Mirziyoyev and Erdogan declare $5bn trade goal as Uzbek leader visits Turkey

Mirziyoyev and Erdogan declare $5bn trade goal as Uzbek leader visits Turkey
Mirziyoyev and Erdogan have built up a new era in Uzbekistan-Turkey relations. / Turkish presidency
By Mokhi Sultanova in Tashkent June 6, 2024

Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on June 6 arrived on an official visit to Turkey and quickly joined Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in expressing an ambitious goal—the two countries will focus on ramping up their bilateral trade volume to $5bn from the $3bn recorded in 2023.

bne IntelliNews recently described how Turkey and Uzbekistan, the two largest countries in the Turkic world, have fostered a closer relationship, with the Organisation of Turkic States (OTS) emerging as a new regional alliance bringing together shared strategic, economic and security interests. Turkey and Uzbekistan, with populations of 85mn and 35mn, respectively, constitute the majority of the 165mn people in Turkic-majority states. Mirziyoyev’s predecessor Islam Karimov became wary of perceived difficulties in finding common paths with Turkey and put a brake on deepening relations, but the coming to office of reformist Mirziyoyev in late 2016 heralded a new era in the Turkey-Uzbekistan relationship, economic and otherwise.

Turkish companies in Uzbekistan are engaged in more than 100 projects, with recent investment amounting to towards $10bn.

In trade with Uzbekistan, Turkey does not come close to matching China—Uzbek-Chinese trade last year stood at around $13.7bn—or Russia—Uzbek-Russian trade in 2023 amounted to approximately $9.8bn—but both Uzbek and Turkish officials are bullish on prospects.

The highlight of Mirziyoyev’s appearance in Ankara was the convening of the third meeting of the high-level bilateral strategic cooperation council.

Discussions centred on bolstering the two nations’ comprehensive strategic partnership across domains including the political, trade-economic, investment, transport-communication, education and cultural-humanitarian.

Mirziyoyev toured aerospace and defence company Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) in Ankara. The company, established in 1973, has emerged as a leading Turkish technology hub for aerospace systems.

At the first meeting of the Uzbekistan-Turkey Business Council, both parties agreed to establish an Uzbekistan-Turkey industrial cluster. 

Mirziyoyev emphasised the importance of developing public-private partnerships (PPPs), with plans for joint projects worth $3bn based on this approach.

Additionally, the leaders deliberated on regional issues of significance, including the evolving situation in Afghanistan

In a closing gesture, Mirziyoyev extended an invitation to Erdogan to visit Uzbekistan for the next meeting of the council.