The early elections held in Turkmenistan on 12 March 2022 in line with the goal of “Rejuvenation of Politics” have already taken its place in history as a great democratic maturity indicator of the former President of Turkmenistan, Mr. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. In this context, the elections resulted in the victory of the Turkmenistan Democratic Party and the Turkmen people elected Mr. Serdar Berdimuhamedov, whom they see as their new leader, as the President of Turkmenistan.
This new era in Turkmen politics has brought with it the question of whether there will be some changes in the foreign policy of the country. However, it is understood from the implemented policies and the messages given that Ashgabat adopts a peaceful approach that does not reject the accumulation of the past in its foreign policy approach. In other words, there is continuity in the foreign policy of Turkmenistan. Therefore, the transformation in Turkmenistan can be interpreted as the rejuvenation of politics and the addition of a new dynamism to the country. It can be stated that Turkmenistan will continue its peaceful and multi-vectored foreign policy understanding, which prioritizes the welfare of the Turkmen people and is based on cooperation with other states, in accordance with the “Status of Permanent Neutrality” adopted in 1995.
As it is known, Turkmenistan, by adopting the “Status of Permanent Neutrality”, actually predicted the power struggles to be experienced in the Eurasian geopolitics in the first years of its independence and adopted a constructive foreign policy understanding based on cooperation, which is the most significant precaution against chaos scenarios. This peaceful approach, together with the active neutrality policy carried out under the visionary leadership of His Excellency Mr. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, who is currently the Head of People’s Affairs of the National Council of Turkmenistan since 2006, brings Turkmenistan to be accepted as a respected state that promotes security and peace in the international arena.
Berdimuhamedov, who has a proactive approach in the face of crises and prefers to emphasize cooperation rather than looking at international politics as a field of competition, is making great efforts to build a more livable world. Because the Turkmen leader has not only revealed practical cooperation leading to peace but also brought a new theoretical approach to peace studies in the field of international relations, which is shaped by the slogan “Dialogue is the guarantee of peace” and prioritizes regional-global cooperation.
This theoretical perspective, which is based on respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of states, is based on the belief that a fairer and safer world can be created within the framework of good neighborly relations shaped by a multi-vector-directional foreign policy approach. His Excellency Berdimuhamedov formulates the roadmap to reach this belief with the phrase “Dialogue is the guarantee of peace”, which is a call to all states.
In this sense, contrary to the perspective of realist thinkers such as Niccolo Machiavelli, Edward Hallett Carr and Thomas Hobbes, who regard human beings as evil by nature and therefore see wars as inevitable in the relations of states ruled by people; Mr. Berdimuhamedov stands out as a leader with an idealistic approach that puts humanity at the center, advocating that all countries can develop cooperation in line with a win-win understanding and in this context, regional and global peace can be established. In other words, Mr. Berdimuhamedov says “A man is a friend to another man”, unlike Hobbes who says “A man is a wolf to another man”. This idealist stance of Mr. Berdimuhamedov also contributes to the search for peace with a new theoretical perspective.
The perspective in question includes an interpretation of the words “Conflicts break the integrity of a city.” used by the great Turkmen poet Mahtumkulu Firaki on the unity of the Turkmen, for universal peace. In other words, Mr. Berdimuhamedov is making great efforts for global peace in accordance with the embracing, tolerant and great civilization understanding of the Turkmen, who has assimilated the spirit of Firaki that represents peace.
One of the most concrete examples of the activities of His Excellency Mr. Berdimuhamedov for the construction of a peaceful world is the recognition of 2021 as the “International Year of Peace and Trust” thanks to the contributions of Turkmenistan. With its initiatives in this direction, Ashgabat has focused on raising awareness for the establishment of peace and security. Moreover, Turkmenistan has not only taken symbolic steps to instill this awareness. Ashgabat sets an example for the whole world with its constructive policies in the face of active crises. In this sense, the steps taken by Turkmenistan in its Afghanistan policy and public diplomacy activities that put people at the center clearly reveal that Mr. Berdimuhamedov is one of the architects of regional peace.
At this point, it can be said that although there are universal principles, Turkmenistan is in the position of a castle defending the values that humanity has forgotten and can be interpreted as the center of mediation diplomacy with its dialogue-based approach.
The importance of Turkmenistan, especially in the world situation we are in, is much better understood. Because Turkmenistan carries out a prudent policy that will set an example for the whole world, thanks to Mr. Berdimuhamedov’s approach that invests in people and aims to live together in peace. It is clear that this approach will be continued by Mr. Serdar Berdimuhamedov, who was elected as the new leader by the Turkmen people.
In fact, Mr. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, with his approach that sees dialogue as a guarantee of peace, has succeeded in creating a road map for both the rulers after him and other states. As a matter of fact, during his speech at the conference titled “Peace and Trust Policy – Basis of International Security, Stability and Development” held on the occasion of the International Day of Neutrality on 11 December 2021, the President of Turkmenistan underlined that diplomacy should be given priority in solving problems. In this context, Mr. Berdimuhamedov’s statement “Dialogue is the guarantee of peace” literally reveals the determination, continuity and consistency in the foreign policy of Turkmenistan. However, it is not limited to this. Because Mr. Berdimuhamedov reminds the whole world of a universal slogan that is about to be forgotten. Therefore, Mr. Berdimuhamedov’s attitude, which sees dialogue as a guarantee of peace, is a constructive call to all humanity.