Turkic states to lend support to Kazakhstan: Çavuşoğlu
Turkey hopes that Kazakhstan will reach stability and peace as soon as possible, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said, stressing the Organization of Turkic States (OTS) will give all kinds of support to the central Asian country.
“We hope that Kazakhstan will reach stability, peace and tranquility as soon as possible. For this, as Turkey and the Organization of Turkish States, we will give all kinds of support,” Çavuşoğlu said at a meeting held by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Jan. 9 in Antalya.
The unrest began in the country’s far west as protests against a sharp rise in prices for liquefied petroleum gas that is widely used as a vehicle fuel and spread to the country’s largest city, Almaty, where demonstrators seized and burned down government buildings. The government has declared a state of emergency and invited peacekeepers from the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a Russia-led military alliance of six former Soviet states.
Çavuşoğlu underlined the importance of Kazakhstan for the Turkic states and its region, stressing both President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is the term president of the OTS, and himself had phone conversations with their counterparts, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and Mukhtar Tileuberdi, respectively.
“Plus, as you know, we will hold an extraordinary meeting of foreign ministers of the Organization of the Turkic States on Tuesday,” the minister informed. Foreign ministers will discuss the developments in the central Asian country, and Tileuberdi will make a presentation about the last week’s protests and the government’s response to the unrest, Çavuşoğlu stated.
“Some criticize us for not doing this meeting earlier. We, of course, would like to do it earlier. But you know Kazakhstan is a member of this organization, and its foreign minister wanted some time for making a presentation at the meeting,” he explained.
Holding a meeting in the absence of Kazakhstan was out of the question, the minister stressed, adding the OTS will announce its support to the member country when they meet on Jan. 11.
“The problems of the member countries of the Turkic world are our problems. The whole world has seen it during the Karabakh victory [of Azerbaijan against Armenia],” Çavuşoğlu said.
Former anti-terror official arrested
In the meantime, the former head of Kazakhstan’s counterintelligence and anti-terror agency has been arrested on charges of the attempted coup d’etat in the wake of violent protests that the president has blamed on foreign-backed terrorists. The arrest of Karim Masimov was announced Saturday by the National Security Committee, which Kasimov headed until he was removed this week by Tokayev.
Authorities say security forces killed 26 demonstrators in this week’s unrest and that 18 law-enforcement officers died. More than 4,400 people have been arrested, the Interior Ministry said Saturday. They say the order is established in the entire country.
No details were given about what Masimov, the security agency head, was alleged to have done that would constitute an attempted government overthrow. The agency, a successor to the Soviet-era KGB, is responsible for counterintelligence, the border guards service and anti-terror activities.
‘Old man out’
Many demonstrators were shouting “old man out,” a reference to Nursultan Nazarbayev, who was president from independence until resigning in 2019 and anointing Tokayev as his successor. Nazarbayev, who was given the title Ebasy (leader of the nation), retained substantial power after his resignation as the head of the National Security Council.
But Tokayev removed him as council head amid the unrest, possibly aiming at a concession to mollify protesters. Nazarbayev remained invisible during the chaos, but on Saturday his spokesman said Nazarbayev is in the capital and “calls on everyone to rally around the president of Kazakhstan to overcome current challenges and ensure the integrity of our country.”