Baku-Ashgabat: partnership across the Caspian Sea
According to experts and political scientists, Turkmen President’s ongoing visit to Baku represents a new milestone in the relations between the two countries. The Declaration on Strategic Partnership signed on the results of the talks between Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Ilham Aliyev has historical significance. The Declaration defines almost all areas of future joint activities, including political, economic, humanitarian, cultural, transport, energy and security issues. "Ashgabat and Baku support the transformation of the Caspian region into arena of the international partnership," Berdimuhamedov said after the talks with his Azerbaijani counterpart.
Experts interviewed by Vestnik Kavkaza are confident that a new format of cooperation between the two countries will provide new opportunities for the region, increasing its geopolitical weight.
According to the deputy director general of MIA Trend, political scientist Arzu Nagiyev, the signed documents give rise to believe that the cooperation between the two countries has entered a qualitatively new stage. "The signing of the strategic document opens opportunities for the development of infrastructure in the Caspian region. The relations between the two countries enter a new phase of interaction in the field of international cargo transportation, railway and ferry services or other transport routes of the North-South corridor. Turkmenistan is one of the key players at the energy market of the Caspian and Central Asian region. Turkmenistan has quite large volumes of hydrocarbon resources that can be exported westward to Europe after construction of the necessary infrastructure on the bottom of the Caspian Sea. I think the Declaration on Strategic Partnership is one of the key moments of this meeting,’’ the expert said.
"The two countries have a common culture, ethnic roots, we do not have language barriers, and Azerbaijan was one of the first countries supported Turkmenistan's permanent neutrality. Therefore, the Declaration on Strategic Partnership is an important political, social and even military document ", Nagiyev added.
According to political scientist Rovshan Ibragimov, the relations between the two countries improved after Turkmen President Berdimuhamedov was elected. "Gas debt problems were resolved, the Turkmen embassy returned to Baku, and the economic relations began to develop. Oil produced in the Turkmen sector of the Caspian Sea is transported via the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. In the last two years, the cooperation in the field of cargo transportation via the Caspian Sea has intensified, the ports of Alat and Turkmenbashi are actively used. The transportation of large-capacity vehicles of third countries, primarily Turkey, has Increased,’’ Ibragimov said.
"This visit affects the development of transport communications, the volume of traffic grows every year, the ports of Alat and Turkmenbashi are expanding. The both countries are hoping to become the key carriers in the Eurasian space participating in different regional projects - TRACECA, Belt and Road Initiative, North-South Road, West-South Road,’’ the expert explained.
According to him, the signing of the declaration is in line with the spirit of Azerbaijan's foreign policy, demonstrating the recent level of cooperation between the two countries. ‘’Creation of strategic agreements with the main partners is the trend of Azerbaijan's foreign policy, such agreements were signed with 11 EU countries, the latest was Latvia,’’ the expert concluded.