Foreign relations of Turkmenistan

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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, its single largest commercial partner is China, which buys the vast bulk of Turkmen natural gas via the Central Asia–China gas pipeline. Turkmenistan has significant commercial relationships with Russia and Iran and growing cross-border trade with Afghanistan. The Government of Turkmenistan often appears to use the conflicting interests of these regional powers as a means to extract concessions, especially on energy issues.

Contents

International disputes

Signing of the Caspian Sea convention in 2018 brought only partial resolution of boundary disputes in the Caspian. Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have disputes over water-sharing. Turkmenistan shares a long border with Afghanistan, a principle producer of heroin and opium. As a result, a large volume of narcotics are trafficked through Turkmenistan on their way to lucrative markets in Europe and Russia. [1]

Natural resources

Turkmenistan is rich in natural gas, and currently sells most of its gas to China. Turkmenistan unilaterally cut off exports of pipeline natural gas to Iran in 2017 over a payment arrears dispute. Russia ceased buying gas from Turkmenistan in 2016, but resumed small purchases of pipeline gas in 2019. Afghanistan buys liquid petroleum gas, shipped by rail to Ymamnazar and Torghundi for onward delivery by truck.

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. [2]

Organisations

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, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the International Organization of Turkic Culture.

Turkmenistan maintains permanent representatives to the United Nations offices in New York City, Vienna, and Geneva.

The United Nations maintains a permanent representation staffed by a resident coordinator along with representatives of some UN agencies in Ashgabat. The Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and European Union have missions in Ashgabat, as well.

Bilateral relations

CountryFormal Relations BeganNotes
Flag of Afghanistan.svg  Afghanistan 21 February 1992

Afghanistan has an embassy in Ashgabat and a consulate in Mary. Turkmenistan has an embassy in Kabul plus consulates in Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif. [3] [4] 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 countries. The agreement to build the pipeline to transport Turkmen gas to Afghanistan and Pakistan and beyond 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 to connect the rail line to Serhetabat to Andkhoy in Faryab province, Afghanistan. In February 2018, the existing rail line between Serhetabat and Torghundi in Afghanistan was restored to service. [5] [6] This line is planned to be extended to Herat, where it could potentially connect to a rail line under construction from Khaf, Iran. [7] The line to Andkhoy went into service in January 2021.

In 2013, work began on a link from Kerki via Ymamnazar on the Turkmen-Afghan border to Aqina in Andkhoy District. This link was opened in November 2016. [8] It was extended 38 km to Andkhoy in January 2021, [9] and is intended eventually to become part of a railway corridor through northern Afghanistan, linking it via Sherkhan Bandar, Mazar-i-Sharif and Kunduz to Tajikistan.

As of 1 April 2011, there were 44 enterprises with Afghan assets in Turkmenistan.

Flag of Albania.svg  Albania 24 March 1994

Both countries established diplomatic relations on March 24, 1994. [10]

Flag of Armenia.svg  Armenia 9 October 1992See Armenia–Turkmenistan relations
Flag of Austria.svg  Austria 16 October 1992See Austria–Turkmenistan relations

Turkmenistan has an embassy in Vienna, which doubles as the permanent mission to United Nations agencies in Vienna.

Flag of Azerbaijan.svg  Azerbaijan 9 June 1992

The two countries have embassies in each other's capitals. Despite close linguistic affinities (Turkmen and Azerbaijani are about 65 percent mutually intelligible), Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan suffer from a strained relationship, in part because Turkmenistan is majority Sunni and Azerbaijan is majority Shi'a. Nonetheless the two countries have begun to cooperate more in commercial spheres, most notably with signing of a memorandum in 2020 on joint exploitation of the cross-boundary Serdar oil field in the Caspian.

Flag of Belarus.svg  Belarus 21 January 1993See Belarus–Turkmenistan relations
  • Formal relations were established in 1993
  • Belarus has an embassy in Ashgabat.
  • Turkmenistan has an embassy in Minsk.

Roughly 12,000 to 13,000 Turkmen university students are matriculated annually in Belarusian institutions of higher education.

Flag of Belize.svg  Belize 11 September 1996

The countries established diplomatic relations on 11 September 1996. [11]

Flag of Cambodia.svg  Cambodia 6 April 1995

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 6 April 1995.

Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China 6 January 1992

The two countries have embassies in each other's capitals. The relationship is dominated by China's position as the largest importer by far of natural gas from Turkmenistan, making China Turkmenistan's largest source of foreign exchange earnings. China offers free higher education to several hundred Turkmen students each year.

Flag of Croatia.svg  Croatia 2 July 1996See Croatia–Turkmenistan relations [11]
Flag of Djibouti.svg  Djibouti 4 July 2017

The countries established diplomatic relations on July 4, 2017. [10]

Flag of Dominica.svg  Dominica 13 October 2016

Both countries established diplomatic relations on October 13, 2016. [12]

Flag of France.svg  France 6 March 1992See France–Turkmenistan relations

Diplomatic relations were established with the March 6, 1992 signing of the Protocol. Turkmenistan has an embassy in Paris and France has an embassy in Ashgabat. The French construction company Bouygues, the second-largest in Turkmenistan, has signed many construction contracts. The French company Thales Alenia Space constructed the first space satellite TürkmenÄlem 52°E / MonacoSAT.

Flag of Georgia.svg  Georgia 8 July 1992

Georgia has an embassy in Ashgabat, and Turkmenistan has an embassy in Tbilisi. [4] [3] [13]

Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 6 March 1992

The two countries have embassies in each other's capitals. Two German banks, Deutsche and Commerz, have offices in Ashgabat, since much of Turkmenistan's foreign exchange accounts are held in those two German banks. Such German firms as Siemens and Claas have made significant sales of medical and agricultural equipment, respectively, to Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan Air offers scheduled service to Frankfurt.

Flag of Guyana.svg  Guyana 11 June 1997

Both countries established diplomatic relations on June 11, 1997. [10]

Flag of the Vatican City.svg   Holy See 10 July 1996

The Vatican maintains a nunciature in Ashgabat, although the nuncio is resident in Ankara. The Turkmen ambassador in Rome is multiple-accredited, including to the Holy See.

Flag of Iceland.svg  Iceland 13 February 1997

Both countries established diplomatic relations on February 13, 1997. [10]

Flag of India.svg  India 20 April 1992

India and Turkmenistan have embassies in each other's capitals. Turkmenistan Airlines operates flights between Ashgabat and both New Delhi and Amritsar, which connect in Ashgabat to flights to London and Birmingham. India is a destination for medical tourism by middle-class Turkmen. To some degree the relationship is framed by Turkmenistan's desire to export natural gas to India via the Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India Pipeline.

Flag of Iran.svg  Iran 18 February 1992See Iran–Turkmenistan relations

Iran and Turkmenistan have had relations since Turkmenistan's independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Iran has an embassy in Ashgabat and a consulate in Mary. Turkmenistan has an embassy in Teheran and a consulate in Mashhad. [4] Iran was the second nation to recognize Turkmenistan as an independent nation. [3] Since then, the two countries have cooperated in the economic, infrastructure, and energy sectors. The $139 million Korpeje-Kurt Kui gas pipeline in western Turkmenistan and the $167 million Dostluk ("friendship" in Turkmen) Dam in the south of the country were built through a joint venture. The Caspian Sea territorial boundaries are a cause of tension between the two. Iran's Islamic theocracy and Turkmenistan's secular dictatorship also prevent the development of a closer friendship.

Flag of Israel.svg  Israel 8 October 1993

Israel has an embassy in Ashgabat.

Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 9 June 1992

Italy and Turkmenistan have embassies in each other's capitals. The Turkmen ambassador in Rome is also accredited to the United Nations agencies there, and to the Holy See. The relationship is dominated by the presence of Italian petroleum firm Eni, which operates oil wells in the Caspian Sea under a production sharing agreement.

Flag of Japan.svg  Japan 22 April 1992

Diplomatic relations between Japan and Turkmenistan were established in April 1992. Japan opened an embassy at Ashgabat in January 2005, and Turkmenistan opened an embassy in Tokyo in May 2013. [14] Japan is heavily involved in operation of the Oguz Han Engineering Technology University in Ashgabat. The Japan Bank for International Cooperation has financed several major industrial projects in Turkmenistan, including plants constructed with participation of Kawasaki and Sumitomo.

Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan 5 October 1992
  • Kazakhstan has an embassy in Ashgabat and a consulate in Turkmenbashy.
  • Turkmenistan has an embassy in Nur-Sultan and a consulate in Aktau.
Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg  Kyrgyzstan 5 October 1992

The two countries have embassies in each other's capitals.

