- Business Meeting
- Public Holidays
Turkmenistan is one of the most isolated countries in the world and reliable information about what is really happening in the country is very limited. However, the country has many distinctive features common to all Central Asian countries. Business is based primarily on personal contacts, law enforcement is problematic, court trials take years, the level of bureaucracy is enormous, and widespread corruption is present at all executive levels. Visit Animalerts for more information about Turkmenistan culture and traditions.
It is very likely that you will not receive a response to email communication at first. In the case of initial contact, it is more effective to send a scanned official letter by email and then check by phone whether the partner has received the correspondence. Telephone urgency of the answer is possible and often necessary. Searching for contacts and information on the Internet may not be effective, as few entities have websites.
Personal contact is very important in subsequent communication with the Turkmen side. Without a personal meeting, it is difficult to make significant progress in establishing business relations or negotiating a contract. The standard way of arranging a meeting is a formal approach well in advance, followed by a phone call to the person in charge of organizing the meeting. Then arrange the date and place of the meeting with the person in question. About a week in advance to remind yourself. It is necessary to take into account the possibility of changing the place and time of the meeting at the last minute (including moving it to the evening hours). The key task of preparing for a meeting is to find out which particular person makes sense to deal with.
Turkmen are predominantly Sunni Muslims. The importance of faith amplifies and displaces the earlier relaxed post-Soviet approach. We do not recommend planning meetings with TM partners during Ramadan, which is observed by more and more Turkmen. Likewise, it is not advisable to direct the meeting to Friday noon/early afternoon because of the Friday prayer. Working hours start around nine, the lunch break lasts over an hour, but on the other hand, you often work until late in the evening.
Repeated rescheduling of the time and day of the meeting is completely normal, negotiations are often confirmed at the last minute.
A specific category is the capital Ashgabat, which is basically the newly built administrative center of the country, and which serves as the main place for the distribution of finances obtained from the extraction of oil and mineral resources. State institutions, ministries, management of semi-state companies, which are characterized by a directive approach to decision-making, are concentrated in it. Negotiating with Turkmen differs in many ways from Central European customs. It is not advisable to overestimate possible expressions of friendship (sometimes associated with the joint consumption of alcohol).
TM partners prepare for the negotiations mainly in terms of finding out who they will be negotiating with, much less then they find out matters connected with the technical parameters of the offered goods/services. Negotiations are facilitated if there is a man on the Czech side. The presence of the CEO or top management representative on the Czech side is important during key negotiations. Older age is perceived more respectfully, however, with the arrival of a young and educated generation, greater age equality is beginning to be asserted.
Meeting place: if the meeting takes place in the office, it can be a purely formal meeting, if the TM party suggests meeting in other premises, this is often a positive signal and a significant move forward. As for offering alcohol during the meeting, it depends a lot on the nationality and religiosity of the partner, however, if the meeting takes place in an administrative building, this is not customary. If there is a meeting in a restaurant, then while in some cases it is almost required, in others an orthodox Muslim would consider it an insult. We recommend leaving this question up to the partner’s decision, whose decision will also greatly influence whether the TM party participates alone or if several people are present. Only if a long-term cooperation is established, an invitation to the home can occur.
The dress code is similar to that in the Czech Republic, ladies should choose more conservative clothes.
Business cards: in particular, TM employees of the state administration provide their business cards, on the other hand, they will expect you to provide your contacts (business card).
It is normal to first “modestly” refuse an offer of a service, a gift, or even ordinary hospitality, and only accept it at the offerer’s insistence; only a repeated refusal is usually taken as serious., in the case of official negotiations, it is good to discuss this issue in advance.
The language of communication is Russian, English significantly less so. A number of high-ranking Turkmen, e.g. in the private sector, have a certain level of command of English. If you are not fluent in Russian, the presence of an interpreter is necessary. When communicating with the state administration, documents are drawn up mainly in Turkmen and then in Russian.
With a long-term presence, it is better if communication with end customers is handled by a local representative. When communicating with Turkmens, we recommend giving preference to personal contact or a phone call. Email communication is given less importance, although this is gradually changing. All electronic or written communication should aim to achieve a personal meeting. The first meeting will usually take place in Turkmenistan, then it is advisable to invite partners to the Czech Republic.
Regarding communication taboos, it is clearly not appropriate to criticize the state establishment in Turkmenistan and especially the president. We also recommend avoiding opening up political issues, such as the transparency of presidential elections, relations with neighboring countries. The topics of Islamic extremism are also sensitive.
In Turkmenistan, do not expect a quick and smooth process, a significant amount of tolerance and patience is necessary. During negotiations, it is necessary to take into account that corruption and nepotism, a complex bureaucratic system and unclear regulations will cause frequent delays, changes made at the last minute without prior agreement, and delays in handling even very common matters. Time has no special importance for the Turkmen; exact adherence to deadlines, fulfillment of agreements or meeting times cannot be relied upon. Patience must be maintained during negotiations; do not be discouraged by partial failure, it is important to maintain constant contact with your partner. It must be borne in mind that Turkmens prefer face-to-face meetings over correspondence. A local interpreter, if he is trustworthy, can make a positive impression on his partner.
Shortly after the new president took office, strict rules restricting women there were introduced without further explanation. According to them, women in Turkmenistan are prohibited from wearing tight-fitting clothes, dyeing their hair, using artificial eyelashes, nails, or undergoing plastic surgery or botox. At the same time, women may not sit in the front of the vehicle next to the driver or ride in the car with men other than their relatives. Heavy fines are imposed for the violation of the mentioned prohibitions.
Main public holiday – October 27 – Independence Day of Turkmenistan,
other significant holidays:
19.2. National Flag Day
8.3. International Women’s Day
- – 2Spring holiday “Novruz Bajram”
8.5. A day of revival and unity
9.5. Day of victory
6.10. Day of Remembrance for the Dead
27.- 28.10. Independence Day of Turkmenistan
12.12. Neutrality Day of Turkmenistan
Ramadan – depending on the Islamic lunar calendar
“Kurban Bayram” – every year the exact date is determined by the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan depending on the Islamic lunar calendar
“Oraza Bajram” – the exact date is determined based on the presidential decree