Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 61

Senior officials fromTurkey, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan andKazakhstan met in Bishkek July 26 to prepare for a Turkic summitto be held there August 28-29. Kyrgyz deputy foreign ministerAlikbek Jeshemkulov told Interfax that the August session willseek to expand economic, cultural, and humanitarian links amongthe Turkic countries, and to expand their cooperation in tradeand fighting crime. But even this preparatory meeting showed thatthe six countries each have their own agendas: Turkmenistan wantsthe Economic Cooperation Organization–which includes Iran andPakistan as well as Central Asian countries–to be the major coordinatingbody in the region, and seeks Turkic support for internationalguarantees of Ashgabat’s neutrality. Turkey wants the group todiscuss the Cyprus situation, Azerbaijan to focus on its conflictwith Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan to focus on its disagreements withTajikistan. Jeshemkulov emphasized that the Turkic states donot intend to set up a military or political bloc.

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