Turkey-Uzbekistan business forum convenes in Tashkent

            By Bahtiyar Abdukerimov</p>  <p><p>TASHKENT, Uzbekistan (AA) - The Turkey-Uzbekistan Business Forum is being held in the capital Tashkent. <br>

The event, which runs from April 14-19, was organized by the Turkish Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK), the Turkey-Uzbekistan Business Council and the Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Turkish and Uzbek businesspeople as well as Uzbek officials are taking part.

The goal of the forum is to gather the business communities of the two countries and to increase cooperation between them, Islam Casimov, vice chairman of the Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said in a speech Monday at the forum.

Izzet Ekmekcibası, chairman of the DEIK Turkey-Uzbekistan Business Council, provided information on the council's activities.

Throughout the forum, Turkish businesspeople will learn about business and investment opportunities and reforms in Uzbekistan.

Uzbek and Turkish businesspeople are also holding meetings

*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz

Uzbekistan's deputy PM visits Turkish aid agency

By Tevfik Durul

ANKARA (AA) – A top Uzbek official in charge of investments and foreign economic ties visited Turkey's state aid agency in Ankara on Monday.

Deputy Prime Minister Elyor Ganiev, along with Uzbek Ambassador in Ankara Alisher Agzamhadjaev, and a delegation, met with Serdar Cam, head of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), the agency said in a statement.

Ganiev hailed the "close and systematic" cooperation with TIKA in Uzbekistan and said he wants to further develop it.

"Since 1994, TIKA has carried out around 800 projects in Uzbekistan, mainly in education, health, drinking water, and infrastructure," Ganiev said.

He also said last year TIKA delivered 50 ambulances to Uzbekistan.

Cooperation between Turkey and Uzbekistan also constitutes a "historic opportunity" for both countries, said Cam.

He said TIKA will soon start historical restoration in Uzbekistan to pass on the country's heritage to future generations, as well as boost its tourism potential.

"We closed out 2018 with a great success and record. We achieved this with the support and strength that Uzbekistan gave us," Cam said.

Cam added that TIKA will do its best to keep up the pace of achievements in 2019.

* Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev

Uzbekistan applies to host 2030 Asian Games

             TASHKENT, Uzbekistan (AA) - Uzbekistan on Monday registered as a nominee to host the Asian Games in 2030.</p>    <p>The country submitted its application Monday for hosting the 21st Asian Games to be held in 2030, the National Olympic Committee of Uzbekistan announced in a statement.</p>    <p>Sheikh Ahmed Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, the president of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and Umid Ahmadcanov, the president of the National Olympic Committee of Uzbekistan, discussed the cooperation between the parties in a joint meeting, the statement said.</p>    <p>The OCA delegation will review the possibilities of hosting the Asian Games in the Tashkent and Samarkand cities of Uzbekistan for the next two days.</p>    <p>Qatar, India and the Philippines are the other nominees running to host the 2030 event.</p>    <p>Last year the Asian Games were held in Indonesia, the 2022 will be held in China and 2026 in Japan.</p>    <p>*Dilara Hamit contributed this story from Ankara

Turkey no. 2 country setting up firms in Uzbekistan

             By Bahtiyar Abdukerimov</p>  <p>TASHKENT (AA) - In 2018, Turkey was number two among countries that founded the most companies in Uzbekistan, said official data for the Central Asian country.</p>  <p>Turkey established 364 companies in Uzbekistan in 2018, said Uzbekistan’s statistics authority on Tuesday, second only to Russia, with 428.</p>  <p>China came in third with 351 companies, followed by Kazakhstan with 246 and South Korea with 161.</p>  <p>There are now over 7,500 firms in Uzbekistan formed by foreign capital.</p>  <p>Last year 2,385 foreign-capital companies were founded in this country, most of them in the capital Tashkent and the Samarkand and Khorezm regions.</p>  <p>They largely do business in the industry, trade, construction, and building materials sectors.</p>  <p> </p>  <p> 

Uzbekistan’s ex-FM named Shanghai economy bloc chief

By Bahtiyar Abdukerimov

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan (AA) – Uzbekistan's former foreign minister has been appointed secretary general of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s (SCO), the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

In a statement, the ministry said Vladimir Norov, who previously served as director of the Institute for Strategic and Interregional Studies under the Uzbekistan's presidency, will be the secretary general from Jan. 1, 2019 to Dec. 31, 2021.

