Talk:Central Asia

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 Definition A geographic area with many definitions, one common one based on the newly independent, predominantly Muslim republics of the former Soviet Union [d] [e]
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 Workgroup category Geography [Editors asked to check categories]
 Subgroup category:  Asia
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I don't like the current definition. It includes only four countries in the main definition. I think there are six.

Wikipedia has long complex ambiguous explanation. I think we can do better, but we haven't yet.

Wikitravel says "The official Soviet (and UN) definition is: Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan & Uzbekistan". However, not being an encyclopedia, WT don't give citations.

A UN map is at It shows the last five above. UN office on drugs & crime lists the same five.

There's a group of states, the last five above, that are both Central Asian and former Soviet Republics. I cannot see why any definition of Central Asia would exclude any of them, but our current text makes Kyrgyzstan an optional extra, and WP cites a Russian term that excludes Kazakhstan.

As I see it, Af has to be added; it is more central Asian in culture and history than anything else. I'd say WT have it right.

A UN organisation for Central Asia is at Seven members: the six above plus Azerbaijan. But if A is to be included, why not Georgia, Armenia, etc? I'd say the Caucasus is a different region.

We need to say something about areas culturally related to Central Asia.

Iran is arguably part of the region. Marco Polo calls the city of Bokhara "the best in all Persia" It is now in Uzbekistan. He also refers to Balkh (now in Afghanistan) as a Persian city.

Xinjiang is a Chinese province, but the independence advocates call it East Turkestan. Ethinically they are mostly Uighur. Culturally they are Central Asian, Moslems speaking a language related to Turkish and some Central Asian languages.

Mongolia? The Pushtu areas of Pakistan? Parts of Russia?

Let me explain the purpose of putting up what was initially a stub; perhaps this initially should have been on the talk page at creation. It was intended as a top-level indexing node to be a parent topic for various country article, which, for example, has been very necessary for Southeast Asia.
I do not believe there is a single authoritative definition of the countries of the area; it is reasonable to cite several. This was, indeed, a starting stub done for a specific purpose. It was not started as a discussion of the politics of the region; you certainly can start a subsection or article on that, but I'd appreciate the list of countries being kept as a focus at the beginning.
Marco Polo is good background, but there is a simple need to have a list of countries commonly used, in the literature of political geography and geopolitics, for a given area. A linguistic perspective gives a different list; a list of independence movements, if nothing else, breaks the model that was intended — a list of countries.
Please feel free to add subject sections or spawn articles from this. I ask only that, even if the article title needs renaming, that the lede reflect an intention that this is intended as an aid to indexing countries. My experience is more with Southeast Asia, where many of the nations have existed for some time, and often have convenient boundaries of water, rather than adjacent ethnic areas.
Would you prefer that this and Southeast Asia be renamed something like Central Asia, geography and political boundaries? Howard C. Berkowitz 18:15, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

I rewrote it. Comments? Sandy Harris 07:56, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Added subheads; consider format for other regions

I added some tentative structure in headings, although ethnic and linguistic certainly need buildout and might be appropriate for separatist movements. The structure here might well port to Southeast Asia, extending that article and connecting it to regional alliances such as ASEAN.

I did convert an external reference to inline.

Nice work. The challenge, I think, is making this level of article an overview, with a strong Related Articles subsection (perhaps {{main}} templates under the subheads). Most basic, of course, is a definition of the region. Different alliances overlap more-or-less geographic groupings (e.g., "the Americas", "North America", "Central America", "Latin America" vs. NAFTA, CAFTA, OAS, etc.) Howard C. Berkowitz 13:10, 15 February 2009 (UTC)