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Who are you in Tashkent?
Material posted: Pankratenko Igor N.Publication date: 28-05-2018
Arms of the presidents of Turkey and Uzbekistan Erdogan and Shavkat Mirziyoev in Tashkent, as well as the unusually warm welcome extended to the President of Uzbekistan in Washington, became one of the most discussed topics in the media and expert community.

Journalists urgently read the file with the tags #Uzbekistan, #Mirziyoev and #Toshkentdagi, and full of interest in the fate of Central Asia analysts counting how many times the Turkish President called Shavkat of Miromonovich brother and what amounts promised to put U.S. investors in the Uzbek economy.

But let us not deceive ourselves. Not that interested many commentators. "Who are you now, Tashkent?" that was the main issue. What will now be the foreign policy orientation of Uzbekistan? Does a new era of strategic partnership is that with Ankara that Washington "a knife in the back" of Moscow? Now what in Beijing?

In a word, the intrigue Shavkat Miromonovich only two meetings have created a noble. And their results, apparently, will have for the Central Asian region is not smaller impact, than for Southeast Asia "coming out" of Kim Jong-UN. Because of the agreements that were reached by the Uzbek President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Donald trump, Tashkent deduce on qualitatively new level. A regional leader in terms of GDP and power of the armed forces of Uzbekistan have been before. But now the external system the players are ready, so that there is ready – just want to see him as moderator of the dialogue with Central Asia.

Than Shavkat Mirziyoev, in its turn, is ready to maximally use not only for the growth of the international authority of their country – something that, of course, necessary, but still somewhat abstract – but also for solving the most complex problems of the Uzbek economy and ensure its structural and technological breakthrough in the XXI century. This tight intertwining of foreign policy steps for national development is, apparently, a signature mark of Tashkent. Whether it concerns relations with neighbors in the region or dialogue with Washington, Moscow, Beijing and Ankara – the economic feasibility is at the forefront, largely defining the boundaries of the partnership.

Uzbekistan–Turkey: lessons learned

By and large held in late April, erdoğan's visit to Tashkent can be considered a test of "homework" which the two presidents have set for ourselves in October 2017, when Shavkat Mirziyoev visited Ankara. A result of the summit was the signing of about 30 different protocols, involving the activation of Turkish-Uzbek economic relations.

And in Turkey, and in Uzbekistan, then realized that if the signed documents will be filled with real content, then it will be possible to speak about the reality of a "strategic partnership 2.0". That long period of cooling in bilateral relations is completed and you can go further. If everything remains on paper – for an indefinite period of communication between Ankara and Tashkent will remain purely formal, and mutual compliments – a tribute to the traditions of Oriental hospitality no more.

This question served as a strong incentive for business and for officials of the two countries. Compared to a 2016 mutual trade turnover grew by 30% and amounted to $ 1.5 billion. And besides, Turkey is entrenched in the list of five major economic partners of Uzbekistan – China (18,4% of total trade turnover), Russia (18.1 per cent), Kazakhstan (7.7%) and Turkey (5.7 percent) and South Korea (5%) – as can be seen from these figures, even surpassing Seoul.

"Homework" for presidents was made. Turkish business really expanded its presence in Uzbekistan it should be noted that even in the most difficult periods in relations between Ankara and Tashkent, he did not go, trying to maintain at least the minimum, but the presence, and therefore became possible during this visit of Erdogan to talk about new areas of cooperation. As a result, in updated on the outcome of the April meetings of the joint Turkish-Uzbek agenda – the establishment of the Supreme Council on strategic partnership between the two countries, joint projects in energy, textiles, electronics, construction, geological exploration and agriculture. Making the main objective of the bilateral trade of $ 2.5– $ 3 billion. in the next two to three years is achievable.

And "the icing on the cake" – reached during the current visit of Erdogan to Uzbekistan agreement on developing military-technical cooperation between the two countries. The rate of Tashkent on creation of own production of certain types of military equipment – primarily firearms, ammunition, automotive, armored vehicles, and the manufacture of clothing and means of individual protection opens for Turkish rapidly and successfully developing military-industrial complex a new window of opportunities that Ankara will not fail to take advantage of. And there is every reason to believe that the decisions Turkey will be much faster than India, which Tashkent in the beginning of this year also made a proposal about creation on the territory of the Republic of joint ventures in the defence industry.

