INTERVIEW OF THE PRESIDENT OF TURKMENISTAN TO THE “TRT WORLD” TV CHANNEL OF THE TURKISH RADIO AND TELEVISION CORPORATION
– Highly Esteemed President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov! We would like to express our sincere gratitude to you for the given time, despite your important state activity, for a meeting with us and for the interview to the “TRT World” TV channel. Turkmenistan and the Republic of Turkey are connected by centuries-old historical, friendly and fraternal relations, which are characterized by the motto “One nation – two states”. How do you evaluate the present level of bilateral cooperation and what is your vision of the upcoming activity in this direction?
– Thank you for the question! Before to answer it, I would like to note that we express respect for and highly appreciate the activity of the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation of the Republic of Turkey, which carries out an important work, highlighting events, history, customs and traditions, modern development of the countries of the Turkic world, including Turkmenistan.
Now I will get back to your question. When we talk about relations with the Republic of Turkey, we always underline their brotherly character. Namely, the definition "brotherly" from the very beginning and up to this day is a core of our mutual relations as sovereign states in political, economic and humanitarian spheres and also on the international arena.
We will never forget the support rendered by Turkey to Turkmenistan at the end of last century, in the years of formation of the Turkmen state. Turkey was the first among the world countries to recognize our independence and to open in Ashgabat its diplomatic mission. The support of the Republic of Turkey was especially important at all stages of international recognition of the neutral legal status of Turkmenistan.
The traditions of Turkmen-Turkish cooperation, which have been developed during this period, the special nature of our relations over these past years have not changed, while it have even become stronger, serving as a firm basis for development of relations between two peoples and states.
In the economic sphere Turkey, being a long-term successful partner of Turkmenistan, holds one of the leading positions in trade and investments with our country.
In the foreign policy, on the international arena Turkmenistan and the Republic of Turkey actively co-operate to ensure peace, stability and security, to tackle modern challenges, to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals across the world.
Our relations in the humanitarian sphere, in the field of science, education, culture and youth affairs are expanding more and more.
Having based on the common rich historical heritage of the two peoples, we confidently look ahead; we make joint plans on interaction and successfully realize them.
In this regard, I would like to emphasize specially the personal contribution of the President of the Republic of Turkey, my dear brother Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to the development of the interstate dialogue. In conversation with him, the special attitude to Turkmenistan and invariable readiness for cooperation can always be felt.
Under the understanding of indissolubility of historical link, commonness of the present goals and possibilities, presence of huge potential of bilateral partnership, we together build the future of Turkmen-Turkish interaction. I am firmly confident of the bright future of our relations aimed at the benefit of the two countries and peoples.
– This year Turkmenistan has marked the 30th anniversary of its independence. In your opinion, what achievements of your country for the past period are the most important, and please, tell us of the forthcoming goals?
– In my opinion, the main achievement is formation of Turkmenistan in the world as an independent, sovereign, powerful state, which has gained a great respect. All the rest, certainly, being a result of the previously mentioned, forms a core basis of modern history of the Turkmen people.
Speaking of the material aspect of achievements, these indicators are sufficiently important in both the economic and social spheres and other areas.
As of today, Turkmenistan is the state with steadily developing economy, large industrial and production base, multimodal transport-communication system, powerful energy complex and modern agriculture.
The annual growth of the gross domestic product steadily remains at the level of 7-10 percent. Even in the present conditions of world economic recession in the past year, the given indicator made up 5.9 percent.
The priority vector of our state policy is the social sphere. It shares 70 percent of funds of the State budget annually. In our country, large-scale construction of residential houses, modern social projects corresponding to the international standards are carried out. According to the “UN Human Development Index (HDI)”, Turkmenistan is among the states with high indicators in this field. We are in the group of upper-middle-income countries by income level.
