Turkmenistan Seeks Deeper Ties With EU

Hydrocarbon exports account for 25% of Turkmenistan’s GDP. (Wikimedia Commons)

Hydrocarbon exports account for 25% of Turkmenistan’s GDP. (Wikimedia Commons)

Azerbaijan, Romania, Georgia, and Turkmenistan agreed on March 4 to establish the Black Sea-Caspian Sea (BSCS) Transportation Corridor, an international transportation pathway that will link the two waterways.

Georgian Foreign Ministry services released a statement saying that “the new route line will contribute to the further active participation of the EU in this transport route,” reports Interfax. A similar statement from the Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign Affairs makes note of the intended cooperation between BSCS projects and those of the European Union.

Romania, the only member of the alliance that is part of the EU, links the other countries to the EU. While BSCS projects promise quick revenues, there are obstacles that may hinder successful implementation of the plan.

According to a report on March 11 by Radio Free Europe, Turkmenistan will be at the crossroads of the competing interests of China’s Belt-Road Initiative and the Asian Development Bank’s Lapis Lazuli corridor (an international transit route linking Afghanistan to Turkey via Turkmenistan) and the interests of the BSCS. Furthermore, the dire economic situation of Turkmenistan over the past four years means that they will likely welcome any new market opportunity. Projects like the Trans-Caspian Pipeline will require EU support, as Turkmenistan hopes to export billions of tons of natural gas to Europe.

In an effort to strengthen ties with the EU, Azernews reports, the Turkmen Foreign Ministry hosted a meeting with the head of the EU delegation to Turkmenistan on March 5 to discuss opening an EU office in Ashgabat. Talks, delegates hoped, would further positive economic and political cooperation between the two parties.