At this year’s 26th anniversary of the Independence of Turkmenistan, Beretta and Beretta owned Sako came out in large numbers among the small arms on parade. Of course, the Beretta 5.56x45mm NATO ARX160 took center stage among both the line troops and special operations component, with the SF component also being armed with IWI 5.56x45mm NATO Tavor TARs.
Turkmenistan is often lampooned for its bizarre civic culture that combines national symbols with its leader’s personality cult. But judging by the recent military parade in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan’s armed strength is for the sole purpose of territorial defense. Unlike North Korea, Turkmenistan doesn’t pose a threat to global peace. It’s also trying to crawl out of an economic mess caused by its reliance on energy exports.
Neither does Ashgabat appear to have regional ambitions. On the contrary, it faces a grave threat from its border with Afghanistan where militants tied to either the Taliban or ISIS are active. In the greater scheme of things, Turkmenistan’s imperative is balancing its aspirations with the looming strength of China, India, Iran, Russia and Turkey.
Yet even if it’s overshadowed by larger countries in its neighborhood, when it comes to mass calisthenics, very impressive rifle drills, and costumed Turkmen archers trotting on horseback, Turkmenistan makes sure it surpasses its neighbors in pageantry.
Along with the ARX160s, there were some mounted with Beretta’s accompanying 40x46mm low-velocity GLX-160 UBGL.
And a designated Marksmans variant.
It appears that Turkmenistan has also purchased the IWI Negev light machine gun as well.
But the other significant update was with the precision rifles, that of Sako TRG M10s. These are probably chambered in 7.62x51mm NATO but could be in .338 Lapua Magnum. They were shown in a tan finish.