Sunday, September 23, 2007

I have had the distinction and honor to serve my country in the highest offices of public service. My tenure during 1991 to the year 2000 as Prime Minister and later as President of Turkey coincided with a period of successive historic events that would result in the dramatic transformation of the international political order as we knew it.

This time of history in the making also undoubtedly bore significant consequential challenges and opportunities alike for Turkey.

It was during this time that we bore witness to, among other astounding developments, the disintegration of the former Soviet Union and the subsequent birth of a new political landscape, the topic of our discussion: Central Asia.

These were exciting times. It was a period during which we were able to rekindle our ties based on a common historical, cultural and linguistic heritage with the peoples of the nascent Central Asian Republics. It was a time of jubilation as in a reunion among long lost relatives.

Turkey quite naturally was among the first to recognize the independence of the Central Asian Republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan as well as Azerbaijan in the Caucasus.


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