Turkiye’s Vice President Fuat Oktay spoke by phone Monday with Kazakh Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov about the recent situation in the Central Asian country. 

During the call, Oktay expressed the Turkish people’s sorrow over the incidents that took place in Kazakhstan in past weeks.

Oktay said he has no doubt that friendly and brotherly Kazakhstan will overcome the recent crisis and come out of this process stronger thanks to its strong state tradition and the common sense of the Kazakh people.

Oktay conveyed his best wishes to Smailov in his new position. He said Turkiye is always ready to support and show solidarity with Kazakhstan.

Smailov, for his part, thanked Turkiye for its support during the difficult period that the country experienced in recent weeks.

“We attach great importance to the support of brotherly Turkiye. Turkiye is Kazakhstan’s strategic partner,” Smailov said.

Smailov was elected prime minister when 89 deputies voted for him last week.

He served as assistant to Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart in 2015-2018, and worked as finance minister in 2018-2019.

In 2021, Smailov was appointed first deputy prime minister while also serving as finance minister.

At least 225 people were killed in unrest in Kazakhstan following protests triggered by fuel price increase, the prosecutor general’s office said on Saturday.

On Jan. 2, protests broke out in Kazakhstan over fuel price hikes which later turned into clashes with police, with the most violent developments taking place in Kazakhstan’s former capital and largest city Almaty.

Tokayev turned to a Russia-led military bloc for help, and peacekeepers from Russia, Belarus, Armenia and Tajikistan soon arrived in the country and backed Kazakh law enforcement in restoring order.

*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz

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