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 제23호 2011년 3월

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No. 23, March, 2011

 

Foward

 The International Scientific Conference on "Origin of Turkmen People and Development of World Culture", Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

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 The international scientific conference on "Origin of Turkmen People and Development of World Culture" was held at Ashgabat, Turkmenistan on February 23-24, 2011. It was jointed under the auspices of Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan, National Manuscript Institute according to the Decree of the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimukhamedov, dated from November 26, 2010, No. 113. It was indeed a great pleasure and honor for me to speak at the distinguished international conference.

As for I have studied on the New Silk Road, particularly the ancient trade with the East and West, I wished to visit the historical remains in Turkmenistan. I had a good opportunity to visit there thanks to the conference. Luckily I had a change to visit Nisa, the ancient historical site under the kind guidance of the committee before conference. Nisa, the past important city in the old Silk Road ages dates from the 3rd century BC and was inhabited up until the 19th century.

Seong Min Hong

(President, RIES)

Indeed it was my great pleasure to see directly the historical remains. Turkmenistan which I never have been to there was still an unfamiliar country to me, however, my visit to the historical site gave rise to the curiosity again on the New Silk Road.

H.E. Gurbanguly Berdimukhamedov, President of Turkmenistan, personally expressed the pride of Turkmenistan in the congratulatory address of "The Advancement of the Turkmen Nation and the Development the History of the World Culture": "History, material and spiritual values are the pride of each nation. These values serve as the proof of the nation's past from the ancient times. They also reflect the nation's role in the development of the world civilization."

I was deeply impressed by the sights of clean and well-arranged city, even though I had no time to see the whole area. Especially roads and gardens were well decorated by evergreen trees. I was momentarily under the illusion that I was in the future "slow-city". I discovered the future potential at the appearance of Turkmenistan people who were planting trees under the rain and snow circumstances. I think the international scientific conference that more in which 40 countries of the world took part was successful and made a close collaboration with the international scientific community. I reiterate that the international conference so far was effective as the international study group. I would like to express my hearty thanks all members of the conference concerned. I hope to hold the next fruitful conference again.

 

 


 

Trukmenistan Conference


The Advancement of the Turkmen Nation and the Development the History of the World Culture, congratulatory address by President of Turkmenistan

 

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President of Turkmenistan

Gurbanguly Berdimukhamedov 


Dear Scientists!

Dear Participants of the International Scientific Conference!

I warmly congratulate you on the opening of the international scientific conference “The Advancement of the Turkmen Nation and the Development the History of the World Culture". Turkmenistan is one of the ancient civilizations in the history of the humankind. Therefore, I hope this conference will bring new, effective and valuable discussions on the rich history of the creation and development of Turkmenistan, its etnogeneses which takes roots from the ancient times, and Turkmenistan's material and spiritual values as the enormous contribution to the world's culture development. I also believe that interesting and scientific ideas on the most important issues related to the field of archeology, anthropology as well as ethnography will be dicussed during the conference.

 

Dear scientists!

History, material and spiritual values are the pride of each nation. These values serves as the proof of the nation's past from the ancient times. They also reflect the nation's role in the development of the world civilization. Accordingly, Turkmenistan with its rich archeological sites plays a great role in the development of the world civilization as the source for scientific research and excavation works.

Independent and Neutral Turkmenistan is the land of the ancient primordial civilization, the land of ancient nations such as the saks, massagets, skiffs, dahs, nionits, and ahamenis. It is the Motherland of the Turkmen nation which was able to keep its ethnic and historical integrity for centuries and millennium. Moreover, from the ancient times the land of Turkmenistan made a great contribution to the political, cultural, spiritual and economic development of the world.

The traces of the primordial civilization - labor instruments and weapons made from stone and iron, drawing on the stones, tombs, palace complexes of the early rural and urban civilizations which reflect the inter-influence or the ancient civilizations such as elam, harappa, shumer; felts and carpets with designs, women statues made of clay, ivory necklace, other materials which enrich the script and archeological sources make Turkmenistan popular all over the world and attract scientists, historians, archaeologists, ethnographers, anthropologists and other specialists. Today, Turkmenistan famous with its current peaceful policy, great history, culture and national values, can join and build bridges among other nations and peoples and all these arise a feeling of pride in us.

