Kyrgyz leader praises relations with Turkey

Otunbayeva says Kyrgyzstan’s relations with Turkey should deepen and diversify further in the future.

September 16, 2010, Thursday/ 17:00:00
Kyrgyzstan and Turkey are one nation, with a shared history and culture, with two separate states, according to Kyrgyzstan’s Interim President Roza Otunbayeva.

Otunbayeva, who arrived in Turkey on Wednesday to attend a summit of Turkic speaking nations, said in an interview with Today’s Zaman that she expected cooperation between Turkey and Kyrgyzstan to develop and diversify in the future. Before here departure to Turkey Otunbayeva said: “Kyrgyzstan has always opened up to the outside world, particularly to the West, through Turkey. We consider our relations above pragmatic interests and view them as a historical responsibility.”

Otunbayeva, a former foreign minister, came to power in April during a popular revolt that overthrew the government of the strategically-located Kyrgyzstan, which borders China and houses both US and Russian military bases. She was sworn in to act as president until the end of 2011 under the terms of a new constitution that voters backed in a referendum, creating a parliamentary system.

The Kyrgyz leader is one of the dignitaries who arrived in Turkey on Wednesday to attend the 10th Summit of the Turkic-Speaking Countries, which kicked off in İstanbul on Wednesday with a meeting of the foreign ministers from participating countries.

Otunbayeva is accompanied by a large group of businessmen and journalists. In a surprise decision, she also included Kyrgyz businessmen who graduated from Turkish high schools in Kyrgyzstan and universities in Turkey.

The Kyrgyz leader Turkey and Kyrgyzstan will solidify their ties, given their historical, ethnic and cultural affinities. She said: “It is important that Turkey and Kyrgyzstan develop their commercial and economic ties. We will do our best to obtain the best results in these areas.” She also listed tourism as a potential area of cooperation, saying Turkey’s success in the area of tourism is noteworthy and that Kyrgyzstan is also interested in developing its tourism potential.

She praised the Turkish schools in Kyrgyzstan, such as Kyrgyzstan Turkey Manas University and Atatürk Alatoo University, saying they operate in her country successfully.

“Each and every one of these schools is making a great contribution to the country’s future,” she said, noting that thousands of Kyrgyz youth are also studying in Turkey.

On Kyrgyzstan’s transition to a parliamentary system, she explained that the presidential and semi-presidential systems that Kyrgyzstan had implemented both failed in the end, mostly because of the former presidents’ attempts to take the entire administrative power into their own hands.

Turkey says it is ready to provide assistance to facilitate Kyrgyzstan’s transition to a parliamentary system, offering its own experience as possible guidance. Otunbayeva added: “Parliamentary systems are being implemented in several countries. Turkey is one of the countries that has successfully implemented this system. I am sure that we will benefit from Turkey’s experience and successfully implement our own such system.”

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