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Asian Nations: Turkey Key to Solving Regional Problems

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Asian Parliamentary Assembly attendees talk about Turkey's upcoming 2-year presidency.

Asian nations underlined Turkey's on-the-ground influence, saying it was a key member of the Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) in tackling the challenges the group faces.

The parliament members spoke to the Anadolu Agency on the occasion of the 10th plenary session of the APA, held between Tuesday and Thursday in Istanbul under the theme "Sustaining Peace and Development in Asia".

Turkey takes the presidency of the APA, which represents lawmakers from 42 Asian states, this year.

According to Stepan Zhiryakov, member of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, Turkey and especially Istanbul, is an ideal place to discuss the topic of peace and prosperity in Asia.

"First of all, Turkey is one of the centers of Asia and we all know very well that the 21st century is the century of Asia. So I would like to say that the choice of the venue is really correct and to the point," he said.

But, Zhiryakov said, the country was also very close to another center, the center of a crisis, that of Syria and the presence of Daesh.

"So that somehow gives an additional emphasis to the choice of Turkey and Istanbul as the venue and the president of APA," he said.

'Peace and prosperity in region'

Emphasizing the good relations between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, Zhiryakov said these will definitely lead to eliminating the crisis in Syria.

"And I am sure that the efforts of both presidents will enable peace and prosperity in the region," he added.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating civil war that began in early 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the fighting and more than 10 million displaced, according to claims by the UN.

Turkey's official figures show that the country has spent more than $25 billion from its own national resources for hosting more than 3 millions refugees since the beginning of the conflict.

Supporting Turkey's APA presidency handed over by Cambodia, Zhiryakov said:

"It will not be an exaggeration to say that the Turkish role in the APA and in all of Asia is really vast, significant and crucial.

"And I am absolutely confident that during these two years of Turkish presidency in the APA, Turkey will be able to help us all in the right direction and I am totally satisfied with the choice and wish all the best and success for the coming two years," Zhiryakov added.

'Turkey has an influence on the region'

Speaking to the agency, Darkhan Kaletayev, head of the Kazakh parliament delegation, said lawmakers were of great importance for the future of countries, and their role was increasing every day.

"When the parliaments of Asian countries come together, they show the unity of Asia. It means that everyone is working to find a solution to the problems like in Syria and Myanmar," Kaletayev said.

Regarding the efforts made by the Kazakh government in attempting to solve regional conflicts, Kaletayev recalled that the country's capital Astana had hosted Syria peace talks launched in January.

"Kazakhstan seeks peace and security as we decided to renounce nuclear weapons in 1991. It is an important step," he said.

Praising Turkey and its role, Kaletayev said the assembly presented an opportunity to reach more countries and more leaders to achieve peace and prosperity.

"And the Turkish presidency matters a lot. Because Turkey is a brother country for us. We will support Turkey as it is strong and has an influence on the region," Kaletayev added.

Sibel Siber, speaker of the Republican Assembly of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, also said the occasion was an opportunity for her country and its parliament to be represented in an international meeting.

"We are long struggling with Turkey to represent our parliament in the parliamentary union meetings. We attended the meeting on an invitation of Turkish Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman during Turkey's presidency," Siber said.

The country also has an observer status in the Parliamentary Union of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

"We always underline that the way to reach peace in the world goes through the dialogue between parliamentarians," Siber said, adding that face-to-face dialogue between countries is always constructive.

"We hereby want our parliament to be represented at these parliamentary meetings and we regard it as a democratic right," she added.

She said Turkey supported the Northern Cyprus on this issue at each platform. "This issue is always expressed in all parliamentary meetings Turkey attends. It is a process, I believe that we will be able to achieve this."

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