 

Dear scientists!

Cultural heritage defines the peculiarities and the basis of the nations spiritual path. Taking roots form the ancient times, rich with its variety, our cultural heritage, our famous cultural-historical sites which serve as the scientific source make Turkmen nation popular all over the world as one of the ancient nations. Turkmenistan is known as the land of the scientific and cultural development. Therefore, we are proud that we are the generation of our ancestors who made a great contribution to the cultural and spiritual development of the world.

In the epoch of New Revival and Great Changes we are conducing a complex of activities to promote our cultural values to the world. Creation of all conditions at the state level, following a new way of protecting and spreading our national heritage, holding international scientific conferences and festivals provided great achievement in the field.

Currently, dozens of scientific projects are conducted in order to protect, investigate undiscovered rich historical-cultural heritage and site, and pass them to the future generations as well as to promote them worldwide. The scientific teams form the USA, Italy, France, Germany, Russian Federation, Korea, Japan and other countries participated in the reconstruction of the historical-cultural sites such as Nissa, Merve, Kunyaurgench, Sarahs, Amul, Abywert, Anew and others which indicate that the international cooperation is enhancing and prospering. More that 40 countries of the world were interested in taking part in this scientific conference. This also shows a close collaboration of Turkmen scientists with the international scientific community. Moreover, our scientific system and our nation's cultural and spiritual heritage are highly evaluated in the world arena.

 

Dear Scientists!

Dear Participants of the International Scientific Conference and gusts!

Once again I kindly congratulate you on the opening of the international scientific conference “The Advancement of the Turkmen Nation and the Development the History of the World Culture". I wish you health, family prosperity, success in your scientific research and creative work, and good luck to the work of the conference!

 


President of Turkmenistan 

 

Gurbanguly Berdimukhamedov

  


 

□ Origin of Turkmen People and Development of World Culture


Plenery Session
February 23-24, 2011


Venue: Ashgabat, The hall of the ceremonies of the Palace <Mekan> of the humanitarian association of world Turkmens


1. Qun Li Han (China)

Turkmen scientists and scientific center in the middle ages

2. Seong Min Hong (Republic of Korea)

Role of Turkmenistan on the new silk road in the 21st century

3. Talal Ismail (Sweden)

Ethnocultural preview of the turkmen in ancient and modern Iraq

4. Llia Zaisev (Russia)

Gurbets (Crimean turkmen)

5. Miklos Sarkozy (Hungary)

The parthian ideological background of Iranian aristocracy in the sasanian period and the role of Turkmen areas in its formation

6. Azhar Sagdalla al-Ubaydi (Irak)

Muzaffar al-Deen Gokbori


Section 1

Archaeology, Anthropology and Ethnography as Valuable Sources of Turkmen People's Ethnic History


Venue: Archaeology and Ethnography Institute of Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan


Head of section: Alovsat Guliyev (Azerbaizan)

                 Hemra Yusubov (Turkmenistan)

 

Section Ⅱ

Ancient Tribes of Turkmenistan and Ethnical Genesis of Turkmen People


Venue: Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan


Head of section: Fikret Turkmen (Turkey)

                 Muratgeldi Soyegov (Turkmenistan)




Section Ⅲ

Origin of Turkmen People


Venue: History Institute of the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan


Head of section: Hatia Hatiashvili (Georgia)

                 Shohrat Annataganov (Turkmenistan)


Secretary: Shohrat Annataganov (Turkmenistan)



Section Ⅳ

Material and Spiritual Wealth of Turkmen People in the System of World Cultural Heritage


Venue: National Manuscripts Institute of the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan


Head of section: Aleksandr Safaryan (Armenia)

                 Yazgylych Orazgylyjov (Turkmenistan)


Secretary: Abdullah Orazshedov (Turkmenistan)



Section Ⅴ

Relations between Cultures and Civilizations in the Period of New Revival and Great Reforms


Venue: Magtymguly Turkmen State University


Head of section: Azim Malikov (Uzbekistan)

                 Ovezmuhammet Mammetnurow (Turkmenistan)


Secretary: Gurbangeldy Gadamov (Turkmenistan)




The International Scientific Conference "Origin of TurkmenPeople and Development of World Culture", February 23-24, 2011, Ashgabat,Turkmenistan :

Decree of the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimukhamedov,dated from November 26, 2010, No. 113.

