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2020  N11-12(188-189)
Turkmenistan celebrated the 25th anniversary of the status of permanent neutrality. A series of events were timed to this significant date that culminated in December on the eve of the important historical date.
President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov set the high tone for the celebrations by presenting his compatriots with a new book named after the motto of 2020 “Turkmenistan – Homeland of Neutrality.” This monumental work is grounded in the historical facts, featuring rich and valuable information. It joined the unique collection of the Turkmen leader’s works about the history and future of the country.
The presentation of the new book was held at the National Music and Drama Theater named after Magtymguly, attended by members of the government, parliament, heads and representatives of ministries and departments, public associations and parties, scientific institutions and higher educational establishments, mass media representatives, cultural figures and students. Representatives of different countries of the world took part in the presentation ceremony online. The participants were unanimous in the opinion that the new work released on the eve of the important historical and political date reflects the invariable goal of the foreign policy of Turkmenistan, which is based on the principles of peacefulness, openness, good neighborliness and equal mutually beneficial cooperation with all interested foreign partners.
On the eve of the national holiday, one more work by the head of state came to the fore. Published in 2020, the book titled “The Spiritual World of the Turkmens” describes the immense world of national spiritual culture. Translated earlier into various languages, including Chinese and Japanese, the book was also translated into Russian, Ukrainian and Georgian languages, which is evidence of the growing public interest in the history, customs and rich heritage of the Turkmen people.
It should be noted that the presentation of various translations of this work was arranged by the Foreign Ministry of Turkmenistan on the platform of an international exhibition timed to the 25th anniversary of the country’s neutrality status. The large-scale exhibition officially opened on 1st December at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) of Turkmenistan. The exhibitors representing all sectors and spheres of state activities presented their achievements over the years of the country’s neutral development. In total, 37 ministries and line departments, the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, 6 national TV channels took part in the Ashgabat forum. Representatives of foreign companies and international organizations connected to the festive exhibition events via video link. The forum lasted for 12 days.
The international exhibition aimed to emphasize the active peacekeeping and constructive position of neutral Turkmenistan, its strict adherence to the UN Charter and international legal norms that contribute to strengthening the country’s international reputation, establishing the high level of relations with the international community, including foreign economic and foreign trade contacts.
The maximum use of digital technologies both in the design of stands and operation of the exhibition was a distinctive feature of the large-scale exhibition, making it possible to hold videoconferences and online meetings with people from all over the world. Dozens of countries were represented at the jubilee exhibition in the Turkmen capital, which once again confirmed the country’s readiness for broad and equal international cooperation.
Each day of the forum was dedicated to one of the spheres of state development. The first day of the exhibition focused on trade and entrepreneurship. Then, the Expocentre of the CCI hosted events dedicated to the pace of development of the national agro-industrial complex, fuel and energy complex, construction and industry, transport and communications, science and education, culture, health care and sports, economy and banking, as well as activities for improvement of the country’s legal framework, work of the Foreign Ministry and regions of Turkmenistan.
A lot of business events and negotiations were held at the Expocentre of the CCI, including ceremonies of signing of document between the heads of national ministries and other institutions and representatives of specialized foreign structures and companies, international organizations. In total, over 130 international documents and agreements were signed during the exhibition. Contracts worth millions of US dollars were also signed. Forty agreements provide for increasing exports of domestic goods. About fifty documents were signed with international organizations. Most of them are the documents between Turkmenistan and the UN agencies.
On the final day of the multi-sectoral international forum, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov visited the exhibition. Highly rating the large-scale form, the head of state noted the need to hold such exhibitions on a regular basis and their great importance in promoting the country’s achievements.
National cultural heritage is among such achievements, and it was widely represented in various events of the international exhibition, including an impressive fashion show of new products of the country’s sewing enterprises, as well as new collections of private fashion houses that increasingly apply national traditions in modern outfits.
Specialists of the carpet industry, whose products are very popular in the world markets, being a major export category of Turkmenistan, also held events marking the 25th anniversary of neutrality. The State Association “T"urkmenhaly (Turkmen carpet) is the main exporter of famous pure-wool handmade Turkmen pile carpets. On the eve of the national holiday, it incorporated a new building of the Ashgabat artistic carpet weaving enterprise. In total, “T"urkmenhaly” has 8 enterprises of artistic carpet weaving in all regions of Turkmenistan. In recent years, the carpet industry enterprises have undergone modernization, as exemplified by the Ashgabat enterprise that was erected on the site of an old carpet factory. The total area of the new two-storey building of the enterprise is 5,000 square meters (0.5 hectares). The complex includes administrative premises, an industrial building, storage facilities for raw materials and finished products, a number of engineering and technical infrastructure and production support facilities.