The recognition of the legal status of permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan by the United Nations Organization has become the highest achievement of our independence. It allows us not only to realize the independent foreign policy directed to maintenance of national interests, but also to adjust the friendly, equal relations based on mutual respect with all states, to develop cooperation with them in spheres of economy, trade and investments.
All it has a positive influence on the development of Turkmenistan and modernization of its economic and industrial base and promotes increase in number of workplaces, realization of social programs, improvement of quality of living conditions of its population.
As a whole, we consider the past 30 years of national development as the period of formation and involvement of huge resource potential for the improvement of living standards of people, consolidations of the sovereignty of Turkmenistan, maintenance of peace and stability as a basic factor of implementation of plans of state building.
– For several days I made a trip in Ashgabat where the past historical epoch is in fusion with the culture of today’s time. How do you manage to keep balance between precepts of ancestors and modern traditions?
– At the recent meeting with the Turkmen youth, with students of higher education institutions I drew the attention to the issue of continuity of our history, interrelation between traditions and the present.
I underlined that the most valued heritage is an upbringing, the core of which is education and science.
In addition, a good and all-round upbringing, first of all, is based on the history, traditions, experience of ancestors and ethical values, which have withstood the test of centuries.
The heroic paths of our fathers, glorious history of our Fatherland are an exemplary school for our youth. I also have especially noted it in my book “Source of wisdom”.
The Kingdom of the Great Huns in the beginnings of the first millennium, the Turkmen Kingdom of Parthia that was able to compete with the Roman and Chinese empires, the state of Ghazna Turkmens that stretched in the second millennium to India, the Turkmen state of Great Seljuks that had influence from China to the Mediterranean Sea, the State of Koneurgench Turkmens, who had left us the unique samples of science, culture and art, the Garagoyunly and Akgoyunly dynasties of Turkmens – all of them serve as an evidence of greatness of the historical path of Turkmenistan and Turkmen people.
It should be referred to ancient written sources and works of famous historians. They confirm that throughout the entire history of humanity the Turkmen peoples have been committed to values of peace and humanism and have created great history and culture.
There were such big cities, as Merv, Gurgench, Nisa, Abiverd, Dehistan, Sarahs, Amul, Zemm, and Shehrislam on this land. Being the developing cities, they were recognized centers of science and education. These cities had made a huge contribution to the development of world science, culture, literature and art.
In the book “Turkmenistan – heart of the Great Silk Road” I have addressed my wishes to our youth, who should become the successor of the historical path of Turkmens and to ensure transfer of national traditions and achievements from generation to generation. During this meeting, I expressed firm confidence that our land will see emergence of new bright stars in science, such outstanding persons famous for the whole world as the great persons who lived earlier and had brought a big contribution to the development of world science in this land.
I have all reasons to speak so because the well-balanced state policy in the sphere of education and upbringing of the Turkmen youth bears today its wonderful fruits.
Our youth, having inspired by the example of great ancestors, reaches good results in scientific activity. Young Turkmen nationals become prize-winners and winners of the international Olympiads in various disciplines, and take places at pedestals of the largest sports competitions of the world. Our state financially supports aspiration of the youth to achieve the heights in education, science and sports.
It is an example of continuity of generations and close link between the heritage of our ancestors and the future of Turkmenistan – and of the youth who live in the sovereign developing state that takes care of them.
– Certainly, during my trip of the city I also visited the Museum of Turkmen carpet and was admired by performance of the “Galkynysh” National Equestrian Games Group as well as also I had a possibility to see sports complexes of the Olympic village. I have seen with my own eyes the big work that is carried out by you for future generations. Becoming its witness, I am proud of successes of Turkmenistan.
How do you evaluate relations with the countries in the region? Would you, please, tell us about cooperation with your colleagues?
– I can consider it as efficient, confident and aimed at achievement of positive results. In our relations, we are guided by the principles of good neighborliness and mutual respect, brotherhood and historical commonality, cultural-civilizational affinity of our peoples. Such strong basis gives a chance to look ahead with confidence and make large-scale, long-term and socially significant plans for cooperation in all areas.