 

Academy of Sciencesof Turkmenistan, National Manuscript Institute

 


RIES Study

Turkmenistan

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The International Scientific Conference, "Origin of Turkmen People and Development of World Culture" was held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan on Feb 23-24, 2011.

Today Turkmenistan is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic (Turkmen SSR). Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states. It is bordered by Afghanistan to the southeast, Iran to the south and southwest, Uzbekistan to the east and northeast, Kazakhstan to the north and northwest and the Caspian Sea to the west.

Turkmenistan for centuries formed part of the Persian province of Khurasan; in medieval times Merv (today known as Mary) was one of the great cities of the Islamic world and an important stop on the Silk Road. Annexed by Russia between 1865 and 1885, Turkmenistan became a Soviet republic in 1924. It achieved independence upon the dissolution of the USSR in 1991.

<Table> General Turkmenistan

Country name

Turkmenistan

Government type

Secular democracy and a presidential republic

Administrative divisions

5 provinces and 1 independent city (Ashgabat)

Independence

27 October 1991 (from the Soviet Union)

Capital

Ashgabat

Area

488,100 sq km

 

 

Population

4,940,916 (July 2010 est.)

Population growth rate

1.14% (2010 est.)

 

Age structure

0-14 years: 28.9%

15-64 years: 66.9%

65 years and over: 4.3%

Life expectancy at birth

68.2 years

Urbanization

Urban population: 49% of total population (2008)

Ethnic group

Turkmen 85%, Uzbek 5%, Russian 4%, other 6% (2003)

Religion

Muslim 89%, Eastern Orthodox 9%, unknown 2%

Language

Turkmen (official) 72%, Russian 12%, Uzbek 9%, other 7%

Literacy

98.8%

Source: CIA, The World Fact Book, 2011-01-15.

Extensive hydrocarbon/natural gas reserves could prove a boon to this underdeveloped country once extraction and delivery projects are expanded. The Turkmen Government is actively working to diversify its gas export routes beyond the still dominant Russian pipeline network. In 2010, new gas export pipelines that carry Turkmen gas to China and to northern Iran began operating, effectively ending the Russian monopoly on Turkmen gas exports. President for Life Saparmurat Nyyazow died in December 2006, and Turkmenistan held its first multi-candidate presidential election in February 2007. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, a deputy cabinet chairman under Nyyazow, emerged as the country's new president[1]

Turkmenistan possesses the world's fourth-largest reserves of natural gas and substantial oil resources. Turkmenistan is largely a desert country with intensive agriculture in irrigated oases and sizeable gas and oil resources. The two largest crops are cotton, most of which is produced for export, and wheat, which is domestically consumed. Although agriculture accounts for roughly 10% of GDP, it continues to employ nearly half of the country's workforce. With an authoritarian ex-Communist regime in power and a tribally based social structure, Turkmenistan has taken a cautious approach to economic reform, hoping to use gas and cotton export revenues to sustain its inefficient economy. Privatization goals remain limited.

<Table 2> Turkmenistans Economic Index

GDP

$36.64 billion (2010 est.) - purchasing power parity

GDP-real growth rate

11% (2010 est.)

GDP-per capita (PPP)

$7,400 (2010 est.)

Labor force

2.3 million (2008 est.)

Labor force by occupation

Agriculture: 48.2%, Industry: 14%, Services: 37.8% (2004 est.)

Age Structure

0-14 years: 28.9%, 15-64 years: 66.9%, 65 years and over: 4.3%

Unemployment rate

60% (2004 est.)

Budget

Revenues: $1.97 billion, Expenditures: $1.878 billion (2009 est.)

Debt - external

$5 billion (2009 est.)

Inflation rate

12% (2010 est.) - consumer prices

Agriculture - products

cotton, grain; livestock

Industries

natural gas, oil, petroleum products, textiles, food processing

 

Export

Total amount

$9.672 billion (2010 est.)

Commodities

gas, crude oil, petrochemicals, textiles, cotton fiber

Partners

China 18.03%, Turkey 16.49%, Russia 16.45%, Germany 5.91%, UAE 5.81%, Ukraine 5.67%, US 5.41%, France 4.32% (2009)

 

Import

Total amount

$4.888 billion (2010 est.)