The ground floor of the central building accommodates a carpet store. There are also a museum, workshops, a conference hall and administrative premises on the first floor. The museum of carpet presents information about the history of the enterprise, its famous products, samples of raw materials used in carpet weaving. Along with ornamental, thematic and portrait carpets and souvenirs, the new enterprise and other carpet factories of the association will produce classic models of Turkmen carpets. These carpets were the focus of the presentation “Turkmen carpet, occupying a rightful place in the UNESCO World Heritage List, our national pride” organized by “Turkmenhaly” on the sidelines of the aforementioned international forum, emphasizing the fruitfulness of cooperation between Turkmenistan and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in preserving national heritage.
This topic was also discussed at the International Scientific Conference “Neutral Turkmenistan – UNESCO: international cooperation in the field of history and culture” held via video link in Ashgabat on December 4. The scientific forum was organized jointly by the Magtymguly Institute of Languages, Literature and National Manuscripts and the Turkmen Institute of History and Archeology of the Academy of Sciences, bringing together representatives of UNESCO, prominent scientists – historians and archaeologists, heads of major scientific centers and universities, linguists, writers and translators from more than twenty countries of the world.
The regional representative of UNESCO, as well as scientists from France, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and Azerbaijan spoke at the plenary session. In their speeches, they highlighted the history of cooperation of neutral Turkmenistan with UNESCO, focusing on the practical use of the concept of permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan in the context of the activities of this organization.
It was noted that Turkmenistan’s joining the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage was an important step in this direction. The country works consistently to preserve historical, cultural and natural values for future generations that are an integral part of world civilization. It is evidenced by the inclusion in the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage List of such unique sites as Ancient Merv, Kunyaurgench and the fortress of Ancient Nisa, as well as inclusion in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of the destan art “Gerogly”, the ritual dance “Kushtdepdi” and the Turkmen national art of carpet weaving.
The conference participants also discussed prospects for mutually beneficial cooperation.
The success of international cooperation in the field of culture was reflected in the theme of art events of the festive December, including thematic conferences and presentations of various publications, exhibitions at museums and libraries of the country and musical dedications to neutrality. Among the latter was special video congratulations organized by the International Organization of Turkic Culture (TURKSOY) together with the Turkmen side. More than 150 artists from 12 countries and regions sent their video congratulatory messages accompanied by the singing and performing the famous Turkmen folk dance “Kushtdepdi”. On behalf of the Turkic world, artists from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Gagauzia (Moldova) and the regions of the Russian Federation – Bashkortostan, Tatarstan, Kabardino-Balkaria and the Republic of Sakha delivered congratulatory messages. Artists from the TURKSOY member states demonstrated their unique interpretation of this national ritual dance. The event finished with the colorful performance by the State Dance Ensemble of Turkmenistan.
The universal language of music connected Ashgabat and Vienna via a video bridge at the National Music and Drama Theater named after Magtymguly. The works by Turkmen and Austrian composers were performed during this event.
The launch of the virtual museum of the State Cultural Center of Turkmenistan was timed to the glorious anniversary date, during which the 360 degree panoramic photo technology was applied. A visitor from anywhere in the world will now be able to enjoy viewing not only the unique exhibits but also a spacious modern building of the museum.
The Central Bank celebrated the 25th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s neutrality by releasing gold and silver commemorative coins. Thanks to the unique design reflecting the nature of the event, 100 manat worth gold and silver coins have an artistic value and special aesthetics, as well as an enduring value for collectors.
And philatelists got a chance to replenish their collections with a series of anniversary postage stamps issued by the State Postal Company “Turkmenpochta”. The stamps glorify the achievements of modern Turkmenistan, flora, fauna, folk crafts and historical sights of the country. The jubilee products depict views of modern Ashgabat, natural and historical monuments, including those listed by the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Celebrations in honor of the International Day of Neutrality and the 25th anniversary of gaining the neutrality status by sovereign Turkmenistan were crowned with a concert of masters of culture and arts at the Mukam Palace of the State Cultural Center.
The world music and song classics in different languages as well as dances of the peoples of the world were performed under the arches of the magnificent hall. The choreographic groups were dressed in the national costumes of the countries represented at the concert, while the wonderful landscapes and sights of different cities shown on the big screen added special emotional expressiveness to the festive action.
This wonderful musical bouquet was naturally complemented with Turkmen folk melodies and songs. By tradition, the concert program featured the ancient ritual dance “Kushtdepdi”, which is an inalienable part of every single festive action in Turkmenistan. This concert piece emphasized an inextricable link between eras and generations, enduring significance of the great spiritual heritage of the peacemaking Turkmen people.
The festive day concluded with colorful fireworks that painted the sky over Ashgabat in bright colors.


©Turkmenistan Analytic magazine, 2005