Jan Šir, Research Fellow at the Institute of International Studies, Charles University (Prague, the Czech Republic)

By keeping away from practically all mechanisms of regional integration and cooperation, Turkmenistan stands apart from its Central Asian neighbors. One of the CIS founding members, it gradually reduced its involvement in the Commonwealth to purely nominal: nowadays the CIS is regarded as a structure that passes general non-obligatory decisions, while the U.N. is declared to be the republics priority for ideological reasons. At the same time, the very specific nature of Turkmenistans ruling regime is keeping the world community away from the countrys domestic affairs. For the same reason, Turkmenistan refused to grasp the opportunity offered by the events of 9/11, which riveted the worlds attention on the region, to extend its ties with the West, something that other Central Asian countries did not miss. On the whole, Turkmenistan can be described as a closed country devoid of any geopolitical ambitions, opting for voluntary self-isolation. Inside the country, this is described as positive neutrality.

The constitutional Law on Turkmenistans Permanent Neutrality of 27 December, 1995 serves as the legal cornerstone of the countrys foreign policy. It describes Turkmenistans Constitution, rights, and obligations as those of a neutral state. In the military-political sphere, in particular, it is expected to pursue a peace-loving foreign policy based on the principles of equality, mutual respect, and non-interference in the domestic affairs of other states and keep away from military blocs, unions, and inter-state alliances that impose strict functions on or.

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