Dushanbe, 21 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- The fourth summit of Turkic states opened today in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent. The presidents of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Turkey are participating.
Our correspondent at the symposium reports that the leaders are expected to sign a "Tashkent Declaration" which will cover a range of issues, from trade and transport to scientific cooperation. The leaders are also expected to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, as well as economic and cultural matters.
The working language at the meeting is Russian. Our correspondent reports that Uzbek President Islam Karimov explained that Russian was the only language spoken by all the participants, with the exception of Turkish President Suleyman Demirel, who will participate through simultaneous translation.
Karimov also said the unity of Turkic states is based on historical, ethnic, cultural as well as spiritual factors. He said said it does not have political and military connotations.
France's AFP news agency quotes a foreign ministry official in Ankara as saying the summit will introduce an institutional framework into relations between the Turkic states. He said a secretariat will be established to ensure the implementation of decisions. The previous summit was held last August in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.