Palestinian Authority’s (P.A) un-elected president (his mandate expired in January 2009), Mahmoud Abbas, a double agent, is in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan to open Palestinian diplomatic mission and seek trade relations.
Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, during his meeting with Mahmoud Abbas, said that “the Turkmen side will create all necessary conditions for the proper functioning of the diplomatic mission of the brotherly country.”
The new Palestinian embassy start working on November 16, 2016, reported the Turkmen Dovlet Habarlary state news agency.
Israel tried to establish its embassy in Ashgabat in May 2009. It even appointed Reuven Dinel its first ambassador. Turkmenistan cancel the plan after Iranian intelligence reported that Lithuania-born Reuven Dinel worked for Israeli Mossad in Moscow.
Under Soviet rule, Ashgabat was home to 4,000 Jews. After the end of Soviet era in 1991, 50% of Jewish population emigrated to Russia and Israel. Currently, 2,000 Ashkenazi and Persian Jews live in Ashgabat.
Former Iranian president Dr. Ahmadinejad visited Turkmenistan in 2010. Current Iranian president Dr. Rouhani visited Turkmenistan in 2014 and president Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov visited Iran in May this year. Israel’s favorite Indian prime minister Narendra Modi visited Turkmenistan in July 2015. Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif visited Turkmenistan in December 2015. Barack Obama, John Kerry, and Angela Markel have also visited Turkmenistan.
Ashgabat maintains good relations with its neighboring countries such as Iran, Pakistan, India, and Russia.
The oil-rich Muslim Turkmenistan was invaded and occupied by Czarist Russia in 1881 and remained under Jew/communist ruled Soviet Russia till 1991. Country’s current population is 5.4 million (93% Muslims, 6% Russian Orthodox, and rest Jews and others).
The Turkmen are descendants of Oghuz tribes who migrated to Central Asia in about the 10th century CE. From the 15th to 17th centuries, the southern tribes of barren desert of Turkmenistan were under Persian rule, while the north was under the suzerainty of the Uzbek Khanates of Khivan and Bukhara. In the early 18th century, the Persians annexed Khivan and Bukharan territories.
After the Bolshevik Revolution, Turkmenistan was declared a Soviet Republic. A large number of Turkmen fled to Iran and Afghanistan to escape Joseph Stalin’s Muslim ethnic-cleansing.
Ashgabat, the capital city was founded in 1881 as a Russian fortress. It was destroyed in 1948 and was later rebuilt.