The first session of the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States (CCTS) summit convened on Friday in Almaty with condolences extended to Turkey on the loss of lives in one of the deadliest attacks to date against the country's security forces, as Turkish flags graced Almaty streets in displays of sympathy and solidarity with the grieving country.
The first summit of the CCTS, founded last year in İstanbul following a proposal by Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, kicked off in Almaty, the largest city of Kazakhstan on Friday with an inauguration speech by Nazarbayev in which he offered condolences to Turkey on behalf of the council. The meeting ended with repeated condolences and pledges for solidarity with Turkey, as the council in a united voice condemned the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) attacks against Turkey that came in simultaneous ambushes in the town of Çukurca in Hakkari, near the Iraqi border, leaving 24 people dead and 18 wounded.
In his opening speech Nazarbayev stressed the need to energize relations between the Turkic states, which have a total population of 200 million. “We need to revive our values so that the ties between our peoples may penetrate into our cultural fabric,” he was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency on Friday. He further suggested increasing cultural, social and sports activities among the council members and that institutions be founded that could highlight the cooperation and cultural trade between them.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ reiterated the Turkic states motto of “multiple states, one nation” as he spoke during the meeting and concurred with Nazarbayev's call for the revival of common values to boost ties between nations.
“Increased economic cooperation and trade between our countries will also contribute to the brotherhood, unity and solidarity between our people,” Bozdağ was quoted as saying by Anatolia.
At the end of the session, the participants signed the Almaty Declaration to increase efforts to boost economic cooperation between the Turkic nations.
Stronger political and economic relations between the Turkic states are needed, but with respect to the sovereign rights and internal affairs of each country, the Almaty Declaration stated. Regarding a declaration of goodwill to boost cooperation in all fields, including industry, economy and trade, the declaration spelled out the need to prepare the economic climate for investment. It was also tied to a decision in the declaration that the 2012 meeting of the CCTS be held in Kyrgyzstan around the general theme of “education, science and cultural cooperation.”
On the sidelines of the summit, Bozdağ met with his Kazakh counterpart, Ashet İshekeshev, and motivated by what he called “a new dimension of relations reached after the strategic partnership agreement signed in 2009,” he signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on economic cooperation with the Kazakh state. In line with the MoU, the countries decided to establish a mutual industrial zone to boost their trade capacity.
Bozdağ noted that Kazakhstan was Turkey's most important political and economic partner in the region and that the countries reached a trade volume of $2.6 billion in the first eight months of 2011 and expressed hope that the figure would reach as high as $4 billion by the end of the year. Kazakhstan and Turkey agree on a trade volume goal of $10 billion for the coming years, Anatolia reported.
The summit, the first of its kind since the council was formed last year in İstanbul on the margin of the Nakhchivan Agreement of 2009 signed between Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, convened under the chairmanship of the Kazakh president; in attendance were Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbayeva, Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev and the secretary-general of the council, Halil Akıncı. Turkish side was represented by Bozdağ as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had to drop plans to attend the meeting due to the deadly assault by the PKK Tuesday night, which left Turkey in sorrow over one of the largest number of deaths recorded in the history of clashes since the PKK took up arms in 1984.