Commodities

machinery and equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs

Partners

China 18.03%, Turkey 16.49%, Russia 16.45%, Germany 5.91%, UAE 5.81%, Ukraine 5.67%, US 5.41%, France 4.32% (2009)

Note: In the past, Turkmenistan's economic statistics were state secrets. The new government has established a State Agency for Statistics, but GDP numbers and other figures are subject to wide margins of error. In particular, the rate of GDP growth is uncertain.

Source: CIA, The World Fact Book, 2011-01-15.

In 2010 Ashgabat started a policy of diversifying export routes for its raw materials. China is set to become the largest buyer of gas from Turkmenistan over the coming years as a pipeline linking the two countries, through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, reaches full capacity. In addition to supplying Russia, China and Iran, Ashgabat took concrete measures to accelerate progress in the construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan and India pipeline (TAPI)[2].

Turkmenistan has previously estimated the cost of the project at $3.3 billion. On May 21, president Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov unexpectedly signed a decree stating that companies from Turkmenistan will build an internal East-West gas pipeline allowing the transfer of gas from the biggest deposits in Turkmenistan (Dowlatabad and Yolotan) to the Caspian coast. The East-West pipeline is planned to be around 1000 km long and have a carrying capacity of 30 bn m³ annually, at a cost of between one and one and a half billion US dollars[3]. According to the decree of the Peoples' Council of 14 August 2003, electricity, natural gas, water and salt will be subsidized for citizens up to 2030.


[1] CIA, The World Fact Book, 2011-01-15.

[2] Regarding Turkmenistan’s gas trade, see Martha Brill Olcott, International Gas Trade in Central Asia: Turkmenistan, Iran, Russia and Afghanistan, Working Paper, No.28, The Center for Environmental Science and Policy Stanford Institute for International Studies, Stanford University, May 2004.

[3] Wikipedia, 2011-01-15.

[4] CIA, The World Fact Book, 2011-01-15.


RIES Activity


Dr. Hong participated in the 2011 Turkmenistan International Scientific Conference

 


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Dr. HONG, president of RIES was invited at the International Scientific Conference, "Origin of Turkmen People and Development of World Culture", held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan on Feb 23-24, 2011.


Korean and Foreign participants in the International Conference, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan 

      

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Korean and foreign scholars participated in the International Scientific Conference, "Origin of Turkmen People and Development of World Culture".

 


 

Photos in Conference

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Role of Turkmenistan on the New Silk Road in the 21st Century[1]

Seong Min Hong, Ph.D., RIES[2]

 

[1] This is the paper that was read at the he International Scientific Conference "Origin of TurkmenPeople and Development of World Culture", February 23-24, 2011, Ashgabat,Turkmenistan by S. M. Hong.

[2] Dr. S.M. Hong is president, Research Institute of the East-West Economy & Society.

1. A New Era of Civilization

Turkmenistan played a great role in commercial activities from the Prehistoric Age to shortly the Mediaeval Age on the “Silk Road”. A new era of Silk Road, so called the "Energy Silk Road" in an energy sector began in the 21st century. Today Turkmenistan is preparing to take-off toward a new “Civilization Road" in the 21st century.

Energy trade between China and Central Asia that is regarded to be the revival of the Silk Road in terms of energy trade acquires not only an economic significance but owns a great amount of strategic importance at the same time. Naturally energy trade and investment between Asia and the Gulf have boomed since the mid-1990s.

This is one important manifestation of a rapidly shifting architecture of global oil and gas markets away from a system dominated by flows of oil and LNG from the key producing regions to the rich, industrialized world of the United States, Europe, and Japan and toward fast-growing markets in developing Asia. New capital flows, energy partnerships, and strategic relationships are rapidly being built based on this historic shift in energy demand.

In recent years the term of the New Silk Road (NSR) has been widely used since 2000s. The main actors on this new route are Arab investors looking for right places to invest their oil dollars, including Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) and Asians seeking to secure energy supplies and find markets for the goods produced by their factories. In this process pipelines as the pathway of energy resources and the railroads in the transportation through the Central Asia gave rise to the importance of the Old Silk Road. Accordingly the Central Asia is spotlighting as the center of the eastern and western trade route.

