INTEGRATION ISSUES AT SUMMITS OF THE TURKIC-SPEAKING STATES
Natik Mamedli, Researcher at the Baku State University (Baku, Azerbaijan)
As soon as the new Turkic-speaking states appeared on the world political map, they began searching for ways to enhance their further development. The most acceptable way for the Turkic-speaking countries of Central Asia setting out to build a democratic and secular state appeared to be the Turkish model. In contrast to the political systems that neighboring Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and China could offer, this model promised favorable opportunities for integration into the civilized world. This is why the new independent republics of the region are showing an interest in establishing ties with official Ankara. What is more, there can be no doubt that the formation of political and diplomatic relations and contacts at the supreme level will help to intensify economic and cultural cooperation. It should also be noted that strengthening the independence of the Turkic-speaking states and establishing western principles and standards of statehood in the region are priority areas in Turkey’s foreign policy. During his tour of the region in May 1992, Suleyman Demirel, the Turkish prime minister at that time, suggested holding a summit of the Azerbaijani and Central Asian republic leaders.
“An ‘iron curtain’ has formed between the Turkic-speaking republics, which long belonged to the Soviet Union, and Turkey, and it is no easy task to activate the nascent relations and raise their efficiency.”1 The proposal for this meeting coincided time-wise with the period of organizational formation of the CIS, so Russia had an extremely nervous reaction to it. In addition, compared with the Southern Caucasus, Moscow retained greater influence in Central Asia, which made it harder for Turkey to conduct an active policy in the region. Suleyman Demirel’s above-mentioned initiative coincided with the beginning of the civil war in Tajikistan, as well as with the time when the opposition in Uzbekistan was putting forward radical slogans and the threat of Islamic fundamentalism, which found support in Afghanistan and Tajikistan, was taking discernible shape. All of this presented a serious challenge to security and stability in the region, which in turn helped Russia to retain its influence there. Under these conditions, the Turkish government temporarily relegated the political aspects of its initiative into the background. It is no accident that during the first summit of the Turkic-speaking states, Turkish President Turgut Ozal noted: “This is the first meeting of the leaders of the Turkic republics, and it is of great significance. We will focus mainly on developing economic relations among our countries. We will also discuss several questions aimed at achieving unity among the Turkic states. And it stands to reason that we will also deal with organizational issues. This kind of meeting should be held every year.”2
Turgut Ozal’s emphasis on the development of mainly economic relations was made with the conflicting geopolitical situation in the region in mind. But despite the strivings of the former Turkish president organizational efforts came to a standstill, and it was not until the summit in Astana in 1998 that the Provisions on a Secretariat of the Turkic-Speaking States, drawn up by the foreign ministries, were approved. Moreover, although it was only for a short time, the summits were not held on a regular basis.
As of today, a total of seven summits have been held: on 30-31 October, 1992 in Ankara; on 14 October, 1994 in Istanbul; on 28 August, 1995 in Bishkek; on 18-21 October, 1996 in Tashkent; on 3 June, 1998 in Astana; on 8 April, 2000 in Baku; and on 26-27 April, 2001 again in Istanbul.
In terms of their contribution to building spiritual bridges in the Turkic world, these summits were of immense significance for the newly independent Turkic-speaking republics, as well as for Turkey, whose interests in this region were just beginning to take tangible shape. What is more, these meetings coincided with specific historical dates (the 660th anniversary of Emir Timur, the 1000th anniversary of the Manas epos, and the opening ceremony of Kazakhstan’s new capital Astana), which helped to form universal consciousness and solidarity among all the Turkic peoples.
The first summit held in October 1992 coincided with the 69th anniversary of the Turkish Republic. At this forum, in which the heads of all the Turkic-speaking states participated, Turgut Ozal emphasized, “The first state to recognize your independence and establish diplomatic relations with you after the collapse of the Soviet Union was Turkey. Our peoples are united by the same religion, language, origin, and culture. By joining hands, we should use these factors to raise the prosperity of our peoples.”3 The declaration signed on the results of this summit especially emphasized the need for holding these meetings regularly and for augmenting mutual relations in order to retain and reinforce independence. The first summit was aimed primarily at making acquaintances, and it did not touch on issues directed at establishing further cooperation. Nevertheless, the idea was already being translated into reality (as stipulated in the declaration), and in the future yielded positive results.
