Turkmenistan's possible participation in the construction of a pipeline linking Caspian Sea natural gas producers with European markets was to be a main topic of discussions between Westerwelle and Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov.More ...
Eine aktuelle literarische Reflexion von Diktaturen beschränkt sich meist auf die politische und gesellschaftliche Vergangenheit in Regimen Südamerikas oder der Sowjetunion. Will man allerdings die literarische Aufarbeitung jetzt bestehender Diktaturen studieren, bleibt dem geneigten Leser nur die Lektüre mutiger Schriftsteller aus China oder dem Iran.
Zentralasiens Despotien in Usbekistan oder Turkmenistan spielten bislang keine Rolle in der internationalen Literatur. Es mag auch daran liegen, dass ein Land wie Turkmenistan ähnlich abgeschottet ist wie Nordkorea, turkmenische Dissidenten und im Exil lebende Schriftsteller zu viel Angst vor persönlichen oder familiären Repressionen haben.
Im Falle Turkmenistans ist jetzt allerdings eine Neuigkeit zu vermelden: Mit dem Titel "Turkmenka" des deutsch-russischen Schriftstellers und Zentralasien-Experten Vitali Volkov ist erstmals ein Roman zur jüngsten Geschichte des gasreichen Landes aufgelegt worden. Das Buch erschien im Frühjahr im Moskauer Verlag "Buch-Club 36.6". Obwohl Volkovs eigentliche Profession die politische Analyse von Ereignissen in der zentralasiatischen Region für Rundfunk und Printmedien ist - gerade in diesem Jahr erhielt er eine Auszeichnung als erster westlicher Journalist vom Presseverband Kasachstans für seine Reportagen bei der russischen Redaktion der Deutschen Welle -, hat er sich bereits in der Vergangenheit über die Form des Romans mit diesem Genre beschäftigt; zuletzt erschien bereits eine politische Erzählung über Afghanistan.
Zunächst eine kurze Beschreibung von "Turkmenka": In dem Roman geht es um das Leben und Leiden einer turkmenischen Journalistin in den Jahren 2002 bis 2006, beginnend mit dem sogenannten "Attentat" auf den damaligen Staatspräsidenten Niyazov, auch besser bekannt als "Turkmenbaschi" (Vater aller Turkmenen) und es endet mit dem Tod Niyazovs 2006. Die Hauptfigur des Romans arbeitet verdeckt über eine NGO als unabhängige Journalistin und beschreibt das diktatorische und teilweise ins groteskenhaft ausufernde Machtgefüge Niyazovs.Turkmenka wird instrumentalisiert von ganz unterschiedlichen politischen Kräften wie westlichen Organisationen, turkmenischem Geheimdienst und der politischen Opposition in Turkmenistan.
Nachdem von der Staatsmacht verkündet wurde, dass ein Mordanschlag auf den Staatspräsidenten verübt wurde, muß sie das Land schnellstmöglich verlassen, um nicht das gleiche Schicksal zu haben wie einige Oppositionelle, die in den Verliesen Turkmenbaschis für immer verschwanden.
Turkmenka flieht nach Westeuropa, Hauptschauplätze sind hier Deutschland und Österreich, wo sie auch vom Geheimdienst Turkmenistans weiter verfolgt wird und jederzeit um ihr Leben fürchten muß. Im Zwiespalt unterschiedlicher Interessen und der Gefahren muß sie lernen, ihre nun gefundene Freiheit zu leben. Der Roman endet mit dem überraschenden Tod Niyazovs 2006.
Die Charakterstudie Turkmenkas zeigt, trotz aller "zentralasiatischer Besonderheiten", dass sich Volkov sehr stark an den Frauengestalten der russischen Weltliteratur orientiert. Es scheint fast so, als wäre die Protagonistin eine turkmenische Anna Karenina der Gegenwart, allein gelassen, freiheitsliebend und auf sich gestellt, oft ohne Hoffnung auf eine Perspektive, wie sie ihr Leben den neuen Umständen anpassen kann.
Bei der Lektüre wird schnell deutlich, wie gut der Autor das Leben von Menschen in der turkmenischen Diktatur kennt. Ebenso wird das Machtgefüge, das groteske Herrscherverhalten von Turkmenbaschi und seines Apparates fundiert und kenntnisreich beschrieben. Gerade für den westlichen Leser, der so gut wie nichts über Turkmenistan weiß, wird ein Bild entworfen, dass trotz seines fiktionalen Charakters die Zustände im Land sehr gut darzustellen vermag.