In early August, this year, Turkmenistan hosted the Consultative Meeting of the Heads of States of Central Asia. It is a new format of political relations at the high state level and we are sure that it will become a permanent platform for improvement of creative processes in Central Asia.
We together with my colleagues in the region – with esteemed Presidents of States of Central Asia – hold talks on regular basis and work upon adoption of mutually agreed decisions to ensure sustainable growth in the region and well-being of the people who live in the region.
The agenda of negotiations includes a number of issues related to keeping peace, stability and security in the region, development of cooperation in the field of economy, energy, transport and communications, environment, and integration of Central Asia into world economic and continental relations, other important issues and pressing topics.
Now for one and a half year our countries, having united their efforts, jointly combat the spread of the pandemic. Along with medicals, medical equipment, individual protective devices and other kinds of support, the countries of Central Asian have developed and implemented a series of measures to support the trade relations, to create possibilities for transportation of cargo, and finalize the implementation of the started economic projects. Heads of five states have confirmed aspiration regularly and consistently to strengthen friendship and cooperation, to keep good neighborhood, unity and inseparability of our historical destinies.
– In the near future, the trilateral Summit “Azerbaijan-Turkmenistan-Turkey” will be held. What outcomes do you expect from the Summit and what will be its agenda?
– This format has been created, and I am sure that it meets long-term interests of three brotherly states and their people and that is why, it is in great demand and, hence, will be fully realized.
Now the level of relations between Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey and their heads allows developing and improving confidently and effectively trilateral cooperation in political, economic, trade and humanitarian directions.
Our countries make joint efforts on preservation and strengthening of universal peace, stability and security. They consistently and resolutely advance principles of constructive partnership and mutual understanding in regional issues.
Approaches of Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey make a positive impact on the development of regions of Central Asia, Caspian Sea and Black Sea. It promotes transformation of the above-named regions into a strong basis for long-term stability in this part of Eurasia.
Regularly, the trade and economic relations are developing on a mutually beneficial and equally basis. Concentration of the potential of three states, use of common resources, geographical, industrial and technological possibilities would give not only a powerful impulse to the development of national economy, but it would also serve as an acknowledgement that it can become a contribution to the geo-economic structure and can give new creative sense and prospects in entire Eurasia.
It, first of all, concerns such strategic directions, as energy, transport and communications. I am sure that Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey are at the top and at an active position to form a reliable transport and energy bridge towards the East-West. We hope that the meeting of Presidents of Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey, postponed for known reasons, will be held in the near future.
This meeting, which will open a bright page in the history of relations between three brotherly states, will promote improvement and enrichment of our cooperation, will bring out new directions and will serve another evidence of cohesion and unity of Turkmen, Azerbaijan and Turkish peoples.
– Turkmenistan successfully arranges mutual relations in the field of energy, transport, trade and other directions with countries of the region and states that are outside of the region. What projects, in your opinion, are the most important?
– All of them are important, as they completely correspond to the goals defined upon their development. It concerns projects that realized already and those, which are under implementation currently.
These are such projects, as Turkmenistan-China pipeline, Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railway, Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan power transmission line, and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan fiber-optic communication line, the railroad between Turkmenistan and Afghanistan by the route of Serhetabat-Torghundi.
Certainly, among energy projects, the construction of Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India gas pipeline is of strategic importance. It is necessary to note that there is also a plan concerning the construction of the fourth branch of the gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to China via the territory of Central Asian countries.
In the transport sphere, we see the great future of the project of the Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey transport route.
Generally, from the point of view of accelerated development of the countries of the region, integration into world economy and development of international cooperation in Eurasia, the strategy of Turkmenistan is aimed at maximum efficient involvement of resources and geographical possibilities of the states of the region.
– Esteemed Mr. President, this year, it is expected that Turkmenistan will join the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States as an observer. Would you, please, share with us the circumstances that have caused to take a decision to join this Organization in the mentioned status?
