Turkiye and Central Asia by EngmJ-üvesin
Central Asia has an important place in Turkish foreign policy, not least because of its strategic and economic potential, but also due to the cultural, linguistic and kinship bonds which unites us. Many Turks like to trace their lineage back to Central Asia, taking pride in these ties steeped in history, tradition and folklore. The region is where Turkish identity is rooted and flourished.
An endemic trait of Turkey, dictated by geography and the currents of history is that, it is the eastern-most country of Europe and western-most country of Asia. Turkey’s integration with western economic and political systems does not mean it detaches itself from its roots in the East. These are complementary attributes. Straddling two continents, ideally positions Turkey to harness the confluence of immense economic and business potential. Today, I will touch upon Central Asia’s economic prospects in the Asian Century and how its strengths and proximity to this emerging center of gravity effects it in general. I will then explain Turkey’s approach to the region within the context of its “Asia Anew Initiative” and with a focus on the “Middle Corridor”.
The 21st century is frequently characterized as the “Asian century”. An era in which Asia is reaching economic predominance once again. Asian economies are on track to become larger than the rest of the world combined in purchasing power parity terms. By 2030, it is expected that the world’s 10 biggest economies will largely be made up of current emerging markets. By 2040 Asia is expected to reach 50 percent of global GDP. And by 2050, the Asian Development Bank estimates, 3 billion Asians could have living standards similar to those of contemporary Europe, and Asia could account for over half of global output. Thanks to persisting demographic, economic and political trends, the center of gravity is shifting eastward. Asia’s growing middle class, rising consumption levels, strides in technology and urban infrastructure, higher levels of intra-regional trade and supply chain networks, regional cooperation mechanisms and China’s expanding geopolitical influence are some of these trends driving this change. As such, Asia is destined to shape the next phase of globalization. In their 30 years of independence, Central Asian Republics have achieved substantial progress in many areas, particularly solidifying their sovereignty, institutionalizing their state structures and improving their level of integration with the world. In the last 3 decades, these countries have shown notable development potential. Many Central Asian Republics have embarked on market-oriented economic reforms to boost economic performance and private sector competitiveness. In the first decade of the 21st century, they recorded significant growth rates, some of the fastest in the world. This owed in no small part to their high-priced natural resource yield of oil, natural gas, cotton and gold. These resources have been the driving force that brought much needed capital into then, small, land-locked economies.
However, Central Asia’s land-locked geography does not take away from its geostrategic importance. It never has. Today, as it has been for centuries, it connects the East and the West, providing a route for trade, following the beaten track of the ancient Silk Road, which is now once again becoming the conduit of goods and riches. Furthermore, the region is also an exporter and transit route for energy resources, multiplying its strategic significance. One would be remiss if one did not include the Caucasus within this strategically important geography, as it is one of Central Asia’a gateways to Europe and it also shares the natural resources of the Caspian basin.
In the Post-Cold War era, Central Asian Republics, including Azerbaijan, developed political and economic relations with the West and some of them also joined European cooperation mechanisms. Investments from the European Union constitute 40 percent of the region’s total foreign direct investment.
In the context of the Asian Century, as new opportunities surface, Central Asian countries increasingly look towards the East. Likewise, Asian states are equally turning to Central Asia in their search for energy resources and new markets. This reciprocal dynamic engenders closer ties. Central Asia constitutes a transit route for long-haul connectivity projects, in the form of new Silk Road initiatives. The region hosts several routes of the “Belt and Road Initiative”.
For the rising powers and emerging economies of East, South and West Asia, Central Asia represents an obvious hinterland to engage, as they reach out to new markets. As a result, a natural propensity is taking shape among sub-regions of Asia, which sees them develop intra-regional connections. Central Asian states are increasingly involved in this trend. The region is set to benefit from the interests of both the East and the West in the form of investment in industrial capacity building, mainly in the hydrocarbon sector and large infrastructure projects.
It should always be kept in mind that this is an era of transformation, and by its very nature, the highly dynamic developments in the continent and diverging interests of rising economic powers may bring conflicts to the fore which may affect progress in the trends I mentioned above.
Furthermore, unforeseen challenges may continue to surface. The Covid-19 pandemic’s devastating effects to the global and national economies may take years to recover from. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan together faced an estimated contraction of 1.7 percent in 2020. According to the World Bank, in Central Asia, growth in 2021 is forecasted to be slower than the global average for Emerging Markets and Developing Economies and just below the average for the EMDEs in the Europe and Central Asia region. However, among the assessed Central Asian countries, there is a great range in conditions.
Where does Turkey stand in this era? Against this backdrop, Turkey announced its “Asia Anew Initiative” in 2019. In a nutshell, this initiative intends to streamline Turkey’s relations with the Asian countries with a comprehensive and holistic perspective. We aim to re-connect with Asia with stronger bonds. We want to explore the new opportunities presented by new areas of cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit, taking into account the particular needs and differences of the regions, sub-regions and countries in the continent. Consequently, our outlook towards Central Asia is an integral part and parcel of our policies towards the wider continent. This is not to say we are starting from scratch.
Turkey is the first country which recognized Central Asian Republics. Since 1991, our desire for a stable, independent and prosperous Central Asia has guided our policies towards the region with a view to support building free market economies and functioning democracies. Given our common historical, linguistic and cultural ties, we have sought to increase engagement with this region on a broad range of issues. The High Level Strategic Cooperation Councils with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and recently with Uzbekistan provide a useful platform to deepen our relations. We also have also a similar mechanism with Tajikistan.
Turkey’s economic relations with the Central Asian Republics have developed rapidly, and significant progress has been achieved in the fields of trade, transportation and communications. The Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) was established in order to provide development assistance to these countries and has been operating successfully in close cooperation with the local authorities. Around 4 thousand Turkish companies are operating in the region. Turkey’s trade volume with the countries of the region however does not live up to its potential. It was about 8 billion USD in 2020.