Norov replaced Rashid Alimov, representative of Tajikistan.

He worked as the Uzbekistan's Minister of Foreign Affairs between 2006 and 2010 and represented his country as ambassador in various countries before that.

The SCO is a Eurasian political, economic, and security organization established in 2001, originally including Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

ANALYSIS – Tashkent pursues partnership with Putin on power plants

Dr. Najam Abbas is a Senior Fellow focusing on Central and South Asia at the EastWest Institute, an international NGO.

By Najam Abbas

LONDON (AA) – Tashkent has embarked on an approach to open up the country for wider cooperation with its immediate neighbors, countries in the region, and in its wider surroundings. Departing from the self-imposed isolation practiced by late President Islam Karimov between 1991 and 2016, the country’s current President Shavkat Mirziyoyev is probing a new paradigm of partnership through which he seeks to capitalize his outreach gestures to be preferably matched by Moscow by an outpouring of investment as well as a steady transfer of technologies and know-how.

Agreements reached between Russia and Uzbekistan over the past two years aim to create a legal basis for bilateral cooperation for the peacetime use of atomic energy which envisages: (1) the creation and development of infrastructure and training for Uzbekistan’s domestic nuclear power industry; (2) the construction of nuclear power plants and research reactors, as well as extending support throughout the operational period, (3) the exploration and development of Uzbekistan’s uranium deposits following the survey of its mineral raw material base; (4) recycling of uranium by-products; and (5) production of radioisotopes and their use in industry, medicine and agriculture, scientific and basic research.

As a country with a dynamically growing population, the demand for electricity is rising every year for 33 million people in Uzbekistan. Taking into account the energy challenges the country faces in the long term, the nuclear power plant will create “an opportunity to diversify the energy balance”, according to the Uzbek sources, citing the Russian Ambassador to Uzbekistan Vladimir Tyurdenev in Tashkent. The nuclear power plant is expected to meet up to 20 percent of the energy needs and will free up to an equivalent of 4 billion cubic meters of gas spent for producing electricity for domestic and regional markets to allow substantial earnings annually.
In this way, Uzbekistan, a Uranium-producing country, is seeking Russian cooperation to move further in technology, assure the transfer of know-how, build scientific capacity, and prepare the required personnel for the future. Under the agreement, Russia will help train the Uzbek personnel, who are needed to support the future demands of the evolving nuclear industry. As a first step, the first 15 Uzbek students — out of 326 applicants — have started their education at Moscow's Russia’s National Nuclear Studies University. Later, a branch of the Moscow Institute for Engineering and Physics will open in Uzbekistan to train personnel in the nuclear field. By holding the First Bilateral Academic Forum, the two countries are taking steps to expand academic cooperation at a more institutional level. The Russian heads of 80 institutions of higher education arrived in Tashkent to explore partnership possibilities with the heads of 80 counterpart institutions in Uzbekistan.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, in Tashkent for an official visit to Uzbekistan, will be announcing a go-ahead agreement for building a nuclear power plant in Uzbekistan by the Russian Atomic Corporation Rosatom. The technical plans are being finalized to allow Russia and Uzbekistan to formally sign a detailed contract for the actual construction of the nuclear power plants in spring 2019, the Russian Agency of International Information cited Alexey Likhachev, Rosatom's head, as saying. Yuri Ushakov, Putin’s advisor, told reporters in Moscow that the plant will consist of VVER-1200 power unit reactors with increased power output — about 1200 MWe (gross) — meeting all the additional safety requirements of generation III + technology as per the intergovernmental agreement. “The first power unit will be put into operation in 2028,” he added. The estimated amount of the contract is reported to be about $11 billion.

