ASTANA – At the third summit of the Cooperation Council of the Turkic-Speaking States (CCTS) on August 16, presidents of the CCTS’s four founding states, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey, agreed that positive trends achieved through their cooperation over the past year should be strengthened. The summit took place in Gabala, Azerbaijan, from August 15-16.
Since its establishment in 2009 at the summit of Turkic-Speaking States in Nakhichevan, Azerbaijan, the Cooperation Council has become a well-known international organisation with a broad field of activity.
The CCTS contributes to strengthening economic and cultural ties among its member states. Such cooperation and unity promotes the common brand of the Turkic world, according to President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan.
In his remarks at the summit, Nazarbayev encouraged his colleagues to enhance the organisation’s institutional framework and called for greater cooperation in tourism. In addition, he highlighted the importance of the focus of the third summit on transportation and connectivity, saying it was very relevant for Kazakhstan.
In order to form the CCTS’s institutional framework, the ratification process of some of the key documents should be accelerated, Kazakhstan’s president said.
He also highlighted the importance of the work of the secretariat and commended the efforts of first secretary general of the CCTS, Halil Akinci. The summit participants signed a decision to extend Akinci’s term following the meeting. Nazarbayev stressed the need to strengthen economic cooperation between brotherly nations and neighbouring countries.
“Today, the total GDP of six independent Turkic-speaking states amounts to 1.15 trillion dollars,” Nazarbayev said. “Despite this, the trade turnover between the countries does not correspond to our potential. For example, according to the data for 2012, the volume of trade in Kazakhstan with Turkic-speaking states amounted to only $8 billion. The combined share of five Turkic-speaking states does not reach 6 percent of the total volume of Kazakhstan’s foreign trade.”
[In addition to the four CCTS, the other two independent Turkic-speaking states are Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.]
Nazarbayev also spoke about development trends in Kazakhstan. Last year, the country adopted a new development strategy to 2050, which among other things aims at making Kazakhstan one of the world’s 30 most developed countries in fewer than 40 years.
Since 2010, Kazakhstan has been implementing an accelerated industrialisation programme. As a result, more than 600 projects worth $14 billion have been launched. “We are committed to importing production capacities and to the exchange of new technologies,” he said.
Nazarbayev highlighted Kazakhstan’s interest in the use of new sources of energy and green economy development and how that gives EXPO 2017, which will take place in Astana, a special significance. “I am confident that all Turkic-speaking states will take active part in this large-scale event, which also presents opportunities for developing tourism, an important field for all of us. We need to exchange experience in this field, train professionals together and determine a general direction. To this end, I propose establishing a working group for tourism development within the framework of the secretariat,” he said.
Nazarbayev added that Kazakhstan supported the theme of the summit, transport and communications, as well as the idea of holding of a meeting of the transport ministers of CCTS member countries.
Kazakhstan is focusing on transport and communications as the basis for developing its economic power.
“We plan to double the transit through Kazakhstan by 2020 and increase it 10 times by 2050. In the future, we plan to bring cargo transit through Kazakhstan to 50 million tons a year,” he said.
In 2011, Kazakhstan, together with Russia, China and Germany, launched a container train that extends from China to Germany through Kazakhstan. In May 2013, the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railway section was launched.
The country plans to build new air routes, sea routes, railways, roads and pipelines that will connect Europe to the Pacific Ocean through the region. It also plans to open the Western Europe-Western China transcontinental road corridor passing through its territory in 2015. Soon, a corridor connecting railways of Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey will be commissioned, Nazarbayev reported.
The Turkic-speaking states have established significant cooperation in education, science and culture. The countries have an international organisation of Turkic culture, TURKSOY, as well as the Turkic Academy and the Foundation of Turkic Culture and Heritage.
Nazarbayev encouraged the states to actively participate in the work of these structures. “We should widely promote qualities inherent to the Turkic world, such as tolerance, humanism and morality.”
This year, Kazakhstan will host the first international symposium, The Turkic World Today: The Current State and Development Prospects, in the ancient city of Turkestan in the south of the country. “We hope scholars from all over Turkic-speaking states will take an active part in this important event,” Nazarbayev said.
As a result of the CCTS’s third summit, chairmanship of the organisation passed from Kyrgyzstan to Azerbaijan. In taking over the chairmanship, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev thanked Kyrgyzstan for all its efforts to develop the organisation.
“I can say with great pride that since the summit in Nakhichevan in 2009, a new format of cooperation has been developed among Turkic-speaking states. All of the positive trends achieved during this time, including in economy and culture, should be strengthened. Council summits serve precisely this purpose, and I am confident that they will lead us to achieving great results,” Aliyev said.
All participants of the summit, including the deputy chairman of the cabinet of ministers of Turkmenistan and the secretary general of the CCTS, noted that the organisation had achieved significant results over the past year. Following the meeting, the participants adopted a summit declaration.
The Gabala summit began on August 15 with the meeting of the foreign ministers of the CCTS states as its first official event. Kazakhstan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Erlan Idrissov attended the meeting.
In his remarks, Idrissov praised the results of Kyrgyzstan’s chairmanship and highlighted the importance of initiatives undertaken in the past year, including more than 20 meetings on cooperation in various fields. As a result of the meeting in Gabala, the foreign ministers signed a protocol on cooperation between the ministries of foreign affairs of the CCTS.