Turkey's effervescence in the post-Soviet space is beginning to cause obvious aversion even with those countries that tried to hold in with it or at least not to "smash dishes". Consider Iran, for example. During the Second Karabakh War, it struggled to stay aloof despite all the angst, but then explicitly confronted Ankara and Baku's attempts to finally steamroll Armenia. (Strengthened Israeli influence on Azerbaijan served as an additional factor). It came to muscle-flexing, and the conflict was not even settled, but just temporarily fudged. A new escalation is reasonably expected, because the Turks are not going to give up.
Thus, under the plan of coordinating the Nakhchivan Garrison for the current training year and the military cooperation agreement signed between Azerbaijan and Turkey, the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic recently hosted a joint battle service practice titled Indestructible Brotherhood-2021, engaging motorized rifle units, special forces and other types of troops of the two allied countries.
At the same time, Ankara is frequently drawing Georgia into the orbit of military-political cooperation (and essentially subordination). Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar held talks with colleagues from Azerbaijan and Georgia in Telavi on October 5. It was stressed that Turkey and Georgia are strategic partners with emerging cooperation in military training and defense. In the course of the talks, the three countries' important geographic location was emphasized, as this factor is vital as regards operation and transportation of energy resources like oil and natural gas to other parts of the world.
At the same time, the Caucasian direction, apart from its a huge self-reliant role, is viewed by Ankara as part of a major Eurasian strategy and a link in the chain cast out in Central Asia. The Turks keep scaling up their activity there, too.
For instance, mid-September saw Turkey issue a coin to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Kazakhstan's independence. On the obverse of the coin there is a national flag and inscription "30th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s Independence" in Turkish. A map of Kazakhstan is depicted in the center of the reverse side along with the following words: "Kazakhstan is heir to the Turkic Khanate and the Golden Horde, the heart of the Turkic world".
In relation to Kyrgyzstan, the issue involving Chingiz Aitmatov has been fomented in the cultural and historical field over the recent months. This summer featured solemn celebrations of his death anniversary. President Erdogan called Aitmatov a pearl that the Kyrgyz brought to world literature, while his public relations director Fahrettin Altun said: "I respectfully reflect on the outstanding thinker and writer of the Turkic world, Chingiz Aitmatov, on the thirteenth anniversary of his death."
In summer, an exhibition dedicated to Azerbaijan's victory in the Second Karabakh War was held in Bishkek, a somewhat strange event given that Kyrgyzstan is a CSTO ally of Armenia which lost that war. The showcase was arranged by the Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University and the local Embassy of Azerbaijan.
In September, the country was visited by Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay, who took part in the regular meeting of the Kyrgyz-Turkish intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation. Moreover, Bishkek hosted a business forum dedicated to the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. In general, as we can see, the Turks have worked out the anniversary issue (contradictory enough in terms of consequences) to the last detail.
Admittedly, the ordinary Kyrgyz are not always delighted with this close cooperation. On September 8, local residents rallied in the village of Terek- Say of Jalal-Abad region's Chatkal district. People objected performance of the Kyrgyz-Turkish gold mining company Eti Bakir Tereksay LLC, which harms local ecology and people's, especially children's, health.
Turkey's penetration into the region's most closed-neutral country, Turkmenistan, is growing stronger. As the authoritative conservative Türkiye outlet wrote earlier in the year: "We should not leave Turkmenistan unattended, with its surface and underground riches, river basins and agricultural lands, history, culture... We need to keep persistently knocking on Turkmenistan's doors, as it is an important country in many respects."
On August 6, a trilateral summit involving heads of Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey was due on the Caspian coast. As Turkmen leader Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow said, it was supposed to promote trilateral friendly relations. This should have primarily referred to joint ambitious fuel and energy and logistics projects. But in the nick of time, Erdogan asked to defer the meeting to a later date over Turkey's dramatic situation with forest fires back then.
This fact did not greatly affect the general rapprochement paradigm. In late September, six Bayraktar TB2 UAVs purchased from the Turks were demonstrated as part of the Turkmenistan's independence day parade. Bilateral military-technical cooperation is far from being limited to those. Ankara is noticeably stepping up investment in the Turkmen military segment, with the naval sphere being a priority. The recent years witnessed agreements on the supply of guided missile boats, high-speed patrol vessels, corvettes and recovery ships.
As for the political sphere, Turkmenistan's accession to the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States as an observer was announced a few days ago. This decision was unanimously supported by all the statesmen engaged. Rumor has it that Turkmenistan will become a full-fledged participant in the Council's November summit in Istanbul. It is not in the bag, though. In fact, Erdogan is said to have canceled the August meeting under a plausible pretext, as he wanted to solemnly and publicly achieve a promise to replenish the Council in the follow-up, while Berdimuhamedow was scarcely ready for such a decisive step.
Besides, Turkey is involving the Central Asians in additional structures and forms of interaction related to the Afghan agenda. In late September, Istanbul hosted a meeting of diplomats from the countries of the same Turkic Council. Representatives of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan discussed the Afghan situation after a power grab by the Taliban (banned in the Russian Federation).
Traditionally, but no less indisputably, we summarize that Turkey's activity in the South Caucasian and Central Asian (exactly so, in conjunction) section of the post-Soviet space will keep intensifying. However, antagonism will also grow on a pro rata basis, as we can see by way of Iran's example.