Nur-Sultan, Mar 31 (efe-epa).- Leaders of the members of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States called Wednesday for developing strategic regional projects in transport, trade, energy and infrastructure.
In a declaration released at the end of the informal online summit, the presidents of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkey stressed the importance of setting ambitious and achievable goals.
The document highlighted the “remarkable political and socio-economic progress achieved by Turkic-speaking states over the last decades” and called for the deepening of relations between the countries, especially in trade.
For this, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev proposed the creation of a “special economic zone” in his country’s Turkistan region, located in the southeast near the border with Uzbekistan.
He said that the coronavirus pandemic had significantly affected trade between Kazakhstan and the Turkic countries, which fell to $7 billion in 2020, a drop of 11.2 percent compared with the previous year.
The leaders also proclaimed the city of Turkistan, hub of the likenamed Kazakh region, as “Spiritual Capital of the Turkic World.”
The city is home to the mausoleum of 11th-century Sufi sheikh Khoja Akhmet Yassawi, the first Turkic-language poet.
Turkistan was to have hosted Wednesday’s summit, until the pandemic forced the presidents to switch to a virtual format.
The council’s members aspire to “make the Turkic world one of the most important economic, cultural and humanitarian spaces of the 21st century,” Tokayev said.
Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s first president and the founder of the council, urged leaders to “raise the group to the level of an organization.”
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev used the occasion to call for investment in rebuilding the Azeri areas of Nagorno-Karabakh after the country’s victory over Armenia in the recent 44-day war.
“We intend to rebuild the recovered territories in Nagorno-Karabakh. For this we need investment,” he said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to help Azerbaijan rebuild Nagorno-Karabakh, while announcing that the next summit of the Turkic Council will be held in Turkey, where “a number of important agreements” aimed at boosting the alliance’s status will be signed. EFE