Turkic-Speaking States Summit Focuses on Tourism

CCTSBODRUM, TURKEY – Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev visited Bodrum, Turkey on June 4-6 to participate in the 4th Summit of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States (CCTS) which focused on cooperation in tourism development.

Presidents of Kazakhstan, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan attended the June 5summit. The president of Turkmenistan which is not a member of the four-country grouping also participated as a guest.At the conclusion of the summit, the four member nations adopted the Bodrum Declaration.

Opening the forum, Turkish President Abdullah Gul expressed confidence that the summit will give a new impetus to cooperation among member states. Gul noted the importance of partnership in various areas, including the economic, social and cultural spheres as well as in the tourism industry.

Nursultan Nazarbayev noted that at the previousmeeting various issues have been discussed, the main one was the development of the tourism industry.
“Turkey is well advanced in the field of tourism, and we agreed to adopt its experience to prepare the necessary personnel in Turkish universities,” said the President of Kazakhstan.

In the Bodrum Declaration, the leaders noted that the expansion of cooperation in tourism will not only serve to stimulate awareness of the region among the CCTS member states but also in other countries.

The Joint Cooperation Protocol on Tourism by the ministers in charge of tourism affairs of the member states was approved and the decision on the establishment of a Joint Tourism Business Association under the aegis of the Turkic Council was made in order to initiate multilateral cooperation in tourism among private sectors of the four countries.

Among the ways of collaboration is a joint tour programme named “Turkic Council – Modern Silk Road”, supported by a tourist guidebook. Kazakhstan was tasked to coordinate field visits by a specially created task force to the member states throughout 2015 in order to determine destinations of this joint tour programme and urge public and private institutions of the member states to take necessary measures to make it operational and promote it.

The Declarationalso prescribed organising regular info tours with the participation of news media and tourism industry representatives of the member states.

At a press conference following the summit, Nazarbayev stressed that starting this year joint development of the unified information space is being discussed.

“I proposed to consider creating a special satellite channel that will show to the whole world Turkic-speaking countries, our culture and history. Moreover, with its help, we can draw attention to our state, particularly tell about the industrial programme of Kazakhstan,” Nazarbayev said.

In the Bodrum Declaration, the four countries also underlined their support for Kazakhstan’s efforts to organise the international specialized exhibition EXPO 2017 in Astana on the theme “Future energy” and reaffirmed their plans to participate.

The also leaders pointed to the importance of developing railway connections as an efficient and secure means of transportation between Asia and Europe and underlined their significant role in increasing trade volumes among the member states. In this connection, they also supported Azerbaijan’s initiative to hold an international conference “Railway Route Baku-Tbilisi-Kars/New Possibilities of the Development of the Silk Way Corridor” in October 2014 in Baku.

At the press conference, Nazarbayev also drew attention to the fact that the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railway is slated to be completed later this year and will contribute to the further development of transport and logistics network in the region.

The heads of state also underlined the importance of organising the First General Assembly of the Turkic University Union to be hosted by Atatürk University in October 2014. The council has also agreed to hold joint educational programmes and training courses.

In Bodrum, Nazarbayev also met with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev on June 4. During the meeting, the leaders addressed efforts to deepen relations in the economic, trade, oil and gas, transport and logistics sectors, and stressed the need to increase trade volumes to maximise economic potential. The two presidents reviewed the progress of cooperation within international and regional organisations, including the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic-Speaking States.

A meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the CCTS was also held on the eve of the summit on June 4. The foreign ministers discussed economic, educational, transport and cultural cooperation. They also discussed international issues, including issues faced by nations in the region and concerns related to Afghanistan, Syria, Iran and Ukraine.

Turkish Foreign Minister Akhmet Davutoglu praised the idea of Nazarbayev to convene the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA). Davutoglu also noted the results of the recent CICA summit in Shanghai and thanked Nazarbayev for the initiatives that he has proposed that help unite Turkey and Kazakhstan.

“The main subject of the CCTS is tourism. I am confident that its results will allow more actively developed cooperation in this industry,” said Kazakh Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov.

Idrissov also suggested strengthening CCTS’ economic component to make it more attractive to other Turkic-speaking states. This could be done through humanitarian, educational, scientific and cultural cooperation. The International Organisation of Turkic Culture (TURKSOY) and the Turkic Academy, which will soon receive international status, work in these spheres.

“We work in the field of culture and art, the academy will deal with deeper, more meaningful issues of science, publication of scientific books, scientific conferences,” TURKSOY General Secretary Dyusen Kasseinov said.

In the Bodrum Declaration, the four countries underlined the importance of the Turkic Council as an umbrella organization to coordinate, and to avoid duplication in, the activities of institutions in different fields engaged in promoting and furthering links and cooperation among the countries of the Turkic world.

They decided to hold the fifth summit of the Turkic Council in 2015 in Kazakhstan.

Rufiya Ospanova and Malika Orazgaliyeva contributed to this report from Astana.

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