Turkmenistan possesses the world's fourth-largest reserves of natural gas and substantial oil resources. The geographical position of Turkmenistan is more advantageous than that of its neighbors due to the outlet to the Caspian Sea. Turkmenistan is also the country of deserts and oases as well as unique historical and cultural traditions. The most ancient civilizations of the world prospered on its territory. Today Turkmenistan has a good opportunity to advance with the plentiful energy resources and the advantages of geographical features on the new Silk Road.

2. Turkmenistan on the Silk Road

The Silk Road does not simply imply only energy resources but carry many cultures along this road. It also served as source for ideas, culture, and religion flowing the east and the west. It carried the knowledge and wisdom of the east to the practicality and the wealth of the west. The Silk Road was important in every aspect of history. It was the witness and supporter of the wealth, power and development of civilizations.

The Silk Road was one of the first trade routes to connect the East and the West. It was important paths for cultural, commercial and technological exchange between traders, merchants, pilgrims, missionaries, soldiers, nomads and urban dwellers from Ancient China, Ancient India, Ancient Tibet, Persian Empire and Mediterranean countries for almost 3,000 years. Extending 6,500km, the routes enabled people to transport goods, knowledge, ideas and cultures.

The unification of Central Asia and Northern India within Kushan Empire in the 1st to 3rd centuries reinforced the role of the powerful merchants from Bactria and Taxila. They fostered multi-cultural interaction as indicated by their 2nd century treasure hoards filled with products from the Greco-Roman world, China and India. The main traders during Antiquity were the Indian and Bactrian traders, then from the 5th to the 8th century CE the Sogdian traders, then afterward the Arab and Persian traders.

The Silk Road was not only the ancient world's most strategic trade route, but was also the information superhighway of its day, carrying knowledge and ideas between east and west that shaped entire civilizations. The most important commodity to travel along its perilous pathways was not silk, but religions, from Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. Trade on the Silk Road was a significant factor in the development of the great civilizations of China, India, Egypt, Persia, Arabia, and Rome, and in several respects helped lay the foundations for the modern world.

[Map 1] The Silk Road

Source: http://www.asian-studies.org/eaa/silkroad.htm

The Silk Road from China to western world in ancient times used the overland. The intercontinental Silk Road divides into the northern and southern routes bypassing the Taklamakan Desert and Lop Nur. Both routes joined the main southern route before reaching Merv (Turkmenistan).

The civilizations of the Silk Road include long forgotten empires like those of Sogdians and the Tangut or Xixia (西), and their centers range from Nisa and Merv (Chorasmia) through Bukhata and Samarkand (once the capital of Sogdia) to the old oasis towns of Kashgar, Bezeklik, Dunhuang and Khotan surrounding the Taklamakan and Lop deserts of Central Asia (now the Chinese provinces of Gansu and Xinjiang). Southwards, there were extensions of Silk Road trade routes into Afghanistan and Tibet.

Historically the Western Asian, Mediterranean, Chinese and Indian societies had developed major transportation networks for trade from 1250 BCE–153 CE. Europe's early trading routes included the Amber Road. During the Middle Ages Maritime trade along the Spice route became prominent.

Toady Turkmenistan’s Merv was one of the important cities of Parthian Empire along with Kuchan, Semnan, Gorgan, Zabol and Yazd. The ancient Turkmenistan city of Merv (Mary) used to be the so-called Gate to Central Asia. It was especially important in terms of trade and politics in the 9th – 10th centuries. . In 1999 Merv was declared a World Heritage Site. The territory of Turkmenistan is still rich in monuments which in antiquity were the most considerable stops on the Silk Road. They are the magnificent, sometimes unique architectural masterpieces of the past.

Three centuries before Christ, the Parthian tribes of horsemen arrived to establish their capital in Turkmenistan at Nisa. When their empire eventually encompassed much of Central Asia, the Parthians were a power which rivaled Rome. From Nisa, the Parthians controlled the Silk Road and oasis settlements and trading centers like the harsh desert cities of Merv and Serakhs.

