STATEMENT OF AMBASSADOR RAUF ENGİN SOYSAL, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE REPUBLIC OF TURKEY, In Response to the Report by Ambassador Natalya Drozd, Head of Centre in Ashgabat (1146th Permanent Council)

Rauf Engin Soysal 18.05.2017

Thank you Mr. Chairperson.

We congratulate Ambassador Drozd on her appointment as Head of Centre inAshgabat, warmly welcome her to the Permanent Council, and express our thanks forthe concise presentation she has made.

Turkey and Turkmenistan entertain excellent bilateral relations andcooperation in all areas. These ties are solidly anchored common historic andcultural heritage. President Erdoğan called President Berdimuhammedov tocongratulate him on his victory in the presidential elections in February, andexpressed his desire to visit Turkmenistan once more during this year.

Meanwhile, the visit last month by our Deputy Prime Minister Tuğrul Türkeş to Turkmenistan was the most recent opportunity for the sides to confirm once again their strong will to further strengthen our brotherhood and cooperation in every field.

Our countries work together within the Turkey-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan trilateral consultative mechanism that provides an excellent opportunity for the three countries to discuss matters of importance for the region, including energy and transport. Our Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Transport and Energy hold regular meetings within this framework.

Another important regional cooperation project that brings Turkey and Turkmenistan together is the Lapis Lazuli Corridor that aims to establish a transit corridor from Afghanistan to Europe, passing through both our countries, as well as through Azerbaijan and Georgia. The agreement to this effect was finalized last November, and is expected to be signed soon by the Ministers of Transport.

The decrease in oil and gas prices has negatively impacted the Turkmen economy. We are pleased to see, however, that the country continues to attract the interest of investors with infrastructure projects. Turkey figures prominently in this regard as well. Turkish projects in Turkmenistan amount to a total of 48 billion dollars.

We welcome the opening of the Ashgabat International Airport last September and look forward for the completion of the Türkmenbaşı Port. These significant investments will help materialize our common conviction that enhancing regional integration and connectivity is key for reinforcing regional cooperation, stability and prosperity.

Mr. Chairperson,

We are pleased with the Centre’s very positive level of cooperation withthe local authorities, also confirmed by the visit of the OSCE SecretaryGeneral during the reporting period.We support Turkmenistan’s commitment to a broad andconstructive partnership with the OSCE and the participating States in theinterest of security, stability and sustainable development.

Turkey welcomes the Centre’s support to Turkmenistan’s progress in areas under all three dimensions. Increasing engagement and cooperation between the Centre and Turkmenistan in line with the needs and requests of the host country is commendable indeed.

We welcome Turkmenistan’s establishment of an Ombudsperson, and the launchof the national risk assessment on money laundering and terrorism financingprocess. These reflect the country’s determination to attain universalstandards in these areas, and we encourage the Centre to continue supportingTurkmenistan in this direction.

We also support the cooperation between the Turkmen authorities and the OSCE Centre in such fields as border security, travel document safety, criticalenergy infrastructure protection, countering terrorism, energy security, goodgovernance, human rights and educational reform. We hope to see thiscooperation continue even more productively in the period ahead.

In concluding, we would like to reiterate once more our support to thecontinuing work carried out by the Centre, and to wish Ambassador Drozd and herable team every success in all their future endeavors.

Thank you.