Staunton, Nov. 20 -- Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s vision of a Turkic world is far less tied to religion or even Turkic nationality than Vladimir Putin’s vision of a Russian world; and as such, Prague commentator Kharun Sidorov says, the Turkic world is simultaneously more congruent with the current international system and more likely to succeed.
One of the most important aspects of the transformation of the Turkic Council into the Organization of Turkic States is that it includes as one of its observers Hungary which is neither Muslim nor Turkic, the commentator says. Another is that the Organization has made clear that it is quite interested in the Gagauz who are Turkic but Orthodox Christian.
That opens the way to the inclusion of other non-Turkic and non-Muslim countries in this Turkey-led grouping, and one of the prime candidates for at leaast observer status is Ukraine, which is Orthodox Christian but actively supports the Crimean Tatars, most of whom live on territory occupied by Russia (idelreal.org/a/31569256.html).
Such possibilities are made more likely by the fact that the Turkish Global Vision for 2040 that the Organization has adopted “has a religiously neutral character” and supports the territorial integrity of states, something that means it isn’t threatening the current international system in the way that Putin’s Russia has been.
“Such an ideologically neutral approach makes the OTS more attractive as a practically oriented project,” Sidorov continues. Its ideological statement “does not contain any analogy to ‘a special Turkish path,’ ‘a mysterious Turkic soul,’ or ‘a Turkish idea,’” all of which are characteristic for ideologues of ‘the Russian world.’”
The vision of the OTS does have an ideology but it is not something resembling “stereotypes about Pan-Turkism, the goal of which is the combination into a single Turkic state of all existing states and the eventual joining to them of Turkish ‘ethnic’ and ‘historical lands.’” Putin’s Russian world is analogous to Pan-Turkism in ways the Turkish world is not.
The country most likely to join the OTS as an observer in the near future is Ukraine, Sidorov says. That prospect is already being discussed not only in Kyiv but in OTS member capitals. And it reflects more than just Ukraine’s support for territorial integrity of states and for the rights of the Crimean Tatars.
Were Ukraine to become an observer, Russia could not possibly do so not only because it prefers to isolate its Turkic residents but because Moscow does not respect the current international order but wants to overthrow it, Sidorov says. That makes the OTS a greater threat to Moscow than a simple pan-Turkic grouping would.