Turkmenistan later gained fame throughout Central Asia for producing the skilled and fierce nomadic tribesmen who rode out on raids to seize the riches of the passing caravans. There are many important cities in Turkmenistan on the Silk Road: The Parthian Capital of Nisa, The Ancient City of Merv, Serakhs, Kunya-Urgench, Mashad-Misrian, Annau Fortress, The Medieval City of Abiverd, Daja-Khatin Caravanserai, Amul Fortress and The Ancient Settlement of Parau.

Turkmenistan for centuries formed part of the Persian province of Khurasan; in medieval times Merv (today known as Mary) was one of the great cities of the Islamic world and an important stop on the Silk Road. With the advent of modern times, commercial activity was sometimes carried out without traditional protection of trade and under international free trade agreements, which allowed commercial goods to cross borders with relaxed restrictions. Innovative transportation of the modern times includes pipeline transport, and the relatively well known trade using rail routes, automobiles and cargo airlines.

3. New Silk Road as the Civilization Road

More than five centuries later, the New Silk Road is emerging, a commercial corridor that runs from the Middle East, with Dubai to China. Trade between the Gulf and Asia is mushrooming with oil, gas, petrochemicals, water technology and banking moving east, while consumer products, migrant labor, energy investment, and so on, is moving west. This is establishing a new strategic link that is reviving the historic commerce of the ancient caravan network across the mountains, deserts and steppes of Asia.

The New Silk Road (NSR) is a group of countries that are bound together by history, geography and culture. It is a region that stretches from North Asia to North Africa, includes 61% of the world’s population, and accounts for 33% of the world’s economy. It is a group of countries that have historically accounted for much of the world’s trade.

The New Silk Road’s share of the global economy is rising steadily. Its share rose from 15% to 33%, on a PPP-basis, between 1980 and 2009. The new Silk Road’s growth rates will be higher than those of the developed economies, and the region’s share of the global economy will rise from 33% to 46%, on a crude PPP basis, between 2009 and 2020.

The New Silk Road between Asia and the Middle East is an example of sustainable growth in emerging markets, validating the strategic economic partnerships with China and India. Trade in the China-Middle East region (CHIME) has been rising steadily, with the UAE as China's 5th largest trade partner, registering a surplus of US$ 7.6 billion in the first half of 2007.

The New Silk Road will also boost trade between Beijing and Brussels, and create extraordinary economic opportunities for the Central Asian countries. The Arab world will find a reasonable way and it will remain a key element in the changing global trading patterns that will shape the economies of the 21st century.

The New Silk Road does not simply imply only energy resources but carry many cultures along this route. NSR also interchanges as source for ideas, culture, and religion flowing the east and the west. It carries the knowledge and wisdom of the east to the advanced technology and the wealth of the west. The New Silk Road is important in every aspect of the modern civilization.

Today the word of “The Silk Road" has used the extended meaning, expressing the trade route between the east and the west beyond the meaning of the route for silk. So to speak, the term of "The Silk Road", a proper noun has changed into a common noun, symbolizing the modern trade route as "The New Silk Road". It is necessary that the term of the "The Silk Road" has to define a modern meaning with the current of the times. In this sense I define the New Silk Road is “The Civilization Road” in the 21st century.

4. Role of Turkmenistan in the 21st Century

Turkmenistan possesses the world's fourth-largest reserves of natural gas and substantial oil resources. The geographical position of Turkmenistan is more advantageous than that of its neighbors due to the outlet to the Caspian Sea. Turkmenistan is also the country of deserts and oases as well as unique historical and cultural traditions. The most ancient civilizations of the world prospered on its territory.

A Central Asian state, Turkmenistan borders on Uzbekistan in the north and east, with Kazakhstan - in the north, in the east and the south it borders on Afghanistan, in the south -on Iran. From the west the country is washed by the waters of the Caspian Sea. Turkmenistan possesses is rich in oil, gas, potash and rock salts, non-ferrous and rare earth metals.

Turkmenistan have completely changed and become more similar to European mega cities. Despite all the changes, however, their Oriental character has been preserved in special architecture, decoration of buildings, numerous mosques and ancient monuments. The capital of Turkmenistan is Ashgabat which means "the city of love" and Persian language - an oasis created by people loves hands among sands and mounts. Ashgabat is a city of blossoming parks, masterpieces of architecture, sculptures, tremendous fountains, museums and monuments.

