Kyrgyzstan-Turkey Relations: Cooperation in Political and Educational Spheres

Dinara Murzaeva


In 1991, Kyrgyzstan gained its independence, and started establishing direct links with the world beyond the Soviet frontier. To conduct foreign relations Kyrgyzstan opened its embassies and/or consulates in almost 30 countries. Turkey is one of the key partners for Kyrgyzstan and plays an important role in the country’s foreign relations (Note 1). This article aims to look at the development of Kyrgyzstan-Turkey relations from 1991 till 2012 focusing on the aspects of the political and educational cooperation. Cooperation in the political sphere is studied by looking at official statements at all levels and, participation and collaboration in multilateral structures. As for the educational sphere, the focus is mainly on Turkey’s various initiatives such as Turkish schools and universities, as well as student exchange programs that can be seen as one of the ‘soft power’ tools inevitably promoting Turkish culture and values. The paper shows asymmetric relationship in which Kyrgyzstan seeks to pursue multi-vector policy rendering certain limitations in the relationship. Kyrgyzstan is essentially eager to receive Turkish foreign policy initiatives. Turkish presence in Kyrgyzstan has mostly been confined to spheres of education and economy. This reliance on ‘soft power’ is attributed to the fact that Turkey seems to, at least for now, lack resources and willingness to challenge Russia, China and USA in the competition for political and military influence in Central Asia.

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Review of European Studies   ISSN 1918-7173 (Print)   ISSN 1918-7181 (Online)

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