At the opening ceremony of the second summit, Turkish President Suleyman Demirel noted the special importance of meetings of the heads of the Turkic-speaking states, which have the same language, religion, and historical roots, for building mutually advantageous relations among them. The summit continued in the form of workshops, after which the presidents of the member states signed a joint declaration in which they set forth the resolution of the six Turkic-speaking states to develop economic cooperation and relations in the cultural sphere.
The third summit took place in Bishkek and coincided with the celebration of the 1000th anniversary of the Manas epos. The heads of state, as well as General Director of UNESCO Federico Mayor, who participated in the ceremony, were awarded a Manas medal specially instituted in honor of the anniversary date. What is more, international and regional problems were discussed, as well as questions of how to further expand economic cooperation, develop cultural and humanitarian relations, jointly combat the drug business and arms smuggling, and assimilate the rich natural resources of the region’s countries (particularly hydrocarbon fields and the delivery of energy resources to the world market). In the opinion of experts, the Bishkek meeting, bearing in mind the common paths of historical development of the Turkic-speaking nations, espoused the goal of raising them to a new level of cooperation in the 21st century. The basic provisions envisaged in the Ankara and Istanbul declarations proved their potency during the time since the second summit.4
The heads of state unanimously expressed their respect for each other’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity, as well as non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, and resolved to develop mutual cooperation. They affirmed that enhancing relations and good neighborly ties among the Turkic-speaking countries would promote the reinforcement of peace, security, stability, cooperation, and socioeconomic progress in the region and would not be aimed against third states. In their speeches, the heads of state again confirmed their respect for human rights, other principles of democracy, a secular society, social justice, and a market economy, and were in favor of continuing joint efforts aimed at protecting and promulgating the extremely rich cultural and historical inheritance of the Turkic peoples.
An extensive range of issues focused on the provisions of the Istanbul declaration on humanitarian and cultural ties and their further development by creating joint educational institutions and holding Cultural Days, festivals, and other celebrations. In addition, the heads of the Turkic-speaking states exchanged opinions on the ongoing conflicts in the region, during which U.N. and OSCE principles are violated, and noted the importance of stepping up efforts to peacefully resolve the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan on the basis of the U.N. Security Council resolutions, as well as of peaceful and fair settlement of the Tajik and Afghan problems.
The Bishkek declaration was signed on the summit results, which confirmed the supremacy of the basic provisions of the Ankara and Istanbul declarations, noted with satisfaction the reinforcement and further development of cooperation among the peoples of the Turkic-speaking countries based on principles of respect for each other’s independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, non-interference in internal affairs, and equality, and again showed the need to observe the principles of the U.N. and OSCE charters in international relations, including with respect to territorial integrity and the impermissibility of changing borders by means of force.
This document also said that the peoples of the member states are united not only by historical, linguistic, and cultural similarities, but also by their common long-term tasks, re-emphasized the importance of regional cooperation for economic development and prosperity, and noted the expediency of strengthening multilateral and bilateral ties in this sphere without detriment to international circumstances.
It should be kept in mind that when intensifying mutual relations under the new conditions, the role of the Standing Council of Ministers of Culture of Turkic-Speaking Countries (TURKSOI) assumes a prominent place in promulgating cultural and historical inheritance. This model is extremely efficacious in the relations between Turkey and the newly independent states, and it is intended to further reinforce common values. It is no accident that the heads of states noted with satisfaction the importance of TURKSOI’s activity in developing and disseminating joint cultural values and emphasized the need for further reinforcement of cooperation among the mass media.
The talks at the Bishkek summit were not limited to local issues alone, but also touched on the global problems of present-day life. For example, the presidents expressed their serious concern about the increase in environmental problems that are having a negative effect on the gene pool of the human race, and came to a unanimous conclusion about the need to unite the forces and opportunities of the member states to preserve the natural habitat.
