Turkic summit to explore commonwealth possibility


Silver Member
Aug 9, 2005
Turkey, seeking to revive a plan to forge a Turkic Commonwealth, will play host November 17 to the leaders of Azerbaijan and all Central Asian states, except Tajikistan. Summit participants are expected to explore ways of turning energy abundance into greater collective geopolitical influence.

A Turkish Foreign Ministry official told EurasiaNet that the leaders of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan were all expected to arrive for the summit, which will be held in the Turkish resort city of Antalya. Whether they all actually show up, especially Turkmenistan’s mercurial leader Saparmurat Niyazov, will be known only on the day of the meeting. Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev, is scheduled to arrive November 16 for a day of bilateral talks with Turkish officials prior to the summit.

The upcoming gathering will mark the eighth such summit held by the leaders of Turkic states, but the first in almost five years. The first conclave of Turkic leaders occurred in 1992, shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The November 17 summit host, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, makes no secret of his desire to create a commonwealth that could exert its influence on the world stage. During a gathering of Turkish-speaking peoples in September, Erdogan provided a preview of his geopolitical agenda for Turkic states.

"The residents of this particular region do not have the luxury of just sitting back and being spectators of the world stage... Either we will be the subject of world politics, or the object," Erdogan said in a speech. "A Turkish Commonwealth would enable us to play a more active and efficient role in international forums, protect the interests of our people and contribute to peace and stability in our region."

In recent years, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan have all emerged as major sources of energy. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. Turkey, meanwhile, has positioned itself as a transit hub for the flow of oil and gas from the Caspian Basin to the West. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. Thus, Turkic speaking states, should they decide to act in concert, could certainly constitute an entity that could make its influence felt in Eurasia’s increasingly competitive game over energy and export routes.

Ankara appears to believe that forging a viable commonwealth would involve greater coordination of energy development and export policies. "It is of strategic importance to complete an energy transportation chain [linking] our countries," said a joint communiqué issued at the end of the September meeting of Turkish-speaking peoples.

Some experts point out that while the idea of a Turkic commonwealth may be practical on paper, in reality there are substantial obstacles standing in the way of its realization. Perhaps the biggest barrier has to do with the perception in Central Asian states that Turkey would attempt to dominate the commonwealth. Such concerns were a major reason why Turkic summits haven’t been held during the last five years.

Turkish leaders in recent months have sought to dispel such concerns. In an interview published in August by the New Anatolian daily, former president and prime minister Suleyman Demirel insisted that Ankara’s outlook never was based on Pan-Turkism.
"These newly independent countries didn’t want a new big brother," Demirel said, referring to efforts by previous Turkish governments, including his own, to forge a Turkic Commonwealth.

"This is about bringing the Turkic world closer together," Demirel continued. "In every step taken here we need to seek to bring the Turkic world closer -- outside of the conditions of Pan-Turkism and Pan-Islamism."

A senior Turkish Foreign Ministry official voiced similar sentiments in a November 13 interview with EurasiaNet. A commonwealth would not be a vehicle for Turkish domination, but a means to promote collective prosperity, the diplomat indicated. "This [summit] is ... a platform to further develop cooperation multilaterally, increase peace and stability in the region, exchange views over important regional and international issues, and develop common social, cultural and civilizational heritage between brotherly Turkic peoples," he said.

Even if convinced of the genuiness of Turkey’s commonwealth intentions, Central Asian leaders, along with Azerbaijan’s Aliyev, have yet to demonstrate that they are capable of substantive multilateral cooperation. Central Asian states, for example, have made little progress on forging a new framework for the management of the region’s water resources. Meanwhile, Caspian Basin states continue to haggle over the delimitation of the sea and the natural resources that it contains. Thus, political analysts tend to be skeptical about whether Ankara will be able to make much headway on the creation of a Turkic Commonwealth at the upcoming summit.

Paralell to this summit in Antalya/Turkey which i will talk later more about, in Kyrgyzstan is between 15-18 November the "6th forum on cooperation of Turkic world countries".
The forum has been organized by the Prime Ministry of Turkey and Turkey-financed Kyrgyz-Turkish University in Manas/ Kyrgyzstan.
The three-day forum has gathered scientists, literaturists ans historians from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkey and Azerbaijan.
In this forum there will be discussed issues like common alphabet and common schoolbooks.

The summit in Antalya / Turkey on the other side is realpolitiks about natural resources, economy and deeper political cooperation.
Ilham Aliyev, president of Azerbaycan is already in Turkey. The presidents of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan will arrive in next hours.
The political summit will last from 17-18 November.

From 18-19 November the “World Turkic Businessmen Summit” in Istanbul will begin. But i don't know if the presidents will join there, too.

Allready took place in this context just 2 months ago:
On September 18-20, the 10th Turkic States and Communities’ Friendship and Cooperation Congress took place at the posh hotel complex on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. Organized by the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA), the Turkic Convention brought together top policymakers from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and the unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, as well as delegates representing the Turkic territories of Russia, Ukraine and Moldova -- Chuvashia, Khakassia, Altai region, North Caucasus, Crimea, and Gagauzia.

Very very good for worldwide Turks and not so good for outside powers who loot resource-rich central-Asia.

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