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Turkmenistan announces new initiatives in the sphere of security and cooperation in Central Asia

photo: turkmenportal.com
31 October 2023

Serdar Berdimuhamedov, the President of Turkmenistan, invited all the CIS countries to the first Conference on Security and Cooperation in Central Asia (CA). This invitation was voiced at the meeting of the Heads of the CIS member states in Bishkek. [1] The development of approaches and solutions for strengthening the cooperation between the Central Asian countries and all other stakeholders including other states, international organizations and financial institutions was announced the objective of this Conference. This important Ashkhabads initiative may have long-range effects. As minimum, it will contribute to stable and conflict-free development of the CA region, and as maximum will form new approaches to security across the entire Caspian Region and beyond.

New World Order

The leading politicians more and more are talking about the need for new approaches to foreign relations. Recently, Joe Biden, the USA President, claimed that the humankind was in need for the «new world order» to replace the one we had for the last 50 years. «We are amidst the shift of the global history, and it means that the decisions we will be making in the next four or five years will be defining how the next four or five decades will look like», Biden explained. [2] We heard similar statements from Antony Blinken, the USA Secretary of State, who announced the termination of the post-cold-war era.

The Russian President Vladimir Putin also proposed to start building the new world order several times, but in his opinion, this new world order should be completely different from the one proposed by the West. According to Putins words, unipolar hegemony of the USA in the world is unraveling relentlessly, and a fairer world order is being formed simultaneously. For example, at the recent session of the Valdai club Vladimir Putin supported the trend towards fair multi-polarity. [3]

The recent COVID pandemic quite noticeably facilitated the crisis of the modern globalization template: the problems of security got uncovered, the economic growth went down and the global connectivity fell drastically. It became clear that the disintegration of the global world is inevitable, so the search for new post-global world models commenced. Which modern projects are proposed today for practical implementation?

Post-globalism models

The first model looks like a futuristic one it assumes going into outer space or cosmo-colonialism. Elon Musk is a strong advocate for this model, and to a certain extent many global powers are (USA, China, India and partially Russia). The objective of this model is overcoming the limits of Earth-linked development and developing the resources of asteroids and the closest planets of the Solar System. Certainly, today it seems just science-fiction, but many countries have already thrown huge investment into the «Moon Race». It is assumed that the advanced technologies and materials will more than pay off all the costs and assure new global leadership.

The second model is «environmental colonialism», when new technological solutions associated with environment protection are globalized and become mandatory. Let us emphasize that the most developed Western countries are the ones actively promoting the «green agenda». Engineering revamp and new rigid environmental standards will allow the leaders of the Western world to capture their civilizational superiority, to place a ban on industrial development for all other non-Western countries and to re-distribute their assets and resources in favor of themselves. In addition, the collective West receives the opportunity for collecting the «environmental royalty» both for provision of environmentally clean technologies and for damage to the environment. The bottom side of the green agenda is abrupt rise in prices for water, food and consumer goods, inevitable annihilation of the middle class and small businesses. In fact, this is about fundamental division of the global world into «clean» and «unclean» ones.

The third model is an infrastructural model or «infra-colonialism». This project assumes that the critical infrastructure (roads, ports, data centers, pipelines) is collectivized and brought out from national jurisdictions, and all other solutions become only local. If we look attentively, China proposes today such comprehensive approach within its global initiative «One Belt and One Road». For example, all the infrastructure created under this initiative is based on Chinese investment and local engineering solutions promoting the system of digital platforms and financial settlement platforms, which China needs. China knowingly issues uncollectable loans to many Asian and African countries, which they will have to pay back either with their national territories or by the built infrastructure facilities. But the Chinese project now has to compete with the USA, the EU and India, who are trying to create an alternative for «One Belt and One Road» in the format of International Economic Corridor «India Middle East Europe» (IMEC). [4]

The fourth solution of the globalization problem looks quite natural and very simply. This is often called «glocalization», i.e. disintegration of the world into localities, which assure the ability to keep afloat and to survive for certain regions similar to submarine compartments. The global events after the COVID pandemic clearly demonstrated that the disintegration of the global world started going in line with the regionalization scenario. Regional cooperation becomes more and more active, this process is quite noticeable in Central Asia, as well. In the environment of Western sanctions and breaking of logistics chains, the geo-economic role of this region has grown dramatically. We can observe active cooperation both between the CA countries in the format of the «Central Asian Five», and on the international arena e.g., a series of C5+1 summits. This global trend for glocalization is also seen in the reset of the CIS project with direct participation of the countries of this region. [5]

Fighting for macro-regions

It is clear that the final model of post-global world will be mostly of the hybrid character. For example, China in its foreign affairs rhetoric successfully combines its infrastructural ambitions with the trendy «green agenda». [6] However, glocalization in combination with the infrastructural development today seems the most realistic scenario for overcoming the globalization crisis. It means, that a new type of fierce struggle for macro-regions formation will be seen at the global arena. According to some analysts, a fully-featured macro-region should have a number of important parameters. In addition to significant territory and transport connectivity, the military security of the macro-region is a critically important feature, it includes the availability of the nuclear shield and the ability to win in regional wars. Natural resources are also important: water, hydrocarbons, uranium, other rare and valuable minerals. Technological sovereignty is mandatory for assuring the defence and life-sustaining activities in the regional territory. Then come such factors as demographic and food security, as well as availability of the image of the future and of the development concept.

There are only two powers in the modern world that openly claim their ability to create their own macro-region, and to create them on the global scale. They are the United States and China. The American macro-region should provide for control over Japan, Korea and Taiwan, over the Mediterranean region and the Atlantic part of Europe, as well as South America within the well-known Monroe doctrine. Chinese macro-region includes China itself, Mongolia, Taiwan, both Koreas, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia all the former Japanese «Asian co-prosperity sphere». Let us emphasize separately that Beijing views Russia and the Central Asian countries as a semi-periphery of this macro-region. These ambitions of the USA and China to become global metropolitan powers in combination with unclearly defined borders of the macro-regions define the essence and the dynamics of modern international conflicts.

