Leaders of four Turkic-speaking countries met in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek on Thursday to discuss efforts to expand economic cooperation through transportation and energy projects.
"Particularly in the fields of energy and transportation, there can be no working arrangement in Eurasia without involvement of the Turkic states," said Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who was in Bishkek for a pre-summit gathering of ministers on Wednesday. "When the four countries unite their forces, this will both pave the way for big projects that will bring welfare and peace to Eurasia and lead other countries [to cooperate]," he said.
In addition to Turkey and host country Kyrgyzstan, leaders of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan attended the Thursday summit of the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States (CCTS). Azerbaijan was represented by its prime minister, rather than President İlham Aliyev, while Turkish President Abdullah Gül had to return from Bishkek sooner than planned due to the recurrence of an ear problem caused by plane travel.
“The CCTS, bringing together our countries, which share common history, culture, language, religion and backgrounds, will be an important and positive contribution towards the development of cooperation in Eurasia as it carries out the nature of complementing already set-up cooperation mechanisms in the region,” Davutoğlu said during his speech on Wednesday at the meeting of the foreign ministers of member nations.
Noting the importance of the CCTS for Turkic-speaking countries, Davutoğlu also said that the CCTS will be an asset for the solidarity and unity within the framework of strategic importance that Turkey attributes to the bilateral and multilateral cooperation with its brother countries following their independence from the Soviet Union.
“We will be able to respond to the expectations of brother countries only if we strengthen and deepen our cooperation available within the dynamic and ever-growing CCTS in each sphere by showing maximum effort and willingness,” said Davutoğlu.
The CCTS is an international organization founded in Azerbaijan's province of Nakhichevan in 2009 upon the initiative of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev put forward in 2006. The council consists of four Turkic countries, including Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Two other Turkic states, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, are not currently official members of the council due to their neutral stance, although they are likely to join the council in the future.
The first meeting of the CCTS was held over Oct. 20-21, in Almaty, the former capital of Kazakhstan, in line with the 20th anniversary of the independence of the Caucasus and the Central Asian Turkic republics.
Today's summit of the Turkic speaking states' leaders in Bishkek is the second meeting to bring together senior officials of all of these countries. Presidents of Turkey, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are playing a leading role in the summit. Azerbaijani Prime Minister Artur Rasizade also participated.
Gül departed for Ankara on Thursday afternoon, canceling a bilateral visit to Kyrgyzstan slated for Friday. The Turkish president had delayed a recent visit to Latvia on June 30 after his doctor advised him to refrain from traveling by airplane.
Before leaving Bishkek Gül met with Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev and other leaders attending the summit. He also attended inter-delegation meetings of the countries as part of the summit.
President Gül came together with Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev, Kazakh President Nazarbayev and Azerbaijani Prime Minister Rasizade at Bishkek's Ala Arça Congress Center. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev is not participating in the summit.
At the end of the summit, Gül, Atambayev, Nazarbayev and Rasizade signed a declaration.
Foreign ministers of the Turkic states signed an agreement on financing the secretariat-general of the CCTS. On the sidelines of the summit, Turkish Education Minister Ömer Dinçer also signed an agreement with his counterparts from other participating states to establish the Astana Turkic Academy and the Turkic Cultural Heritage Foundation in Baku.
Turkic Council foreign ministers reproach Gaziantep attack
Before the CCTS commenced its summit on Thursday foreign ministers of the member countries came together in Bishkek on Wednesday where senior officials of the states reproached the attack that occurred in Gaziantep on Monday.
Making the opening speech at the summit, Kazakbayev first delivered its condolences to Turkish people on behalf of the Kyrgyz government. “Please accept my and my nation's condolences. In a period when terrorism is having a strong impact we stand together with Turkey in fighting and resisting terrorism,” Kazakbayev said.
Kazakh Foreign Minister Yerzhan Kazykhanov also delivered his condolences to his Turkish counterpart Davutoğlu, adding: “We are wishing recovery to the injured. We are sharing the sorrow of the Turkish people.”
“Upon the recent terror incident carried out in Gaziantep, I am delivering the Azerbaijan government's condolences to Foreign Minister Davutoğlu and the Turkish people. I would like to note that Azerbaijan condemns all kinds of terror activities and supports all efforts of Turkish government,” Azerbaijan's Deputy Foreign Minister Halef Halefov said.