The delegation heads also expressed their concern about the illicit circulation of drugs and psychotropic substances and made a decision to conduct an integrated policy aimed at combating the drug business and illegal arms trade. The concluding documents particularly stressed that terrorism is one of the most serious problems facing the world today, and international cooperation is needed to fight it. The presidents expressed their certainty that the Bishkek meeting, which was held in a genuinely friendly and business-like atmosphere, would make its contribution to the development of the Turkic-speaking countries, further strengthen cooperation among them, and help to establish peace and security in the region.
They especially emphasized the presence of rich fuel supplies in the national sectors of the Caspian Sea and the need to use them to the benefit of all the Caspian states, and raised the possibility of making the Caspian region a zone of economic progress and prosperity by encouraging active cooperation in implementing multilateral projects to assimilate energy resources. The presidents noted that, “Large investment projects will make it possible to create modern transportation and communications systems for maintaining relations between our energy-rich countries and world consumers. Forming a common zone for mutually advantageous economic cooperation and laying oil and gas pipelines between Central Asia and Turkey with further delivery of hydrocarbons to the world market would be extremely beneficial for our peoples. Building these routes and ensuring their uninterrupted and safe operation will reinforce cooperation among our nations even more and help the independent states to prosper.”
The fourth summit opened in Tashkent on 18 October, 1996, on the eve of the 660th anniversary of Emir Timur. Noting the significance of developing economic trade cooperation among the Turkic-speaking countries, the presidents of the member states expressed their support of adopting measures to further simplify customs and transit regulations and remove obstacles in financial and banking transactions. After pointing out the special importance of exploring and developing mineral resources, the heads of states comprehensively discussed tasks aimed at implementing projects to lay pipelines and transmission lines for exporting energy resources to the world markets.
The prospect of creating a secretariat of the summits of the Turkic-speaking countries was also discussed, as well as questions regarding measures to promulgate the cultures of these countries, and identify, select, and prepare for publication historical and literary information on the past and present of the Turkic-speaking peoples. Highly evaluating the solemn way in which the anniversary of Emir Timur was celebrated, the speakers noted the need for organizing joint celebrations of historical dates relating to the lives and activity of outstanding figures who have left a prominent imprint on the history and culture of the Turkic peoples.
The heads of state stressed the need to participate in international projects aimed at developing Central Asia and the Caucasus in general. One of them is the TRACECA project, which plans to revive the historical Great Silk Road and is being carried out with the participation of the European Union. We will note that the quadrilateral Serakhs agreements on the Transcaucasian transportation corridor among Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, which Kazakhstan also soon joined, serve the same purpose. The need to attract foreign investments for developing fields in the Azerbaijani, Turkmenian, and Kazakhstani sections of the Caspian was particularly stressed. The main issue discussed at all the meetings was searching for the most rational and safe route for transporting Caspian hydrocarbons to the world markets and correspondingly building export oil and gas pipelines. The Central Asia-Caspian-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Black Sea-Turkey-Mediterranean route was noted as the most acceptable.
Bearing in mind the common paths of historical development of the Turkic-speaking peoples, the Tashkent meeting, according to the presidents in attendance, was aimed at raising the member states to a new level of cooperation in the 21st century.
In contrast to the traditional declarations adopted at the previous summits, the Tashkent declaration set forth the standing tasks in a more specific and expedient form. It envisaged the development of interstate relations in accordance with the norms of international law based on U.N. and OSCE principles. The heads of state expressed their satisfaction with the development of bilateral and multilateral relations in various spheres and noted the need for further expansion and reinforcement of these relations. TURKSOI was entrusted with specific tasks: assisting further expansion and reinforcement of cooperation in science, culture, and education, drawing up a calendar of historic dates of the Turkic world, and looking at the possibility of involving international organizations in these celebrations, primarily UNESCO. What is more, TURKSOI was to identify the possibility of conducting joint celebrations devoted to the 1450th anniversary of the great Turkic kaganate and draw up a plan of corresponding measures by the fifth summit.
