The central element of Turkmen foreign policy is the country’s permanent neutrality. Turkmenistan pursues a policy geared to compromise, stability and peace in the region and in the international framework. Germany is one of four EU member states (along with France, Italy and Romania) with an Embassy in the capital, while the EU is represented by a delegation. Turkmenistan has an Embassy in Berlin and a Consulate in Frankfurt am Main. On 29 August 2016, President Berdymukhamedov visited Germany and met with Federal Chancellor Merkel in Berlin. Over the years, German-Turkmen relations have developed well but they do require ongoing support at political level.
A German-Turkmen Business Forum organised by the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations and held for the first time in Berlin in February 2019 brought together some 130 businesses from the two countries. Many contacts were thus established between decision-makers and businesses. In 2019, Turkmenistan ranked third amongst Germany’s business partners in Central Asia behind Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Bilateral trade has however fallen dramatically in recent years and totalled 161.2 million euro in 2019 (2017: 371 million euro, 2018: 146 million euro).
Development and cultural cooperation
As a middle income country, Turkmenistan is not one of Germany’s partner countries for bilateral development cooperation. Governmental development cooperation thus only takes place through regional projects for Central Asia.
In the field of education, there is a German-Turkmen exchange as part of the PASCH Schools: Partners for the Future programme. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has a lector in the country. The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation organised the archaeology exhibition “Margiana. A Bronze Age Kingdom in Turkmenistan”. The exhibition ran from April 2018 to April 2019 on show for three months each in the Neues Museum in Berlin, the Archäologisches Museum Hamburg and the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen Mannheim. With 380,000 visitors, it was the most successful special exhibition in Berlin in 2018.