Turkish investments are concentrated in the construction sector throughout the region. Turkish contractors have completed projects worth billions of dollars in the past three decades. The region is also significant for Turkey’s goal of becoming an energy hub. To that effect, a growing amount of Kazakh oil is expected to be pumped through the Baku- Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline in the near future. Similarly, Ankara expects Turkmen gas to be connected to the Southern Gas Corridor through the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), the construction of which has recently been completed. Institutionalization of Turkey’s ties with Central Asian states in the past decade has established a basis for stronger diplomatic and economic relations for the future. The Turkic Council is an important platform in this respect. Turkey will continue to focus on enhanced regional and global connectivity and energy projects, and sustainability of supply chain networks.
In this regard, Turkey has developed the “Middle Corridor Initiative”. The project is one of the most important components of the efforts to revive the ancient Silk Road. Beginning in Turkey, it passes by rail and road respectively through Georgia, Azerbaijan and the Caspian Sea, and crossing the Caspian Transit Corridor, reaches China by following Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan or Kazakhstan route. On this route, ports of Alat (in Azerbaijan), Kuryk (in Kazakhstan) and Turkmenbashi (in Turkmenistan) are the main points of multimodal transport.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) Railway which was inaugurated in 2017 constitutes an vital part of the Middle Corridor. The BTK offers a new perspective for uninterrupted trade between China and Europe and has an initial capacity of 1 million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo, which is foreseen to be increased to 3 million passengers and 17 million tons of cargo per year by 2034.
There are other major infrastructure projects connecting Europe with Asia. The “Marmaray” undersea railway, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge over the Bosphorus and the Eurasia Tunnel, all connecting Asia and Europe were respectively completed in 2013 and 2016. Further projects are in the works to enhance regional interconnectivity and supply chain networks. These are the Three-Level Tube Tunnel Project in istanbul, (^anakkale Strait Bridge project, to name a few.
The annual cargo volume from China to Europe is 10 million containers. 96% of these containers are transported via sea route, the Southern Corridor. The remainder is carried by the Trans-Siberian Railway, also called the Northern Corridor. The Middle Corridor offers a faster and more economically viable alternative to both of these routes. It is 2.000 km shorter than the Northern Corridor. The Southern Corridor takes 45 to 62 days to traverse. Once the high-speed rail lines interconnected with the Baku-
Tbilisi-Kars railway is fully operational, travel time between China and EU countries will be reduced to 12-15 days. Furthermore, the Middle Corridor offers viable options for the cargo traffic in Asia so that the loads can reach Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean region by utilizing port connections in Turkey.
If the Middle Corridor is used effectively, important economic opportunities will arise for the Central Asian countries to benefit from trade between China and Europe, estimated to be worth 600 billion US Dollars annually. In particular, establishment of logistical centers and free trade zones at the ports of Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan will facilitate the development and deepening of Trans-Caspian cooperation.
In addition to the “Caravansarai Project” which provides for cooperation between customs authorities in the region within the framework of the Middle Corridor, a “Common Cooperation Protocol” was signed by the Ministers of Transport of the members of the Turkic Council. A Coordination Council was launched at the level of Deputy Ministers to provide practical solutions for problems that may arise between these countries in the field of transportation. A Memorandum of Understanding was also signed for the purpose of establishing a Sister-Port Relationship between the ports of Baku, Aktau and Samsun. The Middle Corridor initiative, envisaging the revival of the ancient Silk Road, creates a synergy with China’s Belt and Road Initiative. In this framework, Turkey supports the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) on the basis of its goal of becoming a regional transport and logistics hub. As I just stated, this synergy will magnify opportunities in Central Asia, through enhanced cooperation and the dividends it entails for all involved.
A “Memorandum of Understanding on Aligning the Belt and Road Initiative and the Middle Corridor Initiative” was signed between Turkey and China in 2015. In the November 2019 framework of the-BRI, the first freight train from China’s Xi’an city to Istanbul completed its journey in 12 days. It went onwards to Prague and reached its final destination, having traversed 11.500 km. in 18 days. The train traveled on the Middle Corridor and Turkey’s transport infrastructure, including Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway and the Marmaray undersea tunnel. In December 2020, the first train from Turkey to China via Middle Corridor completed its journey in 13 days. The route is planned to carry 200 blocks of trains in 2021.
THERE IS A NEW ERA IN CENTRAL ASIA
“Better connected and integrated with the wider economy. There is a new era in Central Asia.” commented Prof. Harry C. Lepinske, CAPRC Chairman, upon opening the 16th Annual Silk Road Conference at Illinois Institute of Technology’s Kent College of Law Auditorium, on Oct. 7, in Chicago. He continued, “It is better connected and integrated within the wider economy, “according to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.“ Last week, the EBRD reported that Central Asia has a strong resilience to geopolitical turmoil. “GDP in Central Asia is set to grow by 4.3% in 2022 and 4.9% in 2023. The region is also experiencing very strong growth in real wages and public revenues.”
Lepinske then quoted Anjali Kaur, deputy assistant at USAID, “We see the Caspian region as s source of ideas, culture and innovation. For more than 30 years, we have supported the success, independence, and prosperity of our partners in Central Asia. Upon retiring from the business world in 1993, he was recruited by Purdue University NW, where he established and served as director of the International Business Development Programs and Center for International Research and Education. Having a wealth of experience in teaching at prominent universities worldwide, he was invited by the Turkish government to lecture and assist with academic and economic development programs.
While in Turkey and Azerbaijan, he established the Central Asian Productivity Research Center 23 years ago.He is a professor at Naxcivan State University, Azerbaijan, where he still lectures, via Zoom.
March 23, 2020
AMBASSADOR NURHAN RETIRES TO RETURN TO LAW PRACTICE
Ambassador Aydan Nurhan, honorary CAPRC chairman, is seen in his lawyers cloak .
The first discussions relative to academic and economic development Programs in Central Asia began with a dinner meeting of then Aydan Nurhan deputy consul general for the Republic of Turkey in
Chicago and CAPRC Professor Harry Lepinske in early winter 1998 in Western Springs, Illinois.
