The Role of Turks in the New World Order: Summit of the Organization of Turkic States and Turk Time

Is the Turk Age possible in the 21st century? Could Turks become an effective political center in the new era? Is Turk Time just a slogan?

The 10th summit of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS) was held on November 3 in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. The main theme of this year’s summit was ‘Turk Time’. The organization, which has set goals such as the long-term Vision of the Turkic World 2040 and the short-term Strategic Roadmap of the OTS 2022-2026, has added a new vision with ‘Turk Time’. So, is the Turk Age possible in the 21st century? Could Turks become an effective political center in the new era? Is Turk Time just a slogan? Or is it based on reality?

Turmoil in the Current Global System gave birth to the Organization of Turkic States

The 2008 economic crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the weakening of United States (US) hegemony that emerged with its military withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq left great chaos and a vacuum in international order.[1] Especially with the COVID-19 pandemic and the US debt ceiling crisis, the US hegemony tool, dollar hegemony, has suffered a major shake-up and has become controversial.[2] This vacuum and chaotic environment triggered an effort to build a new alternative order for countries that were uncomfortable with the existing international order, and to gain a position in the new order to be established. As the rise of Asian economies continued in the global economy, organizations such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS accelerated the construction of an alternative multipolar order. The world was divided into two camps: defenders of the old unipolar world order and proponents of the new multipolar world order. The weakening of US hegemony and global chaos paved the way for the OTS. The transformation of the organization in 2021 coincided with the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and Azerbaijan’s victory in the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War.

Turkey, in particular, plays a decisive role in the OTS. In recent years, Turkey has experienced sharp ruptures in its relations with the US, EU, and NATO. The weakening of Turkey’s relations with the West is a reflection of the decline of US hegemony in the global order. At the same time, Turkey’s increasing cooperation and friendship with Russia and China played a positive role in the establishment of the OTS. The organization should be seen as an attempt to become part of a multipolar world order. For example, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statement that the world is bigger than five is an expression of the need to build a just multipolar world order. As the Turkic states increase cooperation, trade, and prosperity among themselves, they serve regional peace and the establishment of a just order. With the OTS, Turkey aims to increase prosperity in the region, improve infrastructure, maintain a common culture, and increase its defense and counter-terrorism cooperation capabilities. Turkey’s objectives in the OTS in Central Asia are an effort to take part in a multipolar world that will strengthen peace and prosperity. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan aims to continue the Turk Time with Turkey and for the Turkic world to become the world’s rising power.[3] Turkey wants to be a subject, not an object, in the multipolar order. In sum, Turkey is trying to play a stronger role in the new international system to be established by establishing good relations with the advocates of the multipolar world order.

Organization Strengthens by Institutionalizing

After the transformation of the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States into the OTS with the Istanbul summit in 2021, the organization entered the process of building a stronger institutional infrastructure. Analyzing the outcomes of the Astana Summit, efforts to complete the institutionalization of the organization stand out. This year, the organization continued to increase institutionalization in areas such as the Civil Protection Mechanism, the Turkic Judicial Training Network, the Union of Notaries of the Turkic World, the Turkic Investment Fund, and the Organization of Trade Unions of Turkic States. The final declaration expresses satisfaction with the activities carried out within the framework of the organization in one year.[4] For example, the Alliance of Turkic News Agencies (ATNA) was established after the summit between Turkey’s news agency Anadolu Agency (AA), Azerbaijan State News Agency (AZERTAC), Kyrgyz National News Agency (Kabar), Uzbekistan National News Agency (UzA), and Kazakhstan’s news agency Qazcontent. After the establishment of ATNA, Binali Yıldırım, Chairman of the OTS Council of Elders, said: “We aim to bring the truth to the people in the fastest way and to prevent colonialist countries from covering the events. Serdar Karagöz, who was elected president of ATNA, emphasized the importance of combating disinformation.[5] In short, in the field of media, OTS has placed establishment of a media network that will challenge the media of the unipolar world and represent the oppressed at its center. During the next few years, it is possible to predict that the organization will institutionalize in various fields.

The organization Aims to Strengthen Trade

There are two important cooperation areas between the member states of the OTS. The first is the development of cooperation in the energy field. Turkic states are rich in valuable minerals such as energy, natural gas, oil, and uranium. Therefore, the member states of the organization tend to deepen their cooperation in the field of energy. The second meeting of the OTS Working Group on Energy Cooperation of the Ministers Responsible for Energy of the OTS was held on September 28, 2022, in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The parties adopted the OTS Energy Cooperation Program and the related action plan for 2023-2027, which includes the exchange of information and ideas on legislation and national programs in the energy sector, renewable and alternative energy sources, fossil fuel energy, nuclear energy, energy efficiency, dissemination of new technologies, capacity-building programs, and enhancing cooperation in the international arena. Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan emphasized the importance of making efforts to make the Middle Corridor even more attractive for investment and to transport trans-Caspian resources, particularly Turkmen gas, to Turkey and Europe. Strategic energy infrastructure projects such as the Organization, Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum, Southern Gas Corridor, Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project (TANAP), and Trans Adriatic Pipeline Project (TAP) contribute to the prosperity of Turkic states and European and global energy security. [6]

The second is to take steps to strengthen trade along the Silk Road belt. The member states of the OTS had a trade volume of $ 700 billion. However, only $ 18 billions of this trade volume is carried out among the member states themselves. This situation is the main driving factor in the establishment of the organization. Because Turkey and the member states are determined to develop trade among themselves. The member states of the organization focus on removing or facilitating trade barriers among themselves. Eliminating trade barriers and providing infrastructure investments on roads. In this respect, there is no other way but to work in harmony with the Belt and Road Initiative of the OTS. The implementation of the Action Plan for the Implementation of the 2023-2027 OTS Transport Connectivity Program adopted at the Astana summit is expected to significantly increase the transit potential of the Middle Corridor and make Caspian transits smoother.