– As known, this year, which has been declared as International Year of Peace and Trust, our Motherland widely celebrates the glorious 30th anniversary of its sacred Independence. In addition, last year, Turkmenistan celebrated another glorious date – the 25th anniversary of its recognition as permanently neutral state at the international level.
The legal status of permanent neutrality, which was recognized by the Resolution of the UN General Assembly on December 12, 1995, with the unanimous support of 185 states, and was confirmed for the second time by the Resolution of the UN General Assembly on June 3, 2015, is a key principle of the foreign policy of Turkmenistan.
And declaration of December 12 as International Day of Neutrality by the UN General Assembly at the initiative of Turkmenistan is a visible evidence of recognition of the policy of positive neutrality implemented by our country, which contributes a lot to keep peace, security and sustainable development across the world.
From the moment of gaining the legal status of neutrality, Turkmenistan has invariably realized all provisions of the corresponding Resolution of the United Nations. Being a full-fledged member of the world community, in its foreign policy, Turkmenistan has taken such obligations, as permanent neutrality, non-interference to internal affairs of other countries, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, non-participation in multilateral military-political alliances and treaties.
For the past period, the neutral foreign policy implemented by our country has visually demonstrated its efficiency, conformity to long-term interests of the world community.
Based on permanent neutrality status, Turkmenistan not only brings forth the important initiatives aimed at development of wide international cooperation that meets basic interests of all countries and peoples, but also takes steps for their practical realization.
As for the circumstances, which have led to the decision to join the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States as an observer, Turkmenistan always takes an active part in its sessions at high level. At the same time, our country keeps friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation in various areas with all Turkic speaking countries. Therefore, we have made a decision to participate in the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States as an observer.
I am firmly confident that participation of Turkmenistan as an observer in the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States will become a contribution to the activity of this Organization, development of political, trade and economic and cultural-humanitarian relations within its framework.
– It is well-known that you respect much family relations, members of your family. What does the concept a family mean for you?
– For me as well as for all the Turkmens, family bonds are a shrine that should be protected by passing it as a heritage on to our children and grandchildren.
One of the best qualities of a person is his boundless love for parents. As the Turkmen proverb reads: “One, who makes his father happy, will be blessed by the God’s grace, and one, who makes his mother happy, will be blessed by the favor of the Prophet”.
To be a fair and true person, to follow such basic precepts and teachings, as diligently fulfill one’s duty, help people, keep your word – it all means love to your native land, its history, patriotism, action for the sake of descendants. I should convey to my descendants these concepts, which have especially affected my formation as a person and politician.
– How do you spend your free time?
– I have not enough free time, and my working hours begin before dawn and end late at night. As for the rest time, I try to spend it useful and meaningful – I read a lot or regularly engage in creativity and sports.
– Before taking the office of the President you got education in medicine and worked as Minister of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan. I have seen and read several of your books. You are an outstanding politician, writer and scholar. What would you advise the present younger generation in choosing a profession?
– This choice should be connected with the professional interest of a young man, aspiring to master subtleties of a certain specialty. To reach perfection in one’s profession, one should love his work, and then a success will also be achieved. Certainly, one should always consider his work as a part of the basic work of the peoples. A person should feel constant participation in the destiny of his Native land; aspire to master thoroughly his chosen profession to find a worthy place in life. A person should try to raise his professional qualification.
A person devoted to his profession, aspiring to improve his professional skill, will gain respect and will be highly appraised by people. First of all, one should choose a profession that is close to his heart. One should master it at high level. To become a qualified specialist, it is always necessary to read and study much and upgrade oneself.
And it is for this reason I consider the choice of a profession according to one’s talent, abilities and skills as one of the primary goals!
– Highly Esteemed President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov! Thank you very much, despite of very important state affairs, you have found time to meet with us and be interviewed by “TRT World” TV channel. We are very much proud of it!