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2023  N11-12(225-226)
The Turkmenistan delegation participation in the third “One Belt One Road” forum for international cooperation in Beijing was intended to emphasize not only a special and strategic nature of Turkmen-Chinese cooperation but also Turkmenistan’s respect and interest in China’s “One Belt One Road” strategy proclaimed by the PRC leader several years ago.
Ashgabat has always emphasized its interest and clearly articulated its vision of this project potential. And this is natural, given Turkmenistan’s geo-economic perspective as a key link in transport and logistics routes in the Eurasian space. It was no coincidence that the head of the Turkmen delegation, National Leader of the Turkmen people Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov noted in his statement at the forum that China’s “One Belt One Road” strategy and its ideology resonates with Turkmenistan’s vision of the future of the geo-economic landscape of Eurasia, as well as Turkmenistan’s strategy “Revival of the Great Silk Road” whose main principles are equality, consideration and recognition of interests of partners, mutual benefit, respect for diversity of cultures, languages and traditions. The Turkmen approach is based on important elements such as depoliticization of cooperation, avoiding one-sidedness of energy and transport flows in favor of their diversification and accessibility to broad international participation.
The successful development of partnership in the context of implementation of these two strategies, their interconnection and complementarity are undoubtedly based on the rich historical experience of friendship and good neighborliness between the Turkmen and Chinese peoples and existence of objective mutual interests. These factors provide a powerful stimulus to economic development in Eurasia, uniting spaces from the Pacific to the Atlantic oceans on modern criteria, forming interconnected production and technological cycles and industrial zones, helping to solve many social problems, improve quality of life and well-being of the peoples.
The strategy of the Turkmen-Chinese energy partnership is a good example of this approach. The commissioning of a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to China in 2009 marked the beginning of the establishment of a new architecture of relations in the energy sector on the continent and opened up prospects for other states to join the project on a mutually beneficial and equal basis.
Transport is another strategic area. Turkmenistan together with its partners is currently creating an extensive combined network of transport and logistics infrastructure along the East – West and South – North corridors. In the future, it will include transit corridors leading to the regions of the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea basin and the Baltic. It opens up the optimal route to the European and Middle Eastern markets through Central Asia from the Asia-Pacific region. This is especially relevant in relation to implementation of large-scale national projects in Turkmenistan’s transport and communication spheres and reconstruction of the coastal infrastructure on the Caspian Sea.
Here, we are talking about a transport corridor from China through the territory of Central Asia to the Turkmen coast of the Caspian Sea and further to Iran, the Near and Middle East. In the future, it can be used in the opposite direction – to the Asia-Pacific region and the countries of South Asia. In this regard, it is becoming increasingly important to conduct coordinated transport diplomacy aimed at consolidating efforts to improve efficiency of international corridors and logistics systems.
It should be noted that Turkmenistan, as one of the initiators of the global dialogue in the field of sustainable transport, has been taking consistent practical steps in this direction for many years. For example, in January 2016, the first UN Global Conference on Sustainable Transport was held in Ashgabat with great success. The document resulting from this conference made a significant contribution to understanding the importance of building new approaches and criteria for transport interaction.
The International Conference of Ministers of Transport of Landlocked Developing Countries held in Turkmenistan in 2022 was a major event.
Persistent and focused work resulted in the adoption by the UN General Assembly of six resolutions in the area of transport initiated by Turkmenistan in recent years alone. Among the latest is the resolution “World Sustainable Transport Day” adopted in May, 2023. These facts allowed Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to reasonably emphasize in his statement at the forum that “Turkmenistan’s transport strategy keeps pace with modern trends and objective needs of the world economy. And therefore, I am convinced, it meets the interests of the majority of states interested in creating an effective, stable and fair system in this key area.”
Achieving a reasonable balance between production activities and environmental conservation, ensuring environmental safety are one of the priority tasks of Turkmenistan’s international cooperation. This is the basis for understanding the essence and meaning of the “Green Silk Road”. Turkmenistan is guided by the fact that this project will be conditioned by minimal or zero emissions into the atmosphere during production activities and the introduction of innovative, environmentally friendly technologies.
Turkmenistan’s proposal to establish a specialized structure – the UN Regional Center for Climate Change Technologies in Central Asia – should be understood along the same lines. The proposal is necessitated by the desire to see Central Asia not just as a geographical space at the junction of two continents but also a zone of sustainable environmental well-being, free from disasters and cataclysms, a place of international cooperation to solve environmental problems using the latest technologies and know-how to save nature, creating conditions for a harmonious existence of human and environment. The Government of Turkmenistan is ready to ensure all relevant technical and organizational conditions for the work of the Center in the capital of the country, Ashgabat.
Reduction and eradication of the negative effects of methane emissions into the atmosphere is also an integral part of Turkmenistan’s environmental strategy. First of all, we are talking about a phased transition to the introduction and use of modern environmentally friendly and resource-saving technologies, especially in energy, industry and transport areas. Ashgabat is also actively pursuing international cooperation in the field of hydrogen energy, building infrastructure for its production, storage and transportation.
It is obvious that Turkmenistan’s consistent efforts objectively make an important practical contribution to the establishment of the widely discussed “green corridors” of cooperation, including within the framework of “One Belt One Road” and “Revival of the Great Silk Road” projects.
It is natural that implementation of the ambitious plans and intentions put forward at the Beijing forum will be impossible without goodwill and consent of participants on fundamental issues. It is these factors that are meant to ensure favorable political conditions for close cooperation in production and creation of integrated technological and digital platforms, as well as joint transport and communication systems. In short, this is about establishing an integral and sustainable logistics cooperation on a global scale, and not only in a technical sense. At the Beijing forum, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov was the first to introduce the concept of “political logistics” and described it as a multi-level system of interaction between states that share ideas and prospects for economic development and cooperation, free from politicization and ideological clich'es, based on equality, mutual respect and accommodation of each other’s interests.
The formula is promising, and it has yet to be fully appreciated in terms of opportunities for finding and applying new, innovative forms and models of partnership. Logic suggests that Turkmenistan will be far from the last place in this process.


©Turkmenistan Analytic magazine, 2005