Ebenso kann man feststellen, dass der Roman "Turkmenka" einen fundierten, gar neuen Blick auf die Realität der Auseinandersetzung zweier Welten, der des Westens und Zentralasiens wirft, in politischer, gesellschaftlicher und subjektiver Hinsicht.
Es ist dem Roman zu wünschen, dass er auch einen westeuropäischen Verlag findet, denn gerade Europäer können durch dieses Buch erfahren, mit welchem Land und politischen System die EU neue Rohstoffquellen importieren möchte, um nicht mehr allein abhängig von Moskau zu sein. Die Schlussfolgerungen von "Turkmenka" lassen darauf schließen, dass die Kooperation mit einem System wie Turkmenistan nicht dazu führen wird, politisch und ökonomisch stabilere Energieaussenpolitik zu betreiben.
Note: An English translation of the book review will be published later this week.
With his trademark "Peter Gallagher eyebrows" and "legit pal" Prince Andrew, as well as his "intellectual pursuit" as a trained dentist, the Turkmen leader's "future prospects" are considered "very good," says Newsweek.More ...
In order to enter into a more constructive and successful partnership between the EU and Turkmenistan, the three Members of the European Parliament from the EPP Group who participated in high-level political meetings in the Turkmen capital Ashgabat last week, called for a positive vote in the upcoming plenary vote on the ratification of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with Turkmenistan. The MEPs underlined that the PCA would form the basis for a deeper and more efficient partnership with the Central Asian country. The PCA would give the EU the proper facilities to effectively cooperate with the country and help it to overcome the shortcomings it is still facing.
On April 28/29, the three EPP MEPs Elisabeth Jeggle (Germany), Inese Vaidere (Latvia) and Piotr Borys (Poland) participated in the European Parliament’s joint visit to Turkmenistan by the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Central Asia Delegation. The delegation met with the Turkmen Minister of Foreign Affairs and participated in the 2nd EU-Turkmenistan Interparliamentary meeting. Furthermore, the delegation met with representatives of the OSCE and UNICEF, as well as with European business representatives working in Turkmenistan.More ...
The following represents a compilation produced by human rights defenders in conjunction with partners, presenting analysis and case studies on torture and arbitrary detention in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
This report is intended as a briefing to UN Special Rapporteurs on Torture, Human Rights Defenders, and other UN Special Mechanisms and bodies on the situation in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
It is also intended as an invitation to continued cooperation, to network building, and to strengthening civil society in both countries by encouraging increased interface on the part of Turkmen and Uzbek human rights defenders with the United Nations. Moving forward, we hope that together we can bring new information to light and take concrete steps toward ending human rights violations.
Partners in civil society find that years after the special rapporteur on torture concluded that systemic torture exists in Uzbekistan, torture in both countries continues to be a routine component of investigations and detention and is a common practice in the penal systems. Forms of torture include.
Bludgeoning with batons
Male and female rape and sodomy
Psychological humiliation and degradation
In particular, people linked with the Andijan events of 2005, including innocent family members, are routinely detained, brought up on bogus charges, and subjected to long years of bodily torture and psychological terror. Notably, medical personnel often play a roll in concealing evidence and fabricating fake documents which make filing charges impossible. Other at risk groups include:
Human rights defenders
Refugees and asylum seekers who are often deported from other CIS countries back to Uzbekistan
Ex convicts used as scapegoats
While information regarding Turkmenistan is scarce, according to our sources, the situation is the prison colonies is dire. This is exacerbated by the general weakness of civil society in Turkmenistan.
Of note have been recent studies carried out by the Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights, excerpts of which are contained in this report. These studies on Turkmen prisons and penal colonies detail arbitrary detention and torture as both physical and psychological daily realities.
It is our hope that this report by partners in civil society from Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan can be used as an ongoing advocacy tool to improve the human rights situation. The contributors of the report offer their contact information and invitations toward further discussion.
The full report can be found here.
But the draft agreement has been criticized for risking legitimatizing a repressive regime.
