The United States established diplomatic relations with Turkmenistan in 1992 following its independence from the Soviet Union. Turkmenistan 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 is a closed society with an authoritarian political system and centralized economy. Turkmenistan’s energy resources hold the potential to alleviate regional energy bottlenecks, if developed with diverse export routes. Progress toward reforms has been sporadic, and improvements will require significant time, effort, and resources.
The Government of Turkmenistan engages with the United States in many areas, including cooperation in border and regional security programs, educational and cultural exchanges, and English-language training. The government has taken some modest steps forward in human rights reform, although its overall human rights record remains poor, including designation in 2014 as a Country of Particular Concern for its poor record on religious freedom.
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 citizens to play a greater role in civil society, increasing access to quality higher education and health, and promoting private sector development and economic reforms.
A fact sheet on U.S. assistance to Turkmenistan can be found here.
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 where foreign investment and foreign investors are truly welcomed. 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.
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 U.S. Ambassador to Turkmenistan is Matthew S. 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.
More information about Turkmenistan is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:
- Department of State Turkmenistan Country Page
- Department of State Key Officers List (PDF 418 KB)
- CIA World Factbook Turkmenistan Page
- USAID Turkmenistan Page
- History of U.S. Relations With Turkmenistan
- Human Rights Reports
- International Religious Freedom Reports
- Trafficking in Persons Reports
- Narcotics Control Reports
- Investment Climate Statements
- U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
- Export.gov International Offices Page