Turk­menistan’s Peace­ful and Pros­per­ous Neu­tral­ity Pol­icy

The Diplomatic Insight - - News -

World was di­vided into friends and foes. Both World Wars were fought along this di­vide. The post-war world con­tin­ued to be di­vided along the ide­o­log­i­cal di­vide be­tween cap­i­tal­ist and com­mu­nist na­tions. Multi-polar cen­ters have been emerg­ing af­ter the end among na­tions. There are hardly any State that frames its for­eign pol­icy on the ba­sis of neu­tral­ity but only re­tains its right to de­fense in case it was at­tack. To pre­serve their sovereignty, weaker States pre­fer to side with a rel­a­tively stronger State. In this sense, Turk­menistan has set a new ex­am­ple. It is a small State with a pop­u­la­tion of 6.2 mil­lion and a ter­ri­tory of 491,210 km. The coun­try bor­ders with Uzbek­istan, Iran, Afghanistan, and Kaza­khstan. In its for­eign pol­icy, the Repub­lic of Turk­menistan is ‘the most neu­tral State’ and es­pe­cially amongst Asian States. Even Euro­pean neu­tral­ized States namely; Aus­tria, Fin­land, Ire­land, Switzer­land, Swe­den, and Malta are mem­bers of the Euro­pean Union, which has cer­tain strate­gic and po­lit­i­cal di­men­sions. The neu­tral­ity of Vat­i­can slakes on re­li­gious grounds. Many Asian States have been aligned in one or the other way but the prin­ci­ples of neu­tral­ity of the Repub­lic of Turk­menistan are most para­mount. It avoids tak­ing sides with other States on the ba­sis of strate­gic and po­lit­i­cal Turk­menistan, how­ever, is a part of the eco­nomic or­ga­ni­za­tions such as the ten-mem­ber Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion (ECO) and Or­ga­ni­za­tion of Se­cu­rity and Co­op­er­a­tion in Europe (OSCE). It also joins the Asian De­vel­op­ment Bank (ADB), Is­lamic De­vel­op­ment Bank (IDB), and Euro­pean Bank for Re­con­struc­tion and De­vel­op­ment (EBRD). Go­ing back to re­cent history, six Cen­tral Asian republics got in­de­pen­dence af­ter the breakup of the for­mer Soviet Union in 1990. Turk­menistan was of th­ese republics an­nounced its in­de­pen­dence on 27 Oc­to­ber 1991. On 12 De­cem­ber 1995, United Na­tions adopted a res­o­lu­tion that Turk­menistan will per­ma­nently fol­low neu­tral­ity to pro­mote world peace and se­cu­rity. It is Iran, Pak­istan, Tur­key and a num­ber of neigh­bor States acted as cospon­sors of the UN res­o­lu­tion. On 27 De­cem­ber 1995, a neu­tral­ity law was promulgated to en­sure coun­try’s neu­tral­ity do­mes­ti­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally on the ba­sis of This was con­sid­ered to be in line with UN Char­ter to pro­mote global peace. Turk­men­bashi (fa­ther of the na­tion) Pres­i­dent Niya­zov Sa­parmu­rat, who ruled prior to in­de­pen­dence from 1985 to 1991 and from 27 Oc­to­ber 1991 to De­cem­ber 2006 was the real ar­chi­tect of Turk­menistan’s neu­tral­ity. The ob­jec­tives of Turk­menistan’s for­eign pol­icy thus be­come highly peace­ful with all States on the prin­ci­ples of equal­ity of rights, mu­tual re­spect, and non-in­ter­fer­ence in the in­ter­nal af­fairs of other States. Un­der this law, Turk­menistan’s Gov­ern­ment does not par­tic­i­pate in al­liances and blocs cre­ated by cer­tain pow­ers to pro­mote their causes and goals. There­fore, be­ing part of Cen­tral legacy, Turk­menistan did not join the Shang­hai Co­op­er­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion (SCO) when the body was cre­ated in 2001. Turk­menistan is the Guest At­ten­dant of the SCO along with the Com­mon­wealth of In­de­pen­dent States CIS and As­so­ci­a­tion of the South East Asian Na­tions (ASEAN). The suc­ces­sor of Pres­i­dent Niza­yov, Pres­i­dent Gur­ban­guly Berdimuhame­dov noted in 2014 SCO Sum­mit that Turk­menistan’s re­la­tions with the SCO are an im­por­tant area of in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion that is based on broad ge­o­graph­i­cal and struc­tural the coun­try. The law also pro­hibits the Gov­ern­ment in par­tic­i­pat­ing in inter-state as­so­ci­a­tions and or­ga­ni­za­tions. The law will also not al­low Turk­menistan to wage wars or to en­ter into war on be­hest of any power or State ex­cept in case of self-de­fense of Turk­menistan. In case of at­tack on Turk­menistan, the Gov­ern­ment would ask other State 0r States and the United Na­tions for help. The law fur­ther states that Turk­menistan will not have, pro­duce, and dis­trib­ute nu­clear, chem­i­cal, bac­te­ri­o­log­i­cal, and other weapons of mass de­struc­tion, and al­lo­cate the mil­i­tary bases to for­eign coun­tries. The con­sti­tu­tional law of Turk­menistan on per­ma­nent neu­tral­ity also en­vis­ages that Turk­menistan de­velop in­ter­na­tional eco­nomic co-op­er­a­tion on the ba­sis of the tak­ing into ac­count of the in­ter­ests of all sides in­volved in this process. Turk­menistan, on the other hand, did not join the re­cently es­tab­lished the Asian In­fra­struc­ture and In­vest­ment Bank (AIIB) set up by China in Oc­to­ber last year. Along with Azer­bai­jan, Ta­jik­istan, and Kyr­gyzs­tan, Turk­menistan is not a mem­ber of the Asian In­fra­struc­ture and In­vest­ment Bank (AIIB). The ba­sic pur­pose of the AIIB was to up­grade cen­turies old phys­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture of Asia, which is not suit­able for de­vel­op­ment and poverty re­duc­tion in Asia. AIIB will pro­vide mas­sive fund­ing for in­fra­struc­ture and in­vest­ment in Asia.

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