President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov gave an interview to the chief editor of the TRT World TV channel of the Turkish State TV and Radio Company Yusuf Erim, which touched upon key aspects of traditionally friendly Turkmen-Turkish relations, prospects for regional and international cooperation in various formats, and outlined the priorities of the state policy of Turkmenistan, where special attention is paid preservation of the original values of the nation and their relationship with modernity.
– Dear President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov! We express our sincere gratitude for the time given, despite the important government activities, to meet with us and for the interview to the TRT World TV channel. Turkmenistan and the Republic of Turkey are linked by centuries-old historical, friendly and fraternal relations, which are characterized by the motto “One nation – two states”. How do you assess the current level of bilateral cooperation, and what is your vision of the work ahead in this direction?
– Thank you for your question! Before answering it, I want to note that we respect and highly appreciate the activities of the State TV and Radio Company of the Republic of Turkey, which carries out important work covering events, history, customs and traditions, the modern development of the countries of the Turkic world, including Turkmenistan.
Now I will turn to your question. When we talk about ties with the Republic of Turkey, we always emphasize their fraternal character. It is the definition of “fraternal” from the very beginning to this day that has been the core of our bilateral relations as sovereign states in the political, economic and humanitarian spheres, as well as in the international arena.
We will never forget the support provided by Turkey to Turkmenistan at the end of the last century, during the formation of the Turkmen state. Turkey was the first country in the world to recognize our independence and opened its diplomatic mission in Ashgabat. The support of the Turkish Republic was especially important at all stages of international recognition of the neutral legal status of Turkmenistan.
The traditions of Turkmen-Turkish cooperation that developed at that time, the special nature of our relations over the years, not only did not change, but also strengthened even more, becoming a solid basis for developing ties between the two peoples and states.
In the economic sphere, Turkey, being a long-term successful partner of Turkmenistan, occupies one of the leading positions in our country in terms of trade turnover and investments.
In foreign policy, in the international arena, Turkmenistan and the Republic of Turkey are actively cooperating in the field of ensuring peace, stability and security, countering the challenges of our time, in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in the global dimension.
Our ties in the humanitarian sphere, in the area of science, education, culture and youth, are expanding more and more.
Based on the common rich historical heritage of the two peoples, we look confidently into the future, draw up joint plans for interaction and successfully implement them.
In this context, I would like to separately note the personal contribution of the President of the Republic of Turkey, my dear brother Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the development of interstate dialogue. In communicating with him, one always feels a special approach towards Turkmenistan, a constant readiness for cooperation.
Proceeding from the understanding of the continuity of the historical connection, the commonality of current goals and opportunities, the presence of the enormous potential of bilateral partnership, we are building the future of the Turkmen-Turkish interaction together. I am firmly convinced of the wonderful future of our relations, aimed at the benefit of the two countries and peoples.
– This year, Turkmenistan celebrated the 30th anniversary of independence. What, in your opinion, are the most important achievements of the country over the past period, and please tell us about the upcoming goals?
– In my opinion, the main achievement is the formation of Turkmenistan in the world as an independent, sovereign, powerful state that has won high authority. All the rest, of course, being a consequence of the above, forms the defining basis of the modern history of the Turkmen people.
Speaking about the material side of achievements, these indicators are quite important both in the economy and the social sphere, and in other areas.
Today, Turkmenistan is a state with a steadily developing economy, a large industrial and production base, a multimodal transport and communication system, a powerful energy complex and modern agriculture.
The annual growth of the gross domestic product remains stable at the level of 7-10 percent. Even in the current world economic downturn last year, the figure was 5.9 percent.
The priority vector of our state policy is the social sphere. 70 percent of the State budget funds are allocated to it annually. In our country, a large-scale construction of residential buildings, modern social buildings that meet international standards is underway. According to the UN Human Development Indexes and Indicators, Turkmenistan is one of the countries with high indicators in this area. We are among the countries in the world with above-average incomes.