Let us remember that the active phase of struggling for important trading routes between the two centers of the global economy (the EU and the APR) commenced in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic hammered the continental export logistics, on which the concept of the growing global role of China was based. The result of the pandemic was temporary isolation of China on the East of Eurasia and two-year lockdown of its export-oriented economy. The conflict in Ukraine was the second strike for the global logistics, and it started right when China in 2022 just started to come out of its foreign trade quarantine. And finally the new conflict between Hamas and Israel flared two months after the ambitious statement about the «new on-shore and sea transportation corridor India EU» via Israel. Escalation of this conflict may result in a massive wave of refugees to Egypt and the prospect of closing down the Suez Canal, as well as to destabilization of the neighboring Middle East countries combined with complete revamping of the entire global logistics.

Main contradiction

In essence, today the fundamental issue is being resolved: where does the Chinese Great Silk Route end and where does the Western transportation system start. This is exactly the place, where we can see a series of regional conflicts, where the combat assignments are being achieved via the proxy-organizations of the two metropolitan powers. This exchange of strikes looks impressive, but all this activity does not resolve the main problem, which is right in the center of the current political super-crisis. The problem is that the sovereignty of one even the most powerful state is a local phenomenon, while as transportation system, financial settlements and Internet platforms are global. However, today there is no clear-cut agreement on the forms and methods of patronage over the global information and transportation networks, which is claimed by both the USA and China.

This contradiction, which is still in place, may be resolved by two ways: by force-based method, i.e., by unleashing of the new World War, or by peace-based method, i.e., by negotiations about an international agreement of controlling the trans-territorial networks. The recent Bidens statement about the turning point of history and the important decisions to be made by Washington in the next four or five years, confirm the determination of the US Administration for the force-based scenario. Judging by the statements of a number of the US policymakers, the United States are strong enough and pulled together with their allies to repeat the scenarios of the First and the Second World Wars. Let us remind here, that back then a series of battles took place at different regional theatres of military operations, and the USA territory was outside the combat zone and did not suffer at all. In the opinion of certain Western analysts, the new World War has become imminent already and ideologically may be presented as an ultimate conflict of the «global democracy» with the alien «autocratic regimes».

It is believed that each of the autocratic sub-hegemons (China, Iran, Russia and North Korea) will receive such a proposal of regional conflict, which they will not be able to turn down. A series of controllable attrition warfare at the European, Mid-Eastern and Pacific theatres of military operations will last approximately five years and even more, which will completely drain out the resources of autocracies, extinguish the passion of the population and burn out the conflict potential of the disputable regions. According to the American policymakers, the USA and their allies will exit this extended conflict stronger and modernized, and then will impose their rules of the game to the entire world, which will be tired from wars at that time. Figuratively speaking, this will resemble a game of multi-board chess between the first-rank players and a global chess grandmaster with the predictable result. [7]

However, this ideal picture presented by the Western policymakers may be clouded by the new warfare technologies and the modern mass media capabilities: more and more regional conflicts produce a painful echo in the territories of the countries of the collective West. We have seen such examples in the course of the Ukrainian conflict and we can observe them right now in the course of the developing crisis in the Middle East. There is another restriction: it is much easier to initiate a World War than to put an end to it, especially if you want to achieve a pre-set outcome. Both of these deterrents force the USA and China first to take part in secret negotiations, and then to achieve common agreements about global Pax Chimerica. [8] Eventually, this will require from both sides provision of international force-based guarantees for logistical and energy routes.

Alternative scenarios

In addition to the two global projects of macro-regions under the auspices of the USA and China, there is a series of other high-potential inter-regional projects. In the beginning of the «Roaring Twenties» there was an active discussion about the possibility of reincarnation of the new British Empire. [9] This macro-region was based on close connections between Great Britain and India, as well as with other old British dominions Canada, South Africa and Australia; it also claimed for certain influence in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. However, the obvious managerial weakness of London (the  Prime-Ministers reshuffling and the Queens death) turned this purely British project into construction material for other global macro-regions. For example, the collective West today is viewing India as a substitute of China in the role of the «global factory». More and more hi-tec companies are relocating their production facilities from China to India, including such giants as Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Google, Amazon and some others. [10] On the contrary, the Republic of South Africa (RSA) is making a clear focus on the BRICS format and close connections with the non-Western countries, such as Russia and China.

The active policy of Recep Tayyip Erdogan is often linked with the ambitious plans of Ankara to create its own neo-Osman region. In addition to Turkey itself, it may include the Levant countries of the eastern Mediterranean Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Cyprus. Iraq, Iran, the Balkans, the Caucasus, as well as Central Asian countries also were traditionally included into the sphere of the Ottoman Empires interests. Ankara officially announced that the new 21st century is to become the «centennium of Turkey» and will be associated with its rising role in the world. Today, Turkey is consistently promoting itself to the position of the «energy junction board» and even the «logistics super-power» based on its exclusive geo-economic position. In particular, Ankara recently announced the project «The Development Road» assuming for connecting the Persian Gulf region with Europe via Iraq and Turkey. [11] However, today Turkey is not a member of the «One Belt and One Road» project due to the conflict with China around the Uygur issue; at the same time, Turkey is not on board of the American-Indian IMEC project. Ankara is confronting the new corridor «India Middle East Europe» viewing it as a threat to its historic role of an intermediary between the West and the East. President Erdogan stated quite firmly that «there may be no corridor without Turkey». [12]

Russia is active in building its own macro-region, because it has always been viewing its huge territory as an inherently valued world. As the analysts of the Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies noted earlier, Russia is implementing its own analogue of the Monroe doctrine in Northern Eurasia to create a local international system resistant to external interference. [13] The structure of the Russian macro-region may be as follows: Russia itself, partially Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Central Asian countries, friendly Azerbaijan, Iran and, probably, Afghanistan. As we can see, the transit core of the pro-Russian macro-region is beeing developed around the strategically important Caspian Region. The value of the North-South International Transportation Corridor (ITC) with participation of the Caspian countries is growing in the geopolitical and sanctions-related context. By the end of 2027, the plan is to develop the end-to-end railway corridor from Russia to the Southern Iranian ports, which will provide for bringing Russian commodities directly to the Persian Gulf countries. [14]

Let us emphasize that Russia and Turkey have a number of very close positions in the modern geopolitical environment. Both countries have unique geographical location, are influential in their historic areas, and both have been playing a role of important intermediary between the East and the West across many centuries. Moscow and Ankara are holding the keys to many regional conflicts in their pockets including the conflict in the Middle East. Both countries are bright players on the global political arena and do not want to be just pieces of the puzzle in someone elses picture of the world. Remember that neither Russia, nor Turkey have never been officially announced as members of the «One Belt and One Road» initiative, but Russia always has been trying to interact with the Chinese project through the EAEU strategy and Russias own idea of creating a Big Eurasian Partnership. Western policymakers forecasted the collision between Russia and Turkey, but setting up a strategic alliance of our two countries allowed for resolving many conflicts in the common interests zone. [15] It seems that the role of the «last spike» in the global geo-economics, which both Russia and Turkey are playing now, will be steadily growing.