With the support of Consul General Nurhan and Turkish entities, a team of four professors from Purdue University Northwest coordinated by Professor Lepinske, spent time in May and June 1999,working and teaching in Turkey and Azerbaijan. This eventually became the founding of what first was the “American Center” and today is the Central Asian Productivity Research Center. Ambassador Nurhan was promote to consul general and served at several postings then promoted to ambassador.
Nurhan also served as the Acting Chairman for the Center for Strategic Studies of he Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey; director general of Science and Technology for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation(OIC); and helped
Establish the Turkish International Cooperation Agency (TICA), He ended his diplomatic career as the Permanent Representative of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Afghanistan. He returned recently to return to the practice of law.
June 26, 2019
Consul General Zhao Jian’s Speech at Central Asia Productivity Research Center Luncheon
Professor Harry Lepinske, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,
It gives me great pleasure to attend this luncheon and exchange views with friends from various sectors on China-U.S. relations. First of all, I would like to thank Professor Lepinske for organizing this event and for his long-standing effort in promoting the China-U.S. exchanges.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States. Over the past 40 years, despite the twists and turns, the China-U.S. ties have achieved historic development and become one of the most important bilateral relations in the world today, contributing not only to the well-being of our two nations, but also to world peace and development.
Confucius said, “One should have no more doubt at 40”. But, turning 40, the China-U.S. relations have been caught in escalating trade tensions. Then how to look at the current state of China-U.S. relations, the trade and economic relations in particular? Here, I would like to share with you some of my thoughts.
First, our economies are highly complementary and interconnected and our interests deeply intertwined. Forty years ago, no one could have imagined the level the China-U.S. trade and economic relations have reached today. Now we are each other’s largest trade partner and important investment destinations. Bilateral trade in goods has increased 252-fold from less than US$ 2.5 billion the time we established diplomatic ties to over US$ 630 billion in 2018. Two-way direct investment, which was virtually nonexistent 40 years ago, has surged to a cumulative value of nearly US$ 160 billion at the end of 2018. Now almost all major U.S. companies have operations in China. In 2017, the total sales revenue of U.S. companies in China exceeded US$ 700 billion, with a profit of over US$ 50 billion. Due to globalization, many U.S. manufacturers mainly rely on China for raw materials and intermediate products. There are also many U.S. companies that do production in China and export their products back to the U.S. Among China’s trade surplus in goods with the U.S., 54% comes from foreign-funded enterprises and 53% comes from processing trade. The truth of China-U.S. trade relations is that we are mutually interdependent and closely cooperating in the global industry and supply chains and neither country can do without the other.
Second, our exchanges and cooperation are mutually beneficial in nature and have brought tangible benefits to the people of our two nations. The past 40 years has seen continued expansion of China-U.S. cooperation in the economic, cultural, educational, technological and many other fields. The fundamental reason behind this is that it serves the shared interests of our people. Economically speaking, the U.S. has provided China with enormous and steady external demand, and the U.S. investment in China has played a positive role in driving China’s economic development. Similarly, the U.S. has also benefited greatly from its economic relations with China. The Chinese market has offered the U.S. enterprises vast space for development. Import of inexpensive quality goods from China has enriched the lives of American people and lowered consumption costs of American families. Statistics show that U.S. trade with China on average saves every American household US$ 850 a year, or 1.5% of the average American household income; in 2015, goods imported from China helped lower the U.S. consumer prices by 1% to 1.5%. In addition, in the 10 years between 2009 and 2018, the U.S. exports to China supported over 11 million American jobs.
Bilateral exchanges in the field of education have also benefited both sides. A great many Chinese students have returned to China after completing studies in the U.S. and played an important role in China’s modernization drive. At the same time, Chinese students and scholars in the U.S. have made outstanding contributions to scientific and technological progress and economic development in this country with their wisdom and hard work. Speaking of science and technology, in 2018 alone, China paid over US$ 8 billion in patent royalties to the U.S. and a large number of patented technologies from U.S. companies have been put into commercial use in China. And revenues from such patent royalties are used by these companies to further enhance their scientific research capability. All in all, the China-U.S. cooperation is a two-way interaction that has combined complementary advantages to mutual benefit.
Third, the people of China and the U.S. see each other as friends and wish to see deeper friendship between the two countries. 235 years ago, the “Empress of China” reached the shores of China to open trade. 70 years ago, Americans crossed the vast ocean to aid China in resisting the fascists’ aggression. Today, with over ten thousand people traveling across the Pacific Ocean each day, more than 5.3 million mutual visits are made between the two countries every year. The number of Chinese students studying in the U.S. has reached 360,000 and that of American students in China reached 20,000. More and more American primary and middle school students are learning Chinese, and many young volunteers from the U.S. have made their way to China’s rural and remote areas to assist in local education efforts. All this has shown that the friendship between the Chinese and American people has transcended time and space as an inexhaustible source of strength underpinning the development of bilateral relations. Now our two countries have established 50 friendly province-state and 227 friendly city relations. Not long ago, the 4th China-U.S. Province-State Forum was successfully held, and the 4th China-U.S. Sister Cities Conference will soon be held here in the U.S. This testifies to the common desire of our people for deeper mutual understanding and cooperation and the strong public support for friendly relations between our two countries.
Fourth, the China-U.S. relations have long transcended bilateral scope and are exerting increasing global impact. China and the U.S. are the two largest economies in the world and are both permanent members of the UN Security Council. Whether the China-U.S. relations can go well or not not only directly affects the well-being of our two nations, but also bears on world peace, stability and prosperity. When the U.S. raised tariffs in escalation of trade dispute with China, the Chinese and American businesses are not the only ones that are affected. Forecast for global trade growth in 2019 is expected to drop from 3.7% to 2.6%, and that for global economic growth will drop from 3.6% to 3.3%.
As the international situation undergoes profound and complex changes, it has become more important than ever for China and the United States to cooperate closely in addressing the interwoven traditional and nontraditional security issues, global challenges like climate change, terrorism, nuclear proliferation and public health hazards, as well as many regional hot-spot issues.
