Turkey seeks to advance ties, boost trade with Turkmenistan to $5 billion

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Saturday declared that it was his hope to see ties deepen between his country and Turkmenistan, including raising trade volume to $5 billion in the future,  state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Arriving in Ashgabat earlier that day, Erdoğan met with his Turkmen counterpart, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov while speaking to officials at the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), a bloc of Central and South Asian states. 

At a press conference with Berdimuhamedov, Erdogan spoke of a relationship based on “brotherhood” between the two states.

"As part of our brotherly relations, we will continue to support Turkmenistan and its strategy of neutrality, which it pursues successfully," said Erdoğan. "We exchanged views on what we can do to improve our cooperation in the field of energy, as well as land and air transport."

The two also discussed ways to improve cooperation in fields that include education, culture, youth, and sports, signing nine articles to further their relationship.

Turkey was among the first nations to recognize Turkmenistan’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 just as it had with many of the new post-Soviet states in Central Asia. During his visit, Erdogan congratulated Turkmenistan on its 30 years of independence and was gifted with the Order of Turkmenistan, he said was "a concrete manifestation of our developing relations in every field on the basis of mutual respect, understanding and common interests."

Since the end of the war in Nagorno-Karabakh between Armenia and Azerbaijan last year, there has been talks about how to develop an a trans-Caspian connection between Turkey and Turkmenistan via Azerbaijan. 

On January 21, Berdimuhamedov signed a memorandum with Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev to jointly develop a hydrocarbon field that has been the subject of disagreement for the last 30 years. Not long after the deal was announced, Turkey congratulated the two, hailing the deal as a means to “enhance the energy security of Turkey and the rest of Europe.”


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