Switzerland and Turkmenistan enjoy good relations, largely based on their cooperation within the international financial institutions. The two countries also maintain regular political dialogue.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Turkmenistan
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Turkmenistan belongs to Switzerland's voting constituency at the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Another tie between the two countries is their neutrality.
Turkmenistan benefits from a number of bilateral and regional initiatives financed by Switzerland's economic cooperation. Switzerland is also active in Central Asia in the field of water diplomacy. Its 'Blue Peace Central Asia' initiative promotes regional cooperation on water among the five Central Asian countries and provides political and technical support for transboundary water management. A regional adviser based in Almaty (Kazakhstan) coordinates Switzerland's activities in the region.
Bilateral trade and investment volumes are modest. Around 30 Swiss companies are active in Turkmenistan, mainly in the energy sector, and in textiles, pharmaceutical products, transport, communications, high-tech and the food sector.
A large part of Turkmenistan is desert. The country has huge gas reserves, but no access to the sea. Oasis areas are used for agriculture.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Researchers from Turkmenistan can apply for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships to the State Secretariat for Education Research and Innovation (SERI).
Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships for Foreign Scholars, SERI
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) has been financing a project to support SMEs through the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) since 2011. From 2015 to 2017, SECO supported the Central Bank of Turkmenistan in efforts to strengthen monetary policy conditions via a project implemented by the IMF. More recently, there have been projects in areas such as government finance statistics and e-government. The Swiss National Bank and the SIF also work bilaterally with Turkmenistan, the latter within the framework of a Memorandum of Understanding concluded between the ministries of finance in 2016.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland recognised the independent state of Turkmenistan on 23 December 1991, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The Swiss embassy in Moscow was responsible for diplomatic relations with Turkmenistan until April 2008. Since then, the embassy in Baku (Azerbaijan) has represented Switzerland's diplomatic interests in Turkmenistan.
Turkmenistan opened an embassy in Geneva on 11 April 2011. The embassy is accredited to the international organisations and also handles bilateral relations.