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25 July, 2024
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Cyprus wages charm offensive on Turkmenistan

Cypriot ambassador presents credentials as neutral Ashgabat explores cooperation with Turkic States

Source: CNA

Nicosia’s ambassador to Turkmenistan presented his credentials this week, with the Cypriot diplomat who holds multiple ambassadorships in Central Asia already waging a charm offensive in a capital known for seeking neutrality on the global stage.

Ambassador Kypros Giorgallis presented his credentials on Tuesday in Ashgabat, handing over his credentials and supporting documentation to House Speaker Dunyagozel Gulmanova who filled in for Turkmenistani President Serdar Berdimuhamedov.

Giorgallis, who currently also serves as ambassador to Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, told Gulmanova that Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides was ready and committed to strengthening and deepening cooperation both on a bilateral level as well as regarding EU-Turkmenistan relations.

According to an official press release, Giorgallis briefed Gulmanova on the Cyprus Problem including Turkish Cypriots on the divided island’s northern part, which is not recognized as a state by any country except Turkey.

Last month Turkmenistan's foreign minister held a teleconference with the SG of the Organization of Turkic States, with the two parties discussing issues of deepening cooperation

Nicosia has condemned efforts by Turkish Cypriots to promote relations with countries through the Organization of Turkic States, where Turkmenistan holds observer status.

Last month Turkmenistani Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov held a teleconference with OTC Secretary General Kubanychbek Omuraliev, with the two parties discussing issues of deepening cooperation in various fields.

But last week Gulmanova outlined Turkmenistan’s foreign policy strategy during an OSCE meeting in Ashgabat, saying it is “based on the principles of neutrality” and “contributes to ensuring security in the region and throughout the world as a whole.”

Gulmanova made similar statements to Giorgallis, who suggested setting up structured dialogue on bilateral relations “aimed at advancing cooperation in domains where they jointly share an interest, such as education, energy, and political consultations between the foreign ministries.”

Turkmenistan has been pursuing neutrality status just like Switzerland, which is not a member of the European Union or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Ashgabat is not a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Eurasian Economic Union, or the Collective Security Treaty Organization, while both Turkmenistan and Switzerland have no formal ties to any political or military bloc.

But with geopolitical pressure rising around the world, experts say Turkmenistan has a tough game ahead if it wishes to pursue cooperation while avoiding isolation.

Nicosia has been upping efforts to touch base with countries that get involved in situations where Turkish Cypriot status and symbols are used in what Greek Cypriots view as international violations.

This week Cypriot Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos reiterated his call on Budapest to match actions to words after Nicosia cried foul over an OTC summit faux pas two months ago.

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