Flag of Libya.svg  Libya 8 December 1992

Libya maintains an economic and commercial office rather than an embassy in Ashgabat.

Flag of Malaysia.svg  Malaysia 17 May 1992

Turkmen-Malaysian relations mainly revolve around the work of the Malaysian state petroleum corporation, Petronas, which extracts petroleum condensate in the Caspian Sea. Turkmenistan Airlines offers scheduled service between Ashgabat and Kuala Lumpur.

Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico 27 March 1992
  • Mexico is accredited to Turkmenistan from its embassy in Ankara, Turkey.
  • Turkmenistan is accredited to Mexico from its embassy in Washington, D.C., United States.
Flag of North Macedonia.svg  North Macedonia 21 June 1996

The countries established diplomatic relations on June 21, 1996. [10]

Flag of Pakistan.svg  Pakistan 10 May 1992See Pakistan–Turkmenistan relations
  • Formal relations were established on May 10, 1992. The countries have embassies in each other's capitals.
  • To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Turkmenistan's independence in 2001 Pakistan issued stamps bearing the flag of Turkmenistan. [15]
Flag of Palestine.svg  Palestine 17 April 1992
  • Palestine has an embassy in Ashgabat.
Flag of Qatar.svg  Qatar 22 November 1996

Qatar has an embassy in Ashgabat. Turkmenistan has no permanent diplomatic representation in Doha.

Flag of Romania.svg  Romania 21 July 1992

The two countries have embassies in each other's capitals. Romania's primary interest is development of the Lapis Lazuli corridor, which would use Romanian seaports on the Black Sea.

Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 8 April 1992See Russia–Turkmenistan relations
Flag of Saudi Arabia.svg  Saudi Arabia 22 February 1992 [11]

Saudi Arabia has an embassy in Ashgabat, and Turkmenistan has an embassy in Riyadh.

Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea 7 February 1992

Diplomatic relations were established on February 7, 1992. The countries have embassies in each other's capitals. [3] [4] South Korean firms such as Hyundai and LG have won major contracts for building industrial plants.

Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 19 March 1992See Spain–Turkmenistan relations
Flag of Suriname.svg  Suriname 25 June 1999

The countries established diplomatic relations on June 25, 1999. [11]

Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 10 April 1992 [11]
Flag of Switzerland.svg   Switzerland 13 July 1992

Turkmenistan maintains a diplomatic mission in Geneva, which doubles as its embassy to Switzerland and is permanent representative to United Nations agencies in Geneva as well as to the World Trade Organization. The Swiss ambassador in Baku is accredited to Turkmenistan.

Flag of Tajikistan.svg  Tajikistan 27 January 1993 [11]

The two countries have embassies in each other's capitals.

Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey 29 February 1992 [18] [11] See Turkey–Turkmenistan relations
Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine 10 October 1992

Ukraine and Turkmenistan have embassies in each other's capitals. [3] [4] Ukrainian companies have been involved in major construction projects, including the rail and automobile bridges across the Amu Darya at Türkmenabat.

Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg  United Arab Emirates 10 October 1995

The countries have embassies in each other's capitals. In addition, Turkmenistan has a consulate in Dubai. The Emirates are a major entrepot for imports of foodstuffs and consumer items into Turkmenistan. In addition, one of three oil-drilling concessions in the Caspian Sea is held by Dragon Oil, which is wholly owned by the Emirates National Oil Company. The international office of Turkmenistan's TAPI Pipeline Company is in Dubai.

Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 23 January 1992
  • The United Kingdom has an embassy in Ashgabat. [20]
  • Turkmenistan has an embassy in London. [21]
Flag of the United States.svg  United States 10 April 1992See Turkmenistan–United States relations

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 and agricultural 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.

Flag of Uzbekistan.svg  Uzbekistan 7 February 1993See Turkmenistan–Uzbekistan relations
  • Turkmenistan has an embassy in Tashkent.
  • Uzbekistan has an embassy in Ashgabat.
Flag of Venezuela.svg  Venezuela 30 April 1996 [11]
  • Venezuela briefly opened an embassy in Ashgabat following a state visit by Hugo Chavez, but the staff returned to Teheran after six months. A chancery is located in Ashgabat, but the bilateral relationship is managed by the Venezuelan embassy in Iran.
Flag of Zimbabwe.svg  Zimbabwe 22 March 1999

Both countries established diplomatic relations on March 22, 1999. [10]

See also

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