Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Developments in Afghanistan drive Tajikistan towards defense cooperation with Turkey

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) is holding its Combat Brotherhood 2021 military drills in Tajikistan on October 18-23. Troops involved in the exercise will practice joint operations during border conflicts, which stem from tense developments in Afghanistan. In a bid to make new allies in a complicated situation, Tajikistan is also working on a visa waiver and a defense cooperation agreement with Turkey, Nezavisimaya Gazeta notes.

According to Director of the Agency for Ethno-National Strategies Alexander Kobrinsky, Dushanbe would like to have an ally on the other bank of the Panj River. Russia will not enter Afghanistan, so Tajikistan expects Turkey to play the role. “However, Ankara is not free to make choices, there is the Anglo-Saxon world behind it, which has entrusted the operational control of Central Asia to Turkey that will pursue its neo-Ottoman ambitions there,” Korbinsky pointed out.

Stanislav Pritchin, an expert at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of World Economy and International Relations [said] “It’s common practice for Turkey to search for room for maneuver and document its presence through agreements and steps to strengthen economic cooperation and mutual assistance in certain areas, including defense,” Pritchin emphasized. In the current complicated situation, packed with high risks, Tajikistan may view Turkey, which has established dialogue with the Taliban (outlawed in Russia), as a power capable of restraining the Taliban in case the situation unfolds negatively for Dushanbe, the expert noted.