The highest achievement of our independence was the recognition by the United Nations of the legal status of permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan. This allows us not only to implement an independent foreign policy aimed at ensuring national interests, but also to establish friendly, equal, mutually respectful relations with all states, to develop cooperation with them in the spheres of economy, trade and investment.
All this has a positive impact on the development of Turkmenistan, the modernization of its economic and production base, contributes to an increase in the number of jobs, the implementation of social programs, and an improvement in the quality of living conditions of the population.
In general, we consider the past 30 years of national development as a period of formation and use of a huge resource potential to improve the living conditions of people, strengthen the sovereignty of Turkmenistan, ensure peace and stability as a fundamental factor in the implementation of state-building plans.
– For several days I made walks in Ashgabat, where the past historical era is combined with the culture of the present time. How do you manage to maintain a balance between the precepts of your ancestors and modern traditions?
– At a recent meeting with Turkmen youth, with university students, I focused on the issue of the continuity of our history, the relationship between traditions and modernity.
I noted that the most precious legacy is upbringing, the core of which is education and science.
And correct and comprehensive education, first of all, is based on history, traditions, the experience of ancestors and moral values that have passed the test for centuries.
The heroic path of the fathers, and the wonderful history of the Fatherland are an exemplary school for our youth. I also made a special mention of this in my book The Source of Wisdom.
The state of the Great Huns at the beginning of the first millennium, competing with the Roman and Chinese empires, the Turkmen kingdom of Parthia, the state of the Gaznevid Turkmen that stretched in the second millennium to India, influencing from China to the Mediterranean Sea The Turkmen state of the Great Seljuks, which left us in inheritance unique examples of science, culture and art The state of Kunyaurgench Turkmen, the states of Garagoyunly and Akgoyunly Turkmen – all of them are evidence of the greatness of the historical path of Turkmenistan and the Turkmen people.
You should refer to the ancient written sources and the works of famous historians. They confirm that throughout the history of mankind, the Turkmen people were committed to the values of peace and humanism, created a great history and culture.
Such large cities as Merv, Gurgench, Nisa, Abiverd, Dehistan, Sarakhs, Amul, Zemm, Shekhrislam were formed on this land. Developing cities, they were recognized centers of science and education. These cities have made a huge contribution to the development of world science, culture, literature and art.
In the book “Turkmenistan – the heart of the Great Silk Road” I set out my wishes for our youth, called upon to become the successor of the historical path of the Turkmen and to ensure the transmission of national traditions and achievements from generation to generation. During this meeting, I expressed my firm belief that new bright stars of science, outstanding personalities famous all over the world, such as great personalities who previously lived there, who have made a great contribution to the development of world science, will appear on our earth.
I have every reason to say this, because a well-thought-out state policy in the field of education and upbringing of Turkmen youth is bearing fruit today.
Our youth, inspired by the example of great ancestors, achieve high results in scientific activity. Young Turkmen citizens become prize-winners and winners of international Olympiads in various disciplines, take places on the pedestals of the largest sports competitions in the world. Our state financially supports the desire of young people to achieve heights in education, science, and sports.
This is an example of the continuity of generations, the inextricable link between the heritage of ancestors and the future of Turkmenistan – the youth living in a sovereign developing state, showing concern for her.
– Of course, while walking around the city, I also visited the Museum of the Turkmen Carpet, admired the performances of the group of the National Equestrian Games “Galkynysh”, and also had the opportunity to see the sports complexes of the Olympic town. I saw with my own eyes the great work that you are doing for future generations. Having witnessed this, I am proud of the successes of Turkmenistan.
How do you assess relations with the countries of the region? Please tell us about cooperation with your colleagues.
– I appreciate it as effective, trustworthy and aimed at achieving positive results. In our relations, we are guided by the principles of good neighborliness, mutual respect, brotherhood and historical community, cultural and civilizational proximity of our peoples. Such a solid foundation makes it possible to look to the future with confidence, to draw up large-scale, long-term and socially significant plans for cooperation in all areas.
