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Turkey top diplomat to visit Uzbekistan for first time in 13 years

Published on Jul 9, 2014 12:27 AM

ANKARA (AFP) - Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Tuesday he would visit the Central Asian state of Uzbekistan this week, the first such trip by the top Turkish diplomat in 13 years amid efforts to improve troubled relations.

"Uzbekistan is a friendly and brotherly country at the heart of Central Asia," Mr Davutoglu, who will begin his visit on Thursday, told reporters in Ankara.

Turkey was the first country to recognise in 1991 the independence of Uzbekistan, a fellow overwhelmingly Turkic-speaking nation and the most populous state in ex-Soviet Central Asia.

But relations with Uzbekistan took a nosedive in 2005, when Uzbek troops killed hundreds of demonstrators in the town of Andijan, provoking an international outcry.

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