President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit Turkmenistan, one of the central Asian Turkic republics, to participate in the country's “Neutrality Conference.”
The presidential press secretary has announced that Erdogan will be in the capital city of Ashgabat on Dec. 12 within the framework of the country’s celebration for its declared neutrality.
The country will hold a comprehensive conference programme for the 20th anniversary of its “permanent neutrality” which was formally recognised by the United Nations in 1995. Erdogan is highly expected to hold a speech during the conference.
It is also likely that Erdogan will meet with his Turkmen counterpart Gurbanguli Berdimuhamedov, and hold bilateral talks with other leaders during the duration of the conference.
A number of representatives from many respective countries and international organisations will attend meetings in the conference that aims to honour Turkmenistan’s neutrality in the top level, according to media accounts.
Former Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov - the predecessor of Berdimuhamedov - originally made the neutrality decision on the grounds that his country, as a former Soviet republic, should not be part of any existing military alliance.
In 1991, Turkmenistan became an independent state following the collapse of the communist Soviet Union. Niyazov, a former Communist party official of the republic, claimed presidency and led the country until his death in 2006.
The country has attempted to retain good relations with the Russian Federation, the successor state of the Soviets, and has also adopted a neutral stance regarding almost all international issues.
There have been several neutral states in the world, in which the best example usually mentioned by experts of international relations is Switzerland.
A considerable number of neutral states have connections with the Non-Aligned Movement which has embraced a moderate position between US-led NATO and the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact during the Cold War.
Turkmenistan has also been a member of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Turkey became a NATO member in 1952, during the course of the Cold War, in order to counter the threat posed by the Soviet Union.
Currently, Turkey and Russia is undergoing political tension, following Turkey’s downing of a Russian fighter jet, over an airspace violation on the Turkish-Syrian border.
NATO allies held an extraordinary meeting on Nov. 24 with Turkey’s call immediately after the incident and evaluated the ensuing developments connected to the shoot down.
It has extensively been reported that it is the first time a NATO member country has downed a Russian warplane since the 1950s, going back to the days of the Korean War.