Erdogan's visit to Tashkent had another component, which is aptly known Turkish expert Togrul Ismail. In June presidential elections, and voters need to show foreign policy successes. In a situation with Uzbekistan, even to invent it is necessary nothing – the successful partnership becoming a reality.

Tashkent – Washington: the beginning of a bright future?

About the "bright future" in the subtitle is to Donald Trump, that these words used in the Epistle to the participants, organized in connection with the official visit of Shavkat Mirziyoyev in the United States.

However, other U.S. officials, including the head of the Pentagon John Mattis, did not skimp on the highest scores as the President of Uzbekistan and prospects of bilateral relations. Even the final statement was entitled to highlight its historical significance – "Uzbekistan and the United States: the beginning of a new era of strategic partnership". But best of all, the atmosphere of the negotiations and meetings described an anonymous source in the American administration, who was quoted by Newsweek: "We are cautiously optimistic. Such opportunities are given not always."

And before them the rare case where the objectives of Donald trump and his team is completely transparent. In the short term the main result of agreements with Mirzaeva is for Washington to that now – taking into account the previously reached agreements with Astana – guaranteed the smooth functioning of the Northern distribution network, through which are goods for NATO forces in Afghanistan.

In addition, Americans were convinced that on a number of issues of the Afghan settlement, from policy to projects of reconstruction and infrastructure development – Uzbekistan adheres to similar to the US approach. And his active involvement in the peace-building process is expensive, the possibilities of Tashkent is very solid.

Again, as in the situation with Ankara, they look pretty good prospects for us-Uzbek military-technical cooperation. By August 2015, Tashkent has already received from U.S. 328 armored vehicles for its armed forces (308 large machines with enhanced mine protection and 20 armoured recovery vehicles). Though not new but with an acceptable degree of wear. Now, the parties adopted a five-year military cooperation Plan, which involves among other things, the delivery to Uzbekistan of means of communication, anti-aircraft missiles, drones and protective equipment and items of equipment. Moreover, although the details of this plan were not disclosed, there is every reason to believe that the item on establishing the production of certain types of weapons under us license and technology present in it.

With investments, which in the course of this visit, a lot was said, but something even in the form of protocols, the situation is less certain. As recently told himself Mirziyoev on the course of conference calls meeting in the Ulugnor district Andijan region. Agreement there, but the investment environment is still stipulated, and the U.S. side makes quite high demands – "the creation of a sterile transparency", as expressed by the President of Uzbekistan – Tashkent.

But, interestingly, it is almost the only point on which the US "demand". Bakhtiyor Ergashev, founder and Director of the Center for research initiatives "MA no" is one of the leading analysts today of Uzbekistan, is very clearly formulated: "the Experience of post-Soviet development of Uzbekistan shows that Tashkent will not tolerate political mentoring from someone else. And that lesson should be remembered by all partners of Uzbekistan". Judging by the way the meetings were held Mirziyoyev in the United States, Americans have remembered. And made conclusions.

And briefly about the main

That is about what it looks like the answer to the question: "who are you now, Tashkent?", implying that, of course, on whose side he was on. And here comes the disappointment for conspiracy theorists and other fans magically profoundly schemes. Because the short answer: Tashkent remains on his side. Neither Pro-American nor Pro-Turkish nor Pro – only prozacskj.

Talks on joining Uzbekistan to some "pan-Turkic plans" Ankara and the change of orientation in favor of Washington or of bias or of bias or misunderstanding of the essence of the foreign policy of Tashkent. Doctor of political Sciences Guli Yuldasheva rightly suggests that the activities in the international arena Mirziyoev remains true to the basic principle of diplomacy of Uzbekistan – "the balance of forces and interests in the language of constructive equidistant distance. A change pace, tactics and tools".

Tashkent today is not just developing bilateral relations with the same Ankara, Washington, Moscow and Beijing. It constructs a complex equal partnership with their foreign partners to ensure that this complex gave maximum impact in ensuring national interests and economic development. Cold calculation and pragmatism in its purest form – but this is exactly what you need today Tashkent for leadership in the region and the significant weight in the international arena.

Igor Pankratenko


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