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Turkmenistan’s Peaceful and Humanitarian Diplomacy in Afghanistan

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Due to its geopolitical position, Turkmenistan serves as a bridge between the regions of the Caspian, Central Asia and the Middle East. As is known, Ashgabat’s administration consolidated its position through the “Permanent Neutrality Status” after declaring its independence and made it clear that it is in favor of regional-global cooperation.

When current developments are reviewed, it is seen that Turkmenistan is maintaining its political stance in the face of events in Afghanistan. As a matter of fact, President of Turkmenistan, Excellency Mr. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, who has made Turkmenistan a respected state in international politics, through the video he sent to the 76th General Assembly of the United Nations (UN), explained the policy of Ashgabat, “First of all, we should think about the Afghan people who are tired of wars and turmoil and dream of a peaceful, calm and peaceful life.” expressed in his words.[1]

In this period, when Afghanistan drew attention as a country where various actors competed to achieve maximum gain, Turkmenistan adopted a humanitarian and peaceful diplomacy towards its neighbor. During the conflict in Afghanistan, the security and prosperity of the Afghan people was the priority of Turkmenistan’s regional policy. Ashgabat did not stop its aid to Afghanistan before 15 August 2021, when the Taliban conquered Kabul, and showed that the Afghan people were its priority. As it will be remembered, in February 2020, President of Turkmenistan Excellency Berdimuhamedov signed a decree containing the humanitarian aid program for Afghanistan covering the years 2020-2022.[2]

In addition, it is known that Turkmenistan has built social facilities in this country in line with its good understanding of neighborliness and friendship. Moreover, Turkmenistan’s Foreign Ministry made it clear in a statement that Ashgabat is in favor of solving Afghanistan’s problems through political and diplomatic means.[3] This approach is also expressed clearly by Turkmenistan’s Foreign Minister, Mr. Rashid Meredov. Mr. Meredov, who has worked hard to resolve regional crises, also noted the importance of maintaining active dialogue on the Afghan Issue and Ashgabat’s peaceful efforts in this regard in a telephone conversation with his German counterpart, Mr. Haiko Maas, on 14 September 2021.[4]

Health is one of the priority areas for Turkmenistan’s assistance to Afghanistan. For example, on 1 September 2021, Turkmenistan sent protective clothing, medicines, medical supplies, disinfectants and masks to Afghanistan against Covid-19.[5] On the other hand, Ashgabat did not leave his neighbor in the dark while the fighting continued in Afghanistan. Turkmenistan, which supplies electricity to the western and northern regions of Afghanistan, has continued to provide this.[6]

Moreover, Ashgabat does not implement a policy based solely on humanitarian aid in solving the problems in Afghanistan. Turkmenistan is also trying to use peaceful diplomacy to draw the world’s attention to solving Afghanistan’s problems. Accordingly, during a meeting with Tajikistani and Austrian authorities on 30 August 2021, Turkmenistan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. Vepa Hajiyev stated that his country is approaching the peace process in Afghanistan politically, economically, socially and humanely. Mr. Hajiyev stated that the problem in Afghanistan should be solved as soon as possible with the effective participation of those responsible and the international community.[7]  

Turkmenistan also participated in a video conference held by the United States and Germany on 9 September 2021. Foreign Ministers from more than 20 countries and senior authorities from the UN and NATO attended the conference. The conference was discussed the situation in Afghanistan; Turkmenistan stated that the security problems in the aforementioned country reflect negatively on the region politically, economically and humanely. Ashgabat’s administration says that multilateral cooperation mechanisms should be established to achieve lasting peace in Afghanistan, ensure stability and improve the well-being of the Afghan people.[8]

Turkmenistan, like other Central Asian countries, argues that Afghanistan should be included in regional cooperation. Especially when considered within the framework of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India Natural Gas Pipeline (TAPI) and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan High Voltage Power Transmission Line (TAP), Afghanistan where stability is established will be a bridge between Central Asia and South Asia and economic potential in the region will become available.