For some time now, there have been some jarring noises in the U.S. regarding China-U.S. relations. Some believe that the U.S. should launch this trade war against China because it has suffered losses in bilateral trade. Some want the U.S. to contain or engage in confrontation with China because they believe that China wants to challenge the U.S. in the Asia-Pacific region. Some others even push for decoupling from or a civilization clash with China. These people do not understand China, nor do they understand the China-U.S. relations.
It has been 40 years since China and the United States established diplomatic relations and we are now living in the 21st century. We cannot get stuck in the cold war and zero-sum game mentality while living in the global village. What happened in the past 40 years tells us that we both stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. Cooperation is the only correct path for our two countries. We cannot allow the China-U.S. relations to be defined by differences and conflicts, just as we cannot allow the China-U.S. relations to be dictated by bias and misjudgment.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. The success we have achieved over the past 70 years is the result of the hard effort of the Chinese people. At the same time, we also owe it to the peaceful international environment and the mutually beneficial cooperation we have carried out with other countries. As such, China will continue to follow the path of peaceful development and the win-win strategy of opening-up and stays committed to working with all other countries in the world to build a community with a shared future for mankind.
While following the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics that has been proven well suited to China’s national conditions, we have no intention to export our ideology or values, nor do we intend to replace or crowd out anyone or fight any country for supremacy. May what happen in the international arena, China will never halt on its path of reform and will only open its door wider to the world. The mission of China is to help its people live a happier and more prosperous life through hard work, and contribute more to the common prosperity and development of the world by engaging in exchanges and cooperation with other countries.
Forty years ago, with extraordinary strategic vision and political courage, the leaders of China and the United States made the historic decision to establish diplomatic relations. Forty years on, our shared responsibility for maintaining world peace and promoting common development has increased rather than decreased. Our common interests and space for cooperation have expanded rather than diminished. In developing China-U.S. relations, we need to bear in mind the fundamental interests of our people and the people of the world, take a long-term vision and be open and inclusive. We need to work together to increase mutual understanding and mutual trust and expand cooperation and exchanges to mutual benefit on the basis of mutual respect and equality. Only in this way can we ensure continued development of China-U.S. relations and create a brighter future for our people and the people around the world. This conforms not only to the common aspiration of our people, but also to the general expectation of the international community!
February 18, 2019
CENTRAL ASIAN CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE WILL MEET US CHAMBERS IN CHICAGO DURING SILK ROAD CONFERNCE IN APRIL
Changing aspects for international business and trade resulting from China’s “Silk Road Initiative” effecting some 60 countries; and meetings between chambers of commerce representing the Silk Road countries and representatives from regional chambers of commerce will take place April 2 and 3, 2019 and participate in sessions of the 2019 Silk Road Conference scheduled in Chicago on Wednesday, April 3, 2019.
Private meetings between representatives from business, government, and academia are scheduled on Monday and Tuesday, April 1 and 2, will conclude with the annual Silk Road Conference scheduled from 8 AM until 5 PM, , at IIT’s Kent College of Law Auditorium, 565 W. Adams St., Chicago. Organized by the Central Asian Productivity Research Center, founded in Azerbaijan and Turkey in 1999, the event is co-sponsored by the Global Programs, College of Business, Northern Illinois University. Qualified attendees can attend free of charge, but advanced registration is required. Almost thirty speakers and panelists will focus on the rapidly changing region that is described by a former undersecretary of defense as a very important strategic region for the US. Professor Lepinske, CAPRC chairman, said, “Most Americans are not aware of the region, let alone its expanding importance. The region is changing rapidly. A cobweb of lines on a map across Central Asia in 1999 today is a cobweb of energy pipelines; Chinese are shipping freight from Southern China to Western Europe by rail in ten days; Europeans are driving to Beijing;, and some 20,000 Americans are working in Azerbaijan.
January 19, 2019
Foreign Minister of Kyrgyz Republic Chingiz Azamatovich Aidarbekov (right) on 8th January, 2019 received Ambassador Faisal Niaz Tirmizi (left, former Pakistan’s consulate general in Chicago). This was Ambassador’s first official call on the newly appointed Foreign Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic. Ambassador conveyed warm greetings and congratulation of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to Foreign Minister Aidarbekov on his appointment.
Ambassador assured him that Pakistan would be attending the forthcoming SCO Summit in Bishkek in June 2019 at the highest level. Ambassador also appraised the Kyrgyz Foreign Minister on his calls on the President of Pakistan and other senior officials during his visit to Pakistan. The President Arif Alvi of Pakistan had underscored the need to increase people-to-people and business-to-business contacts between the two countries through promotion of tourism and trade. Over 2000 Pakistani students are already contributing around US$ 13 to 15 a year to the Kyrgyz economy and this figure was likely to go up in years to come. Both sides also reiterated the need for more parliamentary and business exchanges between the two countries to further consolidate already excellent existing ties between the two countries. Both sides also discussed the possibility of resuming flights between Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan.
May 2018 DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF AZERBAIJAN
On behalf of the Central Asian Productivity Research Center, we extend our warmest greetings to all Azerbaijanis both here in the USA and in Azerbaijan on this great occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan on May 28, 1918.
May 2018 CAPRC FINALIZING CENTRAL ASIAN TOURISM DEVELOPMENT REPORT
Joseph Haddad, CAPRC’s tourism committee chairman, reported during the CAPRC first quarter meeting held in January at the conference facilities of the Consulate General of Pakistan in Chicago, that the committee has completed a six-month research program focusing on the growth in Central Asia. He said the committee had worked with representatives of government and the tourism and airline industries.“It will take more time to refine the data. Hopefully, the CAPRC can release the report sometime in May about the time of the CAPRC’s second quarter meeting” , commented Haddad. “We all were very surprised about the number of questions from attendees during the 2018 Silk Road Conference held on Friday, April 20 , at the Kent College of Law Auditorium.”, he added.
