Turkish President Abdullah Gül said on Wednesday that Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan needed to act as “six states with one nation” and display solidarity with each other.
Speaking in Ankara at an international meeting to mark the 20th year of the independence of Turkic republics, Gül said: “This is the challenge before us. Those who are not in solidarity with each other face difficulty when they are alone. Being in solidarity never puts a shadow on mutual, equal and respectable relations.” The meeting was organized by the Turkish Prime Ministry Office of Public Diplomacy and the Atatürk Culture Center for Strategic Strategies. The first session of the meeting was titled “Turkic communities in Eurasia: Newly drawn borderlines and newly created identities.” In his speech, Gül also said, “If we do see ourselves as part of one nation, it is the natural right of all our states to facilitate the utmost cooperation between our citizens, societies and states.”
The president said that the Turkic republics have proven their success, gone through a historic test and assumed important roles in their region over the past two decades since they declared their independence, adding that he was proud to see all of this.
Co-chairing the session, Süer Eker, associate professor at Başkent University’s Turkish language and literature department, noted that a study on changes in these countries has been made into three books, which are to be published in November as part of a project that began early this year. The books are about the social economic transformation these countries and people have gone though in the last 20 years or so, he said, adding that 26 Turkish and foreign social science experts on Central Asia have contributed to the project.
Eker said the study focuses on the nation-building process and how Turkey was perceived in these countries 20 years ago and how it is seen today. The three books not only cover the Turkic republics, but also countries such as Russia and Ukraine. The study also takes a look at the future of the countries and focuses on the future of Turkey’s relations with them.
In a session that discussed the role of Turkic republics in regional and international politics, Dr. Murat Yılmaz, co-chairman of the session and an associate professor of international relations at the International Hoca Ahmet Yesevi Turkish-Kazakh University, said the geopolitical pluralism that Central Asia has been acquainted with in the last 20 years is of great importance for the countries in the region.
He also noted that Central Asian republics mean a strategic depth for Turkey. Speaking about energy, Yusuf Yazar, deputy undersecretary of the Energy Ministry, said that it is probable that Turkey’s foreign policy will be increasingly influenced by energy in the future, as it is at the crossroads of countries that produce and consume energy the most.
05 October 2011, Wednesday / TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL