Turkmenistan: From the Accumulation of the Past to the Dynamism of Youth

Similar Posts

This post is also available in: Türkçe Русский

According to the information reported by the Turkmenistan State News Agency on March 14, 2022, the early elections held on March 12, 2022, resulted in the victory of Mr. Serdar Gurbangulyyevich Berdimuhamedov, who received 72.97% of the votes, and thus the Turkmenistan Democratic Party.[1] This victory means the rejuvenation of Turkmen politics and Turkmenistan taking its place in the international arena as a dynamic state. In this sense, Turkmenistan will continue on its way within the framework of a visionary approach that synthesizes the dynamism of the youth with thousands of years of historical culture and more than thirty years of independence experience.

In his speech during the 9th Extraordinary Congress of the Turkmenistan Democratic Party, where he announced his candidacy, he said, “If I am elected President; I assure you that I will run for our country based on the legacy and principles of our ancestors and will work for our people making no concessions of my talents.”[2] saying that, Mr. Serdar Berdimuhamedov actually revealed the road map of the new era.

This roadmap is based on the envisagement of creating a dynamic future by utilizing the experiences of the past, especially in the period of Mr. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. The aforementioned future vision means that Turkmenistan will continue its cooperative, multifaceted and constructive relations within the framework of the “Permanent Neutrality Status” and includes the goal of creating a prosperous society.

As a matter of fact, after the announcement of the election results, Mr. Serdar Berdimuhamedov received congratulatory calls from the President of Uzbekistan, Mr. Şevket Mirziyoyev, the President of Kazakhstan, Mr. Kasım Cömert Tokayev, and the President of Tajikistan, Mr. Imamali Rahman, and told his colleagues that Turkmenistan will develop cooperation with the states of the region and stated that his country will continue to exhibit an approach based on mutual interests through projects in line with a perspective based on multidimensional relations.[3]

At this point, it should be stated that it is very valuable that Mr. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov paved the way for the rejuvenation of politics at a time when he was healthy by showing great democratic maturity. The Turkmen people and their will thus gave the message that they wanted to take part in the process of building a new world order dominated by uncertainties. This message emerges as a historical decision in Turkmenistan after the permanent neutrality decision.

The transformation in question will be led by Serdar Berdimuhamedov, whom the Turkmen people consider worthy of the title “Son of the Nation”. The Turkmen people’s definition of Serdar Berdimuhamedov as the “Son of the Nation” and the fact that they elected him to the Presidency with the votes on March 12, 2022, reflects the confidence created by his state administration experiences and education in the context of domestic and foreign policy.

Who is Serdar Berdimuhamedov?

Mr. Serdar Berdimuhamedov is a person who has worked at almost all levels of the state, gained significant experience on the way to the Presidency, and achieved important success in his duties. Mr. Serdar Berdimuhamedov has gained different perspectives and gained various experiences by taking a multidisciplinary education life. Serdar Berdimuhamedov, who graduated from the Turkmen Faculty of Agriculture as an engineer in 2001, received his education at the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Russia in 2011, thus being awarded the title of International Relations Specialist.

In this context, Serdar Berdimuhamedov, who served as a consultant at the Russian Embassy of Turkmenistan between 2008 and 2011, served as a consultant at the Permanent Representation of Turkmenistan to the United Nations (UN) between 2011 and 2013. Serdar Berdimuhamedov, who also worked as the Head of the European Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan between August and December 2013, also received training at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy during this period.[4]

Serdar Berdimuhamedov, who gained a master’s degree in 2014 and a doctorate degree in 2015 in the field of Technical Sciences, worked as the Deputy Director of the Turkmenistan State Agency on Management and Use of Hydrocarbon Resources in 2016.

Serdar Berdimuhamedov, who served as the Head of the International Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs between 2016 and 2017, was elected as a deputy in November 2016 and chaired the Legislation and Norms Committee in the parliament.

Mr. Serdar Berdimuhamedov was re-elected to the Turkmenistan Assembly in March 2018, receiving more than 90% of the votes in his region. Afterward, he first became the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and then was appointed as the Governor of Turkmenistan’s Ahal Province in 2019. He was also awarded the “Patriotism Award” in 2019.

It is known that Mr. Serdar Berdimuhamedov became the Minister of Industry and Urbanization in February 2020. He also served as the person responsible for reforming the country’s digitalization and technology breakthroughs. Thus, he became the Head of the Turkmen-Japanese, Turkmen-Russian and Turkmen-Chinese International Government Cooperation Desk.

Ultimately, Mr. Serdar Berdimuhamedov, who was appointed as the Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers in February 2021, has become one of the most reliable figures in the country’s politics thanks to his performance in his duties. As a result of this whole process, he became the President of Turkmenistan as of the results announced on March 14, 2022.

The Era of Serdar Berdimuhamedov in Turkmenistan: How future will be shaped?