December 2017 Introduction to Asian Water Problems by Brahma Chellaney
The management of the Ili and Irtysh rivers are, by themselves, complex, disturbing and very challenging. A large number of other problems exist which are conceptually diverse and problematic. Water, energy, and political issues have a complex interaction. We plan to provide a more detailed presentation(s) in the future and extend knowledge of their characteristics to non-specialists. Both the Irtysh and Ili rivers originate in China and flow through northeastern Kazakhstan. The Irtysh continues into Russia. It has been estimated that China intends to increase use of Irtysh water from 15% to 40% in Xinjiang province(NW China) to support increased industrial development. There will also be withdrawals from the Ili. The withdrawals as well as agricultural chemicals threaten Lake Balkhash and other areas. Balkhash Copper Production Company additionally deposits copper, lead, and arsenic into Lake Balkhash The Irtysh remains the chief source of drinking water for Astana and three other industrial cities in Kazakhstan alone(4 million people). It is a set of problems that must be jointly solved by Kazakhstan, China, and Russia
Dec 18, 2016 The Japan Times
Asia’s Fight Over Fresh Water by Brahma Chellaney
NEW DELHI – Asia, the world’s largest and fastest-developing continent, has less fresh water per capita than any other continent. This has helped foster growing interstate and intrastate disputes over shared water resources. An MIT study published this year found a high risk that Asia’s current water crisis could worsen to severe water shortages by 2050.
In this light, water is emerging as a key challenge for long-term Asian peace and stability. Yet Asia’s maritime-security challenges draw much greater international attention than its river-water disputes. This is largely because sea-related issues, such as in the South China Sea, affect even outside powers by threatening the safety of sea lanes and freedom of navigation. The truth is this: Asia’s sharpening competition over transnationally shared freshwater resources holds strategic ramifications just as ominous as those relating to maritime territorial disputes.
Recent developments are highlighting how the competition and fight over shared water resources is a major contributory factor to the growing geopolitical discord and tensions in Asia.
In fact, China’s “territorial grab” in the South China Sea has been accompanied by a quieter “freshwater grab” in transnational river basins. Re-engineering transboundary water flows is integral to China’s strategy to employ power, control and influence to fashion a strongly Sino-centric Asia.
Its relationship with India, for example, is roiled by increasing discord over shared water resources. Recently, to complete a major dam project, China said it has cut off the flow of a tributary of the Brahmaputra River, the lifeline of Bangladesh and northeastern India. The tributary drains into the Brahmaputra within Tibet itself. The blocking of the Xiabuqu River’s flow comes amid ongoing Chinese work to dam another Brahmaputra tributary, the Lhasa River, into a series of artificial lakes.
Meanwhile, not content with the six mega-dams it has built on the Mekong, just before that mighty river crosses into Southeast Asia, China is planning or constructing 14 more dams, despite already visible downstream impacts. The upstream dams give China control over the transboundary flow of water and nutrient-rich silt essential to the economies of mainland Southeast Asia, where the Mekong is the lifeblood of 60 million people.
The failure of the lower Mekong states to fashion a united stance against the frenzied Chinese dam-building has given Beijing the upper hand. Indeed, the lower Mekong nations are embroiled in their own dam-building disputes. Brushing aside regional concerns, landlocked Laos recently decided to move ahead with a third controversial project, the 912-megawatt Pak Beng Dam, after beginning work on the Xayaburi and Don Sahong dams.
The Mekong and the Brahmaputra rank among the world’s rivers deemed to be at risk. China’s dam builders, however, are targeting other rivers as well. With the focus of China’s dam-building and other water diversions moving from internal rivers to international rivers, Chinese mega-projects now are increasingly concentrated in the resource-rich minority homelands, especially the Tibetan Plateau — the starting point of 10 major Asian rivers. This has spurred growing concern in downstream countries over how China is using its control over Asia’s largest river systems to re-engineer cross-border flows. With as many as 18 downstream neighbors, China enjoys riparian dominance of a kind unmatched in the world.
Tensions are already running high on China’s frontiers with largely arid Central Asia due to the increasingly heavy Chinese water appropriations from the Illy and Irtysh rivers. The withdrawals from the Illy threaten to turn Kazakhstan’s Lake Balkhash into another Aral Sea, which has shrunk to barely a quarter of its original size. China is also diverting water from the Irtysh — which feeds Russia’s Ob River — for its projects in Xinjiang, including a canal supplying the booming oil town of Karamai. The Irtysh is a source of drinking water for Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital.
Diminished transboundary flows are not the only concern for Central Asians: China’s economic activities in sprawling Xinjiang are also contaminating the water of the transnational rivers in the region with hazardous chemicals and fertilizers. By replicating in international rivers the degradation haunting the rivers in its Han heartland, China is deepening unease in downstream countries.
Meanwhile, China’s close ally, Pakistan, has initiated — for the second time in this decade —international arbitral tribunal proceedings against India under the terms of the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty. Seeking international intercession is part of Pakistan’s “water war” strategy against upstream India.
When Pakistan was carved out of India in 1947 as the first Islamic republic of the postcolonial era, the partition left the Indus headwater on the Indian side of the border, but the river basin’s larger segment in the newly created country. This division armed India with formidable water leverage over Pakistan.
Yet, after protracted negotiations, India agreed to what still ranks as the world’s most generous water-sharing pact: The Indus treaty reserved for Pakistan the largest three rivers that make up more than four-fifths of the total Indus-system water. It kept for India just 19.48 percent of the total water. Still, Pakistan has used the treaty to sustain its conflict and tensions with India, including over Kashmir.
Some Asian countries, seeking to overcome the challenge of growing more food in water-stressed conditions at home, have leased large tracts of farmland in sub-Saharan Africa. The land grabs, which are effectively water grabs, have triggered a backlash in some areas. For example, South Korea’s Daewoo Logistics Corp. entered into a deal to lease as much as half of Madagascar’s arable land to grow food for South Korea, igniting a local backlash and military intervention that eased out a democratically elected president in 2009.
