TURKEY ESTABLISHING MILITARY TOEHOLD IN KYRGYZSTAN.
Publication: Monitor Volume: 6 Issue: 52
In a concurrent development, Kyrgyzstan is accepting military assistance from Turkey, a member country of NATO. The Kyrgyz government at this time nervously awaits a possible resumption of hostilities with the roving Uzbek Islamist insurgents whom it has detected in Tajikistan. Last week, Generals Mustafa Celik and Serafettin Teliazan of the Turkish General Staff visited Kyrgyzstan. They toured military units to ascertain their needs and held talks with the Kyrgyz chief-of-staff, General Nuriddin Chomoev, and the National Guard commander, General Abdygul Chotbaev, on issues of military assistance. As a possible step toward regularizing such assistance, the delegation brought with it a US$1 million grant from the Turkish Defense Ministry to the Kyrgyz Defense Ministry. An accompanying political statement by the Turkish embassy in Bishkek announced that “Turkey is prepared to contribute to the Kyrgyz government’s struggle against international terrorism.”
The delegation disclosed to the public that Turkey had sent two planeloads of military equipment to Kyrgyzstan during the fighting last autumn. In a follow-up step, Turkey’s State Minister Abdulhaluk Cai–who is in charge of relations with Turkic countries–and a Turkish military delegation visited Kyrgyzstan last December. A donation of US$720,000 worth of military equipment followed. Last week’s is the third known donation. Turkey’s actions are motivated by secularist solidarity and the goal to reduce Kyrgyzstan’s excessive dependence on Russian military assistance (KyrgyzKabar, March 10; see the Monitor, January 7, February 2, 16).
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