The two countries have expressed interest in taking institutional measures to expand economic cooperation. For its part, Moscow is interested in reviving and reactivating the currently dormant defense cooperation to an active level. The two sides resumed joint military exercises in 2017 — following a 12-year break — as Tashkent took a step to reestablish military cooperation with Russia. However, Uzbekistan may still prefer to form the partnership with caution, but only if minimal obligations and liabilities remains for them. Tashkent tends to be calculating what it can gain the most within the ongoing circumstances to help advance its interest in the most optimal way.

Russia is encouraging Uzbekistan — a state with the largest population and army in Central Asia — to assume an active role to help stabilize Afghanistan to keep the region secure. “With regard to international issues, building up cooperation between the two countries within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will figure in the meeting as the presidents of Russia and Uzbekistan will discuss steps to help stabilize the situation in Afghanistan,” said Ushakov. Russia has previously hinted about facilitating negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Tashkent is being considered as a possible platform for future negotiations. Ahmed Rakhmanov, a researcher at the Tashkent-based Center for Regional Security Studies, said: “The role of Uzbekistan in Afghanistan’s relations with Russia is very significant. Therefore, Uzbekistan’s cooperation is being sought for future.” Such an initiative is expected to allow Russia to increase its leverage as a peacebroker in the region.

Maxim Vilisov from Moscow’s Lomonosov University claims that “only Russia is best positioned to realistically provide security guarantees in the region. Only it is able to offer ground support there, as it has existing bases and required infrastructure.” Speaking to Russian English-language network RT, Vilisov added that “the United States today has no comparative facilities in Central Asia. While in theory, China could become an alternative defense ally, but so far it has not positioned itself as a security guarantor for other countries.”

This approach reflects a desire among some Russians to lure Uzbekistan back into regional economic and defense alliances steered by Moscow. For its part, Tashkent may prefer to respond with a balanced approach, maintaining its relations with China and the U.S. too.

* Opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Anadolu Agency.

Uzbekistan's first nuclear power plant breaks ground

By Emre Gurkan Abay

MOSCOW, RUSSIA (AA) – The groundbreaking ceremony for Uzbekistan's first nuclear power plant was held on Friday with the participation of the Russian and Uzbek leaders, taking part remotely from the capital Tashkent

Speaking at the ceremony alongside Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the plant would provide cheap and clean electricity to Uzbekistan and other Central Asian countries while also boosting the safety of energy supplies for the entire region.

The project cost is estimated at around $11 billion, and commissioning of its first unit is expected in 2028, according to Yuri Ushakov, the Russian president's aide.

Russia's State Nuclear Energy Agency Rosatom will build the plant with two units, each with a capacity of 1,200 megawatts, in an area near Lake Tudakul bordering the Navoi and Bukhara regions.

According to official figures, Uzbekistan meets 85 percent of its electricity needs from gas and coal, while the remainder is generated by hydropower. According to Uzbek government projections, with the plant, the country will save 3.7 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually.

In September Russia and Uzbekistan's prime ministers signed the intergovernmental agreement on cooperation to build the plant.

Last December, the countries also signed a agreement on using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

*Firdevs Yuksel contributed to this report from Ankara

Nobel laureate Sancar promotes science in Uzbekistan

By Bahtiyar Abdukerimov

TASHKENT (AA) – Seeking to ignite the love of science in Uzbek children, a Turkish-American Nobel laureate in chemistry is visiting Uzbekistan this week.

"My aim is to instill the discipline of science into our children," said Aziz Sancar, the 2015 winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, on Monday.

Sancar is set to be a keynote speaker at the Third International Congress on Social Sciences in Bukhara, Uzbekistan, which ends on Sunday.

Anadolu Agency is also a partnering organization in the event.

Meeting on Monday with Inom Majidov, the Uzbek minister of higher and secondary specialized education, Sancar told reporters that he is happy to visit historic sites in Uzbekistan.

However, Sancar said, the main aim of his visit is to inspire Uzbek children to love science.