More broadly, the competition between Asian neighbors to appropriate resources of shared rivers by building dams, reservoirs and other structures is fostering distrust and discord and exacerbating impacts on ecosystems. Water has become an instrument of power in interstate relations. This holds important implications for Asia’s future.
Asia’s economic rise has been aided by peace and stability. But the upsurge of resource and territorial disputes has underscored the looming dangers. Various developments are highlighting the linkage between water and peace.
In the coming years, water scarcity is likely to become Asia’s defining crisis, creating obstacles in its path of continued rapid economic growth and stoking new inter-country tensions. Water, of course, is not the only resource whose availability has come under pressure owing to Asia’s rapid economic rise. But it is the most critical one, for which there is no substitute.
To underpin peace and cooperation, Asian states must manage transnational water resources on the basis of transparency, collaboration, sharing and dispute settlement.
Brahma Chellaney is the author of “Water, Peace, and War: Confronting the Global Water Crisis” and “Water: Asia’s New Battleground.”
CAPRC ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS AUTHOR NEW BOOK:
ENERGY AND FINANCE: SUSTAINABILITY IN THE ENERGY INDUSTRY
Dr. Ozgur Arslan-Ayaydin, CAPRC advisory board Member; Dr. Mehmet Baha Karan , CAPRC associate board member and regional Coordinator; and Dr. Andre’ Dorsman, a CAPRC Supporter; jointly announced the publication of their new book, “Energy and Finance: Sustainability in the Energy Industry”.
The book analyses how socially responsible investments as well as the rising importance of Islamic finance are linked to the shift towards renewable energy. Academics and practitioners in the field take a global perspective and present case studies from several countries. The book is divided into three parts: The first part sheds new light on the energy shift towards renewable energy. The second shows the increasing interest of investors in sustainability, and the authors argue that investors not only look at expected returns and risks, but also at social returns. Finally, the third part explains the need for social returns in Islamic finance, which cannot be explained by traditional finance theory. This is the fifth volume in a series on energy organized by the Centre for Energy and Value Issues (CEVI).
Available on Amazon
Prof. Dr. Mehmet Baha Karan has been with Hacettepe University’s Business Administration Department, in Ankara, Turkey, since 1995. He is the former vice dean, faculty of economics and administration science and chairperson. In l997, he founded the Hacettepe University Financial Research Center (HUFAM). Dr. Karan also has organized some of Turkey’s leading Professional conferences and has served as the chair for the Finance Society; president of the Multinational Finance Society; vice president, Center for Energy and Value; co-director, Turkish Regional Chapter, Professional Risk Managers’ International Association; and serves on the independent board for two publicly-traded companies.
Prof. Dr. Arslan-Ayaydin PhD is a clinical associate Professor in the finance department of University of Illinois at Chicago. She also is vice president for the Center for Energy and Value Issues (CEVI) based in The Netherlands, and expert evaluator for the European Commission. Her research Interests are corporate finance, Investments and Islamic Banking and Finance. She is the recipient of UIC’s Silver Circle Award for her outstanding teaching and a Jean Monnet Scholar of the European Commission.
September 23, 2016
US Ambassador Spratlen on USAID Agricultural Value Chains (AVC) Project Inauguration Ceremony
Posted by: CAPRC Agriculture Committee John Hackney, CAPRC Chairman
Source: American-Uzbekistan Chamber Of Commerce; Washington, D.C.
Ассалом aлейкум, доброе утро, and Good morning to everyone! Especially to Dr. Kasimov, I want to thank you for your warm welcome and for everything you have done to bring us to this point today.
On February 13 of 2015 – it is hard to believe – we gathered together with our Uzbek partners here to inaugurate a state-of-the-art micro-propagation technology facility, known as the Tissue Culture Laboratory, at the Mirzaev Horticulture Institute. The overall objective of the Laboratory is to improve the quality of plants to increase horticultural production in Uzbekistan.
Today, we again celebrate here at Mirzaev the launch of a new agricultural project, as you have heard, called the Agricultural Value Chains. Today’s broad participation of farmers, business, and government exemplifies the strong partnerships we have forged across Uzbekistan in the twelve provinces and 33 districts where the project will operate.
Since 2008, USAID has partnered with Uzbekistan on horticultural sector projects through various projects. We are proud of our close coordination with the Government of Uzbekistan and our mutual efforts to strengthen horticultural practices, create better livelihoods, and meet international demands for the highest quality produce.
And I would like to associate myself with a very important point that Dr. Kasimov made in his remarks, and that is that this project is a logical continuation of our past work. And as a result of our past work, we have already witnessed letters of intent worth more than $300 million between Uzbek growers and international buyers of horticultural produce through business to business trade missions in Samarkand, and Fergana.
Furthermore, the United States welcomes Uzbekistan’s efforts to transform over 170,000 hectares of cotton over the next five years to produce higher value fruits and vegetables. Our Agriculture Value Chains project is well-positioned to support such ambitious agricultural transitions.
This five-year, $14 million program will improve the value chain along the horticultural sector by creating jobs, improving incomes, and increasing fruit yield and quality.
I would like to join Dr. Kasimov in thanking every entity inside of Uzbekistan that played a role in bringing us to this point today and I would especially like to thank DAI and the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources for implementing the Agriculture Value Chains project in Uzbekistan. It is because of your enthusiasm, energy, and professionalism that the United States Government, through USAID, can continue to invest in Uzbekistan’s horticulture sector.
I cannot think of a better way to celebrate Uzbek horticulture than a grape variety contest that showcases the diversity, quality, and richness of produce that is a true national treasure – that is what you see before you. I wish the best of luck to all the competitors and may the best grapes win!
Удачи всем. Катта раҳмат. Спасибо.
September 23, 1016
Modernizing the Water Future of Central Asia
Posted by: CAPRC Ad Hoc Water Committee Chairman: Paul Herche
Source: American-Uzbekistan Chamber Of Commerce; Washington, D.C.
