Policy Papers - Mapping

Policy Paper No. 8 – Cultural and other relations – Mapping Central Asia’s relations with other Asian states

Cultural relations between Central Asian states and India, Japan, South Korea, Iran and Turkey mostly transpire through classic and modern culture imports, shared historical narrative, and cooperation in education. Whereas the ties with Turkey, South Korea and to a lesser extent Iran are particularly tight, cultural relations with India and Japan also exist. Due to linguistic and historical reason, the relations of Central Asia with Turkey are without a trace of doubt the most active ones.

The aforementioned powers have invested in cultural relationships with the Central Asian states, by means as varied as remarkable investment of the countries’ cinematic industries into Central Asia, the establishment of cultural centres and funding of educational institutions and scholarships. These actions have the ultimate aim to forge cultural ties with the Central Asian republics. The presence of foreign media outlets in these Central Asian countries, however, is significantly lower, leaving a more open space to non-Chinese or Russian sources of information and media.

The impact of the cultural ties between these countries on the political dimension remains unclear, although there are few close or intimate leadership links between the countries. Likewise, diaspora seem to do little in bringing significant value to bilateral relationships.

Did you know?

In contrast to the dominant Turkic people in the region, Tajiks like Iranians, belong to the Indo-European family of languages.

Most of the peoples of Central Asian speak Turkic languages.

India’s government has promoted the study of yoga and the Hindi language in Kyrgyzstan, materially supported Kyrgyz artists touring in India, and held days of Kyrgyz culture in India.

As of 2010, 200,000 ethnic Koreans lived in Uzbekistan, making it the fourth largest Korean diaspora community after China, the U.S., and Japan.

Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, was designed by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa.