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За демократию и права человека в Туркменистане  For Democracy and Human Rights in Turkmenistan
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26.12.2008, 15:17
Turkmen Murders Seven, Commits Suicide

A man in Turkmenistan has killed seven of his relatives, including his own daughter and son-in-law, then shot himself.

The incident occurred on December 21 in the eastern province of Akhal, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Turkmen Service reports.

The man was a vocal critic of the government, and local media did not report on the murders.

26.12.2008, 15:04
U.S. Embassy In Turkmenistan Gets White Powder Mail

The U.S. Embassy in Turkmenistan was on high alert on December 25 after receiving a package containing suspicious white powder.

U.S. embassies in up to 20 countries have received envelopes containing suspicious white powder since December 8. In most missions the packages were found to be harmless.

The U.S. embassy in Turkmenistan, a former Soviet republic bordering Afghanistan and Iran, said it closed its chancery on December 23 after receiving a suspect package.

''Turkmen authorities were notified and they are investigating the powder for biological and chemical toxins,'' its press-service said in a statement, adding it hoped to reopen soon. ''There are no reported casualties or injuries.''

In the latest reported case, the U.S. Embassy in Cyprus received a similar package on December 22 and police were called in. U.S. authorities have been on alert for such letters since 2001, when envelopes laced with the anthrax toxin were sent to media outlets and to U.S. politicians, killing five people.

25.12.2008, 13:14 Trend
Still Gazprom not agree with Turkmenistan on gas purchase

Russian Gazprom will hold talks in near future regarding conditions of gas purchase from Turkmenistan in 2009, official representative of Gazprom, Sergey Cyprian, said to press conference in Moscow.

''Soon a visit will take place to Turkmenistan to discuss the conditions of gas purchase in 2009, and yet I can not describe concrete figures,'' he said.

18.12.2008, 01:15 Reuters
Absolute Leader's Name Dropped from Anthem

All references to Saparmurat Niyazov, the late autocratic leader of Turkmenistan, have been dropped from the Central Asian state's national anthem.

The parliament adopted a law changing the anthem Monday, but the new text has yet to be published in the official press and state television broadcasts still open and close with the old version.

In the revised anthem, all three references to ''Turkmenbashi'' — Niyazov's title meaning ''the head of all Turkmens'' — have been replaced with ''the people,'' according to a text of the revised anthem obtained by Reuters.

Where the first line of the chorus of the previous version said ''The great creation of Turkmenbashi'' the new version says ''The great creation of (my) people.''

The change is part of President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov's campaign to expunge the legacy of Niyazov's 21-year ironfisted rule during which he surrounded himself with an elaborate personality cult.

Berdymukhamedov already has reversed other policies of Niyazov, who died in 2006, such as renaming months after his relatives, banning opera and closing hospitals everywhere, except in the capital Ashgabat.

11.12.2008, 20:49
OSCE To Discuss Dissident's Complaints With Turkmen Election Commission

The OSCE mission in Ashgabat says it will inform the Turkmen Central Election Commission about concerns expressed by a Turkmen dissident who was not allowed to register as a candidate for parliament.

Gurbandurdy Durdykuliev, who lives in the western city of Balkanabat, told RFE/RL's Turkmen Service that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's mission has received a letter with his concerns about the December 14 parliamentary elections in Turkmenistan.

In his letter, Durdykuliev asks the OSCE to pay attention to the election campaign in his hometown, which he says has not taken place, and to the Central Election Commission's rejection of his application to run as a candidate.

Durdykuliev says the OSCE mission in Ashgabat told him it will raise such issues with the Central Election Commission.

09.12.2008, 18:09 Gundogar
390 Prisoners Pardoned

To mark the coming national holiday – Neutrality day President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov issued the decree on amnesty of convicted persons. In accordance with the document 390 persons will be amnestied, official Turkmenistan TDH news agency reports.

338 persons of 390 pardoned were convicted in 2008.

09.12.2008, 18:07 Turkmenistan.Ru
Turkmenistan to amend national anthem

Mejlis chairperson, Akja Nurberdiyeva, proposed to amend the national anthem of Turkmenistan at a government meeting on 5 December. She said the reason for making amendments was numerous requests of citizens of Turkmenistan and the need to align the anthem with universally recognized international standards.

Having listened to the report, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov supported this proposal as a whole, the correspondent reports from Ashgabat.