The Central Asia Water Future Forum and Expo is being held on September 19-22 in Almaty. Organized by the World Bank, the event brings together over 200 policy makers and practitioners from governments of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan, the international community of water practitioners, as well as regional learning institutions, universities, civil society and media representatives.
Like many regions across the world, Central Asia is seeking to make the best use of limited water resources, and is exploring ways of modernizing the tools and institutions in this area. This event improves access to global good practices in modernizing water resources monitoring and management in a changing development and climate context.
The Forum spans four days and features regional and international knowledge exchange around evolving modern approaches and state of the art tools for integrated water resources management. The Bank is actively working with all participants to facilitate access to knowledge and experiences accumulated at the national and global levels, identifying gaps in knowledge and modernization needs, and strengthening coordination for addressing common water related challenges in a concerted manner.
This Forum is convened as part of the preparation for the Central Asia Water Resources Management program, aimed at modernizing water information management systems and strengthening related institutional capacity.
“This event provides a valuable opportunity for countries to collaborate on a critical development issue for the region”, said Lilia Burunciuc, the World Bank Regional Director for Central Asia. “Jointly we hope to focus on innovative solutions to water-related development challenges, learning from global good practices and regional experiences in improved water management and climate resilience.”
While the Forum is a platform for knowledge sharing and learning, the Expo will feature displays to showcase global and regional good practice, state-of-the art hydromet instrumentation, visualization, forecasting, and other analytical tools, as well as institutional development approaches for modernizing water management systems. This type of collaboration will help countries advance the dialogue on future needs for information, institutions, and related investments for modernizing their systems at national and regional levels.
The event is being held in cooperation with the International Applied Research Conference “Water Resources of Central Asia and their Use” on September 22-24, 2016 in Almaty convened by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
June 14, 2016
China Seeks Expansion of Trade Routes with Central Asian Countries
By Frank Bennett Rowder Chicago Journalists.net Source Link
Chicago — Delegates from Central Asian countries continued to explore new financial and trade markets during the 16th annual Silk Road Conference held at the Kent College of Law recently.
Although many countries were once Republics in the Soviet Union prior to its collapse 25 years ago, they have managed to successfully make the transition from a Marxist to Free Market economy. Best testimonial is the establishment of economic corridors already leading to new highway, railways and oil and gas pipelines.
Make no mistake, China had played a key role in the making of the Silk Road, going as far back as the Han dynasty (207-220BCE.) when it derived its name from lucrative trade in Chinese silk. It still remains an ancient network of trade routes that were central to cultural interaction through regions connecting the West and East from China to the Mediterranean Sea.
The Chinese government wants to expand the corridors, which will involve transport routes to key cities and ports covering Asia, Europe and Africa, including establishment of an ‘Eurasia Land bridge.’ Look for more movement between China-Mongolia-Russia and other countries in the mix.
Here are some of the highlights of the Silk Road Conference:
Azerbaijan: First Secretary Vugar Gurbanov stated his country continues to be an emerging hub in Central Eurasia by leading in the development of the Southern Gas Corridor, a $160 billion investment since 1991. Six countries will eventually be part of the Corridor that will eventually end in Southeast Italy.
Kazakhstan: Counselor Nurgali Arystanov indicated his country had signed a Dynamic Strategic Partnership calling for a $2.8 billion investment by the U.S. American companies currently operating in that country include Starbucks, McDonalds, KFC, Burger King , Netflix and Uber. Citibank and Chevron are expected to follow.
Pakistan: Faisal Niaz Tirmizi, Consulate General of Pakistan in Chicago, expressed optimism about going business with IMF, World Bank, Bloomberg and international credit rating agencies such as Moody’s and S & P. He said the ‘economic corridor’ is leading toward new highways and railrways, oil and gas pipelines.
Uzbekistan: Continues to move toward a socially democratic state with a free market economy. The Uzbek model has called for a diverse economy ,and has business deals with 45 countries, including United States, China, Japan and the European Union.
Turkey: The country has experienced moderate economic growth due to rise of terrorism in that country, Syrian conflict and Russia’s economic downturn. Nevertheless, Mehmet Baha Karan stressed that Turkey wants zero problems with its neighbors and looking toward Iran’s entry into the global market. Karan is Professor of Finance at Turkey’s Hacettepe University.
Rowder is an associate board member of the Central Asian Productivity Center, sponsors of the 2016 Silk Road Conference. He is also serves on the Chicago Journalists Association Board of Directors.
Chicago May 13, 2016
Subject: CHINA PAKISTAN ECONOMIC CORRIDOR (CPEC) TO UNWRAP A WORLD OF OPPORTUNITIES
Pakistan and China have unwrapped a world of opportunities by building road, railways and energy connections between Gwadar and Kashgar, said Consul General of Pakistan, Mr. Faisal Niaz Tirmizi today. This project is a symbol of hope and investment in Pakistan. He was the keynote speaker at an event “China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – A world of Opportunities” which was organized at the Consulate General of Pakistan in collaboration with Central Asian Productivity Research Center CAPRC, Chicago.
The event was attended by 45 guests comprising CEOs of Chicago based businesses, business analysts, members of CAPRC and representatives of Illinois Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Harry Lepinske, Chairman CPARC, Ms. Laura Ortega, Executive Director, Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Ms. Timothy J Sanders Director of Engagement and Government Liaison, Purdue University, Mr. Gary A. Camarno, Economic Development Director of Whiteside County, were among the prominent participants and they held in-depth discussion about various aspects of business potential in Central and South Asian countries with particular reference to Pakistan’s geographical importance in connecting these fast developing regions. Ms. Laura Ortega, Executive Director, Illinois Chamber of Commerce gave a special briefing on opportunities for Pakistani businesses in Illinois. She was urged to look into the possibility of taking investments from Illinois to Pakistan.