It is possible to understand the answer to the question of what kind of future vision Turkmenistan has adopted from the statements of Mr. Serdar Berdimuhamedov. Because Mr. President of Turkmenistan has promised to continue to adhere to the policies of neutrality and to further develop the policies of his predecessors in order to transform the country into a prosperous nation.[5]

In this context, it can be said that the Turkmen leader will continue to work towards two goals. The first of these is to ensure the continuity of the multi-vector foreign policy approach shaped by the ” Permanent Neutrality Status”. The second is the implementation of reforms that will add the dynamism of youth politics to the policies implemented to increase the welfare of the Turkmen people.

What Kind of Foreign Policy?

Located in Eurasia, which is the central playing field of the global power struggle and in this context, the “New Great Game”, Turkmenistan has succeeded in securing its independence and stability through its “Permanent Neutrality Status”. Moreover, Turkmenistan is in the position of a country that can lead to regional stability.

Mr. Serdar Berdimuhamedov, just like his father, will display an active neutrality approach in the resolution of crises at the regional-global level within the framework of an approach that sees dialogue as the guarantee of peace, and with his peaceful policies that have earned the respect of the whole world, people centered, and aims to transform Ashgabat into a mediation center like Helsinki. It can be said that it will continue to take strong steps. The most concrete example of this is observed in the Afghan Question. In this direction, it can be stated that Ashgabat will continue its efforts to transform areas of competition and conflict into cooperation basins through projects such as the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) Pipeline and the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan Power Interconnection Project (TAP). Moreover, considering the diplomatic experience of the Turkmen leader, it will not be surprising that some new projects for cooperation are on the agenda.

As can be expected, the diplomatic experiences of the President of Turkmenistan will facilitate the implementation of the country’s multi-vector foreign policy approach. Because Mr. Serdar Berdimuhamedov has the knowledge to correctly coordinate his country’s four orientations based on Russia, China, the West and the Turkish World.

The fact that Mr. Serdar Berdimuhamedov received education in Russia and served as a consultant at the Russian Embassy in Turkmenistan reveals that he knows this country closely and shows that he will deepen the relations between the two countries on the axis of cooperation based on trust. Considering that Serdar Berdimuhamedov served as the Head of the Turkmen-China International Government Cooperation Desk in the past, it can be said that the relations on the Ashgabat-Beijing line will be conducted on a healthy basis. Turkmenistan on November 12, 2021; when it is considered that Mr. Serdar Berdimuhamedov was included in the Organization of Turkish States with the status of “Observer Member” when he was the Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers, it can be argued that Ashgabat will advance its relations with Turkey and the Turkish World within the framework of economic interests based on mutual respect. Finally, when it is remembered that Mr. Serdar Berdimuhamedov was a consultant to Turkmenistan’s Permanent Mission to the UN, it becomes easy to guess that he had important contacts in the West as well. Therefore, it can be said that Turkmenistan will accelerate its orientation to the West. In this context, Ashgabat can develop cooperation in the export of Turkmen gas to Europe. At the same time, these collaborations include the Central Asia-Caspian Sea-Caucasus-Turkey-Europe route; in other words, it can create a process that is suitable for the interests of all regional states by bringing the Middle Corridor to the fore.

In short, Mr. Serdar Berdimuhamedov, as one of the architects of Turkmenistan’s multi-vector foreign policy, will serve the efforts to build peace at the regional-global level. Respect for the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of states will continue to be the cornerstone of this foreign policy.

What Kind of Domestic Policy?

The ultimate goal of Turkmenistan’s foreign policy is to attract investments in the country as a reflection of constructive relations with other states. In this sense, the aim of domestic politics is to create a society where the people live in prosperity. Referencing from the emphasis of the great Turkmen poet Mahtumkulu Firaki on the unity of the Turkmen, Mr. Serdar Berdimuhamedov will strive to make the Turkmen a nation living together in wealth. In line with this purpose, it can be said that the state staff, who will add the dynamism of the youth to the accumulation of the past, will realize some reform breakthroughs in the liberalization of the economy.

At this point, Mr. Serdar Berdimuhamedov’s role as the person responsible for the reform of digitalization and technology breakthroughs in the past can turn into a great advantage. Under the leadership of Mr. Serdar Berdimuhamedov, Turkmenistan can turn into one of the world’s most substantial technology societies. At this point, it can be easily stated that the experiences of the young Turkmen leader during his time as the Minister of Industry and Urbanization will play a vital role.

As a result, on the occasion of the early elections held on March 12, 2022, Turkmen politics and state staff have become younger and a vision that wants to build the future without rejecting the accumulation of the past has been put forward. This is the sign of Turkmenistan’s multi-vector foreign policy built on the “Permanent Neutrality Status” in foreign policy, and the idea of creating a prosperous society in domestic politics.

[1] “The Results of the Presidential Elections”, The Asia Today,, (Date of Accession: 15.03.2022).

[2] “Türkmenistan Devlet Başkanı Berdimuhamedov’un Oğlu Devlet Başkanlığına Aday Oldu”, TRT Haber,, (Date of Accession: 15.03.2022).