Honest broker

The modern world is balancing on the edge of war and peace. From the standpoint of the big systems theory, we are in the situation of unstable equilibrium, when even small, but precisely targeted efforts may cause the «Butterfly Effect», i.e., launch a cascade of new changes. At such critical moments, the role of the «honest broker» grows exponentially, i.e., independent and fair intermediary capable of coming up with new ideas. Today there are only three countries in the world with official neutral status Switzerland, Austria and Turkmenistan. Two of them are situated in the heart of Europe, while as Turkmenistan in the heart of Eurasia, on the crossing of the East-West and North-South transit corridors. In ancient and medieval times, important international trading routes went through the territory of Turkmenistan: from China to Middle East, from Middle East to Russia, as well as to India. Thats why Ashkhabad today may easily become a source of political innovations in the global logistics.

In the environment of the growing standoff between different political and military blocks, the commonly acknowledged neutral status of Turkmenistan allows for its leaders to put forward new initiatives with the guarantees to be heard. It is enough to remember the story of the rise of other neutral countries, such as Austria, Finland or Switzerland during the times of the cold war to understand the importance of such neutral platform. The neutral zone is vital in the modern turbulent world for practical needs of geo-economy of all the countries irrespective of their ideological preferences and political declarations. It is extremely important that Ashkhabad is committed to the concept of «active neutrality» and participates in many important regional formats in the status of an observer from CIS and EAEU to OTS and SCO. This is due to great efforts of Rashid Meredov, an experienced diplomat, Vice-Premier and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan. He developed a new foreign policy doctrine based on analyzing political and geo-economic processes both at the regional and global levels. [16]

On top of the neutral status officially confirmed by the UN Organization, this Caspian country has many more trump cards for the big game. The most obvious and meaningful asset of Turkmenistan is in its significant natural gas reserves. In the context of the currently going on reallocation of gas market shares and the forthcoming energy transition, the strategic value of the natural gas from Turkmenistan will be nothing but growing. Firstly, Turkmenistan is one of very few countries in the world capable of fast intensification of gas recovery and efficient development of new fields. Secondly, Ashkhabad may provide sufficient energy to cover the most ambitious plans of its industrial development, and it will be energy coming from burning the environmentally clean fuel. Thirdly, the unprecedented potential opens today for natural gas coming from Turkmenistan across the Caspian Region to the new markets from Europe to India. For example, at their recent meeting in Ankara, the Presidents Serdar Berdimuhamedov and Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed the issues of transporting natural gas from Turkmenistan to Turkey across the Caspian Sea. [17]

Another important asset of Turkmenistan is its strategic location at the crossroads of the main transportation routed of the Caspian Region. As was earlier emphasized in the reports by the Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies, previously the Caspian Region was meaningful as the source of oil and gas, but now its transit potential comes to the fore. International sea port Turkmenbashi is capable of becoming the key multi-modal hub in the Caspian Region handling cargos not only for the neighboring countries, but also for Europe, China and India. Turkmenistan is a strategical hub for two main transit corridors the East-West and the North-South routes simultaneously. Moreover, it is a very important element of infrastructural and geo-economic stability across the entire Eurasia. For example, Ashkhabad is building the gas pipeline Turkmenistan Afghanistan Pakistan India together with the fiber-optics line along this route and the power transmission line Turkmenistan Afghanistan Pakistan. Due to this weighty reason, the new initiatives of Ashkhabad will be immediately heard by all the stakeholders. [18]

The third meaningful asset of Turkmenistan is the ability of the countrys leadership to convert gas windfall revenues into new projects and to implement long-term development programs. Serdar Berdimuhamedov just recently came to the position of the President, he is very well educated and has substantial practical experience of management at all the levels of government. The new President of Turkmenistan works in close connection with his father, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the Chairman of the Peoples Council of Turkmenistan. Both politicians know the value of words and deeds, are capable of quick and flexible decision-making. There are all the grounds to believe that both Serdar and Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov intend to turn Turkmenistan into «Caspian Switzerland» and are ready to untwist the most complicated knots in the global logistics.

Ashkhabads initiatives

In recent times, the leadership of Turkmenistan actively participated in the multi-lateral and bilateral meetings including a series of summits with the global leaders. These meetings demonstrated the growing solidarity and the common position of the leaders of the «Central Asian Five». All of them are interested in assuring sustainable and conflict-free development of the region, and are based on the fundamental principle of zero interference by external players. All the countries of the «Central Asian Five» are actively developing the transportation and logistics system in the Caspian Region serving the common foundation for enhancing international political and economic cooperation. This activity will require reliable force-based international guarantees for the new logistics and energy transiting corridors, which may be based only the non-interference and collective security principles.

We may assume that Ashkhabad will use the first Conference on Security and Cooperation in Central Asia with participation of international representatives to put forward a break-through idea about signing the Caspian Stability Pact. It may be a new type of trans-national agreement in the spheres of energy and transportation similar to the international straits treaties executed in the last century and still effective. Let is remind here that the Montreux Convention of 1936 does not cancel the national sovereignty of Turkey over the important Bosporus and Dardanelles straits, but provides for the freedom of passage for all commercial ships both at the times of peace and of war. However, this Convention establishes different passage mode for military ships disallowing for using this important strait system for aggression and military pressure.

Similar to Montreux Convention, a special procedure for using the transit and energy infrastructure in the Caspian Region may be developed. The Caspian Stability Pact will guarantee the unhampered and continuous operation of all these systems, but will prevent from using the pipelines and transit routes as weapons for aggression or political blackmail. The issue of laying energy pipelines or the routes of transit corridors were always linked with geopolitics, and often it went to the prejudice of economy. It is enough to remember the difficult story of Zangezur corridor or the Trans-Caspian pipeline project. However, the events of the recent years clearly demonstrated: everyone is suffering when the pipelines are turned into the «energy weapon». The recent terrorist attack against the Nord Stream is an example. Now it is time to step away from the negative confrontation practice towards transparent and straightforward conventions.

