By Fikret Akfırat
The analysis of the events unfolding in Kazakhstan is important for understanding the near future of the world. The common view is that the US is the main actor behind these events, except for those whose mission is to follow Washington’s commands. Kazakhstan’s President Tokayev stated that they will present the evidence to the world proving that the events are a foreign-sponsored terrorist attack. The colored revolution attempt, which started in Kazakhstan on January 2, was largely suppressed by the persevering and determined stance of the countries in the region. Turkey, Russia, China, the Turkic Republics, together with the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which was directly involved in the events, as well as Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Organization of Turkish States, repulsed this attack by taking a common stance.
The former Turkish Minister, Mr. Namık Kemal Zeybek, who knows Kazakhstan very well, offered us some insights, suggesting to look beneath the surface of the issue. Zeybek’s statements in our interview based on the information he obtained from his contacts in Kazakhstan are also very enlightening for Turkey. Zeybek, a prominent figure in Turkish nationalist politics, has served in important official positions related to Central Asian Turkic states, especially Kazakhstan, since the early 1990s. During the Prime Ministry and Presidency periods of Süleyman Demirel, he served as the chief advisor responsible for the coordination of Turkey and the Turkic world. He was the chairman of the Board of Trustees of Ahmet Yesevi University in Kazakhstan from its establishment in 1993 until 2006.
Salafists from abroad
Zeybek told us:
“In the events in Kazakhstan, organized groups that were kept ready suddenly appeared. First of all, there is no hunger in Kazakhstan, nor is the income level of Kazakh people low. You can understand this even just by looking at those who come to Istanbul from the Turkic Republics to find a job. There are Moldovans, Turkmen, Kyrgyz, but no Kazakhs! Yet, especially in Aktau where the protests erupted first, luxurious, highly privileged dwellings and lifestyles of oil companies’ executives and representatives invoked a sharp reaction from the community. This provides the main grounds for the issue. A decision was made to raise LPG prices, which provoked a strong reaction, and those who made this decision should be investigated. But there are Salafist groups that emerged out of nowhere in Almaty, directing the crowds, raiding the arms depots, and distributing the weapons. They are beheading people, and there have even been cases of rape. Such things have rarely been seen among Kazakhs: this is an ISIS model. They took over the management of the events”
Who are they, and where did they come from?
“There are people from Afghanistan and even from China. After the intervention of Kazakhstani security forces and CSTO forces, a nationwide calm was achieved. But there is some tension in Almaty still.”
A Test for the “Turkists’’
Namık Kemal Zeybek reminds us that many people in Turkey talk and make statements about this issue without really understanding it. He emphasizes that some ask, “Why did Kazakhstan not ask for peacekeeping forces from Turkey?” which he sees as an absurd standpoint.
He argues that it is normal for Kazakhstan to seek support from the Collective Security Treaty Organization, to which it is a member together with Russia, given their good relations with Russia and China. Zeybek also responds to those who, via a false claim of “Turkism”, oppose both Kazakhstan and Russia: “They say, ‘Russian troops invited by Kazakhstan killed 2,000 Kazakh citizens’. Such a ridiculous claim. The Russian forces never engage in combat in the streets.”
In Turkey, although some of its members expressed different views from the policy followed by the government, the Justice and Development Party-led government and the Nationalist Movement Party sided with Kazakhstan in suppressing the foreign-backed uprising. On the other hand, opposition political parties (the Good Party, the Republican People’s Party, and some former politicians who claim to be Turkists) are united with US officials and are putting out propaganda against Russia and China. The Vatan Party pinpointed the US’ finger behind the uprising from the very beginning and drew attention to Turkey’s place in the worldwide confrontation.
Those who show hostile attitudes towards Russia and China are actually being hostile to Turkey, Kazakhstan and all Turkic Republics. The essence of the matter is simple: there is only one front, from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Caucasus, from Syria to China. On that front, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Russia, and China are on the same side and have many common interests. The US-sponsored Atlantic system aims to destabilize and break up Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Russia, and China in the medium and long term. Therefore, they are obliged to take common stances in the face of emerging situations, and they do. On the opposite side is the US, which is losing its influence in the worldwide power struggle and is, therefore, more aggressive. Those who defend Turkey and the interests of the Turks have to take a stand in this confrontation and pick their side.