Moreover, the active inclusion of Afghanistan in the Middle Corridor will strengthen Turkmenistan’s geopolitical position. Thus, Ashgabat will be able to build the east-west friendship line in a way that prioritizes mutual interests along the South Asia-Central Asia-Caspian Sea-Turkey-Europe route.  

Relations developed within the framework of mutual respect and equality are key issues of regional peace and stability. In particular, both countries in the region and Western powers will make the geography more livable with their assistance and cooperation to Afghanistan, rather than using military force to prevent migration and the threat of terrorism. This attitude can prevent migration from Afghanistan and prevent the country from becoming a hotbed of terrorism. Because the adoption of Ashgabat’s approach by other capitals can make Afghanistan a productive country that produces and consequently overcomes the problem of poverty and unemployment. However, the continuing problems in the country and the growth of humanitarian crises will continue to threaten the region in particular and the Eurasian geography in general. Therefore, the policy that should be adopted is not exploitation; cooperation.

As a result, Turkmenistan stands out as one of the most significant actors in establishing stability in Central Asia and South Asia through its peaceful and humanitarian policy. As President Excellency Berdimuhamedov has stated, prejudices regarding Afghanistan must be put aside. Excluding this country from regional and global collaboration will only serve to punish Afghans who have been at war for more than four decades. Therefore, it is essential that the problems are solved within the framework of the dynamics of the region, based on the fact that the interest-oriented policies of global powers destabilize the region. Therefore, Turkmenistan’s position on the basis of mutual respect, peaceful diplomacy and constructive dialogue, and its assistance within this framework, provides a serious roadmap for solving the problems in Afghanistan.


[1] “Türkmenistan Lideri: Afganistan Gerçekleri, İdeoloji ve Fobilerden Arınmış Yaklaşımı Gerektiriyor”, Business Turkmenistan, https://business.com.tm/tr/post/7627/turkmenistan-lideri-afganistan-gerchekleri-ideoloji-ve-fobilerden-ar%C4%B1nm%C4%B1sh-yaklash%C4%B1m%C4%B1-gerektiriyor, (Date of Accession: 25.09.2021).

[2] “Türkmenistan’dan, Afganistan’a Üç Yıllık İnsani Yardım Paketi”, TRT Avaz, https://www.trtavaz.com.tr/haber/tur/avrasyadan/turkmenistan-dan-afganistan-a-uc-yillik-insani-yardim-paketi/5e4fbb2601a30a24688f2903, ( Date of Accession: 25.09.2021).

[3] “Turkmenistan Committed to Peaceful Resolution of Afghan Issue, Foreign Ministry Says”, Tass, https://tass.com/world/1327373, ( Date of Accession: 25.09.2021).

[4] “Heads of Foreign Affairs Agencies of Turkmenistan and the FRG Discussed the Issues of Bilateral Collaboration”, News Central Asia, http://www.newscentralasia.net/2021/09/14/heads-of-foreign-affairs-agencies-of-turkmenistan-and-the-frg-discussed-the-issues-of-bilateral-collaboration/, (Date of Accession : 02.10.2021).

[5] Turkmenistan Sent Humanitarian Aid to Afghanistan”, Ministry of Foreing Affairs of Turkmenistan, https://www.mfa.gov.tm/en/news/2772, (Date of Accession: 25.09.2021).

[6] “Turkmenistan Continues to Provide Electricity to the Regions of Afghanistan”, Ministry of Foreing Affairs of Turkmenistan, https://www.mfa.gov.tm/en/news/2757, (Date of Accession: 25.09.2021).

[7] “Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Austria Talk on Expanding Humanitarian Assistance to Afghanistan”, MENAFN, https://menafn.com/1102707211/Turkmenistan-Tajikistan-Austria-talk-on-expanding-humanitarian-assistance-to-Afghanistan, (Date of Accession: 25.09.2021).

[8] “Turkmenistan Participated in A Multilateral Ministerial Meeting on Afghanistan”, Urdu Point, https://www.urdupoint.com/en/world/turkmenistan-participated-in-a-multilateral-m-1346529.html, (Date of Accession: 25.09.2021).

Prof. Mehmet Seyfettin EROL
President of ANKASAM