Another important idea is combining different transit corridors in the Caspian Region or creating the Southern multi-modal route combining the capabilities of the Trans-Caspian corridor and North-South ITC. Let us remind here that it was Vadim Tsymbursky, a Russian geo-politician, who proposed the idea of such transportation oligopoly back in the late 1990s. [19] It assumes combination of several transportation corridors, which are not competing, but cooperating with each other. The underpinning logic is quite simple: cargos from one route may be moved to another one, so none of the players are interested in any blockade. In case of implementing this strategy, the roads connecting the ends of the continent would be collectively controlled, which would provide «insurance» against external sanctions and non-partner-like behaviour. According to Tsymbursky, the transportation oligopoly may become a solid foundation for the far-reaching rapprochement of the positions of Russia, Turkey, China and Iran on the issues of collective security in Central Asia and across the entire trans-Caspian area up to developing the common strategy of «cooperation between the civilizations».

Ashkhabad could easily become a new trend-setter in the global politics offering a new high-potential cooperation format to the world within the framework of transportation oligopoly. Modern Turkmenistan is capable of re-thinking its historic experience in safe-guarding the caravan tracks and as a neutral country promote the idea of creating the peace-making «Turkmen Guards» special forces protecting the common Caspian infrastructure (similar to the famous «Swiss Guards»). It became obvious that the security of energy and transit projects cannot be assured by the force-based patronage of one single state, but only by way of mutual recognition and non-interference, as well as by the regional collective security system. This is associated with the fact that international transportation systems, financial and Internet platforms are of a global nature, they go beyond the standard understanding of geopolitical influence areas or military coalitions. It seems that neutral Turkmenistan with guaranteed stable ruling for the forthcoming decades could have started the energetic construction of the transportation and communication systems first for the strategically important Caspian Region, and then across the entire Eurasia.

1. The President of Turkmenistan, invited all the CIS countries to the first Conference on Security and Cooperation in Central Asia. Turkmenportal, 13.10.2023. https://turkmenportal.com/blog/68407/prezident-turkmenistana-priglasil-strany-sng-na-pervoe-soveshchanie-po-bezopasnosti-i-sotrudnichestvu-v-ca

2. Remarks by President Biden at a Campaign Reception. The White House, 20.10.2023. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2023/10/20/remarks-by-president-biden-at-a-campaign-reception-3/

3. Putin at the Valdai Club session: the future world is the world of collective and not unilateral decisions. Rossiyskaya Gazeta, 05.10.2023. https://rg.ru/2023/10/05/vladimir-putin-vystupil-pered-uchastnikami-kluba-valdaj-zhit-po-pravu-a-ne-po-chim-to-pravilam.html

4. Biden announces creating the competitor for the Chinese Silk Road. News.ru, 09.09.2023. https://news.ru/usa/bajden-obyavil-o-sozdanii-konkurenta-kitajskogo-shelkovogo-puti/

5. CIS project: a new reset. Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies, 17.10.2023. https://caspian.institute/product/solozobov-yurij/proekt-sng-novaya-perezagruzka-38501.shtml

6. Xi Jinping present the peaceful co-existence principles for the modern era. Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 22.10.2023. https://www.ng.ru/editorial/2023-10-22/2_8858_red.html

7. «This war can go on for thirty years»: interview with Edward Luttwak, the advisor to Pentagon. OstWest.tv, 04.07.2023. https://ostwest.tv/news/eta-vojna-mozhet-prodolzhatsya-30-let-intervju-s-sovetnikom-pentagona-edvardom-ljuttvakom/

8. The leaders of China and the USA may meet in November already. Novye Izvestiya, 24.10.2023. https://newizv.ru/news/2023-10-24/lidery-kitaya-i-ssha-mogut-vstretitsya-uzhe-v-noyabre-422166

9. London is re-creating the British Empire dragging Kremlin into the new intrigue. Svobodnaya Pressa, 26.12.2020. https://svpressa.ru/politic/article/285566/

10. Global corporations are more and more moving their production facilities away from China. Rossiyskaya Gazeta, 21.01.2023. https://rg.ru/2023/01/21/mirovye-korporacii-vse-chashche-perenosiat-svoi-proizvodstva-iz-kitaia.html

11. Tü rkiy-IraqDevelopment Road Project: Enhancing regional connectivity, trade. Anadolu Agency, 16.09.2023. https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/turkiye-iraq-development-road-project-enhancing-regional-connectivity-trade/2993555

12. Cumhurbaşkanı Erdoğan: Hindistan-Orta Doğu-Avrupa Ekonomi Koridoru Türkiyesiz olmaz. Anadolu Agency, 11.09.2023. https://www.aa.com.tr/tr/gundem/cumhurbaskani-erdogan-hindistan-orta-dogu-avrupa-ekonomi-koridoru-turkiyesiz-olmaz/2989082

13. SCO Summit as a version of the Monroe doctrine for Eurasia. Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies, 07.08.2023. https://caspian.institute/product/direkciya-mezhdunarodnyh-programm-kisi/sammit-shos-kak-variant-evrazijskoj-doktriny-monro-38450.shtm

14. Corridor and path: competition or convergence? Russian Council on International Affairs, 25.10.2023. https://russiancouncil.ru/analytics-and-comments/columns/postsoviet/koridor-i-put-konkurentsiya-ili-konvergentsiya/

15. The Russian Turkish alliance is the future for Eurasia. Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies. https://caspian.institute/product/ciss/rossijsko-tyurkskij-soyuz-kak-budushchee-evrazii-37966.shtm

16. Turkmenistan approves the Foreign Policy Concept for seven years. ORIENT Information Agency, 09.07.2022. https://orient.tm/ru/post/38726/v-turkmenistane-utverzhdena-semiletnyaya-koncepciya-vneshnepoliticheskogo-kursa

17. Erdogan and Berdimuhamedov discussed the supplies of natural gas from Turkmenistan to Turkey via the Caspian Sea. Interfax Azerbaijan, 27.10.2023. https://interfax.az/view/902720

18. The 4th Caspian Forum: search for new narratives and formats. Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies, 30.06.2022. https://caspian.institute/product/solozobov-yurij/vi-kaspijskij-forum-poisk-novyh-smyslov-i-formatov-38152.shtml

19. Vadim Tsymbursky, Geopolitics for the Eurasian Atlantis. Pro et Contra, vol. 4, 1999. https://archipelag.ru/geopolitics/osnovi/russia/geopolitics/

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Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies
Reports

Turkmenistan announces new initiatives in the sphere of security and cooperation in Central Asia

photo: turkmenportal.com
31 2023

Serdar Berdimuhamedov, the President of Turkmenistan, invited all the CIS countries to the first Conference on Security and Cooperation in Central Asia (CA). This invitation was voiced at the meeting of the Heads of the CIS member states in Bishkek. [1] The development of approaches and solutions for strengthening the cooperation between the Central Asian countries and all other stakeholders including other states, international organizations and financial institutions was announced the objective of this Conference. This important Ashkhabads initiative may have long-range effects. As minimum, it will contribute to stable and conflict-free development of the CA region, and as maximum will form new approaches to security across the entire Caspian Region and beyond.

