Turkmenistan and the Middle East


  • Michael B. Bishku University of Augusta




Turkmenistan is a weak country militarily, but well-­endowed with natural gas reserves. While the latter also insulates it somewhat from international criticism of its human rights abuses, unfortunately, Turkmenistan is landlocked and dependent upon the goodwill of its neighbors in order to export that commodity. Additionally, Turkmenistan is in need of technological assistance. Given its relatively homogenous population and its hydrocarbon wealth it has adopted a policy of subsidizing certain necessities—though it underfunds other—and is fairly stable internally. Nevertheless, it is ruled under an autocratic political system, suffers massive corruption, and has to contend with fears of instability on its borders. Therefore, Turkmenistan has adopted a policy of permanent neutrality and is open to cooperation with all its neighbors as well as the big powers. The countries of the Middle East as both immediate and nearby neighbors play an important part in the international relations of Turkmenistan and in providing technological assistance and economic investments. This article, which reviews and analyzes those ties, utilizes government documents, academic works and newspapers from Turkmenistan and Middle Eastern countries.

Author Biography

Michael B. Bishku, University of Augusta

Michael B. Bishku is a Professor of History at the University of Augusta in Georgia. He is a former President of both the American Council for the Study of Islamic Societies and the Association of Third World Studies, and is currently one of the Advisory Editors for Oxford University Press' Online Bibliographies for the Islamic World.




How to Cite

Bishku, M. B. (2016). Turkmenistan and the Middle East. The Levantine Review, 4(2), 157–176. https://doi.org/10.6017/lev.v4i2.9159