The establishment of the Turkish Investment Fund was on the agenda at the Istanbul Summit. During the two-year period of the organization, sub-commissions carried out infrastructure work to establish the Turkish Investment Fund. On March 16, 2023, the Agreement on the Establishment of the Turkish Investment Fund was signed at the Extraordinary Summit of the OTS held in Ankara. Before the Astana summit, Turkey voted the proposal for the establishment of the Turkish Investment Fund as a law in its parliament: “The capital participation commitment of the Republic of Turkey to the Turkish Investment Fund and the payments to be made within the framework of this commitment cannot exceed the equivalent of USD 100,000,000.[7] The President is authorized to increase the amount up to five times.  Thus, the OTS has gained an institutional structure to finance its investments among itself. All of these developments are efforts to increase the economic trade volume of the organization and strengthen economic cooperation.

Russia, Iran, and China should be part of the OTS

The fate of Turkic states depends on the revival of the Silk Road and the Belt and Road Initiative. Historically, trade flowing from China to Europe via the Silk Road played an important role in enriching Turks and building powerful states. Today, China, the world’s second-largest economy, has regained its historical position. The revival of the historical Silk Road plays an important role in the revival of the Turkic world. There must be an air of unity in Eurasia in order for the OTS to succeed. In this respect, the accession of Iran, Russia, and China, which have Turkic-speaking peoples, to the OTS will add significant strength to the organization. There is already such an expectation in the OTS. Chairman of the Council of Elders of the OTS Binali Yıldırım stated that China and Russia are natural members of the OTS.[8]

The sanctions against Russia in the aftermath of Russia’s operation in Ukraine have highlighted the strategic importance of the Middle Corridor.[9] Moreover, although 96 percent of the trade from China to Europe is by sea, the US continues to blockade the South China Sea. Currently, the Middle Corridor is the safest port for trade flow. The most important goal of the OTS is to make the Middle Corridor more active. “We should also pay special attention to the development of transport networks between our countries. With this understanding, we continue our efforts to activate the Caspian Trans-Caspian East-West Middle Corridor. We should strengthen our cooperation in removing obstacles to transportation and trade, enriching transportation networks, facilitating border crossings, and visa procedures”.[10]


The world is on the brink of a global rupture, and OTS is an organization that emerged on the brink of this global rupture. Shortly after the Republic of Turkey celebrated its 100th anniversary on October 29, the OTS organized a summit with the theme of ‘Turk Time’, which reflects the expectation of Turks to become a global actor for the 200th year. To achieve this goal, the Organization of Turkic States must unite in Eurasia. In this respect, it is vital for the OTS to strengthen its cooperation with China, Iran, and Russia. These states are the leading powers of Asia and home to Turkic-speaking peoples. Economically, the Middle Corridor is vital for the OTS. Trade between China and Europe passes through Central Asia via railroads, which indicates the revival of the historic Silk Road. Controlling the Silk Road, the OTS can regain its historical role, gain a geopolitical advantage, and become an important figure in world politics. Turks have always had their own special goals, called the ‘Red Apple’. The Ottoman Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror set the conquest of Istanbul and the establishment of a new Roman Empire as the Red Apple. In the 16-18th centuries, the Ottoman Sultans identified the conquest of Vienna and Rome as the Red Apple. In the 20th century, Turkist ideologues had the Red Apple of establishing a Turan State. In the 21st century, it is clear that the Turks’ Red Apple is the greatest ideal to be a center in the multipolar world order under the slogan of ‘Turk Time’.

The views contained in this article are the author’s alone and do not represent the views of Shanghai University.

[1] Francis Fukuyama, Francis Fukuyama on the end of American hegemony, 8 November 2021,

[2] CFR, The Future of Dollar Hegemony, 22 August 2023,

[3] Türkiye Yüzyılı’nda ‘Türk Devri’ başlıyor, 3 November 2023,

[4] Organization of Turkic States, “Declaration of the Tenth Summit of the Organization of the Turkic States”, 3 November 2023,

[5] AA, “Türk Haber Ajansları Birliğinin ilk genel kurulu yapıldı”, 6 November 2023,

[6] Türkiye İletişim Başkanlığı, 21. Yüzyılın Parlayan Yıldızı: Türk Devletleri Teşkilatı, İstanbul, Cumhurbaşkanlığı İletişim Başkanlığı Yayınları: 2023

[7] Resmî Gazete, Türk Yatırım Fonu Kuruluş Anlaşmasının Onaylanmasının Uygun Bulunduğuna Dair Kanun, 11November 2023,

[8] Sputnik, Aksakallılar Konseyi Başkanı Yıldırım: Rusya ve Çin Türk Devletleri Teşkilatı’nın doğal üyesidir,

[9] Zeynep Çetinkaya, & Zeynep Canlı, “Rusya-Ukrayna Savaşı Türkiye’den geçen ‘Orta Koridorun önemini daha da artırdı.” AA, 2022, 1 Mart 2022, orta-koridorun-onemini-daha-da-artirdi/2519232.

[10] Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Cumhurbaşkanlığı, “Türk dünyasının barışı, refahı ve güvenliği yönünde adımlar atmayı sürdüreceğiz”, 3 November 2023,

Necati Demircan
Necati Demircan
Necati Demircan is a PhD candidate in Global Studies and research assistant of Center for Turkish Studies at Shanghai University. He is editor of the Belt & Road Initiative Quarterly. His articles were published by the Aydınlık newspaper, China Daily, and Hankyoreh. His research interests mainly focus on Chinese and Turkish foreign policies