Noting the need to develop efficient transportation systems in the region, the heads of state not only expressed their support of putting the Transcaucasian transportation corridor into operation, but also supported the initiative to create a Central Asia-Afghanistan-Pakistan-Indian Ocean transportation corridor as a component of the North-South route. The presidents called on the UN Development Program, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and corresponding regional banks to activate efforts to draw up a development strategy for the transition period for each of the Turkic-speaking countries and reinforce cooperation among them in general.
Focusing in particular on raising the quality of basic and professional education and on developing work skills and professional training by investing in capital and human resources, the delegation heads were in favor of raising the efficiency of measures aimed at stimulating economic growth in their countries by assisting not only the manufacture of competitive products, but also incorporating new technologies into the production process, and creating new jobs in small and medium business.
The Tashkent summit coincided time-wise with the increase in terrorism and drug circulation in Central Asia, which pose a serious threat to the region’s security. Therefore, the heads of state who signed the declaration expressed their concern about the trends toward an expansion in the illegal production and circulation of drugs and psychotropic substances, and the demand for them, as well as toward the potential use of the territories of the Turkic-speaking countries for the illegal transit of these commodities. In this way, they resolved to coordinate activity in fighting the drug business and to assist international efforts aimed at gaining control over drug trafficking. They were particularly concerned that organized crime and the drug business have established close mutual ties and are the main financial source of terrorism, which became so widespread during the 1990s.
The presidents severely criticized acts of terrorism and separatism that grossly violate human rights, regardless of by whom and for what reason they are carried out, expressed full support of the measures undertaken by the world community to combat these phenomena, and stressed the importance of continuing such measures to the greatest extent possible in the future.
It should be noted that the Tashkent declaration, like the concluding documents of the previous summits, expressed concern about the ongoing Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict and particularly stressed the importance of settling it within the framework of a corresponding resolution by the U.N. Security Council in order to establish stable peace throughout the Caucasus as a whole.
In addition, it stressed the need to develop cooperation in tourism and environmental protection and again called for decisive international measures aimed at stabilizing the environmental situation in the region of the Aral Sea. In its conclusion, the declaration noted the extreme importance of regular mutual consultations and organizational-technical work, as well as monitoring implementation of the adopted decisions. It should also be noted that an agreement was reached on creating a secretariat of the summits of the Turkic-speaking states, and the foreign ministers of the member countries were entrusted with drawing up provisions for this structure. The secretariat is to be entrusted with the following functions: preparing documents for meetings among the heads of state and foreign ministers of the Turkic-speaking countries; holding seminars, conferences, and symposiums devoted to promulgating the language, culture, and achievements of these countries; and identifying, selecting, and preparing for publication historical and literary information on the past and present of the Turkic peoples.
The Tashkent summit was the beginning of a qualitatively new stage in the meetings. This time, the heads of state expressed their attitude toward all the sociopolitical, socioeconomic, and environmental problems concerning the region. They stressed that holding these summits on a more regular basis would make it possible to step up interaction among the Turkic-speaking countries, and in particular stimulate the activity of TURKSOI.
The fifth summit coincided with the opening ceremony of the Kazakhstan’s new capital, Astana. The presidents of all the Turkic-speaking countries (apart from Turkmenistan, which was represented by its parliament chairman) participated in this summit. When opening the meeting, Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov talked about the work accomplished during the two years since the Tashkent forum. Chairing Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbaev noted that an economic foundation of cooperation must be laid and relations activated in this sphere, which he said were presupposed in advance by the efforts of most of the member states aimed at reinforcing regional security and stability. In the opinion of the Kazakhstan leader, the increase in the region’s role and significance is not only due to its advantageous geostrategic location and rich mineral resources, but also due to the entire logic of the global trends toward strengthening regional cooperation. It was noted that the steady increase in cooperation among the Turkic-speaking states, both at the bilateral and multilateral level, is making an immense contribution to strengthening their interrelations.
Talking about how rich the region is in fuel and energy resources, Nursultan Nazarbaev noted that the Turkic-speaking states could act as an integrated transportation and resource structure in which the countries rich in these resources are partners and can also use the other countries as transit zones.