[3] “Türkmenistan cumhurbaşkanı seçilen Serdar Berdimuhamedov’un Aldığı Oy Oranı Açıklandı”, Independent Türkçe,, (Date of Accession: 15.03.2022).

[4] “Газета НТ опубликовала биографию кандидата в депутаты Меджлиса Сердара Бердымухамедова (NT diurna published in vita videlicet quod vicarius est candidatum Mejlis Serdar Berdimuhamedov)”, Hronikatm,, (Date of Accession: 15.03.2021).

[5] “Serdar Berdimuhamedov Succeeds Father as Turkmenistan’s New President”, Anadolu Agency,, (Date of Accession: 16.03.2022).

Prof. Dr. Mehmet Seyfettin EROL
Prof. Dr. Mehmet Seyfettin EROL
Born in 1969, Dörtyol-Hatay, Prof. Dr. Mehmet Seyfettin Erol graduated from Boğaziçi University (BU), Department of Political Science and International Relations in 1993. After completing his master's degree at BU in 1995, Erol was accepted to the PhD program at BU in the same year. After completing his PhD at Ankara University in 2005, Erol became an associate professor in the field of “International Relations” in 2009 and a professor in 2014. Erol worked at the Eurasian Center for Strategic Studies (ASAM) between 2000 and 2006 and and served as the General Coordinator of ASAM for a period. In 2009, he served as also Founding Chairman and Board Member of the Institute for Strategic Thinking (SDE). He is also the Founding President of the Center for International Strategy and Security Studies (USGAM) and the President of the International Relations Institute of the New Türkiye Strategic Research Center (YTSAM). Prof. Erol has also served as the Director of Gazi University Strategic Research Center (GAZISAM). In 2007, Prof. Erol received the “Turkish World Service Award” from the Writers and Artists Foundation of the Turkic World (TÜRKSAV), and has received numerous awards for his academic work and his activities in the media. Some of them can be listed as follows: 2013 “Print Media of the Year Award” by the Association of Contemporary Democrats, 2015 “APM 10th Year Service Award”, “2015 Press-Intellectual of the Year Award” by the Writers' Union of Türkiye (YTB), “2016 Volunteer Ambassadors Media Honor Award” by the Anatolian Village Guards and Martyrs' Families, “2016 Türkiye Honor Award” by the Yoruk Turkmen Federations. Prof. Erol has 15 book studies. The names of some of them are as follows: “The United States of Turks from Dream to Reality”, “Türkiye-EU Relations: Foreign Policy and Internal Structure Problems”, “The New Great Game in Eurasia”, “The Search for Strategy in Turkish Foreign Policy”, “The Search for Security in Turkish Foreign Policy”, “The Republic of Türkiye-Russian Federation Relations”, “The Cold Organization of Hot Peace: The New NATO”, “Theoretical Approaches in Foreign Policy Analysis: The Case of Turkish Foreign Policy”, “Crises and Crisis Management: Actors and Case Studies”, “Kazakhstan” and “Current Issues in International Relations”. Since 2002, Prof. Erol, who has carried out radio programs such as “Eurasia Agenda”, “Strategic Perspective”, “Global Perspective”, “Analysis”, “File”, “News Desk”, “The Other Side of the Agenda” on TRT Türkiye's voice and TRT Radio 1 (Ankara Radio), made the programs “Arayış” on TRT INT television between 2004-2007, “Beyond the Border” on Kanal A television between 2007-2010 and “Foreign Policy Agenda” on BBN TÜRK television in 2020-2021. Prof. Erol, whose foreign policy column “Arayış” was published in Milli Gazete between 2012-2018, is consulted for his expertise in numerous national and international media outlets such as television, radio, newspapers, news websites and magazines. Prof. Erol, who also taught at Gazi University Department of International Relations and Ankara University Latin American Studies Center (LAMER) between 2006-2018, has been continuing his academic career as a faculty member at Ankara Hacı Bayram Veli University Department of International Relations since 2018. Since 2006, Prof. Erol has also taught in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Ufuk University. The main areas of interest and expertise of Prof. Erol and the titles of his courses at the undergraduate, master's and doctoral levels in this area are as follows: “Geopolitics”, “Security”, “Intelligence”, “Crisis Management”, “Current Issues in International Relations”, “Turkish Foreign Policy”, “Russian Foreign Policy”, “US Foreign Policy” and “Central Asia and South Asia”. Prof. Erol, whose articles-evaluations have been published in many journals and newspapers, has been editor of academic journals such as “Eurasia File”, “Strategic Analysis”, “Strategic Thinking”, “Gazi Regional Studies”, “The Journal of SSPS”, “Black Sea Studies”. He is currently in the editorial boards of “Regional Studies,” “International Crisis and Political Research,” “Gazi Academic View”, “Ege University Turkish World Surveys”, “Ankara International Social Sciences”, “Democracy Platform”. Prof. Erol, who has been working as the Founding President of the Ankara Center for Crisis and Political Studies (ANKASAM) since 2016, is married and has three children.