New World Order

The leading politicians more and more are talking about the need for new approaches to foreign relations. Recently, Joe Biden, the USA President, claimed that the humankind was in need for the «new world order» to replace the one we had for the last 50 years. «We are amidst the shift of the global history, and it means that the decisions we will be making in the next four or five years will be defining how the next four or five decades will look like», Biden explained. [2] We heard similar statements from Antony Blinken, the USA Secretary of State, who announced the termination of the post-cold-war era.

The Russian President Vladimir Putin also proposed to start building the new world order several times, but in his opinion, this new world order should be completely different from the one proposed by the West. According to Putins words, unipolar hegemony of the USA in the world is unraveling relentlessly, and a fairer world order is being formed simultaneously. For example, at the recent session of the Valdai club Vladimir Putin supported the trend towards fair multi-polarity. [3]

The recent COVID pandemic quite noticeably facilitated the crisis of the modern globalization template: the problems of security got uncovered, the economic growth went down and the global connectivity fell drastically. It became clear that the disintegration of the global world is inevitable, so the search for new post-global world models commenced. Which modern projects are proposed today for practical implementation?

Post-globalism models

The first model looks like a futuristic one it assumes going into outer space or cosmo-colonialism. Elon Musk is a strong advocate for this model, and to a certain extent many global powers are (USA, China, India and partially Russia). The objective of this model is overcoming the limits of Earth-linked development and developing the resources of asteroids and the closest planets of the Solar System. Certainly, today it seems just science-fiction, but many countries have already thrown huge investment into the «Moon Race». It is assumed that the advanced technologies and materials will more than pay off all the costs and assure new global leadership.

The second model is «environmental colonialism», when new technological solutions associated with environment protection are globalized and become mandatory. Let us emphasize that the most developed Western countries are the ones actively promoting the «green agenda». Engineering revamp and new rigid environmental standards will allow the leaders of the Western world to capture their civilizational superiority, to place a ban on industrial development for all other non-Western countries and to re-distribute their assets and resources in favor of themselves. In addition, the collective West receives the opportunity for collecting the «environmental royalty» both for provision of environmentally clean technologies and for damage to the environment. The bottom side of the green agenda is abrupt rise in prices for water, food and consumer goods, inevitable annihilation of the middle class and small businesses. In fact, this is about fundamental division of the global world into «clean» and «unclean» ones.

The third model is an infrastructural model or «infra-colonialism». This project assumes that the critical infrastructure (roads, ports, data centers, pipelines) is collectivized and brought out from national jurisdictions, and all other solutions become only local. If we look attentively, China proposes today such comprehensive approach within its global initiative «One Belt and One Road». For example, all the infrastructure created under this initiative is based on Chinese investment and local engineering solutions promoting the system of digital platforms and financial settlement platforms, which China needs. China knowingly issues uncollectable loans to many Asian and African countries, which they will have to pay back either with their national territories or by the built infrastructure facilities. But the Chinese project now has to compete with the USA, the EU and India, who are trying to create an alternative for «One Belt and One Road» in the format of International Economic Corridor «India Middle East Europe» (IMEC). [4]

The fourth solution of the globalization problem looks quite natural and very simply. This is often called «glocalization», i.e. disintegration of the world into localities, which assure the ability to keep afloat and to survive for certain regions similar to submarine compartments. The global events after the COVID pandemic clearly demonstrated that the disintegration of the global world started going in line with the regionalization scenario. Regional cooperation becomes more and more active, this process is quite noticeable in Central Asia, as well. In the environment of Western sanctions and breaking of logistics chains, the geo-economic role of this region has grown dramatically. We can observe active cooperation both between the CA countries in the format of the «Central Asian Five», and on the international arena e.g., a series of C5+1 summits. This global trend for glocalization is also seen in the reset of the CIS project with direct participation of the countries of this region. [5]

Fighting for macro-regions

It is clear that the final model of post-global world will be mostly of the hybrid character. For example, China in its foreign affairs rhetoric successfully combines its infrastructural ambitions with the trendy «green agenda». [6] However, glocalization in combination with the infrastructural development today seems the most realistic scenario for overcoming the globalization crisis. It means, that a new type of fierce struggle for macro-regions formation will be seen at the global arena. According to some analysts, a fully-featured macro-region should have a number of important parameters. In addition to significant territory and transport connectivity, the military security of the macro-region is a critically important feature, it includes the availability of the nuclear shield and the ability to win in regional wars. Natural resources are also important: water, hydrocarbons, uranium, other rare and valuable minerals. Technological sovereignty is mandatory for assuring the defence and life-sustaining activities in the regional territory. Then come such factors as demographic and food security, as well as availability of the image of the future and of the development concept.

There are only two powers in the modern world that openly claim their ability to create their own macro-region, and to create them on the global scale. They are the United States and China. The American macro-region should provide for control over Japan, Korea and Taiwan, over the Mediterranean region and the Atlantic part of Europe, as well as South America within the well-known Monroe doctrine. Chinese macro-region includes China itself, Mongolia, Taiwan, both Koreas, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia all the former Japanese «Asian co-prosperity sphere». Let us emphasize separately that Beijing views Russia and the Central Asian countries as a semi-periphery of this macro-region. These ambitions of the USA and China to become global metropolitan powers in combination with unclearly defined borders of the macro-regions define the essence and the dynamics of modern international conflicts.

