Turkmenistan has remained largely neutral since its establishment in 1991. However, recent turbulence on the geopolitical stage has forced it to step up and become proactive.
Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Turkic nations of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have been stuck in an awkward position. Though Azerbaijan quickly built strong ties with nearby Turkey, the rest of the Turkic states had a more difficult road ahead. Situated east of the Caspian Sea, the landlocked Turkic States of Central Asia are trapped between Russia, China, Iran, Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Though in a highly strategic position that can benefit from east-west trade, the Turkic states of Central Asia need to contend with much larger neighbours and the threat of terror arising from Afghanistan.
Efforts to form a strong bond between Turkic states started immediately after their independence in the early 90s. However, it was only in 2009 that the first serious step was taken; the establishment of the Turkic Council, which is now known as the Organisation of Turkic States.
In 1995 Turkmenistan declared its neutrality. This has influenced its foreign policy to this day. However, recent regional conflicts and a changing geopolitical landscape have made Turkmenistan rethink neutrality. In late 2021, Turkmenistan decided to become an observer state of the Organisation of Turkic States.
With the addition of Turkmenistan as a full member, the Organisation of Turkic States will finally encompass all independent Turkic states. Turkmenistan will join Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan as full member states, along with Hungary as the sole observer state.
The transition from observer status to full membership will not only allow Turkmenistan to blossom but also further legitimise the Organisation of Turkic States (OTS). With the addition of Turkmenistan, the OTS will represent all independent Turkic states, thus increasing the coherence of the Turkic World to unprecedented levels. With talks of a joint Turkic language, and cooperation in the fields of economics, culture, science, industry and defence, the Turkic world is on the brink of a great revival.