The European Union and Turkmenistan signed a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) back in 1998, although its entry into force has long been postponed due to the uncertain political situation in the country and human rights concerns.More ...
city, continues its role as a transport hub and industrial
center, despite diminished regional commerce in the
post-Soviet era. A large complex that processes
locally-harvested licorice root continues to prosper due to
the availability of inputs and a healthy export market. A
machine parts factory has faced greater challenges, having
been forced to find a new product line and relying solely on
the domestic market. Unlike the licorice complex, which
pre-dates the Russian Revolution, the machine parts factory
was a Soviet creation that lacks an obvious market in
Turkmenistan's current economy. Thanks to government
subsidies, however, it does not appear that even a
struggling, Soviet era enterprise is threatened with closure.
Given its success at maintaining its production equipment,
the factory could see better days if it found the right
foreign partner interested in a low-cost metal parts. END
SUMMARY. More ...
February 13 that an Iranian Embassy diplomatic container with
AK-47's, sniper rifles and ammunition hidden in it had been
discovered one week earlier at the Serdar Uli (Gaudan)
customs point in Ashgabat, where vehicles and containers
arriving from or bound for Iran are inspected. The weapons
were reportedly hidden underneath two Turkmen carpets that
the Iranian Embassy was shipping to Iran. More ...
that President Berdimuhamedov had signed a decree allowing
the state chemical concern "Turkmenkhimiya" to enter into a
contract with Ekomet-S of Russia for the transfer and burial
of radioactive waste. The waste was reportedly produced at
the Hazar chemical plant and at the Balkanabat iodine plant. More ...
Please find Michael’s speech below:
Ladies and Gentlemen:
At first, I would also like to thank the organizers of today‘s conference here in Bonn for discussing those important questions, dedicated to the relations between the European Union and Central Asia.
When reflecting about the topic of this event, one might think that energy security would be the relevant part the European Union and its member states is interested in, while democratic development is mainly relevant for the future of the Central Asian states, in this case Turkmenistan. But in fact, democratic development is not only important and essential for Turkmenistan itself, it has an impact to stability and security within the whole Eurasian region, with direct consequences for the EU, for the OSCE, for NATO and other institutions.
The relations between the European Union and Turkmenistan are mainly based on establishing an energy dialogue. It can be described as a pragmatic approach, because it differs from the basic principles of the EU Central Asia Strategy, defined under the German Presidency in 2006, whereby the promotion of democracy and the rule of law form the basis for more intense bilateral relations.
However, a number of steps taken by Brussels over the past years seem to indicate that in the case of Turkmenistan, the Union is placing bilateral relations ahead of its ratified commitment to values. More ...
UNITED NATIONS DECLARES TURKMENISTAN’S DETENTION OF ANNAKURBAN AMANKLYCHEV AND SAPARDURDY KHADZHIEV A VIOLATION OF INTERNATIONAL LAW, CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
U.S. officials in Ashgabat spin human rights message as oil executives line up for Turkmen President
Please find some relevant documents and audio files below:
Kakabay Tedzhenov is a former inmate of a psychiatric hospital in Turkmenistan. Telling his shocking story, the 73 year-old-pensioner, now living in a small town in Russia, remembers:
It was cold during winter inside the house I lived and so were the conditions for my neighbors, in Turkmenabad, where I lived. One day I sent a petition to the local authorities demanding better heating in my house in order to put an end to the situation I faced every winter. I went on to send several petitions, but the only result was that the local authorities began to persecute me.
I didn’t give up. I went all the way the President [Niyazov]. One evening [in January 2006] men in white clothes came to my house and forcefully packed me into a car. First I didn’t know what they had in mind but then I was taken into a heavily guarded building and locked in a room with four mentally ill people. It was the infamous Boyunuzyn psychiatric hospital.
I was injected with various drugs, including Amenazin, a drug which caused me terrible pain and health problems. I got sick and was taken for surgery, after which I was returned [to Boyunuzyn]. In total, I spent ten months in Boyunuzyn. I owe my release to the intense advocacy of rights groupswho protested my detention.
Two months after Tedzhenov’s release, Niyazov suddenly died. It seemed a fitting capstone to the story. Yet, Tedzhenov was neither the first — nor the last — prisoner of conscience to be subjected to psychiatry as a form of torture.
Indeed, the abuse of psychiatry for political purposes gets less attention in Turkmenistan than other “traditional” methods of repression, such as imprisonment and torture.More ...
