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Turkey Hosts Turkic Summit

(RFE/RL) November 16, 2006 -- The presidents of Turkey and three of the five Turkic republics of the former Soviet Union are expected to arrive in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya today ahead of a two-day summit.

The November 17-18 event is the eighth meeting of Turkic leaders since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, but the first in five years. The last summit took place in Istanbul in 2001.

The presidents of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan will attend. The Uzbek and Turkmen heads of state are not expected, but they will send representatives.

It was unclear whether the Russian republics of Tatarstan and Bashkortostan will be represented.

A statement posted on Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev's website says the summit will witness the signing of a joint document called the Antalya Declaration. There was no official word ahead of the gathering on the nature of that declaration.

Gatherings of the leaders of Turkic countries is the brainchild of the late Turkish President Turgut Ozal, who organized the first such meeting in 1992 in Ankara.

(AKIpress, Azertac, Anadolu)