Turkmenistan and France: on the way of strengthening friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation 

On the 18th of January 2021, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov had a working trip across the capital of Turkmenistan, during which he got acquainted with the state of affairs at the construction sites of Ashgabat where administrative and social facilities are being built.   

It is vital to note that Turkmenistan efficiently cooperates with the “Bouygues Batiment International” company for many years which has made a notable contribution into the formation of new architectural image of Turkmenistan by constructing various administrative, social, cultural and sport facilities.

The cooperation with this and many other leading French companies is a reflection of close ties of Turkmenistan with the French Republic. The relations between the two countries are distinguished by high level of trade-economic and cultural-humanitarian cooperation.  

In his recent letter addressed to the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron has highly characterized the friendly and trustful relations existing between the two countries and expressed commitment to the strengthening of cooperation on a wide range, in particular in trade-economic, educational, research and cultural spheres.     

The economic partnership between Turkmenistan and the French Republic consistently develops through bilateral mechanisms of cooperation.  In March of 2010, the Turkmen-French Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation was established, in the framework of which the representatives of two countries consider the opportunities of widening economic, finance, trade, industry and scientific cooperation thus creating preconditions for the implementation of concrete projects.      

The role of the Chamber of Commerce “France-Turkmenistan” established in November 2012 in promoting the trade and economic relations between the two countries is no less important. The Agreement on Cooperation that was signed during the visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France Laurent Fabius to Ashgabat in March of 2013 serves as a legal basis for the partnership between the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Turkmenistan and the Chamber of Commerce “France-Turkmenistan”.

The French companies are very much interested in advancing cooperation with Turkmenistan that on the way of its overall development and transformation has entrusted numerous grand projects particularly to them.  

Many facilities have been built on the territory of Turkmenistan by the companies “Bouygues” and “Vinci Сonstruction”. The process of creation and launching of the first national communication satellite of Turkmenistan “Türkmen Älem 52,0 E” was carried out in cooperation with the French company “Thales Alenia Space”. The partnership with the leading French companies continues in the sphere of transport, communication, oil and gas sector, including the “Cifal”, “Eurocopter” (“EADS”), “Airbus”, “Schlumberger”, “Dresser-Rand” and others. It is also worthwhile to note that the cooperation with the French Business Confederation “MEDEF International” that includes hundreds of French companies continues.      

In addition, Turkmenistan and France consistently expand the cultural and humanitarian ties, with special focus on the educational and research projects. The Agreement between the Government of Turkmenistan and the Government of the French Republic on the Activities of Cultural Centers was signed during the visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov to France in July 2015. The given Agreement constitutes the legal basis for the activities of cultural and educational entities in Turkmenistan and France.      

Special significance in this regard is assigned to the issue of learning and teaching French in Turkmenistan. The activities of the “French Institute” at the Embassy of France have significantly intensified. In the beginning it was opened in Ashgabat under the name of French Cultural Center of Jules Verne, while at present it continues to teach French to the residents of Turkmenistan in its status of the French Institute in Turkmenistan.         

Presently, French is being taught in the Turkmen State University named after Makhtumkuli, the Turkmen National Institute of World Languages named after D. Azadi, the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, the International University for the Humanities and Development, as well as in a number of secondary schools of the country. Also, the arrangement of online advanced training courses for the teachers of French is planned to take place from the February till June 2021.

The popularization of French language in Turkmenistan has been reinforced by such organizations as “Campus France” (French National Information Center on the issues of obtaining higher education in France) and the “Alliance Française” (Cooperation in the area of education, language and culture, and popularization of French abroad). The collaboration between the scientific and educational institutes of the two countries continues within the Agreement on Cultural, Educational, Scientific and Technical Cooperation between the Governments of France and Turkmenistan.    

The annually held events, such as the “International Francophonie Day” and “the Week of French and Francophonie” are vivid examples of high level of cooperation between the two countries in the area of culture.

Besides, starting from 1994, the Ministry of Culture of Turkmenistan has established close contacts with French archaeologists. In the framework of this cooperation, the French-Turkmen Archaeological Mission (MAFTUR) was established which carries out excavations at the Ulug-depe site in the Kaahka region. The joint preservation and restoration works, as well as the research of cultural layers of the given archaeological monument continue. 

During the visit of the State Secretary of the Ministry of Europe and International Affairs of the French Republic Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne to Ashgabat, a special exhibition of unique artifacts took place. It is vital to note that the representatives of Turkmenistan continue discussing with the French side the issue of organizing an exhibition of the artifacts in the Louvre Museum of Paris.

Turkmen-French relations continue to strengthen for the sake of friendship, peace and sustainable development.