As reported by New Eurasia, Turkish President Abdullah Gül – during a three-day official visit to Turkmenistan – proposed the reinstatement of the project of a gas pipeline running from Turkmenistan to Turkey via Iran, with annual capacity of 16 billion cubic metres of gas.  However, as the article notes, Gül’s visit was about more than just the gas issue, specifically the need to restore Turkey’s historical role as a leading business partner of Turkmenistan:

“….Turkey holds a stable 4th place in Turkmenistan’s exports and 1st place in Turkmenistan’s imports. Trade turnover between the two states exceeded US $ 1.1 billion in the first ten months of 2007. 428 enterprises with Turkish capital were registered in Turkmenistan. This is 33% of all foreign companies registered in Turkmenistan. Currently around 700 Turkmen students are studying in the higher educational institutions in Turkey.

The problem is that Turkmenbashi’s death and Berdymukhammedov’s seizure of power has put Turkish businessmen operating in Turkmenistan in a difficult position. Making a lucrative offer to a Turkmen partner and signing a contract is not a prerequisite sufficient to gain access to the Turkmen market, the prospective investor must also contact the president. Only after the president accepts him and the proposed amount of money, may a businessman enter the market. With the appearance of a new leader, all contacts had to be renewed. But Berdymukhammedov was not going to continue all “acquaintances” of his predecessor.

The process turned out painful for some Turkish businessmen, e.g. a Niyazov’s “favourite” Akhmed Chalyk, the owner of one of the biggest companies in Turkmenistan, who enjoyed the confidence of the “serdar” himself. As the now exiled ex-ambassador of Turkmenistan to Turkey Nurmukhammed Khanamov said in an interview for Deutsche Welle, Chalyk was involved in money laundering at Niyazov’s orders. Detained for 12 days during his last visit to Ashgabat, he was released only after the intervention of the Turkish government. Supposedly, those who detained him wanted to gain information about foreign bank accounts where Turkmenbashi kept his money. Currently Chalyk as well as many other Turks remain personae non gratae in Turkmenistan.”

This entry was posted on Sunday, December 9th, 2007 at 8:09 pm and is filed under Turkey, Turkmenistan.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  Both comments and pings are currently closed. 

Comments are closed.

Wildcats & Black Sheep is a personal interest blog dedicated to the identification and evaluation of maverick investment opportunities arising in frontier - and, what some may consider to be, “rogue” or “black sheep” - markets around the world.

Focusing primarily on The New Seven Sisters - the largely state owned petroleum companies from the emerging world that have become key players in the oil & gas industry as identified by Carola Hoyos, Chief Energy Correspondent for The Financial Times - but spanning other nascent opportunities around the globe that may hold potential in the years ahead, Wildcats & Black Sheep is a place for the adventurous to contemplate & evaluate the emerging markets of tomorrow.