08.12.2008, 18:08 Turkmenistan.Ru
Chairman of Turkmenistan's meteorology committee severely reprimanded

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov has strictly reprimanded the chairman of the State Meteorology Committee under the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan, Kakamyrad Yaziyev.

The Turkmen official was reprimanded ''for weak control over the work of agencies under his supervision as well as over reliability of weather forecasts,'' the correspondent reports from Ashgabat quoting the press service of the head of state.

''K.Yaziyev has been warned that in case of him failing to take appropriate measures he will be relieved of his post,'' the press service said

04.12.2008, 15:13 Associated Press
EU to push for Caspian gas line

The European Union will push harder for a pipeline to carry natural gas from the Caspian Sea region to Europe while bypassing Russia, a senior EU diplomat said Wednesday.

Russia's war with Georgia underscores the need to step up preparations for the prospective Nabucco pipeline, EU special representative Pierre Morel said after meeting with the leader of gas-rich Turkmenistan, President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov.

''I was able to confirm to the president that the EU believes that we need to strengthen efforts on the construction of Nabucco,'' Morel told reporters. ''Concrete steps in that direction will be in the coming months, in early 2009.''

The Nabucco pipeline, backed by the U.S. and EU, would ease Europe's reliance on Russian energy. The EU gets about one-third of its oil and about 40 percent of its natural gas imports from Russia.

The leaders of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan met last week, raising European hopes for construction of an undersea pipeline across the Caspian that could potentially link Central Asia's vast gas reserves to Western markets.

''President Berdymukhamedov's overtures to Azerbaijan are a very promising step that could determine the future of the southern energy transportation corridor,'' Morel said, referring to Nabucco.

Morel said that he offered Berdymukhamedov guarantees the European Union is working with Western energy companies to develop long-term proposals to assist in developing Turkmenistan's huge hydrocarbon resources.

Turkmenistan estimates its total gas reserves stand at more than 26 trillion cubic yards (20 trillion cubic meters). Most of its exports go through Russia.

Widespread skepticism about the Turkmen evaluation were mitigated earlier this year when British auditing company Gaffney, Cline and Associates disclosed that its investigations confirmed the country may hold the world's fourth-largest natural gas field.

Doubts remain, however, whether the former Soviet republic will be able to satisfy all existing obligations and seal new contracts with Western partners.

Turkmenistan has committed to exporting 65 billion cubic yards (50 billion cubic meters) per year to Russia under a 25-year contract and it also has agreed to provide China with 52 billion cubic yards (40 billion cubic meters) annually beginning late next year. An additional 10 billion cubic yards are sold annually to Iran.

03.12.2008, 19:08 Turkmenistan.Ru
Turkmenistan to celebrate Kurban Bayramy (Eid al Adha) from 9 to 11 December

Turkmenistan will widely celebrate the Muslim holiday of sacrifice, Kurban Bayramy, from 9 to 11 December. Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov signed a decree to this effect at a government meeting yesterday.

According to the document, 9, 10 and 11 December are declared days off, the correspondent reports from Ashgabat.

03.12.2008, 19:04 Gundogar
Religious believers threatened with jail in Turkmenistan

Bilbil Kulyyeva was threatened with incarceration in a psychiatric hospital if she did not stop complaining about punishments imposed for following her faith as a Jehovah's Witness, Forum 18 News Service is reporting.

Officials threatened to put her two underage children in a children's home and deport the other two.

Back in June, police threatened another female Jehovah's Witness with rape. She was held overnight and freed the following day only after she had been forced to clean the police station and water plants outside.

Four Jehovah's Witnesses were beaten and fined in May after refusing police and secret police pressure to declare: «I am a Muslim.»

Police and Ministry of State Security secret police often work closely with local imams to intimidate Jehovah's Witnesses as well as Protestant Christians. The Jehovah's Witnesses lodged a formal registration application in August, but have had no response.

Forum 18 could find no official prepared to explain why Jehovah's Witnesses and members of other faiths face harassment.

03.12.2008, 18:58 Turkmenistan.Ru
Czech official delegation visits Ashgabat

The representative delegation of the high-ranking officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic arrived in the Turkmen capital.

The guests will be received at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan and hold a series of the talks at the national ministries and departments including the oil and gas agencies.

The upcoming talks called upon to specify the vectors of further development of the intergovernmental dialogue evidenced Czechia's interest in establishing full-scale collaboration with Turkmenistan on the bilateral and multilateral bases, particular in the framework of the EU Strategy for Central Asia. The Czech Republic will hold the EU presidency for the next half a year.

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