Consul General in his keynote speech said that Pakistan, a thriving middle class of 50 million with per capita income of nearly US$ 5000/- in terms of purchasing power and having workforce of under 30 years age bracket, is the ideal investment destination in Asia. Consul General also briefed the participants about the recent economic revival of Pakistan and investment friendly policies being offered by the Government. He referred the audience to the leading international publications, fund managers and rating agencies who have acknowledged Pakistan’s outstanding economic turnaround. Consul General concluded the discussion with a brief presentation on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. It is an opening of the world of opportunities not only for Pakistan and China but for the countries in Central, Western and South Asia, said Mr. Tirmizi. He further said that this project worth $ 51.252 is a fusion of investment corridor, trade corridor, energy corridor, transport corridor, infrastructure corridor and industrial corridor. The Consul General said that Chinese investment should be matched by similar investments from the USA, North America, Western Europe and Gulf countries. Only through economic development and employment opportunities, extremism raging in the region could be defeated, said Mr. Tirmizi.
Consul General encouraged all the guests to participate in the Investment Conference which is being jointly organized by Pakistan’s Ministry of Commerce, Embassy of Pakistan Washington, US Department State and US Department of Commerce and Trade on June 03, 2016 in New York.
The event concluded with a motivational talk by Mr. Noman Ahmed, who was especially invited by the Consul General to speak at the event to give a cue to the participants about the immense talent in Pakistan. Mr. Noman Ahmed is a visually impaired Pakistani-American who has emerged as an impressive management trainer for many business entities.
US-China-Pak CPEC to create new opportunities for investment and trade
CHICAGO, May 14 (APP): Pakistan and China are on track towards opening up a world of trade and investment opportunities by building road, railway and energy connections between the Pakistani port city of Gwadar and the Chinese city of Kashgar, Consul General Faisal Niaz Tirmizi has said.
In a speech on “China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – A world of Opportunities” at an event, he said that this project wpould bring progress and prosperity to the region.
The event — organized at the Consulate General of Pakistan in collaboration with Central Asian Productivity Research Center CAPRC, Chicago — was attended by a number of of CEOs of Chicago-based businesses, business analysts, members of CAPRC and representatives of Illinois Chamber of Commerce.
Harry Lepinske, the CPARC Chairman; Ms. Laura Ortega, Executive Director of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce; Timothy Sanders Director of Engagement and Government Liaison, Purdue University; Gary Camarno, Economic Development Director of Whiteside County, were among those participants in the discussion about various aspects of business potential in Central and South Asian countries, with particular reference to Pakistan’s geographical importance in connecting these fast developing regions.
Ms. Ortega, Executive Director of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, gave a special briefing on the opportunities for Pakistani businesses in the U.S. State of Illinois. She was urged to look into the possibility of taking investments from Illinois to Pakistan.
In his keynote address, Tirmizi, the Pakistani Consul General in Chicago, called Pakistan an ideal investment destination in Asia, with a middle class of 50 million and per capita income of nearly US$ 5000/- in terms of purchasing power. In addition, the country had a workforce of under 30 years age bracket.
The Consul General also briefed the participants about the economic revival of Pakistan under the present government and its investment-friendly policies that have been acknowledged by leading international publications, fund managers and rating agencies. He concluded the discussion with a presentation on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, which he called a symbol of hope for the country.
September 25, 2015 Consulate General of Pakistan Chicago
Pakistan offers an ideal destination for investments with one of the best rates of investments in the world, a thriving middle class of 70 million people and a per capita income of nearly US$ 5000 per head if calculated in term of purchasing power parity. These views were expressed by Consul General Faisal Niaz Tirmizi, this morning at the 3rd Quarterly Advisory Board Meeting of the Central Asian Productivity Research Center (CAPRC) in Chicago where he was the keynote speaker. The Consul General also informed the audience that Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif would be starting his official visit to US from Chicago in OCtober and would be showcasing immense business opportunities in Pakistan at the two mega events in the third largest city of the US. Prime Minister Sharif would be chairing a Business Conference in the morning of October 20 besides being the keynote speaker at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs the same evening.
The Consul General also informed about another prominent Pakistani Ms. Samina Baig’s forthcoming visit to Chicago where she is scheduled to speak on the immense tourism potential in Pakistan during an event at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs on October 09, 2015. Ms. Samina Mirza comes from Shimshal, Hunza and has made many achievements under her belt in the field of mountaineering including summiting of Mount Everest and Mount McKinley. Coming from a conservative country, she can highlight immense contributions being made by Pakistani women in all fields including politics, defense, banking and sports.
During the speech Mr. Tirmizi stated that Pakistan has been rated amongst the Next 11 by the Goldman Sachs as a group emerging economies which would be driver of global economy in years to come. Karachi Stock Exchange has been the second best performing stock exchange in the world for the last six year, a fact acknowledged by The Wall Street Journal. A weeks ago New York Times touted Pakistan as the next global IT center in view of its competitive prices and expertise. Mr. Tirmizi also spoke about the 8-million Pakistani expatriate community working abroad which has been remitting nearly US$ 19 billion annually to provide strong underpinnings to Pakistan’s economy which had been adversely effected by unstable political situation in the region as well as presence of world’s largest refugee population for the last 36 years.
The Consul General stated that multinationals like Nestle, Coke, PepsiCo, Unilever, MacDonald’s are making record profits in Pakistan for many decades with full freedom to repatriate profits. He cited the example of Lays by PepsiCo which opened eight plants in Pakistan after being reluctant initially. He also appreciated the role of the 1 million strong Pakistani-American community which is making US$ 37 billion every year in the US and encouraged them to invest in
their land of origin as has been done by the dynamic Chinese community across the world.
On a question as to why there has been so little investment in education for over the years, Mr. Tirmizi said that with troubling security and defense situation in the region the government has been constrained to put most of its resources in security and defense instead of health and education. With the improvement in security situation, the Government of Pakistan is likely to reduce its expenditure on security and defense with more focus on social sectors like education, health and employment.
Updated by Michael Alexander Krzyston January 13, 2023
Updated by Michael Alexander Krzyston
Michael Alexander Krzyston
Michael Alexander Krzyston
Michael Alexander Krzyston
Michael Alexander Krzyston
Michael Alexander Krzyston
Michael Alexander Krzyston
Michael Alexander Krzyston