"Our region which has been the centre of trade for thousands of years among three continents has to return to its glorious days again," he said during his speech in an Ottoman palace on the European shore of the Bosphorus, overlooking the Asian side.
U.S. and Western allies have praised Turkey's role in exporting democracy and economic prosperity in the region, but some allies are concerned the Muslim NATO member might be undermining international efforts to isolate Iran.
ECO promotes regional trade and economic development and its members are Afghanistan Azerbaijan Iran, Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Pakistan Tajikistan Turkmenistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - By Ibon Villelabeitia and Tulay Karadeniz
(Additional reporting by Jon Hemming in London; Editing by Jon Hemming)