Turkey welcomes Kyrgyzstan’s peaceful transition to democracy

Turkish President Abdullah Gül welcomed Kyrgyzstan’s political democratic transformation, which he said was relatively peaceful compared to political uprisings across the Middle East, stressing that Turkey is proud of the successful transition of power in the Central Asian republic.

Almazbek Atambayev (Photo:AP)

Almazbek Atambayev (Photo:AP)

Gül, who arrived in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek on Wednesday to attend the swearing-in ceremony for newly elected President Almazbek Atambayev, attended a reception on Wednesday hosted by the Turkish Embassy in Bishkek.

Atambayev won more than 60 percent of votes in October’s election, easily pushing aside nationalist rivals. Authorities hope his presidency will usher in a period of political stability in a country that has been roiled over the past year and a half by political and ethnic violence.

Outgoing President Roza Otunbayeva, who has been running the country since April 2010, when former authoritarian leader Kurmanbek Bakiyev was overthrown in a popular uprising, will step down for the winner, setting the stage for the first peaceful transition of power in the ex-Soviet nation’s turbulent post-independence history.

Kyrgyzstan earned international plaudits last year for holding a parliamentary election that was deemed to be the first ever fair and free contest in the ex-Soviet Central Asian nation’s history. That election was the first step on the country’s tentative path toward developing into a more accountable parliamentary model as enshrined in a new constitution adopted last year.

Southern Kyrgyzstan, a major transit area for Afghan heroin trafficking, was devastated last summer by deadly ethnic clashes that killed almost 500 people, mainly ethnic Uzbeks.

Gül said endorsing a new constitution, transition to a parliamentary system, holding elections in which all parties participate and successfully holding presidential elections completed the transition process. He also said Kyrgyzstan can take pride in successfully concluding this process, adding that the same goes for Turkey.

“We believe that everything will continue with more success and with stability from now on,” Gül noted. Adding that the parliamentary system and pluralism are fundamental principles of democracy, Gül said this process also requires a great deal of patience and maturity.

Gül also welcomed the presidential elections, which he said were conducted in a fair and transparent manner. He underlined the participation of international observers, implying the legitimacy of the polls were also confirmed by observers.

Speaking about bilateral relations, Gül said Turkey is the first country to recognize Kyrgyzstan’s independence after the chaotic collapse of the Soviet Union, adding that both countries have had close cooperation since then. The Turkish president also said Turkish schools in Kyrgyzstan and Manas University are a clear sign of cooperation in culture and education.

 

 

 

30 November 2011, Wednesday / TODAYSZAMAN.COM,