The Kazakhstan leader noted with satisfaction the trend toward expansion of the republic’s economic trade ties with the other Turkic-speaking states, the increased cooperation in agriculture, science, culture, the environment, and public health, in the fight against the illicit trafficking of drugs and psychotropic substances, and in other spheres. All of this is in harmony “both with the economic infrastructure of our countries, and with the interests of all people in our fundamentally interrelated present-day world.”5 Nursultan Nazarbaev stated that Kazakhstan is ready to support the draft of the provisions on the secretariat of the summits of the Turkic-speaking states.
Kyrgyzstan President Askar Akaev noted the expansion in economic and cultural cooperation of the Turkic-speaking countries and the implementation of large-scale joint projects, including in the sphere of communications, and expressed his gratitude to Azerbaijan President Heydar Aliev for granting Bishkek benefits to use the Transcaucasian route, which will play an important role in the development of Kyrgyzstan’s economic trade ties with the rest of the world.
Suleyman Demirel pointed out that “spiritual unity and moral partnership of the Turkic world, which covers an area of 11 million sq. km, unites 220 million people, and tends toward rapid economic development, constituted the basis of the fifth meeting of the Turkic-speaking states.”6 Having noted the presence of rich energy resources in the Turkic-speaking countries, he stated that Turkey is willing to offer more expedient and economically efficient alternatives for their export to the world market, primarily by means of the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline project, which, in his words, is making an immense contribution to our common destinies and common future. The Turkish President drew attention to the importance of reviving the Great Silk Road, which, in his opinion, will become a new tool of progress and prosperity in the Turkic world, and called on all the Turkic-speaking countries to engage in a resolute joint fight against terrorism, organized crime, and illicit drug and arms trafficking. He also said that establishing peace and stability in the Caucasus was one of the main goals of cooperation and stressed the need to settle the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict within the framework of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, liberation of its occupied lands, and return of the refugees to their homes.
Turkmenistan Parliament Chairman Sakhkhat Muradov emphasized that coordinated and mutually advantageous use of the economic, geographic and energy potential of the region’s countries is of immense significance for their progress, and noted that Turkmenistan is willing to support all initiatives aimed at mutually advantageous cooperation in the name of peace, stability, and unremitting socioeconomic development. In the opinion of S. Muradov, the common interest of the Turkic-speaking countries in laying oil and gas pipelines, building roads and railways, and implementing joint projects to assimilate the Caspian’s mineral resources convincingly shows the prospects of these states.
In his speech, the Uzbek President pointed out that on the threshold of the 21st century, the Turkic-speaking countries face several serious problems, primarily in implementing and raising the efficiency of the bilateral and multilateral contracts and agreements that have already been signed and ratified by their parliaments. Islam Karimov stressed that it is impossible to ignore the growing threat posed by the striving of an increasingly larger number of South Asian states to acquire nuclear weapons. In his opinion, cooperation among the region’s countries should be primarily aimed at combating organized crime, terrorism, and the illicit distribution and sale of drugs.
The summits of the Turkic-speaking states, which are now becoming traditional, are also attracting attention by the fact that their participants are expressing their opinions on regional strategic problems. On the initiative of the Kazakhstan President, a statement was adopted at the fifth summit on the increase in nuclear danger in the region and on the possible catastrophic consequences of this trend. The statement said, “We, the leaders of the Turkic-speaking states, participants in the fifth summit meeting in the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Astana, express our deep concern regarding the conducting of nuclear tests in India and Pakistan. These tests are of serious detriment to regional and global stability and security, are promoting the accelerated proliferation of nuclear weapons, and run counter to the policy of our states aimed at reinforcing the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. We call on India and Pakistan to show restraint and responsibility, not to conduct any more nuclear tests, and to join the agreements on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and on the universal ban of nuclear weapons.”7
Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliev drew attention to drawing up projects capable of stimulating the regional integration processes. In his words, the agreement signed in May 1996 in the Turkmenian city of Serakhs on the Transcaucasian transportation corridor was successfully put into effect, thanks to which the volume of deliveries from Europe to Asia increased from 352,000 tons in 1995 to 1,340,000 tons by the end of 1997. At the same time, the project regarding the main export pipeline Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan has already acquired real contours, and so the alternative of creating Transcaspian energy communication routes is being discussed. Bearing this in mind, the Azerbaijani President noted the significant benefit of mutual cooperation to create a Transcaspian energy corridor and indicated that the prepared documents have been sent to the governments of the member states for final coordination and initialing.
In Kazakhstan’s new capital, a statement was adopted which set forth the specific principles of cooperation development and the creation of a mechanism for holding this kind of summit. It also ratified the Provisions on the Secretariat of Summits of the Turkic-Speaking States, and entrusted control over its work to the foreign ministries of these countries.
Having affirmed the importance of joint implementation of the program for reviving the Great Silk Road, the heads of state confirmed that it would make a vast contribution to the economy of the region and to reinforcing mutually advantageous cooperation. They re-emphasized the special significance of assimilating the rich mineral resources of the region’s countries, primarily oil, natural gas, and hydroelectric power, and expressed their support of immediate measures to introduce joint projects on laying pipelines and transmission lines for exporting energy resources, in which interested international financial institutions, as well as government and private structures should be involved.
As in the concluding document of the Tashkent summit, this declaration expressed satisfaction with the work accomplished by the corresponding countries and international organizations to construct oil and gas pipelines through Turkey to the shores of the Mediterranean and to Europe. The official statement supported the efforts of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan to step up and expand integration in the region, and emphasized the importance of Kazakhstan’s initiative to convene a conference on cooperation and confidence-building measures in Asia. The heads of state approved the efforts of the international community and corresponding entities to establish stability in the region and supported peaceful settlement in Tajikistan. What is more, they again called for the conflicting sides in Afghanistan to step up their efforts to overcome the conflict under the auspices of the U.N. and with the participation of the ECO. As in the concluding documents of the previous summits, this declaration expressed concern about the illegal transit of drugs and the expansion of terrorism, which do not recognize borders, and indicated the need to activate efforts to combat these anti-humanistic phenomena.
On the proposal of the Azerbaijani President, the sixth summit was held on 8 April, 2000 in Baku. The presidents of Azerbaijan, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and the parliament chairmen of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan participated in it, and it coincided time-wise with the celebration of the 1300th anniversary of the Kitabi Dede Gorgud epos.
Several regional undertakings had their impact on this meeting. For example, on 7-8 September, 1998, a meeting was held in Baku of the heads of state and governments of the countries participating in the Europe-Caucasus-Asia transportation corridor project, and in 1999, the presidents of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Georgia, and the U.S. signed a statement of purpose in Istanbul with regard to building the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline.
The Kazakhstan President noted in particular that, “our people currently face the task of further enhancing cooperation more urgently than before, since with each passing year the Turkic-speaking countries are playing an ever more significant role in the world system of economic relations.” The speeches of the heads of other states emphasized that revival of the Great Silk Road, which at one time stimulated an upswing in the economy, culture, and science, and promoted mutual enrichment of civilizations, is helping to extend far-reaching relations and is an important link in the world economy. Based on this, the oil and gas pipelines that will transport the region’s energy resources to the West and East should be laid precisely along this traditional route. They especially stressed that joint formation of an oil- and gas-pipeline network will ensure not only the stable supply of our countries with hydrocarbons, but also their export to the markets of third countries.
The Turkic-speaking countries have favorable conditions for bilateral and multilateral trade and economic and humanitarian cooperation. In addition, the economies of these countries are characterized by complementariness both with respect to natural resources and in terms of infrastructure. And the interrelated and harmonious development of their transportation systems will ensure the high reliability and economic efficiency of deliveries between Asia and Europe.
In 1999, a group of terrorists infiltrated Kyrgyzstan, thus posing an extremely serious threat to the entire region. As Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbaev noted in his speech, the acts of extremists could turn Central Asia into a zone of instability.
Uzbekistan Parliament Chairman Erkin Khalilov and his colleague from Turkmenistan Sakhkhat Muradov stressed that the region is gradually becoming part of a vast and extensive drug transit area, and a natural link between the expansion in terrorism and increase in drug transit to Europe can be traced here. While analyzing these processes, the state leaders came to the conclusion that the main reason for the increase in instability, activation of terrorism, and upswing in the drug business in the region is the internecine war in Afghanistan. The participants in the summit emphasized, as has been officially stated on many occasions prior to this, that the Afghan problem cannot be resolved by military means, the world community must convince the conflicting sides to begin negotiations in order to bring peace and tranquility to the long-suffering Afghani people.
