"Dostlug field" as a symbol of economic development, friendship and brotherhood between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan - ANALYTICS
- 22 January 2021
On January 21, the agreement on the joint exploration of the once-disputed section of the undersea hydrocarbons field was signed in the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat, between Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov and his Turkmen counterpart Rashid Meredov.
A meeting through video conferencing was held between Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Turkmenistan's President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov due to the signing of the agreement.
This field, which was called till yesterday "Kapaz" by Azerbaijan and "Sardar" by Turkmenistan, is located on the border between the two countries in the Caspian Sea. The field was discovered by Azerbaijani oil workers during the Soviet era, and in 1989 the was drilled the first exploration well. During the Soviet times, this field was called "Intermediate" because it was located in the middle of the sea border between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. Although "friendship" has been the subject of controversy between the two countries since the mid-1990s, as a result of many years of negotiations, the parties have managed to reach a common denominator. After the coming to power of Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov in Turkmenistan, a consistent dialogue was launched between the leaders of the two countries in all directions. The visits of the president of Azerbaijan to Turkmenistan on November 28-29, 2008, November 21-22, 2018, October 10, 2019, and President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to Azerbaijan on May 19-20, 2008, November 18, 2010, June 12, 2015, August 8-9, 2017, October 25, 2019, March 11, 2020 years strengthened future-oriented strategic cooperation between the two countries on all issues.
As a result, on January 21, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan signed a Memorandum of Cooperation in the Caspian Sea, and relations between the two countries entered the format of strategic partnership. Of course, the signing of the document will play a very important role in raising cooperation between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan in the fields of energy and transport and communications, as well as open new geoeconomic prospects for the region. The document will also be remembered as a significant and first occasion in the history of the Caspian Sea, when the two countries jointly exploited the field and transported it to foreign markets. This project will strengthen Azerbaijan's geo-economic position, as well as its transit and transport importance.
The main reason why Azerbaijan-Turkmenistan relations have reached this level, which is unexpected for some, is that President Ilham Aliyev is a skilled strategist and a far-sighted diplomat.
It should be noted that the access of the Caspian's rich energy resources to foreign markets is important for the well-being of the peoples of the region and its future. Here it is necessary to note some points. The point is that the transportation of rich energy resources from the eastern shores of the Caspian Sea to Europe has long been the subject of debate. For example, the unrealized Nabucco project. The Nabucco gas pipeline project, designed to transport Azerbaijani and Turkmen gas to Europe, has long been the subject of discussion. The Nabucco project, valued at 250 million euros at the time, failed to materialize due to a lack of principle on the part of some EU leaders. As a result, Azerbaijan focused on another project, given the risks surrounding the region and the fact that Europe did not show principle at the time. In 2011, the EU and Azerbaijan signed a Joint Statement in support of the creation of routes to transport gas directly from the Caspian Sea to Europe. This was the basis for the Southern Gas Corridor project. The Joint Statement, together with the Intergovernmental Agreements on TANAP and TAP, laid the groundwork for long-term gas sales agreements. Then, in 2012, as a result of Azerbaijan's active activities, an agreement was reached on the construction of the TAP pipeline. As a result, today Azerbaijani gas is transported to the center of Europe, to Italy.
This time, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan will have implemented another successful project that will play a special role in Europe's energy security by transporting energy resources from the “Dostlug” field to the West. As a result, Azerbaijan's geo-economic importance in Eurasia will increase, both as an owner of energy resources and as a transit country.
Speaking about the energy and transport projects authored by Azerbaijan, we can note that only in the last 3 years, our country has been able to implement projects of international importance, such as Baku-Tbilisi-Kars, North-South, TAP, TANAP. Official Baku is also signing serious projects in the eastern part of the Caspian Sea. The recent successes in the field of transport and trade between Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan are an indication of this. For example, after the connection of the Lapis Lazuli route with the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway in 2018, cargo from Afghanistan began to be transported via Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan, and then to the West. Today, efforts are underway to further increase the capacity of the East-West transport corridor.
On the other hand, it should not be forgotten that the economic achievements between Baku and Ashgabat in recent years will automatically act as a factor uniting the two Turkic-speaking states more closely in the Turkic geography. By the way, the unification of the Turkic states through Zangazur as a result of the 44-day war in the South Caucasus last autumn is an indication of the restoration of the historical geography of the Turkic-speaking peoples.
Thus, the Memorandum signed between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan is a clear example of brotherhood and friendship between the two countries. The signing of the document will increase the economic potential of the two countries and give a new impetus to economic cooperation between Baku and Ashgabat, as well as increase the international and regional importance of both countries.
Along with all this, this document is also very important from a political, spiritual and historical point of view. This can be obviously seen in the speech of President Ilham Aliyev at the video conference on the signing of the Memorandum: “Today, watching the signing, I thought that our forefathers, probably, if they saw this ceremony today, would be happy today. Their souls rejoice, so to speak. They would be proud of us that two fraternal peoples go hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder today, confidently support each other, cooperate for wellness and the future of their peoples, thereby ensuring the progressive development of our countries for many years and decades to come”.
With these words, the head of state showed how much he attaches importance to the relations between the two countries, the two peoples, the history and past of these relations. Thus, we can definitely say that the signed memorandum will further give impetus to the successive development of relations between the brotherly state and the people.
senior lecturer at the Academy of Public Administration under the President, head of the Baku Political Scientists Club