Friday, January 7, 2022

Kyrgyz May Want a Turkish Military Base but Ankara Unlikely to Open One Because of Kazakh and Uzbek Opposition, Shestakov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Nov. 17 – Faced with a military threat from Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan has begun purchasing Turkish drones; and Russian commentator Igor Shestakov says that he would not be surprised if some in Bishkek will begin talking about seeking to have Ankara open a military base in Kyrgyzstan.

            The Kyrgyz are interested, he suggests, because the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization did not come to Bishkek’s aid when the Tajiks used force along the country’s border and because a Turkish base would give Kyrgyzstan the opportunity to resist both Russian and Chinese pressure (

            Turkey would certainly welcome the opportunity were it not for the fact that both Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, the dominant Turkic countries in Central Asia, would be opposed to having what they would likely view as the creation of a Turkish puppet state in the region. And Ankara thus will likely conclude that it would lose more than it would gain.

            Establishing a base in Kyrgyzstan would likely lead to a dramatic cooling in relations between Ankara and these two Turkic countries and thus limit Ankara’s geopolitical advance rather than promote it. Consequently, Ankara is likely to drag its feet in response to any Kyrgyz initiative on this point until and unless attitudes change in its two neighbors.


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