By Natalia Konarzewska
March 10, 2023
Isolated but natural gas-rich Turkmenistan has recently become a subject of geopolitical competition owing to the energy crisis in Europe and Western energy sanctions imposed on Russia as a consequence of its invasion of Ukraine. During a mid-December 2022 tripartite meeting in Turkmenistan between the presidents of Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan sought to make the case for Ashgabat to join the Organization of Turkic States and to start exporting its gas via the Caspian Sea and Turkey to Europe. Turkmenistan, however, prefers to remain neutral and maintain positive relations with Moscow, which would be at risk if the country decided to export its gas to Turkey bypassing Russia. Moreover, Russia’s plans to divert its trade and gas export routes towards Asian markets potentially offers a prominent role for Turkmenistan.
By Vali Kaleji
January 17, 2023
Recent agreements between Tehran and Moscow on an oil-gas swap is another sign of Russia’s turn towards Asian oil and gas markets and closer relations between the two countries in light of Russia’s war in Ukraine. If these agreements are finalized, Iran will import 20 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas from Russia annually. Since Iran and Russia do not have a common land border, gas must be swapped from two routes, namely Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan in Central Asia and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus.
By S. Frederick Starr
December 2, 2022
In recent months Turkmenistan has emerged from its self-imposed shell. Under its new president, Serdar Berdimuhamedov, it has launched a very active, though still cautious, foreign policy. While reaffirming its neutral status, which the UN recognized in 1995, it has intensified its relations with all the global powers and, significantly, with its neighbors as well. Both the U.S. and EU have applauded these initiatives and the new president’s strategic concept that underlies them. However, events unfold, Turkmenistan has decisively lifted its head, and will henceforth be a significant factor in regional and continental affairs and not simply a perplexing outlier.
By Slavomír Horák
February 15, 2022, the CACI Analyst
Turkmenistan's Halk Maslahaty extraordinary session, scheduled for February 11, 2022, was expected with great expectations within the Turkmenistan expert community. Unlike formal and ritual phrases usually accompanying the event, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow's rhetoric differed in this case. The proclaimed adoption of the strategy for the next 30 years was connected with the new leader, expectedly his son Serdar Berdimuhamedow. The Halk Maslahaty announced an extraordinary presidential elections for March 12, 2022, yet another step in the power transition in Turkmenistan. However, several external and internal as well as long- and short-term factors determined the timing of the transition. At the same time, the transition will not be fully accomplished as the current president does not fully step back from power.
By Robert M. Cutler
March 12, 2021, the CACI Analyst
For over twenty years, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan have been at odds over the mid-Caspian oil and gas field that the former called “Kepez” (often rendered “Kyapaz” from the Russian) and that the latter called “Sardar.” In late 2020, they agreed to rename it Dostlug/Dostluk, meaning “Friendship” in their Turkic languages. On January 21, they signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreeing on the terms for their joint exploration and development of the field. This agreement removes the last obstacle to the construction of the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TCGP).
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.