The French representation in Turkmenistan, the opening of which was decided during President Mitterrand’s visit to Ashgabat in April 1994, was upgraded to an Embassy in 1999. France co-sponsored the UN resolution recognizing Turkmenistan’s neutrality, which was adopted again without a vote in 2015. Consultations between foreign ministries have been held periodically since 2011, most recently in Ashgabat on 25 January 2019.
Following President Mitterrand’s visit to Turkmenistan, the country’s President visited France in 1996 and his successor made an official visit at the invitation of his French counterpart on 1 and 2 February 2010. The French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Laurent Fabius, visited Ashgabat on 2 March 2013, before receiving his counterpart, Mr Raşit Meredow, on 17 July 2015. Mr Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, met in Paris with Mr Vepa Hajiyev, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, for the celebration on 29 March 2017 of the 25ᵗʰ anniversary of France’s diplomatic relations with Central Asian States.
Trade between France and Turkmenistan stood at €72.9 million in 2017, significantly down from 2016 (€131.3 million). Our exports traditionally generate a surplus and primarily concern industrial products, whereas our imports are made up essentially of crude oil. The sharp decline in French imports from Turkmenistan in 2017 (€4 million, compared to €31.8 million in 2016) is due to the fact that no oil or gas was delivered that year. France ranks 18th among Turkmenistan’s suppliers, down significantly from 2016 when it ranked 10th, behind Turkey, China and even Iran. Its presence in the country is focused on a limited number of sectors (construction, energy, space) that are strategic for Turkmenistan.
The Institut Français in Turkmenistan offers French classes, trains teachers and organizes cultural events (cinema, dance, music, etc.). The French archaeological mission in Turkmenistan has also cooperated for some 20 years with the country’s scientific institutions, such as for excavation and restoration campaigns at the Ulug Depe site.
Updated: March 2019