Turkey and Uzbekistan aim to strengthen bilateral cooperation, which gained momentum after the new Uzbek president, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, took office in December 2016.
In line with the improving political and economic ties, the Turkish and Uzbek governments have set up military cooperation mechanisms and signed several deals since 2016. To this end, the Turkish parliament ratified the Turkey-Uzbekistan cooperation protocol on military education in April 2020.
Relations between Ankara and Tashkent deteriorated in 1993 when Turkey offered a safe haven to Uzbek opposition leader Muhammed Salih, who ran against Islam Karimov in the 1991 election. The Uzbek leadership constantly accused Turkey of meddling in the internal affairs of Uzbekistan and cut off its political and military ties with Turkey.
The rapprochement of the countries was achieved following the election of Mirziyoyev as the country’s new president.
In November 2016 President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Uzbekistan and met with then-acting President Mirziyoyev. President Mirziyoyev recently paid an official visit to Turkey to co-chair the first session of the Turkey-Uzbekistan Strategic Cooperation Council held on February 19, 2020.
Holding a joint press conference with Mirziyoyev , Erdoğan said: “We have exceeded $1 billion in both exports and imports for the first time in our bilateral trade, but there is still a long way to go. Mr. President and I aim to increase our trade volume to $5 billion. … We define our relations with Uzbekistan as a strategic partnership based on strong brotherly ties with our common history, language and culture.”
According to the text of the protocol, obtained by Nordic Monitor, the new mechanism focuses on the exchange of military students and teachers, the transfer of scientific education techniques, the provision of education for experts and the development of professional skills of academic personnel, the improvement of the quality of education through modern technological applications, the exchange of new education materials, and the organization of scientific conferences, symposiums and panels.
The deal also covers the participation of personnel and students in activities such as military exercises, war games and seminars, engaging in joint scientific research projects, the exchange of experience and the guidance of students and academic personnel of the other party’s military education institutions.
The 18-article protocol was signed on July 26, 2017 in Tashkent by then-Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli and Uzbek Defense Minister Col. Gen. Kabul Raimovic Berdiyev. The accord was submitted to the Turkish parliament for ratification on February 17, 2019 by President Erdoğan.
The terms of the agreement will be executed by the defense ministries of the two parties. The deal is valid for five years and will be automatically extended for successive periods of one year. According to the agreement, either party must notify the other of the intent to terminate at least three months in advance.
The 12-page security agreement is posted below:Uzbekistan_Turkey_military_deal
Turkey’s defense industry exports to Uzbekistan have also increased. For instance, Turkish armored vehicle manufacturer Nurol Makina signed a memorandum of understanding with Uzbek firm UzAuto for the joint production of 1,000 four-wheel-drive armored vehicles. According to the agreement, “Ejder Yalcin” (dragon in English) 4×4 tactical armored vehicles will be co-produced in Uzbekistan. The deal also allows sale of the vehicles to third countries.
Moreover, a joint Uzbek-Turkish enterprise for the production of uniforms for the Uzbek armed forces was created. Starting from the second quarter of 2020, the company is expected to launch at full capacity, Uzbek media reported.