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International relations

Turkey's Central Asia tug-of-war with Russia intensifies

China and US also active in pursuing resources and regional clout

An Azerbaijani flag on an oil platform in the Caspian Sea: Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan reached a deal in January to jointly develop a Caspian Sea oil field.

MOSCOW -- Turkey and Russia have escalated their competing quests for influence among the resource-rich former Soviet states of Central Asia, a complex geopolitical region that has also drawn the attention of China and the U.S.

In a virtual summit late last month of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States, also known as the Turkic Council, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan argued for formally upgrading the group to an international organization, citing its "significant international prestige."

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