Let us remember that the active phase of struggling for important trading routes between the two centers of the global economy (the EU and the APR) commenced in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic hammered the continental export logistics, on which the concept of the growing global role of China was based. The result of the pandemic was temporary isolation of China on the East of Eurasia and two-year lockdown of its export-oriented economy. The conflict in Ukraine was the second strike for the global logistics, and it started right when China in 2022 just started to come out of its foreign trade quarantine. And finally the new conflict between Hamas and Israel flared two months after the ambitious statement about the «new on-shore and sea transportation corridor India EU» via Israel. Escalation of this conflict may result in a massive wave of refugees to Egypt and the prospect of closing down the Suez Canal, as well as to destabilization of the neighboring Middle East countries combined with complete revamping of the entire global logistics.

Main contradiction

In essence, today the fundamental issue is being resolved: where does the Chinese Great Silk Route end and where does the Western transportation system start. This is exactly the place, where we can see a series of regional conflicts, where the combat assignments are being achieved via the proxy-organizations of the two metropolitan powers. This exchange of strikes looks impressive, but all this activity does not resolve the main problem, which is right in the center of the current political super-crisis. The problem is that the sovereignty of one even the most powerful state is a local phenomenon, while as transportation system, financial settlements and Internet platforms are global. However, today there is no clear-cut agreement on the forms and methods of patronage over the global information and transportation networks, which is claimed by both the USA and China.

This contradiction, which is still in place, may be resolved by two ways: by force-based method, i.e., by unleashing of the new World War, or by peace-based method, i.e., by negotiations about an international agreement of controlling the trans-territorial networks. The recent Bidens statement about the turning point of history and the important decisions to be made by Washington in the next four or five years, confirm the determination of the US Administration for the force-based scenario. Judging by the statements of a number of the US policymakers, the United States are strong enough and pulled together with their allies to repeat the scenarios of the First and the Second World Wars. Let us remind here, that back then a series of battles took place at different regional theatres of military operations, and the USA territory was outside the combat zone and did not suffer at all. In the opinion of certain Western analysts, the new World War has become imminent already and ideologically may be presented as an ultimate conflict of the «global democracy» with the alien «autocratic regimes».

It is believed that each of the autocratic sub-hegemons (China, Iran, Russia and North Korea) will receive such a proposal of regional conflict, which they will not be able to turn down. A series of controllable attrition warfare at the European, Mid-Eastern and Pacific theatres of military operations will last approximately five years and even more, which will completely drain out the resources of autocracies, extinguish the passion of the population and burn out the conflict potential of the disputable regions. According to the American policymakers, the USA and their allies will exit this extended conflict stronger and modernized, and then will impose their rules of the game to the entire world, which will be tired from wars at that time. Figuratively speaking, this will resemble a game of multi-board chess between the first-rank players and a global chess grandmaster with the predictable result. [7]

However, this ideal picture presented by the Western policymakers may be clouded by the new warfare technologies and the modern mass media capabilities: more and more regional conflicts produce a painful echo in the territories of the countries of the collective West. We have seen such examples in the course of the Ukrainian conflict and we can observe them right now in the course of the developing crisis in the Middle East. There is another restriction: it is much easier to initiate a World War than to put an end to it, especially if you want to achieve a pre-set outcome. Both of these deterrents force the USA and China first to take part in secret negotiations, and then to achieve common agreements about global Pax Chimerica. [8] Eventually, this will require from both sides provision of international force-based guarantees for logistical and energy routes.

Alternative scenarios

In addition to the two global projects of macro-regions under the auspices of the USA and China, there is a series of other high-potential inter-regional projects. In the beginning of the «Roaring Twenties» there was an active discussion about the possibility of reincarnation of the new British Empire. [9] This macro-region was based on close connections between Great Britain and India, as well as with other old British dominions Canada, South Africa and Australia; it also claimed for certain influence in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. However, the obvious managerial weakness of London (the  Prime-Ministers reshuffling and the Queens death) turned this purely British project into construction material for other global macro-regions. For example, the collective West today is viewing India as a substitute of China in the role of the «global factory». More and more hi-tec companies are relocating their production facilities from China to India, including such giants as Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Google, Amazon and some others. [10] On the contrary, the Republic of South Africa (RSA) is making a clear focus on the BRICS format and close connections with the non-Western countries, such as Russia and China.

The active policy of Recep Tayyip Erdogan is often linked with the ambitious plans of Ankara to create its own neo-Osman region. In addition to Turkey itself, it may include the Levant countries of the eastern Mediterranean Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Cyprus. Iraq, Iran, the Balkans, the Caucasus, as well as Central Asian countries also were traditionally included into the sphere of the Ottoman Empires interests. Ankara officially announced that the new 21st century is to become the «centennium of Turkey» and will be associated with its rising role in the world. Today, Turkey is consistently promoting itself to the position of the «energy junction board» and even the «logistics super-power» based on its exclusive geo-economic position. In particular, Ankara recently announced the project «The Development Road» assuming for connecting the Persian Gulf region with Europe via Iraq and Turkey. [11] However, today Turkey is not a member of the «One Belt and One Road» project due to the conflict with China around the Uygur issue; at the same time, Turkey is not on board of the American-Indian IMEC project. Ankara is confronting the new corridor «India Middle East Europe» viewing it as a threat to its historic role of an intermediary between the West and the East. President Erdogan stated quite firmly that «there may be no corridor without Turkey». [12]

Russia is active in building its own macro-region, because it has always been viewing its huge territory as an inherently valued world. As the analysts of the Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies noted earlier, Russia is implementing its own analogue of the Monroe doctrine in Northern Eurasia to create a local international system resistant to external interference. [13] The structure of the Russian macro-region may be as follows: Russia itself, partially Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Central Asian countries, friendly Azerbaijan, Iran and, probably, Afghanistan. As we can see, the transit core of the pro-Russian macro-region is beeing developed around the strategically important Caspian Region. The value of the North-South International Transportation Corridor (ITC) with participation of the Caspian countries is growing in the geopolitical and sanctions-related context. By the end of 2027, the plan is to develop the end-to-end railway corridor from Russia to the Southern Iranian ports, which will provide for bringing Russian commodities directly to the Persian Gulf countries. [14]

Let us emphasize that Russia and Turkey have a number of very close positions in the modern geopolitical environment. Both countries have unique geographical location, are influential in their historic areas, and both have been playing a role of important intermediary between the East and the West across many centuries. Moscow and Ankara are holding the keys to many regional conflicts in their pockets including the conflict in the Middle East. Both countries are bright players on the global political arena and do not want to be just pieces of the puzzle in someone elses picture of the world. Remember that neither Russia, nor Turkey have never been officially announced as members of the «One Belt and One Road» initiative, but Russia always has been trying to interact with the Chinese project through the EAEU strategy and Russias own idea of creating a Big Eurasian Partnership. Western policymakers forecasted the collision between Russia and Turkey, but setting up a strategic alliance of our two countries allowed for resolving many conflicts in the common interests zone. [15] It seems that the role of the «last spike» in the global geo-economics, which both Russia and Turkey are playing now, will be steadily growing.