In early August of this year, a Consultative Meeting of the Heads of State of Central Asia was held in Turkmenistan. This is a new format of political relations at a high state level, and we are confident that it will become a permanent platform for improving the creative processes in Central Asia.
Together with my colleagues in the region, the distinguished Presidents of the Central Asian states, we systematically conduct negotiations, and work on the adoption of mutually agreed decisions in order to ensure the sustainable progressive development of the region and the well-being of the peoples living in it.
The agenda of the talks includes resolving issues of maintaining peace, stability and security in the region, developing cooperation in the field of economy, energy, transport and communications, the environment, as well as the integration of Central Asia into world economic and continental relations, and other important issues and topical topics.
For a year and a half, our countries, having united their efforts, have been jointly fighting the spread of the pandemic. Along with medicines, medical equipment, personal protective equipment and other types of support, the Central Asian states have developed and implemented a set of measures aimed at maintaining trade relations at the proper level, creating opportunities for transporting goods, and implementing the economic projects that have been launched. The leaders of the five countries reaffirmed their desire to regularly and consistently strengthen friendship and cooperation, preserve good-neighborliness, unity and indivisibility of our historical destinies.
– In the near future, a trilateral Summit “Azerbaijan-Turkmenistan-Turkey” will be held. What results do you expect from this Summit and what is its agenda?
– This format has been created, and I am sure that it meets the long-term interests of the three fraternal states and peoples, and therefore is in great demand and, consequently, will be fully implemented.
At present, the level of relations between Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey, and their leaders makes it possible to confidently and effectively develop and improve trilateral cooperation in the political, economic, trade and humanitarian areas.
Our countries are jointly making efforts to preserve and strengthen global peace, stability and security. They consistently and decisively promote the principles of constructive partnership and mutual understanding on regional issues.
The approaches of Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey have a positive impact on the development of the regions of Central Asia, the Caspian and Black Seas. This contributes to the transformation of the above-mentioned regions into a solid foundation for long-term stability in this part of Eurasia.
Trade and economic relations are developing regularly, on a mutually beneficial and equal basis. The concentration of the potential of the three states, the use of common resources, geographic, industrial and technological capabilities can not only give a powerful impetus to the development of the national economy, but also confirm that this can become a contribution to the geo-economic structure, give a new creative meaning and prospects throughout the Eurasian space. …
First of all, we are talking about such strategic areas as energy, transport and communications. I am confident that Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey are taking an advanced and active position in the formation of a reliable transport and energy bridge in the East-West direction. We hope that the meeting of the Presidents of Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey, postponed for well-known reasons, will be held in the near future.
This meeting, which will open a bright page in the history of relations between the three fraternal states, will contribute to improving and enriching our cooperation, entering its new directions, and will become another evidence of the solidarity and unity of the Turkmen, Azerbaijani and Turkish peoples.
– Turkmenistan is successfully establishing bilateral relations in the field of energy, transport, trade and other areas with the countries of the region and states located outside of it. What projects do you think are the most important?
– They are all important, as they fully comply with the goals identified during their development. We are talking about already implemented projects and those that are being implemented at the present time.
These are such projects as the Turkmenistan-China pipeline, the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railway, the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan power transmission lines, the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan fiber-optic communication system, the Serhetabat-Turgundi railway between Turkmenistan and Afghanistan.
Of course, the construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline is strategically important among energy projects. It should be noted that there is also an intention to build a fourth branch of the gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to China in the territory of Central Asia.
In the transport sector, we see a great future for the project along the Afghanistan–Turkmenistan–Azerbaijan–Georgia–Turkey route.
In general, the strategy of Turkmenistan from the point of view of the accelerated development of the states of the region, integration into the world economy, the development of international cooperation in the Eurasian space is aimed at the most efficient use of the resources and geographical capabilities of the countries of the region.
