The Organization of Turkic States (OTS) is in “perfect harmony” with Turkiye’s “Asia Anew initiative” and reflects Ankara’s wishes to broaden its relations in Asia, the Turkish ambassador to China said on Wednesday.

Turkiye hopes to broaden its ties with its Asian partners, keeping in mind the vast political, economic and cultural diversity of the continent and supporting the OTS as one of the many effective tools of regional cooperation, said Abdulkadir Onen in an op-ed published in the daily South China Morning Post.

On Nov. 12, 2021, the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States – in short, the Turkic Council – renamed itself the Organization of Turkic States at its 8th summit in Istanbul.

“Though its name has changed, the primary task of the organisation remains the same: strengthening mutual confidence and good neighbourliness among its members, never to the detriment of other regional countries,” said Onen.

Underlining that the OTS does not follow ethnicity-based policy among its members or in third countries, he noted that the organization is also in “perfect harmony” with Turkiye’s Asia Anew initiative which aims to deepen cooperation with the region.

Turkiye launched its Asia Anew initiative in 2019 to improve ties with Asian nations in various areas.

‘Unique’ structure of OTS

Since 2009, the Turkish ambassador reminded a total of eight summits have been held by the member states which focused on various issues such as connectivity, youth as well as green technologies, and smart cities.

He went on to say that the OTS can be deemed “unique” among other regional organizations as it brings together a NATO member (Turkiye), an EU member (Hungary), two members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan), and a state upholding permanent neutrality (Turkmenistan) under its umbrella.

Establishing friendly ties between OTS members and their neighbors is not only a goal of the organization but also a key component of Turkiye’s foreign policy in the Asian context, underlined Onen.

He said that in this respect, the first meeting of the 3+3 regional consultations at the deputy foreign ministerial level attended by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia, and Turkiye on December 10 and the launch of a normalization process between Turkiye and Armenia – with the first meeting between their special representatives held in Moscow on January 14 – are the latest indicators of Turkiye’s commitment to regional peace.

The OTS consists of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkiye, and Uzbekistan as member countries, and Hungary and Turkmenistan as observer states.

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