Turkmenistan: 20 Years of Neutrality

In contrast to the historical context of neutrality in Europe and Scandinavia, contemporary Turkmenistan is an outlier.

Turkmenistan: 20 Years of Neutrality
Credit: Flickr/deepphoto

“Turkmenistan is unusual because, unlike the other states in Central Asia, which draw their post-Soviet identities from historical figures and events; Turkmenistan’s is constructed around the achievements of the regime, and particularly, the figure of the President.”- Bradley Jardine

Since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Turkmenistan has occupied an obscure position in the international system. On December 12, 1995 it was granted the status of “permanent neutrality” by the UN. This year is very important for the Central Asian state as it marks the 20th anniversary of the official designation.

In this guest podcast, Ryan McCarrel and Bradley Jardine discuss contemporary Turkmenistan as an outlier case, in contrast to the historical context of neutrality in Europe and Scandinavia. McCarrel and Jardine asses the aim of Ashgabat’s policy of “positive neutrality,” its significance for the country’s foreign relations, and especially, its use as a mechanism of authoritarian entrenchment for a brutal elite.

The podcast is hosted by Ryan McCarrel, a PhD candidate at the University of Dublin, where he researches the geopolitics of military alliances, and hosts the Accidental Geographer Podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @ryanmccarrel

Joining the discussion is Bradley Jardine, a postgraduate researcher at the University of Glasgow, and regular contributor at The Diplomat’s Crossroads Asia blog. Twitter: @jardine_bradley