First meeting of Strategic Cooperation Council
On October 11 President Nazarbayev was welcomed to Ankara by Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul.
The meeting was the start of a two-day visit focused on the strengthening of economic cooperation between Kazakhstan and Turkey. Over 160 Turkish companies now operate in Kazakhstan and bilateral trade in 2011 amounted to USD 3.3 billion, representing an 80% increase on the 2010 figure. Growth continued in the first half of 2012, when trade reached USD 2.4 billion. The two countries have agreed on a bilateral trade target of USD 10 billion by 2015.
During their talks the two Presidents reviewed Kazakhstan’s and Turkey’s cooperation over the past 20 years, and considered ways of developing relations further in the scientific, cultural and humanitarian areas as well as on the trade front.
The next day President Nazarbayev travelled to Istanbul, to participate with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the inaugural meeting of the Turkey-Kazakhstan High Level Strategic Cooperation Council, which was established following the Prime Minister’s visit to Kazakhstan last May. After the meeting, the President and Prime Minister signed an action plan for implementation of the “New Synergy” programme for economic cooperation between Kazakhstan and Turkey over the period 2012-2015.
Addressing the Strategic Cooperation Council, President Nazarbayev said: “There are no unresolved issues between Kazakhstan and Turkey. We have particular respect for Turkey which was the first country to recognize our independence. Today the Turkish Republic is one of the closest strategic partners of our country.”
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the visit had raised relations between Turkey and Kazakhstan to a qualitatively new level. “Today Kazakhstan is making a significant contribution to strengthening regional and international security thanks to its effective and balanced foreign policy. A stable political system has taken shape in Kazakhstan that provides harmony between nationalities as well as dynamic economic development.”
During the visit the two sides signed new agreements that are expected to add USD 1.5 billion to bilateral trade between Kazakhstan and Turkey. News of the agreements was received positively by participants in the Turkish-Kazakh Business Forum attended by the President later that day.
Kazakhstan’s Ambassador in Ankara, Zhanseit Tuimebayev, said that the visit by President Nazarbayev would strengthen ties between the two countries. He added that completion of the Turkey-Iran and Iran-Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan railway lines will enable trade between the two countries to reach its full potential, as well as facilitating the export of Kazakhstan’s energy resources to world markets via Turkey.
President Nazarbayev’s visit to Turkey closed with a gala concert in Istanbul featuring leading performers from Turkey and Kazakhstan.