• KGS/USD = 0.01137 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09283 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01137 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09283 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01137 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09283 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01137 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09283 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01137 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09283 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01137 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09283 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01137 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09283 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01137 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09283 0%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

Viewing results 1 - 6 of 329

Central Asia’s Combined ‘Army of Turan’: Could a Hypothesis Become a Reality?

Kazakhstan will host the military exercise, "Birlestik-2024" in July of this year. Notably, this became known from the press service of the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan. The exercises will be jointly held by the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. It is a convenient occasion to refresh the topic of the 'Army of Turan', which is periodically raised by experts both in Central Asia and neighboring countries. The Army of Turan is a hypothetical military bloc of Turkic-speaking countries. Its ideas have become relevant in the context of global geopolitical turbulence.   I hear the thunder of cannons... Most military analysts consider Azerbaijan to be Turkey's proxy in the South Caucasus. In general, Baku's rapprochement with the capitals of Turkic states (plus Dushanbe) meets Ankara's interests in creating a unified cultural and economic space: Turan. However, does the integration of Turkic states mean that they will eventually be able to create a NATO-style security pact in Central Asia? Such initiatives have resumed with renewed vigor after the end of the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict, during which Turkey has shown the capability of its weapons. Indeed, in 2022, against the backdrop of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Kazakhstan - the only country of the participants to share a land border with the Russian Federation - pondered how to protect itself from further expansion of the northern empire's borders. But in the run-up to the summer of 2024, fears have mostly subsided. Many were sobered by the obvious fact that loud declarations of assistance from strong states at best mean the delivery of obsolete weapons, but no more. At worst, your offender will be censured from high podiums, and you will be sympathized with. For example, Turkey, the most likely to defend Central Asia from outsider aggression, did not risk helping the Palestinians, its brothers in faith, and got away with accusing Israel of fascism. So, the 'Army of Turan' exists in the heads of fantasists and pan-Turkics, but in reality, something ordinary is going on — the arms trade. Let's see what the armies of the Central Asian republics are armed with, excluding Turkmenistan, which has declared neutrality.   Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan The most troublesome neighbors in the region have not been able to complete their border delimitation process. As a result, quarrels periodically erupt, in which border guards from both sides intervene, staging mini-warfare. The cause of discord is usually the same: water. The Tajik and Kyrgyz militaries gain some combat experience in these micro-quarrels. Despite or based on this experience, Dushanbe relies on agreements with other countries -- Russia, China, India, Iran, and CSTO partners -- for its defense capability. Tajikistan's armed forces number only 9,000 men. They have 38 tanks (T-62 and T-72 modifications), 114 armored vehicles (APCs, BMPs, BRDMs), 40 artillery systems, and several short- and medium-range air defense units. The Air Force has four Czechoslovakian L-39 Albatross, combat trainers. Kyrgyzstan does not have much more power in the number of its troops, at around...

Amid Russian Sanctions, Kazakhstan Can Benefit From Shanghai Cooperation Organization

After Astana hosted the latest meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states, Almaty-based financial analyst and expert in cross border business and asset value recovery, Rassul Rysmambetov believes that Kazakhstan still has huge potential in the organization that is yet to be utilized. The SCO was founded in 2001 by the leaders of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. In 2017 India and Pakistan joined, followed by Iran in 2022. Belarus is expected to join the SCO this summer. The association's main objectives are to strengthen stability in the region, fight terrorism and drug trafficking, as well as develop economic cooperation, energy, scientific, and cultural partnerships. At the Astana meeting 22 decisions were adopted. The SCO's secretary general Zhang Ming praised Kazakhstan's work as the organization's chair, saying: "Since July 2023, within the framework of Kazakhstan's chairmanship in the SCO, the Kazakh side has organized more than 180 events in various fields. Kazakh partners have put a special emphasis on economic, investment, transportation, cultural and humanitarian issues." Sources report that Kazakh president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev met with the foreign ministers of the other SCO member states. He mentioned that more than 100 large-scale events have been held recently, including the SCO digital, tourism, and energy forums. "Work on the SCO project 'Spiritual Sanctuaries' is being completed. On our initiative, 2024 has been declared the SCO Year of Ecology. The government of Kazakhstan continues to prepare for several additional significant events in the spheres of energy, transportation, and culture. Of course, we pay great attention to the upcoming Astana SCO summit," Tokayev said. Financial analyst Rasul Rysmambetov, in a conversation with The Times of Central Asia, spoke about the SCO's significance on a global scale. "Its member states have a combined population of over three billion people," he said. "The SCO has not undergone any serious changes in its 22-year existence. Of course some countries try to promote a political agenda, but the organization is focused on economic and security interests." "Of course, the SCO benefits Kazakhstan in the context of western sanctions against Russia, because we have China, Pakistan, and Russia, all of which are large countries that are markets for our goods. Of course, we must open markets for them, but we are open to the goods of many countries within the WTO. Concerning Kazakhstan, sanctions are not an obstacle to the work of the SCO. We do not trade in weapons, so there are no problems. Members of the organization see sanctions restrictions in terms of re-exports, and everything works fine in terms of ordinary, non-sanctioned goods," Rysmambetov added. Regarding Belarus's imminent accession to the SCO, he said: "It's beneficial for us. We can't produce and sell much yet, but at least we'll earn on transit. This is an opportunity to develop our logistics, improving our export prospects when more production facilities are launched in Kazakhstan."

