Turkey in bid to revive tourism along historical Silk Road

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-6-4 18:14:27

Turkey launched a two-day tourism summit for Turkic-speaking countries around the region on Wednesday in a bid to both boost the economy of the region and soothe bilateral relations between member states.

The Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States (CCTS) brought heads of states to Turkey's southwestern resort city Bodrum for the meeting.

Aiming primarily to boost cooperation in tourism, the summit gives special attention to the rich shared history and cultural values of the member states located along the historical Silk Road, according to a written statement released on Tuesday by the Turkish Presidential Palace.

Tourism ministers and representatives of the CCTS member states were attending the summit.

"Noticeable this year is that Turkmenistan, which normally participates in the CCTS as a lower-level observer nation, is sending its head of state to the summit for the first time ever," said Hasan Kanbolat, an Ankara-based analyst.

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow had a meeting with Turkish President Abdullah Gul on Tuesday, where several bilateral business agreements on energy and transportation were signed.

Gul praised Turkey's close ties with Turkmenistan, hailing Turkmenistan's support for Turkey's UN Security Council membership, while stressing Ankara's commitment to provide Turkmen gas to European markets.

Mehmet Seyfettin Erol, the head of Ankara's International Strategic and Security Research Center, told Xinhua "Uzbekistan still feels displeasure with Turkey because of Ankara's successive votes against the government in US-led UN votes regarding the events in Andijan in Uzbekistan in 2005."

Uzbekistan was absent in the summit. In 2005 Uzbekistan led a bloody crackdown on protesters in the Andijan region, leading to various sanctions by the EU.

Despite the conflicting interests of some of the CCTS member states, observers said the progress of the organization is encouraging.

There are currently six independent Turkic-speaking countries in the world -- Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Turkey.

All the countries share a common cultural and historical background and speak different Turkic languages.

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