The “Turkmen model” of neutrality

Any state that has gained its independence and sovereignty has to define some important tasks related to its future destiny. Turkmenistan, which gained state independence on October 27, 1991, has made a decisive decision on foreign policy: the country’s foreign policy strategy must be based on the principles of positive neutrality. In this regard, at the OSCE summit in Helsinki in July 1992, Turkmenistan announced for the first time that it was choosing a positive Neutrality principle as the basis of its foreign policy direction. The principles such as respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of other states, non-interference in their internal affairs, non-use of force in interstate relations, prioritization of UN resolutions in international affairs, strengthening cooperation and good-neighborliness with all countries were considered.

The Declaration of Turkmenistan’s neutrality was first recognized at the regional level in the Final Declaration of the Economic Cooperation Organization summit in Islamabad, in March 1995. At the meeting, Turkmenistan made a special statement on the constitutional commitment of the Permanent Neutral State. At the meeting of the Heads of Government and Heads of State of the Non-Aligned Movement in Carthage in October of the same year, a resolution was adopted by the representatives of the member states of the Organization on the Granting of Permanent Neutrality to Turkmenistan. As a result, at the 50th General Assembly of the United Nations General Assembly on December 12, 1995, the Resolution „Permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan” was adopted. This Decree has become a historical first document adopted by the United Nations on neutrality in the practice of international relations.

The Neutrality of Turkmenistan, which is “recognized” by origin, “permanent” in form, and “positive” in meaning was unanimously ratified by the Historical Declaration and unanimously recognized by 185 member states of the United Nations, the highest representative international body in the world, is an international legal status. At its source, it adheres to the high humanitarian principles of the Turkmen people, such as peace-loving, mutual respect, and humanity, which have been the banner of the millennium. Therefore, the tasks arising from the level of Turkmenistan’s Permanent Neutrality are important in strengthening peace, ensuring sustainable development and prosperity around the world.

At present, the world community unanimously recognizes that the goals of the “Turkmen model” of neutrality are fully in line with the tasks and requirements of global development, and the principles of the United Nations are prioritized in this sphere. With the support of all Central Asian states, the United Nations Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia was opened in Ashgabat in December 2007. The main task of the Center is to help the Central Asian states to create a platform for dialogue and dialogue on the prevention of potential threats in Central Asia, the establishment of new directions for strengthening effective relations within the region.

The effectiveness of preventive diplomacy has passed the test of time. During his video address to the 75th anniversary session of the UN General Assembly, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov highlighted the role and work of the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia. And actively supports the work and initiatives of this Center, which has carried out significant work to promote political-diplomatic, trade-economic and cultural-humanitarian cooperation among them. Turkmenistan has been cooperating effectively with the Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia on regional security issues, including the United Nations Global Strategy on Terrorism. Overcoming the threats and threats of the present, especially the global pandemic and its socio-economic impact, plays a special role in the current interactions.

Today, the principles of Turkmen Neutrality include peaceful regulation of the situation in neighboring Afghanistan, assistance in the disarmament process in the region, resolving water and energy issues on the basis of equality principlesand ensuring the security,сlearly reflected in the initiatives set forth by Esteemed President. Because these areas are important indicators of the practical implementation of the political, economic and cultural aspects of Turkmen Neutrality that is in the Constitutional Law of Turkmenistan „On Permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan” which was adopted on December 27, 1995. Therefore, at the 66th session of the UN General Assembly in 2011, the slogan „Peace through development” put forward by our Esteemed President proposes in strategic areas such as political issues, economics, energy, ecology and the humanitarian system the preference of kindnesses considered as a main principle of neutrality.

The books on philosophy say that the more human beings are on the Earth, the more philosophy there is. This means that everyone’s opinion of anything is different, not the same. But on the one hand – there is no doubt that everyone agrees on the notion of „peace.” That is why Turkmenistan’s Neutrality Policy is constantly expanding its potential for peace by strengthening its role as a call for universal peace. The second adoption of the Decree „Permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan” with support of 193 states at the 69th session of the UN General Assembly on June 3, 2015 is another testament to the high recognition of Turkmen Neutrality, peace-loving diplomacy in the world community.

In his historic address, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov initiated the establishment of International Neutrality Day to further strengthen the global significance of neutralityat the conference on December 12, 2015, dedicated to the 20th anniversary of Turkmen Neutrality. The unanimous adoption of the Resolution on the proclamation of December 12 as International Neutrality Day at the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly on February 2, 2017, was widely supported by the President’s proposal in 2015.

Addressing our compatriots on the occasion, which further enhanced the decisive significance of the experience of Turkmen Neutrality, the President said: “We attach great importance to strengthen neutrality in Turkmenistan and are proud of its unique legal status. Neutrality is our doctrine, it calls for peace around the world, for the development of friendly and fraternal relations among peoples, for the promotion of humanitarian principles and for unity”. This is one of the important steps in expanding the potential of Turkmenistan’s Neutrality International Legal Status in the new historical context. In 2020 Turkmenistan celebrates the 25th anniversary of our Neutrality, which has been twice recognized by the United Nations. Conferences, exhibitions, brief meetings and online meetings are held regularly not only in our country, but also in several countries around the world on this auspicious date.

Tirkishmyrat Durdyev,

Lecturer of the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan; Department of Practice and Theory of Journalism