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Gulbanu Mukhamejanova. Turkmenistan in the system of Kazakhstan’s foreign policy priorities: an afterword to the visit of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N.Nazarbayev to Ashgabat

Central Asia is one of the top priorities of the foreign policy of the Republic of Kazakhstan. As part of the “Foreign Policy Concept for 2014-2020 of the Republic of Kazakhstan” Kazakhstan is interested in the regional stability and security development of Central Asian states, and actively supports and spearheads initiatives on the strengthening of intra-regional integration [1]. Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan are two fraternal countries that have a 25-year long history of close cooperation. The common historical heritage, along with deep cultural, religious and linguistic connections, remain the core of mutually beneficial and friendly relations between the countries.

Turkmenistan as a reliable ally and strategic partner of Kazakhstan participates in and supports Kazakhstan’s initiatives in the field of regional as well as global security, stability and peace. Countries work closely within the security structures of the UN, CIS and OSCE. Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan have similar positions on a number of issues, such as the question of Afghanistan, the fight against Islamic radicalism, extremism and terrorism and in the field of disarmament.

The transit and transport sphere is one of the promising areas of the Kazakh-Turkmen cooperation. Mention should be made of the economic potential of the “North-South” transport corridor, which can serve as an additional impetus for the development of economic cooperation between states. The Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railway will significantly shorten the way of cargo transportation and will promote the expansion of transport, social and industrial infrastructure. In the long term, the railway will allow transporting volumes of cargo transportation up to 10-12 million tons per year [2].

In addition, it became known about Turkmenistan’s intention to build an automobile bridge, which will become part of the Turkmenbashi-Garabogaz-Kazakhstan highway. The task of the new bridge is to increase the flow of goods between the western and northern regions of Turkmenistan, as well as to increase trade with neighboring states.

On September 17, 2017, the head of state, N.A. Nazarbayev, arrived in Turkmenistan at the invitation of the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to participate at the opening ceremony of the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Art Games [3].  Within the framework of the working visit, Nursultan Nazarbayev held a bilateral meeting with the President of Turkmenistan. The leaders of the countries held a constructive and fruitful dialogue, discussed actual issues on the regional agenda and further prospects for the development of bilateral relations.

N.Nazarbayev highly appreciated G.Berdimuhamedov’s initiatives in the water-ecological and water-energy spheres, in particular, the work of Turkmenistan within the framework of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea. The development of bilateral cooperation in strategic areas, such as transport and project infrastructure and energy was thoroughly discussed.

Noting the positive dynamics of trade growth with Turkmenistan, President Nursultan Nazarbayev expressed hope for progress in the economic sphere and implementation of trade, investment and business initiatives on a full scale, since at present the volume of trade between Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan remains the lowest among the countries of Central Asia. Thus, according to the customs statistics of Kazakhstan’s foreign trade, in January-August 2017, Kazakhstan’s trade with Turkmenistan amounted to $ 78.3 million, which is 53% less compared to the same period in 2016. The trade turnover for January-August 2016 was $ 166 million. The share of Turkmenistan in the total trade turnover of Kazakhstan is 0.2%. There is a simultaneous decrease in both imports and exports [4].



Recently, there has been an intensification of relations of Kazakhstan with the countries of Central Asia. This is evidenced by recent working visits of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N.Nazarbayev to Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. The revitalization of bilateral dialogues will give a new impetus to the implementation of the Central Asian initiatives.

In general, Turkmenistan continues to be a reliable and stable partner of Kazakhstan in the world arena and on the regional platform. The aspirations of the two leaders to further strengthen cooperation between Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan leaves no doubt about the lasting long-term and fruitful cooperation of our states.


[1] Концепция внешней политики РК на 2014-2020 гг. //http://mfa.gov.kz/ru/erevan/content-view/koncepcia-vnesnej-politiki-rk-na-2014-2020-gg

[2] Железная дорога Казахстан-Туркменистан-Иран придаст мощный импульс развитию Прикаспийского региона //https://www.trend.az/casia/turkmenistan/2781624.html

[3] Переговоры с Президентом Туркменистана Гурбангулы Бердымухамедовым //http://www.akorda.kz/ru/events/international_community/foreign_visits/peregovory-s-prezidentom-turkmenistana-gurbanguly-berdymuhamedovym

[4] Показатели внешней торговли. Таможенная статистика внешней торговли Республики Казахстан за январь-август 2016 год.  Таможенная статистика внешней торговли Республики Казахстан за январь-август 2017 год. //http://kgd.gov.kz/ru/exp_trade_files

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