The TRNC’s observer status “was a very important message for the whole world from the summit in Samarkand,” Uzbekistan, Kubanychbek Omuraliev told Anadolu Agency in his first interview since assuming the role.
Last week, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced the TRNC’s admission to the organization as an observer member.
“We are always by the side of #TRNC everywhere,” Cavusoglu said on Twitter.
The secretary-general emphasized that Turkish Cypriots are an "inseparable part" of the Turkic world.
“As with our other full and observer countries, we will continue to work with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus for peace, stability and development both in our region and at the global level,” he added.
Asked about what steps the body will take to bring the Turkic states even closer, Omuraliev said: “The first step was that our Turkish Cypriot brothers became observer members of the Organization of Turkic States at this summit.”
Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long dispute between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the UN to achieve a comprehensive settlement.
The long divided-island has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Türkiye, Greece and the UK. The Greek Cypriot administration entered the European Union in 2004, the same year that Greek Cypriots thwarted a UN plan to end the longstanding dispute.
‘Honored’ with new position
The appointment of Kyrgyz ambassador to Türkiye Omuraliev as the new secretary-general of the Organization of Turkic States was announced last week at the 9th Summit of the group’s leaders in the Uzbek city of Samarkand.
Thanking the leaders for his appointment, Omuraliev said he is “honored” and will do his best to contribute to the unity and integrity of the Turkic world and the development of relations between states.
Referring to the results of the Samarkand summit, he said “the most important results of the summit in Samarkand were the signing of the Samarkand Declaration by the heads of state.”
The secretary-general said important decisions were taken at the summit, such as the amendments made to the Nakhchivan Agreement, the founding document of the OTS, which was operating under the name of the Turkic Council until 2021.
He added that the organization’s 2022-2026 strategy was approved as part of its 2040 vision at the summit.
Omuraliev has served as ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary in Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Türkiye and Israel, as well as Kyrgyzstan’s permanent representative to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
The Organization of Turkic States is an interstate bloc established with the aim of expanding cooperation between Turkic-speaking countries in the fields of politics, economics, science, education, transport and tourism.
Its members are Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Türkiye and Uzbekistan. Hungary, Turkmenistan and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus have observer status.
Trade relations, common alphabet
Recalling that during the summit, the leaders signed an agreement on the “Establishment of a Simplified Customs Corridor among the Governments of the Organization of Turkic States” Omuraliev said it is aimed at further improving the commercial relations between member countries in the coming period.
Noting that transportation is one of the most important areas of cooperation between member states, Omuraliev reminded that the leaders agreed on economic and sectoral cooperation, especially on transportation.
He also said that the Turkic Investment Fund was established to provide the necessary resources for the economies of member and observer states and help in the formation of financial integration between countries.
According to a statement from the Turkic body’s website, “the Turkic Investment Fund will be the first and main joint financial institution established by the Turkic States and aims to mobilize the economic potential of Member States of the Organization of Turkic States to strengthen the trade and economic cooperation between them and to implement joint projects.”
Noting that in the coming days, a roadmap will be drawn at the next summit, he said: “In parallel with the expansion of our organization, we will have new areas of cooperation.”
“We will sit down and clarify all this with our friends in the coming days, and we will start to take our steps,” he added.
On the "Common Alphabet Commission," which was established to accelerate the process of unity in language and the transition of Turkic states to a common alphabet, he said: “I hope this will be a common alphabet in the near future, and our language will become closer.”
Reminding that the Cyrillic alphabet was used in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan during the time of the Soviet Union, Omuraliev said the vast majority of OTC member countries, including Türkiye, now use the Latin alphabet.
The commission was established in September during the Turkic World Common Alphabet Workshop in Türkiye’s northwestern province of Bursa to accelerate the process of achieving language unity across the Turkic states and transition to a common alphabet.
Source: Anadolu Agency