Sancar said that after receiving the Nobel prize, he got invitations to visit many places, but he declined most of them.

But when he got an invitation from the central Asian Turkic states, he saw paying a visit as a "national service," he explained.

"I came to the Turkic states gladly and with great pride, because it is our homeland," he said, referring to the geographic roots of ethnic Turks.

Sancar said Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi, a ninth-century pioneer in the field of algebra, had lived in the region.

"The people of these territories have math in their genes," he said.

He said the Turkic world needs more sciences and that children should be doing scientific experiments at an early age.

UPDATE – Turkey's top lawmaker: 'Huge' progress in Uzbek ties

ADDS MEETING BETWEEN TURKISH PARLIAMENT SPEAKER, UZBEK LEADER

By Bahtiyar Abdukerimov

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan (AA) – Relations between Ankara and Tashkent have made a "huge" progress since Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev came to power in 2016, Turkish Parliament Speaker Binali Yildirim said Monday.

"Bilateral relations have made a huge progress in the last two years after Shavkat Mirziyoyev took office as president," Yildirim said during a meeting with Nuriddinjon Ismailov, the speaker of the Legislative Chamber of Uzbekistan's Supreme Assembly, in the Uzbek capital Tashkent.

Yildirim added it was high time to boost bilateral relations in every field and increase cooperation between the parliaments.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Uzbekistan in November 2016, and Mirziyoyev paid an official visit to Turkey in 2017 which saw the signing of dozens of agreements in several areas between two nations.

Ismailov, for his part, said the bilateral relations have developed rapidly in the recent years.

Yildirim also met Uzbek Senate Chairman Nigmatilla Yuldashev.

Later, Yildirim was received by Mirziyoyev, according to a statement from Uzbek presidency.

Mirziyoyev said close and friendly Uzbek-Turkish relations have reached the level of strategic partnership thanks to the political will and joint efforts.

He added the political dialogue has been actively developing. Joint investment programs and projects have been implemented with leading Turkish companies in the areas of trade, innovation, energy, infrastructure, transport, tourism and textile.

Yildirim, for his part, praised the large-scale reforms being carried out in Uzbekistan, saying that the Turkish side was ready to give all possible assistance in implementing projects that aimed at modernizing the country's economy and social sphere.

According to the statement, the two sides reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthening the traditional friendly relations and long-term strategic partnership.

Later, attending a ceremony organized by the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) in Tashkent, Yildirim said Turkey aims to increase the bilateral trade volume with Uzbekistan to $2 billion.

"In all aspects, we support Uzbekistan's development efforts in the economic and social areas because Uzbekistan's wealth is our wealth, and the peace of Uzbekistan is our peace," Yildirim added.

He also said the total amount of the projects realized by TIKA in Uzbekistan between 2002-2017 exceeded $24 million.

During his stay, Yildirim is also set to visit the Uzbek cities of Samarkand and Bukhara.

* Diyar Guldogan from Ankara contributed to this story

Turkey's top lawmaker: 'Huge' progress in Uzbek ties

By Bahtiyar Abdukerimov

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan (AA) – Relations between Ankara and Tashkent have made a "huge" progress since Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev came to power in 2016, Turkish Parliament Speaker Binali Yildirim said Monday.

"Bilateral relations have made a huge progress in the last two years after Shavkat Mirziyoyev took office as president," Yildirim said during a meeting with Nuriddinjon Ismailov, the speaker of the Legislative Chamber of Uzbekistan's Supreme Assembly, in the Uzbek capital Tashkent.

Yildirim added it was high time to boost bilateral relations in every field and increase cooperation between the parliaments.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Uzbekistan in November 2016, and Mirziyoyev paid an official visit to Turkey in 2017 which saw the signing of dozens of agreements in several areas between two nations.

Ismailov, for his part, said the bilateral relations have developed rapidly in the recent years.

Yildirim also met Uzbek Senate Chairman Nigmatilla Yuldashev. He is expected to be received by Mirziyoyev.

During his stay, Yildirim is also set to visit the Uzbek cities of Samarkand and Bukhara.