The government of Turkmenistan, which declared its independence after the end of the Cold War, shaped its foreign policy through the status of “Permanent Neutrality.” On the contrary to the misperception in some circles, this status does not mean to be indifferent to international relations or systemic and regional developments. Ashgabat administration pledged itself to play a role both regionally and globally for the establishment of international peace and tranquility. In this respect, 2021 has been declared “the International Year of Peace and Trust” with the initiatives of the government of Turkmenistan at the United Nations (UN).
Within the scope of the “International Year of Peace and Trust,” which became even more meaningful after 2020 had been such a problematic year in many topics from economy to military matters, especially increasing conflicts and global health issues, the opening ceremony was held at the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan on January 29, 2021. Turkmenistan Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov and representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, members of the Parliament, heads and (or) representatives of international organizations in Turkmenistan, chancellors of universities, representatives of non-governmental organizations, local and foreign press members attended the opening event of the “International Year of Peace and Trust.” Moreover, President of the UN 75th General Assembly, Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), representatives of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, presidents (or) representatives of other international organizations and foreign mass media and think tanks operating in the international field also participated via video conference.
At the opening speech of the event, which Prof. Dr. Mehmet Seyfettin Erol, President of Ankara-based think tank that stands out with its studies on the Asian continent, Ankara Crisis and Political Studies Center (ANKASAM) also participated, UN-Turkmenistan Deputy Permanent Coordinator and UNICEF Turkmenistan Representative Christine Weigand emphasized on the importance of the International Year of Peace and Trust initiated by the President of Turkmenistan in order to maintain peace, stability and mutual understanding among people that is the key to sustainable development. On the other hand, Turkmenistan Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov said, “The leader of the Turkmen nation, who put forward this idea, stated that it has a concrete description and therefore called the international community to strengthen the accepted document with practical content and to enrich it with real actions.” Volkan Bozkır, President of the 75th General Assembly of the United Nations, who participated in the opening speech on behalf of the UN, stated that while emphasizing the timing of the International Year of Peace and Trust, thanking the Government of Turkmenistan for starting it, he also underlined that the need for peace and trust is higher than ever, given the global situation. Bozkır, again, called on the international community to continue cooperation on the path to peace, security and sustainable development through political dialogue and solidarity. In addition to these, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ceyhun Bagramov, Special Representative of the UN Central Asia General Sector Natalya Gherman, UN Turkmenistan Permanent Representative Aksoltan Atayeva, OSCE Ashgabat Center President Natalya Drozd, EİO Secretary General Hadi Süleymanpour and other speakers also emphasized the necessity of strengthening the culture of peace and trust, while thanking Turkmenistan for its efforts in declaring it as the Year of Peace and Trust.
In this period when the international system witnessed constant conflicts and chaos, this initiative, which Turkmenistan started by focusing on the elements of peace and tranquility necessary for the establishment of global peace, security, stability and prosperity, was welcomed and deemed admirable both by the states and the public at the international level. In this regard, it should be underlined the fact that the presidents or representatives of many international organizations and institutions, especially the UN, politicians, international think tanks, non-governmental organizations and the press attending the opening ceremony shows the importance of this event. While comprehensive participation is an indicator of the need for peace and tranquility in the international system, it also reveals that this initiative of the State of Turkmenistan is internationally approved and supported.
Being the founder of “the International Year of Peace and Trust” i.e. peace could only be possible through trust; Turkmenistan has been the island of stability in the region and has tried to contribute to regional geopolitics for world peace with its permanent neutral status. Today, Turkmenistan, the candidate of peace ambassador in Asian geopolitics which became center of attention and global competition, and its efforts are also supported by Turkey clearly. One of the distinctive indications that Ankara is always an ally was the fact that diplomats both from Turkey and from international organizations attended the opening ceremony. This support manifests itself in the development of various international initiatives based on common values, beyond just gathering representatives due to diplomatic relations.
As a result, Turkmenistan’s efforts to establish lasting and sustainable peace in Afghanistan and internationally, which Turkish decision makers have always supported, its endeavors to “the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process” launched by Turkey and its active participation in both the cooperation between the Central Asian countries and the dialogue processes carried out by the Central Asian countries with non-regional governments and international organizations are remarkable. Thus, it should be stated that the decision makers of Turkmenistan, who have contributed positively to overcome systemic problems before they turn into crisis or conflict, to establish an international peace environment and increase global welfare accordingly, deserve praise. Finally, the government of Turkmenistan, which contributes peacefully to the solution of regional problems with the relations based on trust and dialogue it has built in its close environment, clearly demonstrates that it will continue this mission and understanding effectively in international problems.