As the first Muslim state to hold the one-year chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Kazakhstan is accelerating efforts to hold a summit in Astana this year, the country's ambassador to Turkey, Bagdat Amreyev, has said.
Amreyev attended a workshop titled "2010-Kazakhstan, The Establishment of Security in Eurasia and the New Vision of the OSCE" organized by the Turkish Asian Center for Strategic Studies (TASAM) in İstanbul on Thursday. Speaking at the workshop, the Kazak ambassador told the audience, comprising politicians, diplomats, academics and several NGO representatives, that Kazakhstan is seeking support for the idea of a new OSCE summit to be held in Astana in 2010, an offer that has already been backed by a number of OSCE members. "We are sincerely grateful to Russia, France, Turkey, Spain, Italy, Austria, Serbia, Slovenia, Belarus and other OSCE members for their support for holding a summit in Astana this year," Amreyev said.
The last OSCE summit was held in İstanbul in 1999. The 56-member organization has been unable to bring together the heads of state of its members since then because of the OSCE's decreasing strategic importance given the changing circumstances in world politics, particularly after the end of the Cold War. Kazakhstan, however, believes it can convince the other 55 states to hold a summit this year, capitalizing on its credibility as a former Soviet Union, Muslim majority, democratic state currently holding the OSCE chairmanship.
Amreyev stressed that European security cannot be guaranteed without Asia and pointed out that Kazakhstan's chairmanship could be the foundation of a new relationship between East and West. In that respect, he said Kazakhstan's experience as a multiethnic and multi-religious country is an asset they are willing to share with the other OSCE members. Elçi Ömer Burhan Tüzel, deputy director of the OSCE arms control and disarmament department at the Turkish Foreign Ministry, stressed that Astana can also play a mediatory role between Russia and the West since it has good relations with both.
Among Kazakhstan's priorities in 2010, Amreyev said the military-security dimension of Eurasian security would top their agenda, but also listed the fight against extremism and terrorism as well as problems related to the environment and transportation. Taking the floor at the workshop, governing Justice and Development Party İstanbul deputy Nevzat Yalçıntaş commended Kazakhstan's success on holding the OSCE chairmanship and said it should also fight against the rising Islamophobia in the West.
27 February 2010, Saturday
MUSTAFA EDIP YILMAZ İSTANBUL