Turkey's support is a key to prosperity of Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan remains one of the most promising suppliers of natural gas to Europe. The obvious advantage of the Turkmen hydrocarbon deposits is that most of them are concentrated in the central part of the country - about 80% of the whole production line. This allows implementing more confident diversification of gas exports, thereby creating a multivariate and multidirectional pipeline system, which today can guarantee the growth and sustainable development of the global energy.
Soon, an event significant for the entire region will be held - the opening of the Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline (TANAP). The leading world politicians, including Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, have been invited to attend the event. Turkey's participation in the development of Turkmenistan's energy sector is promising. Ankara is making efforts to ensure that Turkmenistan, which is rich with hydrocarbons, has its share on the European energy market. Moreover, Turkey has repeatedly expressed its desire to participate in the construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, which Turkmenistan still considers as promising.
If we talk about the bilateral cooperation between Ankara and Ashgabat, we should recall several important points. Turkey was the first country to support the neutral status of Turkmenistan back in 1995. Former Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Turkish Minister of Economy Zafer Caglayan often visited the republic and the political relations between the countries were tacitly regarded as ideal. By the way, the policy of neutrality was always valued by Turkey, as it contributed to the achievement of Turkmenistan's high positions in the eyes of the international community.
During the visit to Turkey, Berdymukhamedov confirmed the high importance of the strategic relations between Ashgabat and Ankara, adding that Turkmenistan is interested in the investments of Turkish companies. To date, Turkmenistan has registered about 600 Turkish companies working in the areas of trade, investment, construction, energy, transport, communications, textile, and processing industries.
What is the strategy of bilateral cooperation of the republics for the next five years? The transit opportunities in Turkey are increasing scores of times, respectively, the expected export of Turkmen gas to Europe can begin in 2019. For this reason, Turkey can significantly influence the solution of the Caspian Sea problem, which could help Turkmenistan finalize the issue of gas transportation to Europe. In the light of this perspective, the Turkmen side can count on an early solution to the problem of bordering in the Caspian Sea area, since the region's gas fields account for about 6% of the world's reserves. In this regard, it is worth referring to the work "The grand chessboard" by Zbigniew Brzezinsky, who paid special attention to the future of the Caspian Sea basin.
Otherwise, Ashgabat will have to pay attention to an alternative route for laying a gas pipeline across Iran. By the way, Tehran repeatedly supported this project, arguing that the construction of a land pipeline through its territory is simpler and more reasonable from the economic point of view. However, amid the current geopolitical situation in the region and the problems with the Iranian nuclear deal, Turkmenistan is very cautious in implementing all potential gas pipeline projects in which it participates, guided solely by the economic and commercial benefits for all countries the territory of which the gas supply routes pass.
Despite the obvious prospects for the cooperation of states in the energy sector, it is important for Turkmenistan to cooperate in the field of international transport infrastructure, in particular, the implementation of road and sea routes to Turkey through the Caucasus. Turkmenistan needs Turkey's support in implementing a large-scale reconstruction of the seaport in Turkmenbashi. Given the experience and successes of Turkey in the sphere of tourism, Turkmenistan is ready to develop an uncharacteristic branch of the national economy. In support of what has been said, we can cite the regularly held seminars for workers of hotel complexes of the national tourist zone ‘Avaza’, implemented by the State Committee for Tourism of Turkmenistan in cooperation with the Turkish Agency for Co-operation and Coordination. Specialists from Turkmenistan annually take internships in Turkish travel companies. It is likely that the accumulated experience of the joint work will affect Turkmenistan favorably, saving it from the reputation of a semi-closed state.