The culture the Turkmen is slightly different from the cultural traditions of the neighboring Muslim states of Central Asia. The reason to this is that the ancestors of the Turkmen were nomadic tribes whereas the lands of modern Tajikistan and Uzbekistan were populated by settled tribes of farmers. This particular fact reflected on such aspect as cultural development of the Turkmen people. The basic cultural milestones of Turkmenistan are related to the traditions of Turkic-speaking oguzs. The latter go back to the pre-Islamic period. The oguzs' traditions found their reflection in literature, music, folklore of the Turkmen.

In 2010 Ashgabat started a policy of diversifying export routes for its raw materials. China is set to become the largest buyer of gas from Turkmenistan over the coming years as a pipeline linking the two countries, through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, reaches full capacity. In addition to supplying Russia, China and Iran, Ashgabat took concrete measures to accelerate progress in the construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan and India pipeline (TAPI).

New pipelines to China and Iran, that began operation in late 2009 and early 2010, have given Turkmenistan additional export routes for its gas, although these new routes have not offset the sharp drop in export revenue since early 2009 from decreased gas exports to Russia.

The new century witnessed important changes both within Turkmenistan and in Turkmenistan’s relationship to issues of transport and trade. Truly the Turkmen government had decided to allow foreign investment only in off-shore energy initiatives. Turkmenistan adopted a more Asian approach to trade and transport, as exemplified by its various openings to China and the renewal of its trans-Afghan pipeline project (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India, or TAPI), and then, during 2006, began to revive its flagging transport relations with the West. This broad approach will help the steady engagement with ECO transport schemes, its consistent efforts to improve transportation across the border with Iran, and its critically important relations with Russia’s Gazprom.

Today Turkmenistan is a center of trade and traffic route between the East and the West. It is a gate on the way from Islamic countries of the Middle East to the Asian countries, particularly China. It possesses the world's fourth largest reserves of natural gas resources and its GDP growth rate of 6.1% in 2009 ranks 16th in the world.

This "Silk Road of the 21st century" features three components: a Eurasian Continental railroad bridge, a major highway, and a pipeline network, to be complemented eventually by a fiber optic highway. The 2004 Asian Highway Agreement, backed by 32 countries was routes from Tokyo to Bulgaria through a unified highway system. Since December 2004, Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia (TRACECA) has linked China's east coast to Rotterdam by rail through Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Western Europe. These projects enjoy the financial backing of major international banks and institutions. In September 2008, the New Eurasian Land Transport Initiative (NELTI) conducted the first road transport of industrial and consumer goods along the Silk Road from the Asia-Pacific regions to Europe. The United Nations has proposed further expansion of the Eurasian Land Bridge, including the Trans-Asian Railway (TAR) project.

With the emergence of China and India as booming new markets for crude and LNG, these two countries have now also become prominent buyers, investors, and diplomatic players in the Gulf alongside Korea and Japan. All four of the major Asian powers are intently focused on broadening their access to energy supplies in all the main exporting regions of the world.

Obviously Turkmenistan’s geographical position is very important at the interaction of the new Silk Road between the East and the West. Turkmenistan has also the world's fourth-largest reserves of natural gas and substantial oil resources which the geographical position is more advantageous than that of its neighbors due to the outlet to the Caspian Sea.

In the near future trade between the East and the West will increase along the new Silk Road and many investors and various cultures will pass through this route. Turkmenistan is located on the crossroad on the new Silk Road which all the modern roads, including an Eurasian Continental railroad bridge, a major highway and a pipeline network join the important cities of Turkmenistan. In this sense, Turkmenistan will play a great role for not only the commercial activities but also cultural exchanges on the new Silk Road. Accordingly Turkmenistan will contribute greatly to the cultural exchange between the eastern spiritual civilization and the western material civilization in the 21st century.

This publication is consisted of  Korean, English, Arabic and the other languages concerned. The contents of the newsletter do not necessarily reflect either the position or the views of  RIES.

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종합경제사회연구원 Research Institute of the East-West Economy & Society

Publisher: Dr. Seong Min HONG, Editor: Dr. Joo Heon KANG

Kwanak P.O. Box 49, Seoul  151-600, Korea, Tel: 82-2-876-4249, Fax: 82-2-876-4349.


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