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Turkmenistan Enters Upon On The Right Track

Sunday, December 25, 2016 - 21:12

It is rather difficult to talk about the place and role of Turkmenistan in the global economic environment. The fact is, our country has to integrate on its own in the world where everyone defends their own interests and is not ready to sacrifice their personal gain. Moreover, the success of a neighbor – and even that of a partner – is perceived as annoying rather than gladdening, so one should be ready to get a stab in the back at any time. But let us consider the good things first.


“The economy of Turkmenistan, despite the turbulence and uncertainty of the global environment, has demonstrated a significant growth over many years. This has helped the country to enter into the category of states with above-average incomes.” Vice-President of the World Bank's Europe and Central Asia Cyril Muller addressed President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov with this message.


“Let me take this opportunity and reaffirm the commitment of the World Bank Group (WBG) to supporting the transition of your country into the ranks of states with high income levels, with modern and diversified economy,” the message reads.


The representative of the World Bank believes that Turkmenistan's policy of permanent neutrality is a valuable guiding principle for achieving socio-economic growth and improving the welfare of citizens.


Our country joined the World Bank Group in September 1992. A month ago, the Ministry of Finance of Turkmenistan and the World Bank signed an agreement on the provision of paid consulting services in the financial sector and in the field of macroeconomics. The document envisages measures to support the reforms of the business model and corporate governance in the banking sector. The agreement also provides for allocation of investments and provision of advisory services to private companies and financial institutions of Turkmenistan.


In the June report, the World Bank forecast that Turkmenistan's GDP growth would stand at the level of 5 percent in 2016-2018. Our country is one of the key players in the energy market of Central Asia and the Caspian region. Every year we produce about 80 billion cubic meters of gas. Significant amounts of the “blue fuel” are exported to Iran and China. In addition, some important transport routes from Asia to Europe and the Middle East transit through the territory of Turkmenistan. It is not a coincidence that we have become an object of close attention on the part of the United States and the European Union.


However, the experience of cooperation with these partners leaves a bitter aftertaste in the soul. The dual policy of Brussels and Washington is alarming. Welcoming our president in a heartfelt manner (or at least pretending to do so), they also strongly welcomed Ashgabat's projects aimed at Turkmenistan's penetration into the western hydrocarbons market. However, the projects are only supported on the words, and our country is left alone in dealing with its problems.


One gets the impression that Turkmenistan is interesting for the Western partners solely as a supplier of cheap raw materials on their terms. And in order to round up our hands and to subdue us to their influence, they are simultaneously conducting a sophisticated ideological war against us. In this war, Turkmenistan is presented as a state led by dictator Berdimuhamedov, who is oppressing his people and trampling on human rights and freedoms. In the world, they are implanting the image of a closed state behind an iron curtain, in which the cult of personality of one man – the dictator president – dictates all the processes in the country. It would be possible to agree with such statements as the suppression of the opposition, if not for some aspects that the West prefers to ignore.


Our successes in the growth of welfare of the people have been recognized by the World Bank. Each visitor pays attention to the social benefits guaranteed to the citizens by the state. In addition, worth taking into account is the fact that today, even though it's the age of globalization, you can not tar all the nations with the same brush of the democratic values ​​accepted in the European countries. Imagine for a moment that the “freedom” adopted in the “progressive” Netherlands come to Turkmenistan. How can a patriarchal Muslim country accept the freedom of the sexual relations, homosexuality, permissiveness in the use of drugs and much more? However, as a rule, the opposition forces promoting the openness and democratic values use the temptations of this very permissiveness in their arsenal to lure and enslave the minds of our youth.


Turkmenistan's resistance to the attempts to interfere in our internal affairs under the developed scenarios may eventually lead to the implementation of a plan “C.” As it was in Libya, Iraq and Egypt, the access to our resources can be obtained in the course of the so-called color revolutions conducted under the guise of protecting democratic values. There are many variants of the US military intervention in the internal affairs of other countries in the zone of strategic interests. An overthrow of the “dictatorship” can be initiated not only under the banner of the struggle for freedom and democracy, but also by means of organizing an invasion of radicalized Muslims from unstable Afghanistan by financing such an invasion through the CIA.