– Dear Mr. President, it is expected that this year Turkmenistan will join the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking states as an observer. Please tell us about the circumstances that prompted the decision to join this Organization in this capacity.
“As you know, this year, which has been declared the International Year of Peace and Trust, our Motherland widely celebrates the glorious 30th anniversary of the sacred independence. And last year, Turkmenistan celebrated another glorious date – the 25th anniversary of its recognition as a permanently neutral state at the international level.
The legal status of permanent neutrality, recognized by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution of December 12, 1995, unanimously adopted by 185 states, and reaffirmed for the second time by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution of June 3, 2015, is a key principle of Turkmenistan’s foreign policy.
And the declaration by the UN General Assembly on the initiative of Turkmenistan on December 12 as International Day of Neutrality is a clear confirmation of the recognition of the policy of positive neutrality implemented by our country, which makes a great contribution to ensuring global peace, security and sustainable development.
Since acquiring the legal status of neutrality, Turkmenistan has invariably implemented all the provisions of the relevant UN Resolution. As a full-fledged member of the world community, in foreign policy, Turkmenistan assumed such obligations as permanent neutrality, non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, non-participation in multilateral military-political treaties and associations.
Since then, the neutral foreign policy implemented by our country has clearly demonstrated its effectiveness and compliance with the long-term interests of the world community.
Relying on permanent neutrality, Turkmenistan not only comes up with important initiatives aimed at developing broad international cooperation that meets the fundamental interests of all countries and peoples, but also takes steps to implement them in practice.
If we talk about the circumstances that led to the decision to participate in the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking states as an observer, then Turkmenistan always takes an active part in its meetings at a high level. At the same time, our country is developing friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation in various directions with all the Turkic-speaking states. Therefore, we decided to participate in the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking states as an observer.
I am firmly convinced that the participation of Turkmenistan as an observer in the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States will contribute to the activities of this Organization, the development of political, trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian relations within its framework.
– Everyone knows how you take care of family relations, your family members. What does the concept of family mean to you?
– For me, as for all Turkmens, family ties are a sacred object that should be protected by passing it on to our children and grandchildren.
One of the best qualities of a person is their boundless love for their parents. As the Turkmen proverb says: “If you make your father happy, the grace of the Almighty will descend, if you make your mother happy, the Prophet’s mercy will descend.”
To be an honest and real person, to follow such fundamental covenants and instructions, how to diligently fulfill your duty, help people, be true to your word – this means love for your native land, its history, patriotism, action in the name of descendants. I must convey to my descendants these concepts, which especially influenced my formation as a person and a politician.
– How do you spend your free time?
– I have little free time; working hours start before dawn and end late in the evening. As for the rest time, I try to spend it profitably and meaningfully – I read a lot or regularly engage in creativity and sports.
– Before taking office as President, you received an education in a medical profile, worked as the Minister of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan. I have seen and read several of your books. You are an outstanding politician, writer, and scientist. What advice would you give the current young generation when choosing a profession?
– This choice should be related to the professional interest of a young person striving to master the subtleties of a certain specialty. To achieve excellence in the profession, you need to love your job; then success will come. Of course, you should always consider your work as part of the main labor of the people. A person should feel constant involvement in the fate of the Motherland, strive to thoroughly master the chosen profession in order to find a worthy place in life. They should try to improve their professional qualifications.
A person devoted to their profession, striving to improve their professional skills, will gain prestige and will be respected among people. First of all, you should choose a profession that is close to your heart. You must try to master it at the highest level. To become a qualified specialist, one must always read a lot, study, and improve oneself.
And therefore, I consider the choice of a profession according to one’s talent, abilities and skills as one of the main tasks!
– Dear President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov! Thank you very much for taking the time to meet with us, giving an interview to TRT World TV channel, despite many very important state affairs. We are very proud of this! /// nCa, 10 November 2021 (cross port from TDH, 9 Nov, picture credit TDH)