The Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States (CCTS), which was established in 2009 with the overarching aim of promoting cooperation among Turkic speaking states, has sought more concrete steps to strengthen collaboration and solidarity between Turkic states.
The CCTS was established as result of the Nakhchivan Agreement, which was signed between Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan on Oct. 3, 2009. Two Turkic states --Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan -- abstained from signing the agreement.
The CCTS held a press conference on Tuesday in İstanbul to share details about the council’s activities so far, as well to announce the council’s short-term and long-term goals.
The council’s secretary-general and former Turkish ambassador to Russia, Halil Akıncı, said that the consciousness of unity and solidarity among Turkic states still hasn’t reached the desired level, so the council should first strengthen collaboration, solidarity and unity. If Turkic states can successfully collaborate, he added, they will have considerable power in their region and a strong reputation around the world.
Akıncı said that when economic integration is achieved, political integration will follow, and the Turkic states agreed on economic integration during the first council summit on Sept. 15-16, 2010 in İstanbul. The council agreed to improve the investment environment, diversify their economies and improve transportation and entrepreneurship as a strong basis for thriving economies.
Akıncı announced that the second summit of the council will be held in August in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, to discuss cooperation in education, science and cultural affairs.
In order to foster cultural and educational cooperation, two organizations have been founded under the auspices of CCTS. The Joint Administration of Turkic Arts and Culture (TÜRKSOY) was established in 1993 by Turkish-speaking countries with the intention of promoting cooperation in the fields of art and culture and strengthening a common cultural presence among Turkic nations. The Turk Academy, which is located in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, was established to research Turkic history, culture and languages and to conserve the common cultural heritage between the countries.
Akıncı said the Turkic states should fulfill their responsibilities in preserving their common values and encourage research of Turkic history. Akıncı further stated that Turkic nations have not devoted adequate resources to studying Turcology -- a field encompassing humanities and Turkic cultural and social studies. He added, “We established the Turk Academy to improve research in the field of Turcology.”
Akıncı said that the council is working on establishing a common Turkic alphabet, as the Turkic language is the common denominator of Turkic states. “We are trying to convince all Turkic states to shift to the Latin alphabet. Turkmenistan began using the Latin alphabet in 1999. In fact, the expenses of the first classroom books written in Latin were published in Turkmenistan [during the 1999–2000 academic year] were covered by Turkey,” Akıncı noted.
Akıncı added they are currently working on establishing a common terminology between the diverse Turkic languages.
Akıncı also announced that common textbooks in some fields, primarily Turkic literature and history, will be published in Turkic states to raise awareness of the common heritage of Turkic nations. He added that the council is working on a student exchange program that will allow Turkic students to receive education in other Turkic states. “This exchange program is not only for university students but also high school students. The details of the program have not been fully discussed, but the council plans to enable students to live with Turkic families in other countries for one year,” Akıncı added.