There are many options for capturing the strategically important sites in other countries. Just recently, the US attempted to obtain the right to ownership of our gas fields on land. The US major oil and gas companies “Exxonmobil” and “Chevron” suggested their participation and investments in the project for construction of Turkmenistan's largest gas pipeline “TAPI” (Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan – India), which is worth about $12 billion. The commercial offer was strengthened with the political statements of the first persons of the State Department about the benefits of the project for South Asia. In addition, the countries participating in the “TAPI” project are promised military aid to ensure the safety of the gas pipeline's operation in the territory of Afghanistan. The “TAPI” project is a tasty morsel for many investors. The United States could offer Turkmenistan a solution to many problems associated with the construction and operation of the pipeline. However, it is clear even to an untrained eye that in such a supervision will bring along not equal co-operation, but Washington's full control over the pipeline and Turkmenistan's loss of control over its own oil and gas sector. It is understandable that Ashgabat has prudently refused the Western partners, realizing the purpose of Washington's invitation to such a “win-win” cooperation.


In today's conditions, with the sanctions lifted from Iran, and given the actual failure of the project”"TAPI” and “TCP” (Trans-Caspian Pipeline), Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov has only one partner in gas supplies – China. In the next three years, we will have to repay the loans to this partner, receiving virtually no income for the gas supply.


However, Turkmenistan seems to have been able to enter upon the right track, turning to a trusted partners – Russia, with which our country has a long-term business relationship. Turkmenistan has decided to review its economic policy, and, apparently, has made the right step in the right direction. This is evidenced by the President of Turkmenistan's visit to Sochi at the invitation of Vladimir Putin. The heads of state discussed the issues related to the regional gas market. Russian “Gazprom” is a major buyer of Turkmen gas. However, in recent years, certain disputes have been outlined in these matters, and our president was able to solve them at the negotiations with his Russian counterpart. On November 9, during the credentials ceremony in the Kremlin, President Vladimir Putin delivered a small speech in which he first of all stressed the importance of international cooperation with our country and announced a joint operation with Turkmenistan in the Caspian Sea.


According to the head of the Russian state, it was agreed to start joint work in the Caspian region during the negotiations with leader of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.


“In the course of the last week's Sochi-based talks with President Gurbanguly Myalikkulievich Berdimuhamedov, it was agreed to intensify the trade, economic and cultural-humanitarian ties, as well as the joint work in the Caspian region,” Vladimir Putin added, noting that Russia appreciates the multifaceted partnership with Turkmenistan.


The partnership with the northern neighbor is advantageous for us not only in economic terms. Russia neither claims ownership of the national resources of Turkmenistan, nor humiliates and denigrates the Turkmens in the eyes of the world, nor is trying to interfere in our internal affairs. Russia respects our national traditions. It remains only to reach mutual understanding on the gas issue, and it seems such a consensus has already been reached.


Interestingly, upon receiving this kind of a signal about mutual understanding between Russia and Turkmenistan, almost immediately after the meeting with Vladimir Putin in early November, representatives of a number of countries in Europe and Asia met with President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. Among them were: Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Ulugbek Roszak, and Prime Minister of Malaysia Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak. In addition, in November, there were held meetings with Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Poland to Turkmenistan Marek Tsalka.


In the framework of the joint conference in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan and South Korea discussed implementation of new joint economic projects. The event themed “Technological cooperation and proposals in the sphere of energy, transport and industry” was attended by representatives of public and private entities of Turkmenistan, as well as the heads of companies such as Samsung, LG, Evergreen, Hyundai, Posco. Currently, the country is pursuing to diversify the economy, which includes active development of the textile industry, the oil and gas and chemical industry, the production of petroleum products and construction materials. In these circumstances, the negotiations confirmed the readiness of the parties to effectively utilize the existing potential for development of their relations. The impressive potential and the broad opportunities to enhance an effective partnership are present in different areas. For example, the total trade turnover between South Korea and Tajikistan has grown from $200 million to $1.9 billion in recent years. As of today, Turkmenistan and South Korea today, pay special attention to cooperation in the transport sector in the context of development of the transit and logistics infrastructure along the East-West and North-South routes, with penetration of the European and Middle Eastern markets.


As for cooperation with Poland, there is a number of agreements on expansion of the juridical base of the bilateral partnership. Poland occupies a prime location in the heart of Europe, which provides for active development of the transit energy routes from the Caspian region to Europe.


Thus, Russia is not only a major partner in economic cooperation with Turkmenistan, but also a sort of guarantor in its relations with other countries. Having such a partner, Turkmenistan can feel safe regarding Washington's attempts to acquire control over the gas complex of our country. In addition, Russia is beneficial for Turkmenistan as a guarantor of security in protecting our frontiers on the border with Afghanistan, which is important in view of the increased worldwide activity of the Islamists. And the events in Syria demonstrate that Moscow will not become Turkey's reliable economic or military partner.

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