“In the heart of Eurasia”. This is the title of the conference held on 16th of January in Rome, named after a recently published book, written by the president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev. The event was organized by Asia Trading Project and Federlazio, under the supervision of Dr. Francesco Marcolini.
The ambassadors of Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Commercial Representative of Uzbekistan presented their speeches regarding their countries’ development, economic profiles and opportunities for the foreign investments in particular. This region is still new and somehow exotic for Italian public and business world. Fortunately, many progressive companies have already understood the huge perspectives and possibilities which these countries offer to the foreign partners. The intellectuals and scholars community is also showing the reciprocal interest, thus boosting the cultural ties between Italy and these states.
The Italian counterpart was represented by Andrea Giannotti and Ermanno Visintainer, who gave a quick but accurate outlook of the geopolitical importance of the areas in question.
These three countries, rich in mineral resources, have always been strategically important for their geographical position and raw materials. When they were part of the Soviet Union the units of the strategic importance, such as military bases, space fields and oil and gas plants were placed on their territories. They still maintain a strategic importance on political, military and economic levels. Kazakhstan is a heart of the Eurasian continent and a stable heartland of classical geopolitical doctrines. Besides, it represent an important pillar for Russia, which is trying to launch the Eurasian Custom Union (an alliance, promoted by Moscow as a response to the constantly growing influence of the European Union on the ex-soviet states). It is important to note that Kazakhstan is at the same time a sort of a “diving chamber” between the two giants of the world policy, the Russian Federation and the People Republic of China.
Another important strategic pillar in Caucasus is Azerbaijan that has always been a very sensitive region as far as geopolitics is concerned. Its territories face the Caspian Sea, which thanks to the good bilateral relations with Tbilisi, is connected to the Black Sea, thus creating an interdependent system of “inner seas”.
It goes without saying that this country plays an important role of a logistic base for the “tense” Middle East region and all the way to Iran. This importance has been acknowledged by the USA, which after a period of coldness in 1990s has been progressively intensifying bilateral relations with Azerbaijan.
While Uzbekistan has maintained a neutral position, getting closer at intervals to Moscow or to Washington and thus varying its international position. Its geografic location allows to monitor all the instability factors in Central Asia and primarily to try and prevent terrorist actions and attacks in the Afpaq region (Afganistan+Pakistan). In this prospective the use of the military bases, located in Uzbekistan is crucial for the first fase of the Enduring Freedom mission implementation in Afghanistan.
Nowadays these countries represent strong independent states, characterized by constant and rapid growth and development, opened to the world as far as economy and culture are concerned. They are seeking not only for the foreign investments, for which there is a lot of space, but also for the high technologies and know-how.
It seems rather interesting to reflect on the common origin of the peoples of these countries and on the brotherhood that these Turkish countries has created throughout the centuries. Namely, the nomadic people, coming from the Central Asia and from the Turan region (named after Prince Turaj or Turan). Ancient traditions and common ethnic origin link these tribes. Between the end of XIX and the beginning of the XX century some scholars offered a theory of three ethno-genetic stages with respective geopolitical and ideological perspectives. They are the Ottoman turks that form the title nation of Turkey(Türkiyecilik); the “pan-turkish” populations Oğuz (Oğuzculuk) that constitute various nations like Azeris and the turk peoples from the Central Asia; and at last the turks of the ugric and uralo-altaic branches, including the mongolian and japanese populations in the Far East that take part of the turkic community simbolized by a gray wolf(Bozkurt).
The Ambassador of Kazakhstan, Mr. Yelemessov, put in evidence the huge scale of construction, in course of realization in Astana, the capital city, which is only 15 years old, and which population has doubled in the recent years. Best architectors and specialists were invited to Astana in order to realize this ambitious and unique project – creation of the new capital. It is interesting to note, that it will be Astana to host the WorldExpo 2017, dedicated to the Energy, one of the most crucial issues in the modern world.
In fact, energy issue was mentioned more than once during the conference. The Ambassador of Azerbaijan, Mr. Sadiqov, pointed out that the cooperation in oil and gas field is still of high importance for their country, but recently, there has been a decisive strategic shift to the innovation and high technologies sector. That is why they are particularly interested in bringing the best of “made in Italy”, not only as a ready-made product, but also as a production process and technology.
The last but not the least of the countries presented at the conference, is Uzbekistan, may be the least known to the Italian public, which representative empathized special conditions existing in his country, aimed at encouraging the foreign investors, coming to Uzbekistan, and at facilitation of the investment process.
Thus, it seems very important to overcome the “cold war” mentality, dividing the world in contrasting blocks and it is high time to open horizons and to look to the new realities, which only at the first glance seem hard to approach, but at a closer look one can find a lot of interests and characteristics in common.