NGOs in Kyrgyzstan Have Two Months to Register as “Foreign Agents”

Kyrgyzstan's Ministry of Justice has approved the creation of a register for "non-governmental organizations performing the functions of a foreign representative", which gives authorities the right to inspect their activities. All non-profit agencies that receive foreign funding have been given two months from 16 May to submit documents to the ministry. Kyrgyz president Sadyr Zhaparov signed the law "on Foreign Representatives" on April 2, despite over 100 organizations and civil society figures appealing for him not to do so. Zhaparov made assurances at the time that non-governmental organizations would not be persecuted. Local NGOs funded from abroad that are engaged in political activities in Kyrgyzstan are now recognized as "performing the functions of a foreign representative", and are placed in a separate register. Organizations included in this register -- so-called 'foreign agents' -- may be subjected to various unscheduled inspections. Several international organizations, as well as the United States and certain countries in the European Union, have voiced criticisms of the new law. After it came into force, the Soros-Kyrgyzstan Foundation announced that it would be terminating its activities in Kyrgyzstan.

Central Asian Views on Pro-Palestinian Protests in the West

Pro-Palestinian protests erupted in university campuses and other locations worldwide in response to the ongoing conflict involving the Israeli Defense Forces and Palestinians in Gaza. European cities, including in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, and Belgium, have been major flashpoints where, in some cases, the police resorted to using batons, shields and tear gas on protestors. In the U.S., The New York Times has reported on May 13 that since April 18, over 2,500 individuals had been arrested or detained at 54 college campuses nationwide. The increasingly violent nature of the protests causes alarm. A poll conducted by USA Today and Suffolk University, published on May 8, has revealed that almost 32% of Americans express "very concerned" sentiments about the potential for the protests to lead to violence, while slightly over 35% say they are "somewhat concerned". Some of the messaging coming out of the protests has also been characterized as antisemitic, leading to a congressional bill in the U.S. known as the Antisemitism Awareness Act, which aims to expand the legal definition of antisemitism to curb any speech that provokes violence. Free speech advocates, including some international human rights organizations, have challenged these measures.   Remembering their own turbulent times, Central Asians generally support state measures to maintain order Central Asians' perspectives on the pro-Palestinian protests sweeping through Western cities, and the way various governments respond to them, are naturally influenced by their own historical and political contexts, shaped by decades of political transition and international rivalry. Emerging as new democracies just three decades ago, these nations have witnessed a tumultuous mix of violent power struggles among oligarchs, and intense competition from foreign actors vying for control over the region's abundant natural resources and strategic geopolitical position. At the same time, the region hosts a large Muslim population who may sympathize with the Palestinians, even though many do not know the history of the conflict in the Middle East, according to Daniyar Kumpekov, a 46-year-old economist in Kazakhstan. “The Arab-Israeli conflict is beyond the attention of most citizens,” says 21-year-old Kazakhstani student, Anar Zhakupova, adding that they are more concerned about the confrontation between Ukraine and Russia. In Kyrgyzstan, 29-year-old merchant, Dmitry Povolotsky, says that there were only small rallies in support of the Palestinians. There also seems to be a sense of skepticism towards the protests. Kumpekov, for instance, draws attention to a trend of “Islamization” in Kazakhstan’s society”.  Mahmut Orozbayev, a Kyrgyz civil servant in his 50s, cautions about terrorist cells in the country, which, he says, “should be feared” from a security perspective. “We have a majority of Muslim citizens. They can gather and condemn Israel's actions. But all this [should be done] within the limits of what is permissible, so that there is no unrest,” he adds. According to Donokhon Ruziboyeva, an Uzbekistan resident in her 20s, pro-Palestinian protests raise awareness, but “they don’t stop the conflict in Palestine”. While the devastation in the Gaza Strip seen on social networks deeply moves Ruzboyeva,...

