Bilateral relations between Estonia and Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan recognized the independence of the Republic of Estonia on 13 September 1993 and diplomatic relations were established on 26 August 1994. The Estonian Ambassador to Turkmenistan, Heiti Mäemees, presented his credentials to Turkmenistan Parliament Speaker Gulshat Mammedova on 4 April 2018. The ambassador resides in Astana. The very first ambassador from Turkmenistan to Estonia, Nazarkuly Shakuliyev, resides in Minsk and presented his the credentials to President Toomas Hendrik Ilves on 28 January 2016.
Communications have been modest due to Turkmenistan’s neutrality policy. The first high-level meeting took place between the presidents in September 2009 in the framework of the UN General Assembly. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs met in July 2010 in Kazakhstan, within the framework of the OSCE Ministerial Council. In December 2010, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip met with the Turkmenistan Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Meredov within the framework of the OSCE Summit. The first political consultations between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs were held in July 2011, with Märt Volmer, the Director General of the Third Political Department, representing Estonia.
The only high-level visit that has taken place is the official visit of Prime Minister Andrus Ansip to Turkmenistan from 28 to 30 November 2011. The Prime Minister met with the Turkmenistan President and Head of Government Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs acting as the Deputy Prime Minister, Rashid Meredov, and the Parliament Chairman Akja Nurberdieva. The Prime Minister was accompanied by a business delegation and a business forum was held in Ashgabat. The Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and a cooperation agreement between the Chambers of Commerce and Industry were signed during the visit.
From 3 to 4 December 2013, a World Health Organization (WHO) European regional conference was held at Ashgabat, where Mrs Evelin Ilves gave the opening speech. The Minister of Social Affairs Taavi Rõivas also took part in the conference.
In cooperation with the OSCE representation in Ashgabat, the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs organized a training trip in June 2013 for three Turkmenistan representatives who studied the media related legislation and the self-regulation of media in Estonia.
One bilateral agreement has entered into force – Convention between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government of Turkmenistan for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income (entered into force on 15 March 2013).
Trade from 2010 to 2015, in thousand EUR
|2010||12 948||5||12 943|
|2011||1 167||3||1 164|
|2012||9 593||-||9 593|
|2013||5 329||7 394||-2 065|
|2014||7 072||0,2||7 072|
|2015||2 350||-||2 350|
Source: Statistics Estonia
In 2012, the trade turnover was 9.8 million euros (100% export). In 2013, the turnover amounted to over 12 million euros, due to which Turkmenistan rose to 59th position among Estonia's trade partners. In subsequent years, the total turnover decreased and amounted to 2.4 million euros in 2015, all derived from Estonia's exports. Turkmenistan was Estonia's 85th trade partner.
The main export articles in 2015 were:
• Machinery and equipment (transformers and static converters, self-propelled bulldozers, etc., special purpose machines and mechanisms) – 62,9%
• Medical and measuring equipment (orthopedic aids, instruments and apparatus for physical or chemical analysis) – 14,9%
• Pulp and articles thereof (wood cellulose) – 51,4%
Estonia does not hold any direct investments in Turkmenistan.
According to the Bank of Estonia, Turkmenistan’s direct investments in Estonia amounted to EUR 111,000 as of 30 September 2015. The main sectors for investment are wholesale and retail trade and administrative and aid activities.
According to the Estonian Business Register, as of 04.04.2015 there were four Turkmenistan-owned companies operating in Estonia.
Turkmens in Estonia and Estonians' ties with Turkmens
There were 29 Turkmens living in Estonia at the time of the 2011 census. The Estonian-Turkmen cultural society AK Maija has been registered in Tallinn.
There is an Estonian Akhal Teke association at Hellekunnu, Lasva rural municipality, Võru County. The association has established relations with the International Akhal Teke Association in Turkmenistan. Akhal Teke horses are the national pride of Turkmenistan. In recent years, the representatives of the Estonian association have been invited to participate in international conferences on horse breeding organised in Ashgabat.
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