Turkmenistan

Stepping Out of the Shadows: Turkmenistan and its Feisty Neighbors

By Anthony Rinna

Of the three energy-rich post-Soviet states besides Russia that border the Caspian Sea - Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan- Turkmenistan constitutes the regional “wild card” in terms of its direction as an external energy supplier as its foreign policy orientation is not as clearly defined as those of the other two states.   Azerbaijan has proven itself to be an ally of the United States and Israel, planting it rather firmly in the Western camp, while Kazakhstan, despite its multi-vector foreign policy and friendly relations with the United States,  maintains close ties with the Russian Federation, both in terms of ethno-linguistic ties, as well as within the more formally-binding structures of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia.