Turkmenistan’s Full Membership to the Organization of Turkic States

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The Organization of Turkic States held its 8th summit with the theme of “Green Technologies and Smart Cities in the Digital Age” in Istanbul on November 12, 2021. The summit was of great importance both because it coincided with the 30th anniversary of the independence of the Turkish states and Turkmenistan participation as an observer member. Because when Turkmenistan was in the 30th year of its independence; it has also 25th anniversary of the Permanent Status of Neutrality. This situation made the summit valuable for Ashgabat in particular and for the Turkish World in general. In the 9th summit planned to be held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan in November 2022, it is suggested that Turkmenistan will become a full member of the Organization of Turkic States.

One of the issues discussed during Turkmenistan’s observer membership has been the issue of impartiality. However, the fact that the Organization of Turkic States is an organization that strengthens cooperation on social, political and economic issues did not harm Turkmenistan’s Permanent Neutrality Status. Because, the Organization of Turkic States is not a military structure. On the contrary, the organization aims to develop friendly relations between the parties within the framework of Article 2 of the Nakhichevan Agreement dated 3 October 2009.

In addition, the Organization of Turkic States focuses on issues such as promoting political, commercial and economic cooperation. In terms of security, the organization is not only for the Turkish World; yet it aims to contribute to international security by giving importance to the issues of terrorism, separatism, human trafficking and anti-drugs, which are also threats to Asia, Eurasia and the world system.[1]

As it can be understood, Ashgabat’s membership of the Organization of Turkic States would not harm the Neutrality Status of Turkmenistan. Instead, it can be interpreted as a development, which could contribute into strengthening of the neutrality of the Organization, and enhancing the process of rational decision making in the framework of common interests. Because Turkmenistan aims to build a peace basin in the heart of Eurasia, thanks to its healthy relations with the world. This goal is also in line with the Organization’s regional and global mission. Therefore, it can be said that Turkmenistan will make significant contributions to the Organization with its constructive approach in its foreign policy.

On the other hand, it is seen that the countries of the Turkish World follow a pragmatic foreign policy based on common interests. Although this understanding of politics is characterized by different names such as balance policy or versatility, it basically envisages the development of healthy relations with the Western World, Russia and China. Because the Organization of Turkic States encourages its member states in this regard. Thus, the Turkish states are positioned as a bridge and touchstone between the East and the West.

It is known that Turkmenistan, with its balanced foreign policy, maintains constructive relations with Russia and China, as well as with the United States of America (US) and Europe. At this point, Turkmenistan’s full membership to the organization will contribute to the pragmatic foreign policy of the Organization of Turkic States or the Turkic World, free from conflicts and based on balance.

Another important dimension of Turkmenistan ‘s participation in the Organization is Afghanistan. Because various regional and global powers want to increase the instability in Afghanistan. On the other hand, Turkish states, especially Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, take various initiatives to establish peace and stability in Afghanistan. In particular, Turkmenistan ‘s efforts to include Afghanistan in various regional projects, the humanitarian aid it sends and the energy supply it provides to this country are very important. Therefore, Ashgabat’s full membership to the Organization will facilitate the collective adoption of a peaceful mission and its more effective implementation.

Turkmenistan is one of the geopolitically important countries in Central Asia in addition to hosting important underground resources. The fact that Turkmenistan has a coast to the Caspian Sea and the relations it has developed with Azerbaijan play a decisive role in removing the obstacles with the Turkish World. Both countries are important stops of the Middle Corridor in the Caspian Sea. Making the Middle Corridor effective will be possible thanks to the strong cooperation established between Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. In other words, it is obvious that Turkmenistan’s membership to the Organization will accelerate these cooperations. Because, as Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan become members of the Organization, the friendship between them will gain a more corporate identity.

As a result, Turkmenistan, with its Permanent Neutrality Status, is the mind of the Turkic World and Central Asia. Ashgabat’s full membership to the Organization means important gains for both Turkmenistan and the Turkic World and for the geopolitics of Eurasia. The Organization of Turkic States whose members have stable and strong relations will contribute to the construction of a healthy communication, transportation and transfer line between the West and the East. Since this development will strengthen regional peace and stability, it will serve the founding mission and purposes of the Organization. Moreover, membership to the Organization is highly compatible with Turkmenistan’s understanding of peaceful foreign policy.

[1]“Nakhchivan Agreement on the Establishment of the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States”, Organization of Turkic States,, (Date of Accession: 03.10.2022).

Dr. Emrah KAYA
ANKASAM Dış Politika Uzmanı Dr. Emrah Kaya, Akdeniz Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nden mezundur. Yüksek lisans derecesini 2014 yılında Süleyman Demirel Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nde hazırladığı “Latin Amerika'da Sol Liderlerin Yükselişi ve Uluslararası Politikaya Etkisi: Venezuela-Bolivya Örneği” başlıklı teziyle almıştır. Kaya, doktora derecesini de 2022 yılında aynı üniversitede hazırladığı "Terörle Mücadelede Müzakere Yöntemi: ETA-FARC-LTTE-PKK" başlıklı teziyle elde etmiştir. İyi derecede İngilizce bilen Kaya'nın başlıca çalışma alanları; Orta Asya, Latin Amerika, terörizm ve barış süreçleridir.