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NEWS 2013 .
19.02.2013, 19:31 Turkmenistan.Ru
Turkmenistan pardons seven Kazakh citizens convicted of illegally crossing state border

Seven citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan, convicted to long prison terms on 30 November 2012 for illegally crossing the Kazakh-Turkmen border in October 2012, have been pardoned and released from prison in accordance with the decree signed by President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. This is reported by the correspondent with reference to the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Ashgabat.

The Kazakh Embassys press release says that the Kazakh side welcomed with deep satisfaction the decision by esteemed President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, seeing it as an act of mercy and humanity in the spirit of good neighborly relations between the two brotherly countries.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan is currently working with the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Ashgabat to complete all procedures in connection with the above decision.

The Kazakh Embassys press release also emphasized that the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan expressed gratitude to the Turkmen side for generosity and confidence that the state border between the Republic of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan would always remain a border of friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation.

Seven citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan, including police and immigration service officers, were detained by the border guards of the border post Garabogaz of the State Border Service of Turkmenistan in October 2012 for illegally crossing the state border and entering three kilometers deep into the territory of Turkmenistan. Later, the detainees were convicted in Turkmenistan for illegally crossing the border.

President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov signed a decree on pardoning of prisoners in honor of the Flag Day of Turkmenistan (celebrated on February 19). According to it, all pardoned prisoners are set free from further serving their primary sentences, as well as additional punishment in the form of residing in certain areas.

17.02.2013, 13:24 Gundogar
Turkmen activists have been released after serving prison term

Two Turkmen activists Annakurban Amanklychev and Sapardurdy Khadzhiev have been released from prison in Turkmenistan today (February 16, 2013) after serving their full prison terms. Amanklychev and Khadzhiev were sentenced to seven years in prison for helping to make a documentary about Turkmenistan in 2006 for Envoyé spécial, a current affairs programme broadcast by the French state-owned TV station France 2, and for gathering information about the human rights situation for the Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation. Initially, the government accused them of spying for Western intelligence services. Later, the charges were changed to illegal acquisition, possession or sale of firearms or ammunition, Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights reported.

A third person who was convicted at the same time, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty correspondent in Turkmenistan Ogulsapar Muradova, died in detention in September 2006 after being tortured.

International human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, have repeatedly called on the Turkmen government to release Amanklychev and Khadzhiyev and to conduct open investigation into the case of Muradovas death in detention.

In 2010, The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention called for the immediate release of Amanklychev and Khajiev, claiming that their detention is a violation of international law.

In 2011, Amnesty International called Amanklychev A. and S. Khadzhiev prisoners of conscience.

14.02.2013, 14:59 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Ukraine Signs Tentative Natural-Gas Deal With Turkmenistan

Ukraine has reached a tentative agreement with Turkmenistan to resume imports of natural gas from the Central Asian country.

Ukrainian Energy Minister Eduard Stavytskyy told journalists in Ashgabat on February 13 that the agreement was signed after talks between visiting Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his Turkmen counterpart, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov.

Stavytskyy added that talks with other parties will follow before the deal can be finalized.

The deal's completion would require the consent of Kazakhstan and Russia as transit states.

Ukraine has been seeking alternatives to Russian gas imports to meet its energy needs.

Until 2006, Turkmenistan supplied Ukraine with 36 billion cubic meters of gas annually.

Last month, Russia's state-controlled Gazprom gas monopoly demanded that Ukraine pay back a USD 7 billion debt, a claim Kyiv disputes.

06.02.2013, 10:36 Gundogar
Appeal of the Republican Party of Turkmenistan to the President of RFE/RL

The Republican Party of Turkmenistan (in exile) declares that the Turkmen audience is losing the only opportunity to get the alternative information through the Turkmen service of the Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty Azatlyk, which served as a platform that gave the representatives of the Turkmen opposition, human rights activists, well-known politicians and the representatives of the civil society a possibility to express and share their ideas and points of view.

We deeply regret that Radio Azatlyk is losing its face based on the fact that analytical programs about democratic values and human rights reports were made peripheral. We listened to Radio Azatlyk because we knew we could get timely feedbacks of the experts to the current political events in Turkmenistan. However, the number of feedbacks has considerably reduced. Radio listeners do not need Azatlyk to get information about everyday life and world news; they have an easy access to this type of information from other sources.

We know that some experienced journalists and contributors had to leave Azatlyk after Muhammad Tahir was appointed the director of the Turkmen Service, who is not aware of the real life in Turkmenistan. Unfortunately, his new inexperienced colleagues, including Afghan Turkmen, have poor command of the literary Turkmen language. It resulted in poor quality and reduction of the number of programs; finally, it led to the decrease in the number of Turkmen radio listeners.

Taking these facts into account, we address the competent USA agencies with a request to influence the unfavorable staff situation and consider the opinion of the Turkmen radio listeners who are interested in the return of previous leading journalists and full-scale broadcasting of radio Azatlyk, which provides the Turkmen listeners with up-to-date, accurate and objective information and analytical stories.

We hope Azatlyk will continue to carry out its previous noble mission and will serve as a source of objective information about national and international events for people in Turkmenistan, who need freedom of speech, freedom of thought and other universal democratic values.

We are grateful to the American taxpayers for the possibility to have an alternative source of information for the people in Turkmenistan.

04.02.2013, 18:52 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Turkmen State Assets Set For Privatization

Turkmen authorities have unveiled a list of state-owned assets set for privatization.

State-run media reports said on February 4 that the assets to be sold in the March 9 auction include a shopping center, a food-production plant, and a chain of auto-repair shops in the capital, Ashgabat.

Foreign and local investors will be allowed to participate in the auction.

President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov approved the program for privatizing state-owned property in November 2012.

The privatization was scheduled to start this year and is planned to be finished in 2016.

It is not clear if any of the natural-gas-rich country's energy-related assets will be included in the privatization.

Turkmenistan's privatization move is considered significant because its economy is currently almost completely state-controlled.

Based on reporting by AP, Neitralny Turkmenistan, and RFE/RL's Turkmen Service

01.02.2013, 10:08 Gundogar
Turkmenistan sold Iranian oil to US

The U.S. Army's latest report claims that the oil bought from Turkmenistan and used by forces in Afghanistan was obtained from Iran through breaching sanctions, reports Turkish World Bulletin.

According to a new U.S. government report, the fuel that was bought from Turkmenistan and used by the United States security forces in Afghanistan also included oil from Iran, and Turkmenistan violated the related sanctions.

The report prepared by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction investigating the use of funds specifies that U.S. forces and fuel suppliers in Afghanistan must comply with U.S. regulations.

The report, which states that sanctions restricting trade with Iran also cover fuel from Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, emphasized that suppliers provided fuel which was ''blended'' from different sources. According to the report, especially the petrol from Turkmenistan originates from Iran.

The report, which does not offer conclusive evidence but contains accusations against Turkmenistan, records that the Pentagon paid more than USD800 million to the administration in Ashgabat last year in return for the supplied oil.