Summit of Turkic States

by Nathan Hamm on 11/19/2006

Leaders of Central Asian states and Turkey came together in Antalya for the first time since 2001 after intense Turkish lobbying.

Turkish “President Ahmet Necdet Sezer must be praised for bringing together the leaders,” wrote analyst Ali Kulebi of the Ankara-based Tusam research center in an article published in Cumhuriyet newspaper.

“Turkey needs the support of friendly countries, especially those of the Turkic world, at a time when it is faced with collective and unjust pressure from the European Union and other Western nations,” he said.

Kazakhstan proposed the participants establish a parliamentary assembly and the participants released a joint declaration aimed at increased cooperation. Some of the points include the construction of an Istanbul-Almaty railway, educational exchanges and cooperation, boosting energy links, and government, media, and business cooperation.

Both the Turkmen and Uzbek presidents were absent from the summit. Turkmenistan, however, did send a representative. Uzbekistan attended the pre-conference working group but left after failure to agree on an element of the declaration.

The issue concerning Nagorno Karabakh conflict caused divergence at the meeting. Uzbekistan representatives were satisfied with the reiteration of the UN four resolutions and the demand of the implementation, but they objected repetition of the Organization of Islamic Conference’s decision and other statements condemning Armenian aggression. Uzbekistan representatives failed to reach common agreement with other representatives and left the meeting.

Igor Torbakov argues that the summit reflects Turkish frustration with the EU and the West. Perhaps then, the Uzbek decision has a double benefit of avoiding trouble in relations with both Russia and Europe.

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Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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