The Kyrgyzstan President, who, faced with the threat of terrorism, gained the political support of the other Turkic-speaking states, said: “At the OSCE summit held in November 1999 in Istanbul, I put forward the idea of conducting a forum-dialog between the OSCE and ECO on strengthening peace and stability and ensuring stable development throughout the entire Eurasian region. We could discuss all security aspects at this forum. At the same time, our countries, which are members of both the OSCE and the ECO, could act as intermediaries in organizing this dialog.” According to Askar Akaev, the “double status” of the Turkic-speaking states creates favorable prerequisites for involving other states in this forum-dialogue. The President maintained that strengthening ties between these influential international organizations, which unite more than one hundred countries, and coordinating their activity are in harmony with the vital interests of the entire world community.
The delegation heads announced the catastrophic consequences the threat of terrorism and separatism in Central Asia will have, emphasizing the importance not only of joining forces among the region’s states, the independence of which has still not been fully reinforced, but also of support from international organizations. Heydar Aliev noted that the republic has long suffered from Armenian terrorism, and that as a result of Armenia’s military aggression, 20% of Azerbaijan’s territory has been occupied. So the problem faced by friendly Kyrgyzstan is well appreciated in Azerbaijan. In his opinion, mutual cooperation should be developed in spite of any artificially created obstacles. “The international conference held in Baku on 7-8 September, 1998 under the auspices of the European Union with the participation of 32 states and 15 international organizations devoted to revival of the historical Great Silk Road was of immense significance. Revival of the Great Silk Road, that is, implementation of the TRACECA project, is making this transportation corridor a reality, which will begin in the zone of activity of the European Union. Extending through the Caucasus to Central Asia, it will connect the East and the West, Asia and Europe, and will make a vast contribution to raising the prosperity of our peoples. The Turkic-speaking states are playing a key role in the implementation of this project.”
In accordance with the established tradition, the statement adopted at the end of this summit expressed the desire for further intensification of mutual cooperation, emphasized the intention of the member states to activate the joint fight aimed at preventing expansion of the terrorist network in the region, and approved measures for reviving the Great Silk Road and the activity of the European Union in this area.
The seventh summit was held in Istanbul during aggravation of domestic political relations in Turkey following the presidential elections and formation of the new government in the country. In this respect, it was to a certain extent an acquaintance meeting between the “old guard” of these summits and the new Turkish President Ahmed Necdet Sezer. At the meeting, in which the presidents of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and the parliament chairman of Uzbekistan participated, the results of the decade of independence of the post-Soviet states and prospects for the future were discussed. The new political realities in Central Asia, Turkey’s role in the life of the region, and issues relating to developing contacts within international organizations were the central focus of attention.
When opening the summit, the Turkish President stressed that in the ten years that had passed since the first summit significant progress has been made in bilateral relations and multilateral cooperation among the fraternal countries, and the summit meetings, built on a solid foundation, are promoting further reinforcement of friendship among our states, and the achievement of peace and tranquility in the region.
The delegation heads maintained that the 21st century would be a century of stability, dynamic development, constructive political dialog, mutually advantageous cooperation, social progress, and prosperity for the Turkic-speaking nations.
1 N.A. Mamedli, “The Formation of China’s Geopolitical Interests in Central Asia and the Activity of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization,” Bulletin of the Baku State University, Humanitarian Science Series, No. 3, 2001, p. 154 (in Azerbaijani).
2 The newspaper Azerbaijan, 2 November, 1992.
3 Azerbaijan, 3 November, 1992.
4 See: A.K. Seidov, “Turkey’s Relations with the Turkic-Speaking States of Central Asia,” in: Social and Political Problems, Baku, 2002, p. 100 (in Azerbaijani).
5 Zerkalo, 15 June, 1998.
6 Khalg gazeti, 10 June, 1998.
7 Khalg gazeti, 10 June, 1998.