Foreign relations of Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan's declaration of "permanent neutrality" was formally recognized by the United Nations in 1995. Former President Niyazov stated that the neutrality would prevent Turkmenistan from participating in multi-national defense organizations, but allows military assistance. Its neutral foreign policy has an important place in the country's constitution. Although the Government of Turkmenistan claims to favour trade with and export to the United States and Turkey, it has significant commercial relationships with Russia and Iran and a growing cross-border trade with Afghanistan. The Government of Turkmenistan often appears to be trying to use the conflicting interests of these regional powers as a means to extract concessions from the others, especially on energy issues.
Caspian Sea boundaries are not yet determined with Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Iran. Turkmenistan has no common land or Caspian Sea border with Russia. Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have a dispute over water-sharing. Also, Narcotics from Afghanistan pass through the country on their way to Russian and European markets. Issues between Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan were settled in 2003. Problems remain also between Iran and Azerbaijan.
Following the death of President Saparmurat Niyazov in December 2006, there has been much speculation and uncertainty regarding the fate of Turkmenistan's natural resources. Turkmenistan is rich in natural gas, and currently sells most of its gas to Russia and Ukraine. However, the recent change of regime has raised questions that perhaps in a new political climate the People's Republic of China, India, Iran and the United States could start to play a more prominent role.
Turkmenistan is a partner country of the EU INOGATE energy programme, which has four key topics: enhancing energy security, convergence of member state energy markets on the basis of EU internal energy market principles, supporting sustainable energy development, and attracting investment for energy projects of common and regional interest.
Turkmenistan is a member of the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Economic Cooperation Organization, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Islamic Development Bank, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Food and Agriculture Organization.
A great deal of potential has always existed in Afghanistan-Turkmenistan relations. Turkmenistan has the fourth largest gas reserves and has been actively on the lookout to build transportation routes to large markets and the route through Afghanistan has been the most feasible and economical. The rise of India as an economic giant and its increasing energy needs make Turkmenistan and Central Asia energy markets of choice for that country and also China. The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline (TAPI) has been one of the most important regional initiatives to be undertaken by these regional countries. The agreement to build the pipeline to transport Turkmen gas to Afghanistan and Pakistan and thereafter to India was signed in 2010.
In addition, Afghanistan depends on Turkmenistan for meeting a large part of the country's electricity needs. At present, Afghanistan imports more than 320 million kilowatt hours of electricity every year from Turkmenistan.
In 2011, Turkmenistan agreed to build a 150-km extension to a railway line which will connect the eastern part of Turkmenistan to Andkhoi border town in Faryab province of Afghanistan.
As of 1 April 2011, there were 44 enterprises with Afghan assets in Turkmenistan.
Iran and Turkmenistan have had relations since Turkmenistan's independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Iran was the first nation to recognize Turkmenistan as an independent nation. Since then, the two countries have enjoyed good relations and have cooperated in economic, infrastructure, and energy sectors. Trade between the two nations surpasses one billion dollars and Iranians are the second-largest buyers of Turkmen commodities, mainly natural gas. The $139 million Korpeje-Kurt Kui gas pipeline in western Turkmenistan and the $167 million Dousti (Friendship in Persian) Dam in the south of the country were built through a joint venture.
The Caspian Sea territorial boundaries is a cause of tension between the two. Iran's Islamic theocracy and Turkmenistan's secular dictatorship also prevent the development of a closer friendship.
Rest of world
- Formal relations were established in 1992
- Armenia has an embassy in Ashgabat.
- Turkmenistan has an embassy in Yerevan.
- Both countries are full members of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
- There are between 30,000 and 44,000 people of Armenian descent living in Turkmenistan.
- Formal relations were established in 1992
- Belarus has an embassy in Ashgabat.
- Turkmenistan has an embassy in Minsk.
- Formal relations were established in 1992-05-10
- Pakistan was one of the first countries to recognise the independence of Turkmenistan in December 1991. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Turkmenistan's independence in 2001 Pakistan issued stamps bearing the flag of Turkmenistan.
- Russia has an embassy in Ashgabat and a consulate-general in Türkmenbaşy.
- Turkmenistan has an embassy in Moscow.
Recently, Russian-Turkmenistan relations have revolved around Russia's efforts to secure natural gas export deals from Turkmenistan. Russia is competing with China, the European Union, India and the United States for access to Turkmenistan's rich supply of hydrocarbons. The two countries often lock horns over price negotiations for gas exports to Russia. Turkmen president Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow has agreed to help supply and expand the Russian-backed Pricaspiysky pipeline, however no action has yet occurred towards this goal.
The United States and Turkmenistan continue to disagree about the latter country's path toward democratic and economic reform. The United States has publicly advocated industrial privatization, market liberalization, and fiscal reform, as well as legal and regulatory reforms to open up the economy to foreign trade and investment, as the best way to achieve prosperity and true independence and sovereignty. The U.S. Embassy, USAID, and the Peace Corps are located in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
Diplomatic relations were established on March 6, 1992 signing of the Protocol. In France, have the Embassy of Turkmenistan, in Ashgabat have The Embassy of France. The French construction company «Bouygues», the company is the second largest in Turkmenistan signed contracts for the construction of buildings. French company «Thales Alenia Space» construction of the first space satellite Turkmen Sat.
- INOGATE website
- Belarusian embassy in Ashgabat (in Russian only)
- 10th Anniversary of Independence of Turkmenistan
- Russian Embassy in Turkmenistan (Russian)
- Turkmenistan Embassy in Russia (Russian)
- Associated Press (2008-07-04). "Russian president in Turkmenistan to consolidate Kremlin's grip on Central Asian energy". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
- Blagov, Sergei (2008-12-30). "Russia faces a collapse of its economic and political clout". Eurasianet. Retrieved 2008-04-16.
- Trilling, David (2009-04-15). "Pipeline spat with the Kremlin turns into a political test of strength". Eurasianet. Retrieved 2008-04-16.
- Blank, Stephen (2008-07-02). "Russian president strives for a breakthrough moment in Caspian basin energy game". Eurasianet. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
- Turkmenistan closes border with Uzbekistan
- "Potential gas customers line up to welcome new Turkmen leader", Eurasia Daily Monitor
- China's ambassador to Turkmenistan, Lu Guisheng, comments on bilateral cooperation
- Turkmenistan Foreign Policy in Nations Encyclopedia