Turkic-speaking nations seek higher intl profile
After 18 years of waiting, this year the summit of Turkic-speaking countries is passing a landmark threshold for institutionalization with a new Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States. The 10th Summit of Turkic-Speaking Countries began in Istanbul yesterday with a foreign ministerial-level meeting. Today President Abdullah Gul will welcome the presidents of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan, who will participate in and close the summit with a final declaration, while also announcing the establishment of the new council. The deal on the new body, signed in Nakhchivan, envisages the formation of a cooperation council with the following organs: Council of Heads of States, Council of Foreign Ministers, Senior Officials Committee, Council of Elders of Turkic-Speaking States, and a secretariat. This week's summit will discuss details of the council's working and appoint the head of the Istanbul-based secretariat, expected to be Ambassador Halil Akinci. The draft final declaration, set to be adopted by the heads of state today, contains concrete steps towards solidarity and cooperation among participants, including establishing a foundation for the protection of Turkic culture and heritage in Baku, a new Turkic business council, a museum of Turkic history in Astana, declaring Oct. 3 the Day of Turkic-Speaking Countries, and allocating funds for research and development through cooperation between member countries' universities. In related news, Azerbaijan and Turkey, neighbors who have long based their relationship on the motto of "One nation, two states," yesterday took another step toward deepening bilateral ties when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Azeri President Ilham Aliyev signed a framework agreement for establishing a bilateral High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council.