Oil processing volumes grow in Turkmenistan
Since early 2013, the amount of crude oil provided in salable condition reached more than 4.4 million tons in the complex of oil refineries in Turkmenbashi, which is the largest enterprise in the country, the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources of Turkmenistan reported. This reflects a production growth rate of 101.9 percent.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met Turkmen Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov in New York on September 29, the Times of Israel reported, in an apparent bid to strengthen relations with arch-foe Iran's northeastern neighbor.
The Jerusalem Post said the meeting comes just three months after Ashgabat finally accredited a new Israeli ambassador. Ashgabat had rejected two candidates for "allegedly being spies interested not in furthering bilateral relations, but in collecting intelligence information on Iran." The ambassador saga dragged on for years.
Turkmenistan is strategically important to Israel because "[f]rom a hotel in Turkmenistan’s capital of Ashgabat, according to a saying in Jerusalem, one can see into Iran," the Jerusalem Post asserted. "This explains the geostrategic importance of these ties for Israel. Other reasons are that Turkmenistan is a predominantly Muslim country and it is extremely rich in gas and natural resources."
Fearing Israel's influence on its neighbors, “Iran has been determined to limit Israeli involvement in the Caspian region," according to a report by the London-based Caspian Research Institute, which is cited by the Jerusalem Post. Israel also buys oil and sells weapons to another of Iran's post-Soviet neighbors, Azerbaijan.
Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov cleaned up house, dismissing most of the Procurator’s offices top officials, among other senior government officials in what has been touted to be a crackdown on corruption.
In need of energy resources due to the suspension of its nuclear power plants following the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi power plant disaster, Japan welcomed Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov with a warm reception.