Israel open embassy in Turkmenistan, 25km from Iran border

Israel open embassy in Turkmenistan, 25km from Iran border
Israel's foreign minister is set to visit Turkmenistan later Wednesday to inaugurate the Israeli embassy there.
2 min read
19 April, 2023
Cohen will fly to Turkmenistan from neighbouring Azerbaijan [Getty]

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen will travel to Turkmenistan Wednesday night to inaugurate his country's embassy there, close to the border with regional arch-foe Iran.

The embassy in Ashgabat will be around 15 miles (25km) away from the Iranian frontier, making it Israel's closest diplomatic mission to Iran.

Turkmenistan and Iran share a 1,148 km border.

Israel and Turkmenistan have had relations since 1991 with an Israeli ambassador stationed at a temporary office in the Muslim-majority country for the past decade. 

"Cohen's visit to Turkmenistan and the embassy's inauguration are intended to send a message to Iran that Israel is a present and growing influence in the region," Israel Hayom reported.

Cohen will meet his Turkmen counterpart Rashid Meredov and Turkmen President Serdar Berdimuhamedov on Thursday, as well as other officials and the Jewish community there, reported Times of Israel.

The Israeli diplomat is currently in neighbouring Azerbaijan, whose relations with Israel have been a point of contention with Iran.

Earlier this month, Azerbaijan's foreign ministry announced the expulsion of four employees of Iran's embassy amid growing tensions between Tehran and Baku. Six men who Azerbaijan said were linked to Iranian secret services and were plotting a coup were also arrested.

Iran has long feared that its much smaller neighbours could be used as a launchpad for an eventual offensive on it by Israel.

Tehran has accused Israel of carrying out assassinations and attacks on its soil, but Israel has never claimed responsibility.