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Central Asia: Turkic-Speaking States Agree On Eurasian Ministry

Istanbul, 14 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - A meeting of representatives of Turkic-speaking states and communities has concluded in Istanbul. Participants decided to set up a Ministry for Eurasian Affairs to function within the framework of Turkey's government.

Speakers also suggested instituting a standing educational council and an Academy of the Turkic-Speaking World, emphasizing the importance of developing all-round contacts among "fraternal states" in culture, education, economics and trade.

The meeting was attended by representatives of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, as well representatives from the Russian Federation republics of Bashkortostan, Dagestan, Tatarstan, and Chuvashiya.

Addressing today's closing session, Turkey's Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller is quoted by Itar-Tass news agency as urging a "Railway Silk Road" which she said will run from Asia to Europe, as one of the most important projects for Turkic-speaking countries.