More information about Turkmenistan is available on the Turkmenistan Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
The United States established diplomatic relations with Turkmenistan in 1992 following its independence from the Soviet Union. Turkmenistan exercises a foreign policy of “positive neutrality” — avoiding alignment with great powers yet actively engaging in numerous international and regional initiatives. The country occupies a critical geographic juncture, sharing long borders with Afghanistan and Iran, and acts as a transportation, humanitarian, and economic link to Afghanistan and the South Asian subcontinent, advancing regional stability. Turkmenistan provides heavily subsidized food, electricity, and natural gas to the provinces of northern Afghanistan to promote stability. Turkmenistan is a closed society with an authoritarian political system and centralized economy. The country’s gross domestic product is heavily dependent on exports of natural gas – China is its primary consumer at present. The country’s massive revenues from natural gas sales do not trickle down to the average Turkmen, however, and corruption is rife within virtually all layers of society. President Serdar Berdimuhamedov, elected in March 2022, has yet to enact any noticeable reforms.
The Government of Turkmenistan engages with the United States in many areas, including cooperation in border and regional security programs, efforts to mitigate climate change, trade, educational and cultural exchanges, and English-language training. The government’s overall human rights record remains poor, including re-designation in 2021 as a Country of Particular Concern for its restrictions on religious freedom and re-designation as a Tier 3 country in the 2022 Trafficking in Persons Report.
U.S. Assistance to Turkmenistan
U.S. foreign assistance objectives include strengthening Turkmenistan’s capacity to manage its international borders and cooperate on regional security issues, encouraging the Government of Turkmenistan to loosen restrictions on civil society, increasing access to quality higher education and health, sponsoring experts to assist Turkmenistan in reducing its methane emissions, promoting private sector development, economic reforms, workforce development and institutional changes to antitrafficking legal and policy frameworks.
Bilateral Economic Relations
Turkmenistan’s vast natural gas and oil resources continue to attract foreign companies to explore doing business in the country, but the Government of Turkmenistan has yet to implement reforms needed to create an inviting business climate, such as allowing onshore natural gas production-sharing agreements. Turkmenistan has signed a trade and investment framework agreement with the United States and other Central Asian countries establishing a regional forum to discuss ways to improve investment climates and expand trade within Central Asia.
The United States and Turkmenistan have a most-favored-nation trade agreement. The U.S. government considers the Soviet-era dual taxation convention to continue to be in effect and applicable between the United States and Turkmenistan. In July 2017, the Government of Turkmenistan signed a Model 1 Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the United States to improve international tax compliance and implement the provisions of the FATCA.
Turkmenistan’s Membership in International Organizations
Turkmenistan and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and International Atomic Energy Agency. Turkmenistan is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s Partnership for Peace. The government appears dedicated to joining the World Trade Organization – USAID is assisting in advancing necessary reforms to support Turkmenistan’s candidacy.
The U.S. Ambassador to Turkmenistan is Matthew Klimow; other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List.
Turkmenistan maintains an embassy in the United States at 2207 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008; tel: (202) 588-1500.