for Azerbaijan to play a crucial role in navigating the regional politics linking to the West amid the ongoing Russo-Ukraine war.

    Caliber.Az

    Subscribe to our Telegram channel


Read also

New era in the pipeline: Transformative changes in Southern Caucasus A region in transformation

21 July 2024 - 17:16

Azerbaijan champions independence for French-colonized territories BIG leads the charge for decolonization

21 July 2024 - 10:41

US-Armenia Eagle Partner 2024 military drills & geopolitical implications Yerevan's strategic shift

21 July 2024 - 09:25

Karabakh Armenians feel uncomfortable in Armenia What are Azerbaijan's detractors silent about?

20 July 2024 - 15:55

What do international financial institutions predict for Azerbaijan's economy? Caliber.Az review

20 July 2024 - 15:06

China’s increasing footprint in Central Asia Stepping up military

19 July 2024 - 15:06
ADVERTS
Video
Latest news

    American Airlines propels toward zero-emission future with hydrogen-electric engines

    22 July 2024 - 00:04

    President Biden steps down from 2024 race, endorses Kamala Harris

    21 July 2024 - 22:06

    Russian fighter jets intercept US B-52 bombers near border in routine encounter

    21 July 2024 - 22:02

    F-35 programme resumes deliveries with interim software solutions

    21 July 2024 - 20:03

    Foreign journalists witness devastation during tour to Azerbaijan’s Shusha

    PHOTO

    21 July 2024 - 18:05

    Russia monitors West Nile fever spread amid imported cases

    21 July 2024 - 17:55

    Azerbaijan extends olive branch to Armenia with COP29 invitation

    21 July 2024 - 17:40

    German police foil IS terror plot targeting England's Euro 2024 final

    21 July 2024 - 17:30

    New era in the pipeline: Transformative changes in Southern Caucasus

    A region in transformation

    21 July 2024 - 17:16

    Russian fighters intercept US B-52 bombers near state border

    21 July 2024 - 17:01

    US professor: Azerbaijan’s Shusha summit tackles misinformation epidemic

    21 July 2024 - 16:46

    President Erdogan: Türkiye resolves global IT failure issues

    21 July 2024 - 16:31

    Erdogan: Equal status key to new Cyprus talks, warns against escalation

    21 July 2024 - 16:16

    Azerbaijan explores role of technology in combating disinformation

    As part of Shusha Global Media Forum

    21 July 2024 - 15:58

    Israeli PM to meet with Biden and address Congress during US visit

    21 July 2024 - 15:43

    Russia’s TASS deputy director warns of persistent global information wars

    21 July 2024 - 15:28

    Azerbaijani leader’s remarks on Armenia’s constitution reflect real conditions for peace - Georgian expert

    21 July 2024 - 15:13

    Houthi forces claim attacks on Israeli city, US ship in Red Sea

    21 July 2024 - 14:57

    Azerbaijani Defence Ministry presents weekly review

    VIDEO

    21 July 2024 - 14:42

    UN chief urges restraint following Israeli airstrikes on Hudaydah

    21 July 2024 - 14:12

    Second Shusha Global Media Forum launches first panel on disinformation impact

    21 July 2024 - 13:57

    Russian analyst slams Armenia's reluctance to negotiate peace with Azerbaijan

    21 July 2024 - 13:42

    Iran's president-elect honors Gen Soleimani, vows to follow his unifying legacy

    21 July 2024 - 13:27

    Azerbaijani official slams social media giants for neglecting ethical standards

    Calls for AI regulation

    21 July 2024 - 13:20

    Israeli airstrike targets Hezbollah ammunition depot in southern Lebanon

    21 July 2024 - 13:12

    Azerbaijani official highlights President Aliyev's support for media integrity

    21 July 2024 - 13:03

    Azerbaijan seeking swift peace treaty with Armenia – top Russian media man

    21 July 2024 - 12:57

    Iran condemns Israeli strikes on Yemen's Hudaydah, warns of regional escalation

    21 July 2024 - 12:42

    Azerbaijan's stand against neo-colonialism garners global attention

    Political analysts laud Baku's diplomatic initiative

    21 July 2024 - 12:27

    President Aliyev highlights historical transformation in Southern Caucasus at Shusha Forum

    VIDEO/UPDATED

    21 July 2024 - 12:17

    Western campaigns of disinformation target geopolitical rivals – pundit

    21 July 2024 - 12:12

    Azerbaijan reiterates call for amendment to Armenian constitution to remove territorial claims

    21 July 2024 - 11:57

    Israel vows to defend itself after air raid on Houthi targets in Yemen

    21 July 2024 - 11:42

    US to assert commitment to defend Japan with nuclear weapons

    21 July 2024 - 11:27

    Top presidential foreign policy aide highlights Azerbaijan's stand against disinformation

    21 July 2024 - 11:12

    Azerbaijani official addresses digitalisation, disinformation at 2nd Shusha Global Media Forum

    21 July 2024 - 10:57

    Azerbaijan champions independence for French-colonized territories

    BIG leads the charge for decolonization

    21 July 2024 - 10:41

    Georgia's foreign trade turnover continues decreasing

    21 July 2024 - 10:26

    Hezbollah launches missile attack on Israel in Golan heights

    21 July 2024 - 10:10

    Azerbaijani army positions in Kalbajar District come under fire

    21 July 2024 - 09:56

All news