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Suleyman Demirel, former Turkish president (file photo) (RFE/RL)
November 17, 2006 -- The leaders of Turkey and the three former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan have gathered in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya for a two-day summit of Turkic states.
In his opening remarks, Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer called on his guests to step up joint efforts to counter terrorism and other regional threats.
Sezer listed "fundamentalist and separatist movements, illegal migration, illicit drugs and weapons trafficking" among the threats to "Eurasia's development."
Sezer urged other Turkic leaders to further improve relations "on the basis of mutual respect and equality."
To back up those cooperation efforts, Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbaev proposed to set up a parliamentary assembly of Turkic nations.
He suggested that former Turkish leader Suleyman Demirel be elected chairman of the assembly.
This is the eighth Turkic summit to be held since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, but the first since 2001.
The idea of bringing together the leaders of Turkic nations belongs to the late Turkish President Turgut Ozal, who organized the first one in 1992 in Ankara. Demirel was prime minister at the time.
(Anadolu, Kazinform, NTV)