ETG will host a roundtable discussion March 5, 2010 in Vienna.
„Turkmenistan - Western Influence: Energy Interests and Political Implications“
Topics will be:
Turkmen Gas and Nabucco
The political situation in Turkmenistan
Possible strategies of EU, OSCE and US
Key Speakers will be:
Alain Délétroz, Vice President Europe, International Crisis Group (ICG)
Arkady Dubnov, Journalist and Turkmenistan Expert
Nurmukhamed Hanamov, former Ambassador of Turkmenistan and Expert on the political and social situation
If you are interested to participate, please send us a short mail.
Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov with Hillary Clinton: Photo by US State Department.More ...
The Monitoring conducted by You Tube demonstrated that over the past 2 to 3 weeks video clips from Turkmenistan had been posted on this web resource.
We interviewed 28 respondents from Turkmenistan, both in the capital and the country's provinces. Six of them were denied access to You Tube and were unable to watch several music clips. Three opened the website but due to low connection speed were unable to watch anything.
Apparently You Tube can be accessed only in the provinces where fiber optic cable is installed and internet access depends on the quality of connection.
In addition, none of the respondents managed to get access to LiveJournal. This resource is blocked in Turkmenistan.
Source: Turkmenistan Initiative for Human Rights
First, on December 22, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his Turkmen counterpart Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov met in Ashgabat and signed an agreement to expand bilateral “strategic” energy cooperation. Then the heads of Gazprom and Turkmengaz signed an agreement on the resumption of Turkmen gas supplies to Russia with the start of 2010, amounting to 30 billion cubic meters (bcm) annually.More ...
Turkmen gas exports to Russia resumed January 9 after a nearly nine-month hiatus, due to a pricing dispute. Under the Turkmen-Russian settlement, the Kremlin-controlled energy giant Gazprom will only buy 30 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas annually compared to 50 bcm in previous years, and will pay in the region of $250 per thousand cubic meters (tcm), Russian news sources reported.More ...
The report, ‘All that Gas?’ represents an innovative collaboration between Global Witness and cutting-edge satirical cartoonist, David Rees, who has produced original artwork for the publication. His seven new cartoons feature EU bureaucrats discussing crude strategies to ‘get the gas’. Rees is best-known for his US cartoon series ‘Get Your War On’, published on the internet and in Rolling Stone magazine.
All That Gas? (11/2009) Hi-res PDF
All That Gas? (11/2009) Lo-res version
Comic Strips (in Turkmen)
Comic Strips (Na russkom)
David Rees' Comic Strips (In English, hi-res)
Gazovyi vopros (11/2009), Word, na russkom
Hemme zat gaz üçinmi? (11/2009) Word, Türkmen
Source: Global Witness
In October 2008, Gaffney Cline & Associates announced the results of its audit of the gas resources of the South Yolotan/Osman and Yashlar fields in Turkmenistan. Following that announcement, the following pulic statement was released.More ...
ETG sources report that during the cabinet meeting President Berdymukhamedov announced the falsification of the independent gas drillings, saying that probably only one third of the results might be realistic.
By a decree most of the responsible directors in the gas industry were fired.
ETG will follow the situation in the country carefully.
In a signing ceremony overseen by the presidents of Russia and Turkmenistan on Sunday, the sides agreed to begin work next year on developing the field, which is estimated to hold 160 million tons of recoverable oil and 60 billion cubic meters of natural gas.More ...
We are still working on the abriged English version, so keep in mind that this document is in Russian.
Again, this report is available in Russian and can be ordered.
Turkmen president Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov is engaged in a major reshuffle of his top officials, although NBCentralAsia analysts question whether simply bringing in new faces will be enough to make government more efficient.More ...
The first session of Turkmenistan’s new parliament suggests that President Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov plans to maintain tight control over the institution, commentators interviewed by IWPR.More ...
Turkmenistan’s own relative isolation has proven a benefit during these tough economic times, shielding Ashgabat from some of the worst effects of the worldwide credit crunch. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. At the same time, the crisis has infused European governments, especially Germany, with a sense of urgency to conclude new deals that help embattled exporters. The fact that Berdymukhamedov’s administration seems to be one of the few governments in the world today with money to spend is prompting European states to de-emphasize Ashgabat’s troubled record on civil society development.More ...