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Uzbek, Turkmen Reps Skip Turkic-Speaking Assembly

The Uzbek parliament building in Tashkent (file photo)
BAKU -- Uzbek and Turkmen deputies did not attend the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic-Speaking countries in Baku, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani and Uzbek services report.

Azerbaijani political analyst Ilgar Mammadov told RFE/RL that a possible reason the deputies skipped the September 22-23 session is because Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan lack "genuine parliaments" and were prohibited by their governments from attending.

He added that the parliaments in Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan have turned into "notary's offices" that rubberstamp bills put forth by their governments. Mammadov said that among the Turkic-speaking countries some degree of "genuine parliamentary activity" can be found only in Turkey.

Uzbek political analyst Farhod Tolipov told RFE/RL that Uzbekistan did not attend the assembly for "subjective reasons." He explained that slogans such as "Turkestan is our home" -- a reference to a pan-Turkic entity -- could be frequently heard in Uzbekistan, but in recent years Central Asian countries have become more nationalistic and distanced themselves from each other.

Initiated by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev in 2006, the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic-Speaking Countries is designed to gather delegates from Turkey, Azerbaijan, and the five Central Asian countries. The next meeting of the assembly is to be held in Astana in 2010.