“I Hope Saltanat’s Family Can Find Peace” – Women of Kazakhstan Speak Out on Bishimbayev’s Sentence

On November 9, 2023, former Kazakh Minister of the National Economy, Kuandyk Bishimbayev was caught on surveillance cameras arguing with and then brutally beating his common-law wife, 31-year-old Saltanat Nukenova, for around eight hours outside a restaurant he owned in Astana. A forensic examination showed that she had been strangled, but the cause of death was recorded as traumatic injury to the brain. The high-profile case which was live-streamed garnered international attention. Despite pleading not guilty to premeditated murder, Bishimbayev was sentenced to 24 years’ imprisonment for torturing and murdering Nukenova, and his cousin Bakytzhan Baizhanov to four years for his part in covering up the crime. Prosecutor Aizhan Aimaganova, who became widely-known during the trial, said in an interview with Tengrinews.kz that she believes the verdict will change the country forever. "Family and domestic violence is a pressing problem... I hope that after this trial, women will realize that going to law enforcement is not useless. It is necessary to talk about problems. I think now any domestic tyrant will think twice before raising his hand," she said. [caption id="attachment_18029" align="aligncenter" width="872"] Prosecutor Aizhan Aimaganova; image: Press service of the Astana Court[/caption] While the length of the sentence is a victory for advocates against gender-based violence, both within Kazakhstan and in the many parts of Europe where the trial was also followed closely, many Kazakhs feel it is still too early to say that justice has been done. In an open discussion that is rare in Central Asia, many citizens are posting their concerns on social media that the Nazarbayev-era official will find a way to get out of prison early: there is already speculation that Bishimbayev, a former member of the country’s elite, will leverage his political connections to secure an early release – or be recognized as terminally ill. Following the verdict, TCA took to the streets of Kazakhstan to ask women their opinion. "I finally feel relieved,” Sara, an SMM manager from Astana told TCA. “Twenty-four years is a justified sentence in my opinion. Although tragic, this case drew public attention to a great many issues, such as the need for both a new law against domestic abuse and charities to support victims of domestic violence, which is very prominent in Kazakhstan. The whole country watched the case unfold, and that attention was put to good use since many other domestic violence cases got the attention they deserved. I hope that our justice system will make sure that Bishimbayev doesn't get a chance to get out early and serve his full sentence. The same applies to Baizhanov." "Considering various aspects, including the status of his family and the presence of his children, this sentence is probably objective, especially given the jury's involvement,” 21-year-old journalist, Kamila told TCA. “The main issue now is to prevent his release on parole once the unrest subsides, though I know this is only possible if the victim’s family give their consent.” "From an objective point of view, 24-years for a brutal...

Kazakhstan’s President Commends Growing Cooperation Between Central Asian States

On May 16, Kazakhstan's President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev hosted the first meeting in Astana of Security Council secretaries from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and the military attaché of the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Kazakhstan. In his opening address, Tokayev announced that the aim of the meeting was to provide an effective platform for the collaborative prevention of external and internal challenges and threats, and to develop necessary response measures. The Kazakh leader began by noting the steady growth of trade and economic cooperation between the Central Asian countries and stated that over the past five years, intraregional trade  had risen by 80 percent to exceed $10 billion.  He explained that large regional projects not only bring tangible mutual benefits, but also change the entire configuration of the Central Asian economy. The development of transport and logistics potential is becoming a new reference point for the rapid development of the region. Cultural and humanitarian ties have also intensified, contributing to the further rapprochement of the Central Asian states. Returning to the pressing issue of the need to join forces in countering transboundary challenges and threats, he announced: “First of all, we are talking about the fight against international extremism and terrorism, drug trafficking, and arms trafficking. In this regard, Afghanistan must be the focus of our common attention. Complex multidirectional processes are now evident in this country. Whilst signs point to a stabilization and revival of the economic situation, there remain high risks associated with the activity of international terrorist organizations, as evidenced by the bloody terrorist attack in the Moscow region [in March]. In our opinion, one of the strategic tasks at present is the active involvement of Afghanistan in regional ties. And for this, much depends on the coordinated position of our countries. We consider it urgent to create a UN Regional Center for Sustainable Development Goals for Central Asia and Afghanistan in our country.” Tokayev expressed his satisfaction with the growing regional cooperation and mutual trust and concluded:  “Some 10 years ago, there was no such situation in the Central Asian region. Now heads of state, heads of government, secretaries of the Security Councils, heads of law enforcement agencies, not to mention heads of economic departments, closely interact with each other. And this is a very good sign that the situation in the Central Asian region is moving towards sustainable development.”    

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