Honest broker

The modern world is balancing on the edge of war and peace. From the standpoint of the big systems theory, we are in the situation of unstable equilibrium, when even small, but precisely targeted efforts may cause the «Butterfly Effect», i.e., launch a cascade of new changes. At such critical moments, the role of the «honest broker» grows exponentially, i.e., independent and fair intermediary capable of coming up with new ideas. Today there are only three countries in the world with official neutral status Switzerland, Austria and Turkmenistan. Two of them are situated in the heart of Europe, while as Turkmenistan in the heart of Eurasia, on the crossing of the East-West and North-South transit corridors. In ancient and medieval times, important international trading routes went through the territory of Turkmenistan: from China to Middle East, from Middle East to Russia, as well as to India. Thats why Ashkhabad today may easily become a source of political innovations in the global logistics.

In the environment of the growing standoff between different political and military blocks, the commonly acknowledged neutral status of Turkmenistan allows for its leaders to put forward new initiatives with the guarantees to be heard. It is enough to remember the story of the rise of other neutral countries, such as Austria, Finland or Switzerland during the times of the cold war to understand the importance of such neutral platform. The neutral zone is vital in the modern turbulent world for practical needs of geo-economy of all the countries irrespective of their ideological preferences and political declarations. It is extremely important that Ashkhabad is committed to the concept of «active neutrality» and participates in many important regional formats in the status of an observer from CIS and EAEU to OTS and SCO. This is due to great efforts of Rashid Meredov, an experienced diplomat, Vice-Premier and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan. He developed a new foreign policy doctrine based on analyzing political and geo-economic processes both at the regional and global levels. [16]

On top of the neutral status officially confirmed by the UN Organization, this Caspian country has many more trump cards for the big game. The most obvious and meaningful asset of Turkmenistan is in its significant natural gas reserves. In the context of the currently going on reallocation of gas market shares and the forthcoming energy transition, the strategic value of the natural gas from Turkmenistan will be nothing but growing. Firstly, Turkmenistan is one of very few countries in the world capable of fast intensification of gas recovery and efficient development of new fields. Secondly, Ashkhabad may provide sufficient energy to cover the most ambitious plans of its industrial development, and it will be energy coming from burning the environmentally clean fuel. Thirdly, the unprecedented potential opens today for natural gas coming from Turkmenistan across the Caspian Region to the new markets from Europe to India. For example, at their recent meeting in Ankara, the Presidents Serdar Berdimuhamedov and Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed the issues of transporting natural gas from Turkmenistan to Turkey across the Caspian Sea. [17]

Another important asset of Turkmenistan is its strategic location at the crossroads of the main transportation routed of the Caspian Region. As was earlier emphasized in the reports by the Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies, previously the Caspian Region was meaningful as the source of oil and gas, but now its transit potential comes to the fore. International sea port Turkmenbashi is capable of becoming the key multi-modal hub in the Caspian Region handling cargos not only for the neighboring countries, but also for Europe, China and India. Turkmenistan is a strategical hub for two main transit corridors the East-West and the North-South routes simultaneously. Moreover, it is a very important element of infrastructural and geo-economic stability across the entire Eurasia. For example, Ashkhabad is building the gas pipeline Turkmenistan Afghanistan Pakistan India together with the fiber-optics line along this route and the power transmission line Turkmenistan Afghanistan Pakistan. Due to this weighty reason, the new initiatives of Ashkhabad will be immediately heard by all the stakeholders. [18]

The third meaningful asset of Turkmenistan is the ability of the countrys leadership to convert gas windfall revenues into new projects and to implement long-term development programs. Serdar Berdimuhamedov just recently came to the position of the President, he is very well educated and has substantial practical experience of management at all the levels of government. The new President of Turkmenistan works in close connection with his father, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the Chairman of the Peoples Council of Turkmenistan. Both politicians know the value of words and deeds, are capable of quick and flexible decision-making. There are all the grounds to believe that both Serdar and Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov intend to turn Turkmenistan into «Caspian Switzerland» and are ready to untwist the most complicated knots in the global logistics.

Ashkhabads initiatives

In recent times, the leadership of Turkmenistan actively participated in the multi-lateral and bilateral meetings including a series of summits with the global leaders. These meetings demonstrated the growing solidarity and the common position of the leaders of the «Central Asian Five». All of them are interested in assuring sustainable and conflict-free development of the region, and are based on the fundamental principle of zero interference by external players. All the countries of the «Central Asian Five» are actively developing the transportation and logistics system in the Caspian Region serving the common foundation for enhancing international political and economic cooperation. This activity will require reliable force-based international guarantees for the new logistics and energy transiting corridors, which may be based only the non-interference and collective security principles.

We may assume that Ashkhabad will use the first Conference on Security and Cooperation in Central Asia with participation of international representatives to put forward a break-through idea about signing the Caspian Stability Pact. It may be a new type of trans-national agreement in the spheres of energy and transportation similar to the international straits treaties executed in the last century and still effective. Let is remind here that the Montreux Convention of 1936 does not cancel the national sovereignty of Turkey over the important Bosporus and Dardanelles straits, but provides for the freedom of passage for all commercial ships both at the times of peace and of war. However, this Convention establishes different passage mode for military ships disallowing for using this important strait system for aggression and military pressure.

Similar to Montreux Convention, a special procedure for using the transit and energy infrastructure in the Caspian Region may be developed. The Caspian Stability Pact will guarantee the unhampered and continuous operation of all these systems, but will prevent from using the pipelines and transit routes as weapons for aggression or political blackmail. The issue of laying energy pipelines or the routes of transit corridors were always linked with geopolitics, and often it went to the prejudice of economy. It is enough to remember the difficult story of Zangezur corridor or the Trans-Caspian pipeline project. However, the events of the recent years clearly demonstrated: everyone is suffering when the pipelines are turned into the «energy weapon». The recent terrorist attack against the Nord Stream is an example. Now it is time to step away from the negative confrontation practice towards transparent and straightforward conventions.

