Culture Sector in Public Policy of Turkmenistan

At an extended government meeting of 7 July, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov outlined current issues facing the field of national culture at the present stage, having stressed the need to find new solutions, efficient use of material and technical base, created in recent years in this area, the bringing of culture sector to a new stage of development, including through the strengthening of international cultural relations.

Scope of national culture is intended not only to respond to the demands of the modern society, but also to accumulate a vast and unique potential for further advancement of Turkmenistan on the path of democratic reforms and socio-economic transformation. It is therefore that questions, raised in this regard by the leader of the nation, cover a wide range of current issues – from everyday cultural-mass activities that promote the cultural awareness of the Turkmen society, to creation of methodology of a scientific activity in the fiield of culture, in-depth study and promotion of the unique, historical and cultural heritage of the nation, motivation of the Turkmen youth for a creative activity and the study of national heritage.

As consistently emphasized by the President of Turkmenistan, exploring best international practices should be adequately embodied in the formation of a broad cultural and information field, integrated into the global coordinate system, introduction of modern technology in cultural processes, as well as in enhancing creative capacity of culture and arts workers, and promoting their initiatives and aspirations for professional growth.

Cultural diplomacy effectively works for strengthening the international reputation of the country, provides compelling evidence of its progressive innovation development, is an important factor of the implementation of foreign policy of the Turkmen state, and is oriented on development of constructive international cooperation for global peace, prosperity and progress.

One of the priorities of Turkmenistan in the sphere of international cultural and humanitarian cooperation is the development of effective cooperation with the United Nations and other competent international organizations and foundations. A special place in this context belongs to cooperation with UNESCO, as a kind of intellectual forum in the UN system, allowing to conduct a search for solutions to global problems in the fields of culture, science and education in a depoliticized way. These issues were discussed during the meeting of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov with Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, this year in May. Ms. Bokova commended the active and proactive approach of Turkmenistan with regard to cooperation with UNESCO in the field of preservation of national and global cultural heritage.

Within the framework of this cooperation, a number of joint projects have successfully been carried out in recent years in Turkmenistan, including the preservation of the unique historical and cultural monuments. It is illustrated by the ongoing work on nominations of several unique buildings of the past centuries of Turkmen history and natural sites for including into the UNESCO World Heritage List. A nomination of the Ancient Dehistan was submitted to this prestigious registry of human values.

The latest discovery, a unique facility with rarely encountered walls, detected by a Turkmen-Spanish research team during the spring archaeological season in the territory of the reserve, where there is a monument of Geokchik Depe, allows to reinforce with scientific opinions the forthcoming documents on inclusion of the Ancient Dehistan into the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Also among the candidates for inclusion in it are a number of objects of the Silk Road. To this end, 20 historical sites were selected which are located along the routes of the Silk Road, and corresponding documents are currently being prepared in compliance with international requirements. As the first phase of this big project, work is being conducted on inclusion of the three monuments into the World Heritage List – Amul fortress, caravanserai Akdzhagala, and mausoleum tracts of Gekgummez. The epic

“Gerogly” has been proposed as a candidate for inclusion in the List, a sample of epical art Bakhshi.