"Only The Caspian Separates Us": Experts Share Opinions about Toqayev's Visit to Azerbaijan

cover Photo: Aqorda

Qasym-Jomart Toqayev was in Azerbaijan on March 11 and 12 on a state visit. The last time he visited the republic was in November 2023. This was for the SPECA summit, however. The President of Kazakhstan was in the cities of Fuzuli and Shusha, which had been under the control of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic until 2020. 

Orda.kz has spoken with experts about how significant this visit is for Kazakhstan.


Nagorno-Karabakh was a notable point during Toqayev's visit to Azerbaijan. 

We sincerely rejoice at the historic victory of Azerbaijan and the restoration of sovereignty over its own territory, Toqayev said.

Although Nagorno-Karabakh is not directly mentioned, it is clear what territory and victory this concerns. 

Further confirmation is the visit to the alley of martyrs, where those who died in the Karabakh conflict are buried, and a trip to Fuzuli and Shusha, which were previously under the control of the unrecognized NKR. Toqayev is not the first Kazakhstani who came to this city. In Fuzuli, the president opened a hospital and a center for children's creativity built by Kazakhstani companies as philanthropists. 

Opening of the Children's Creativity Center named after Kurmangazy in Fuzuli. Photo: Aqorda

Business from Kazakhstan being among the first to enter the territory of the former Nagorno-Karabakh alludes to a great mutual trust between the countries. Political scientist, Urazgali Selteyev, also highlights this. In his Telegram channel, he writes that the trust between Qasym-Jomart Toqayev and Ilham Aliyev is visible.

The warmth of the dialogue is physically notable: in the facial expressions and gestures of the leaders, bold statements, loyal information support of local media, and unequivocal support of local communities. Such an atmosphere is created when the parties do not expect a catch from each other, they know what to do and what benefits it will bring to both states. An important factor in this convergence, of course, is the similarity of the values and views of the two presidents, writes Selteyev
Urazgali Selteyev. Photos from the personal archive

At the same time, the meeting between Toqayev and Aliyev runs parallel with the strained relations between Armenia and the CSTO of which Kazakhstan is a member. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated back in February that his country had frozen participation in the organization. Meanwhile, CSTO Secretary General, Imangali Tasmagambetov seemingly confirmed this yesterday. Pashinyan says the organization's indifferent attitude to the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan is the reason for the freeze. 

Urazgali Selteyev told an Orda journalist that Toqayev's visit is unlikely to spoil Kazakh-Armenian relations. The political scientist believes that Azerbaijan, as a participant in the Middle Corridor, is a more important partner for Kazakhstan. 

Caspian Sea Train

The middle corridor became the main economic topic of the visit. Aliyev and Toqayev watched a train from Aqtay arrive from Xi'an, China. The presidents were shown how the Trans-Caspian route works. 

Only the Caspian Sea separates us. But today this is not an obstacle. On the contrary, the Caspian Sea is a bridge not only between our countries but also between many countries because the Trans-Caspian transport route today reveals its full potential,Ilham Aliyev. 
Train from Xi'an to Absheron. Photo: Aqorda

According to economist Yerlan Ibrahim, the development of the Trans-Caspian corridor makes it possible to diversify the risks emerging in the current geopolitical conditions. 

Even under the previous president, Kazakhstan was positioned as a transport corridor. And under the current geopolitical conditions, the search for new transport routes should have a positive impact on our economy, says Ibrahim.
Yerlan Ibrahim. Courtesy photo

Meanwhile, Kazakhstani companies' construction of a hospital and a children's creativity center in Fuzuli can be perceived as an advertisement for construction investors in Kazakhstan. 

The Presidents of Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan at the Fuzuli airport. Photo: Aqorda

Yet, Yerlan Ibrahim believes the construction of facilities in Fuzuli is a symbolic gesture. At the same time, he recalls that when the Georgian market opened for Kazakhstani investors under Saakashvili, they did not pass it up.

It is difficult to assess how much potential Azerbaijan has now. I am not sure that we are talking about large sums right now. But it's still an entry into new markets, says Ibrahim.

The economist notes that in Nagorno-Karabakh serious reconstruction work is currently underway, thus there is potential for investors. Nonetheless, he emphasizes that operations there will not be easy.

Original Author: Igor Ulitin

DISCLAIMER: This is a translated piece. The text has been modified, the content is the same. Please refer to the original piece in Russian for accuracy.

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