Another important idea is combining different transit corridors in the Caspian Region or creating the Southern multi-modal route combining the capabilities of the Trans-Caspian corridor and North-South ITC. Let us remind here that it was Vadim Tsymbursky, a Russian geo-politician, who proposed the idea of such transportation oligopoly back in the late 1990s. [19] It assumes combination of several transportation corridors, which are not competing, but cooperating with each other. The underpinning logic is quite simple: cargos from one route may be moved to another one, so none of the players are interested in any blockade. In case of implementing this strategy, the roads connecting the ends of the continent would be collectively controlled, which would provide «insurance» against external sanctions and non-partner-like behaviour. According to Tsymbursky, the transportation oligopoly may become a solid foundation for the far-reaching rapprochement of the positions of Russia, Turkey, China and Iran on the issues of collective security in Central Asia and across the entire trans-Caspian area up to developing the common strategy of «cooperation between the civilizations».

Ashkhabad could easily become a new trend-setter in the global politics offering a new high-potential cooperation format to the world within the framework of transportation oligopoly. Modern Turkmenistan is capable of re-thinking its historic experience in safe-guarding the caravan tracks and as a neutral country promote the idea of creating the peace-making «Turkmen Guards» special forces protecting the common Caspian infrastructure (similar to the famous «Swiss Guards»). It became obvious that the security of energy and transit projects cannot be assured by the force-based patronage of one single state, but only by way of mutual recognition and non-interference, as well as by the regional collective security system. This is associated with the fact that international transportation systems, financial and Internet platforms are of a global nature, they go beyond the standard understanding of geopolitical influence areas or military coalitions. It seems that neutral Turkmenistan with guaranteed stable ruling for the forthcoming decades could have started the energetic construction of the transportation and communication systems first for the strategically important Caspian Region, and then across the entire Eurasia.

1. The President of Turkmenistan, invited all the CIS countries to the first Conference on Security and Cooperation in Central Asia. Turkmenportal, 13.10.2023. https://turkmenportal.com/blog/68407/prezident-turkmenistana-priglasil-strany-sng-na-pervoe-soveshchanie-po-bezopasnosti-i-sotrudnichestvu-v-ca

2. Remarks by President Biden at a Campaign Reception. The White House, 20.10.2023. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2023/10/20/remarks-by-president-biden-at-a-campaign-reception-3/

3. Putin at the Valdai Club session: the future world is the world of collective and not unilateral decisions. Rossiyskaya Gazeta, 05.10.2023. https://rg.ru/2023/10/05/vladimir-putin-vystupil-pered-uchastnikami-kluba-valdaj-zhit-po-pravu-a-ne-po-chim-to-pravilam.html

4. Biden announces creating the competitor for the Chinese Silk Road. News.ru, 09.09.2023. https://news.ru/usa/bajden-obyavil-o-sozdanii-konkurenta-kitajskogo-shelkovogo-puti/

5. CIS project: a new reset. Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies, 17.10.2023. https://caspian.institute/product/solozobov-yurij/proekt-sng-novaya-perezagruzka-38501.shtml

6. Xi Jinping present the peaceful co-existence principles for the modern era. Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 22.10.2023. https://www.ng.ru/editorial/2023-10-22/2_8858_red.html

7. «This war can go on for thirty years»: interview with Edward Luttwak, the advisor to Pentagon. OstWest.tv, 04.07.2023. https://ostwest.tv/news/eta-vojna-mozhet-prodolzhatsya-30-let-intervju-s-sovetnikom-pentagona-edvardom-ljuttvakom/

8. The leaders of China and the USA may meet in November already. Novye Izvestiya, 24.10.2023. https://newizv.ru/news/2023-10-24/lidery-kitaya-i-ssha-mogut-vstretitsya-uzhe-v-noyabre-422166

9. London is re-creating the British Empire dragging Kremlin into the new intrigue. Svobodnaya Pressa, 26.12.2020. https://svpressa.ru/politic/article/285566/

10. Global corporations are more and more moving their production facilities away from China. Rossiyskaya Gazeta, 21.01.2023. https://rg.ru/2023/01/21/mirovye-korporacii-vse-chashche-perenosiat-svoi-proizvodstva-iz-kitaia.html

11. Tü rkiy-IraqDevelopment Road Project: Enhancing regional connectivity, trade. Anadolu Agency, 16.09.2023. https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/turkiye-iraq-development-road-project-enhancing-regional-connectivity-trade/2993555

12. Cumhurbaşkanı Erdoğan: Hindistan-Orta Doğu-Avrupa Ekonomi Koridoru Türkiyesiz olmaz. Anadolu Agency, 11.09.2023. https://www.aa.com.tr/tr/gundem/cumhurbaskani-erdogan-hindistan-orta-dogu-avrupa-ekonomi-koridoru-turkiyesiz-olmaz/2989082

13. SCO Summit as a version of the Monroe doctrine for Eurasia. Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies, 07.08.2023. https://caspian.institute/product/direkciya-mezhdunarodnyh-programm-kisi/sammit-shos-kak-variant-evrazijskoj-doktriny-monro-38450.shtm

14. Corridor and path: competition or convergence? Russian Council on International Affairs, 25.10.2023. https://russiancouncil.ru/analytics-and-comments/columns/postsoviet/koridor-i-put-konkurentsiya-ili-konvergentsiya/

15. The Russian Turkish alliance is the future for Eurasia. Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies. https://caspian.institute/product/ciss/rossijsko-tyurkskij-soyuz-kak-budushchee-evrazii-37966.shtm

16. Turkmenistan approves the Foreign Policy Concept for seven years. ORIENT Information Agency, 09.07.2022. https://orient.tm/ru/post/38726/v-turkmenistane-utverzhdena-semiletnyaya-koncepciya-vneshnepoliticheskogo-kursa

17. Erdogan and Berdimuhamedov discussed the supplies of natural gas from Turkmenistan to Turkey via the Caspian Sea. Interfax Azerbaijan, 27.10.2023. https://interfax.az/view/902720

18. The 4th Caspian Forum: search for new narratives and formats. Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies, 30.06.2022. https://caspian.institute/product/solozobov-yurij/vi-kaspijskij-forum-poisk-novyh-smyslov-i-formatov-38152.shtml

19. Vadim Tsymbursky, Geopolitics for the Eurasian Atlantis. Pro et Contra, vol. 4, 1999. https://archipelag.ru/geopolitics/osnovi/russia/geopolitics/