Bilateral relations between Estonia and Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan recognized the independence of the Republic of Estonia on 13 September 1993. Diplomatic relations were established on 26 August 1994. The Estonian Ambassador to Turkmenistan, Heiti Mäemees, presented his credentials to the Speaker of the Turkmen Parliament Gulshat Mammedova on 4 April 2018. The ambassador resides in Nur-Sultan (former Astana). The very first ambassador from Turkmenistan to Estonia, Nazarkuly Shakuliyev, resides in Minsk and presented his credentials to President Toomas Hendrik Ilves on 28 January 2016.
Communication has 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 Turkmenistan's 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 second political consultations took place in March 2019, the Estonian delegation was led by Lembit Uibo, Director General of the Political Department.
The only high-level visit that has taken place is the official visit of Prime Minister Andrus Ansip to Turkmenistan 28-30 November 2011. The Prime Minister met with the Turkmen 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.
In cooperation with the OSCE representation in Ashgabat, the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs organized a study trip in June 2013 for three Turkmen representatives who studied media-related legislation and the self-regulation of media in Estonia. The Estonian E-governance Academy has held training courses for Tukrmen officials about land cadastre in 2018 and 2019.
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).
Estonia-Turkmenistan trade 2014-2018 (in thousand EUR):
Source: Statistics Estonia
In 2018, Turkmenistan was Estonia's 96th trade partner (84th export partner). The share of goods of Estonian origin in export was relatively small (about 30%).
Main export articles in 2018:
- Transport equipment (tractors) - 42%
- Chemical products - 19%
- Medical and measuring appliances - 15%
Vegetable products (melons) worth 7 000 EUR were imported from Turkmenistan.
Estonia does not hold any direct investments to Turkmenistan.
According to the Bank of Estonia, Turkmenistan’s direct investments to Estonia amounted to 40 000 EUR as of 30.09.2018. The main sectors for investment were wholesale and retail trade.
According to the Estonian Business Register, there were 5 companies with Turkmen shareholders registered in Estonia as of May 2018.
As of 13.03.2019 there are 12 e-residents of Turkmen citizenship who have established one company.
Turkmens in Estonia and Estonians' ties with Turkmens
There were 29 Turkmens living in Estonia at the time of the 2011 census.
There is an Estonian Akhal Teke association at Hellekunnu in 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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