Mirziyoev Says Uzbekistan Eager To Join Turkic Council

President Shavkat Mirziyoev says Uzbekistan is eager to join the Council of Cooperation of the Turkic-Speaking Countries, also known as the Turkic Council.

Speaking at the Turkic Council summit in Kyrgyzstan's resort city of Cholpon-Ata, Mirziyoev said on September 3 that Uzbekistan was "honored" to take part in the meeting as a guest.

"We are happy and ready to become a part of this organization and propose the Uzbek city of Khiva to be the capital of the Turkic Council," Mirziyoev said, adding that Tashkent would use its membership in the organization to focus on trade and economic cooperation between member states.

The Turkic Council was established in October 2009 with Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkey as the group's founding members.

Uzbekistan announced its intention to join the group in late April.

Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov said during the September 3 gathering that Uzbekistan's membership "will add a new breath to the organization."

Mirziyoev has taken steps to open Uzbekistan to the outside world and improve ties with its neighbors since he became president following the death in 2016 of his predecessor, Islam Karimov.

During Karimov's autocratic 27-year rule, Uzbekistan's relations with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan were strained by disputes over transit routes, border security, water resources, and other issues.

The Turkic Council's summit on September 3 was attended by presidents of the member states.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban also took part in the summit as an "honored guest."

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