20 QUESTIONS OF THE PEOPLE OF TURKMENISTAN TO THE PRESIDENT SERDAR BERDIMUHAMEDOV

During the 33 years of dictatorship in Turkmenistan, starting in 1991, the country’s authorities have never reported to their people, although they are obliged! Since Turkmenistan gained independence until now, the country has been ruled by two presidents – Saparmurat Niyazov and Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, who established a harsh authoritarian regime. In conditions of total control and suppression of any forms of dissent, corruption and theft of budget funds continue to flourish in the country during the “reign” of the third president, the son of Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, Serdar.

To begin with, Saparmurat Niyazov, also known as Turkmenbashi, founded a cult of personality, spending millions of dollars on monuments and personal projects, including the construction of grand palaces and golden statues in his honor. After his death, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov continued his authoritarian rule, also creating a cult of personality and building expensive facilities, many of which were of no practical importance to the population.

Systemic corruption and theft of public funds have become commonplace. According to international organizations, significant sums from the state budget are regularly embezzled by senior officials, which seriously undermines the country’s economic development and leads to poverty among the population. In particular, funds intended for social programs and infrastructure projects often end up in foreign accounts belonging to senior officials and their families. Most people in Turkmenistan, meanwhile, face ongoing economic difficulties, food and medicine shortages, high unemployment and inflation. The authorities, instead of addressing all these socio-economic problems of the population, continue to restrict freedom of speech and suppress any attempts by citizens to express grievances or demand accountability. And now, finally, on the basis of Articles 3, 4, 5, 8, 68 and 71, paragraph 11 of the Constitution of Turkmenistan, we – the PEOPLE OF TURKMENISTAN – demand from the current president of the country, Serdar Berdimuhamedov, for the first time in his life, to dare to go out to the people and answer the accumulated questions of citizens ! We have the legal right to know and demand the truth! For, referring to the Main Law – the Constitution of Turkmenistan, it is the people who are the only source of state power. The people of Turkmenistan exercise their power directly or through representative bodies. And no part of the people, no organization or individuals have the right to appropriate power in the state. But this is according to the Law. But in fact, you, Mr. President, and your predecessors twisted the Law to suit yourself, and closed people’s mouths, ears and eyes in order to subjugate the people through fear.

Now the time has come to answer all the questions of your compatriots. So:

Question 1: During 33 years of independence, Turkmenistan has exported natural resources worth more than 150 billion US dollars (5 trillion manat). But why then has our standard of living never changed? Just as we received $100 in wages in 1991, we still receive $100 in wages or 2,000 manats. Where did the proceeds from the sale of our natural resources worth 150 billion US dollars go and why did the Turkmen people receive nothing from the sale of these resources?

Question 2: Why, over the 33 years of Turkmenistan’s independence, the president’s salary increases every year and today is 12,000 US dollars per month (240,000 manat per month), while the wages of citizens of simpler professions have not increased in 33 years? We received 2,000 manats a month, and that’s what we receive. In addition, why does the President of Turkmenistan receive wages in US dollars, which is contrary to the Law, and the people of Turkmenistan in Turkmen manats?
Why were Articles 25-28 of the Constitution of Turkmenistan violated?

Question 3: Dear Mr. President, why over the 33 years of Turkmenistan’s independence, despite ongoing indexations, pensions in the country remain at about 30 US dollars or 600 manats? Why have you not solved the problem of low pensions for many years and provided a guaranteed decent standard of living for retirees? After all, 600 manats is the lowest pension among Central Asian countries. Is it possible for pensioners in Turkmenistan to live on $30 a month? Why does the country’s government violate Articles 5, 13 and 54 of the Constitution of Turkmenistan, which clearly states that Turkmenistan is a state that guarantees social security for every person. That the state regulates economic activity in the interests of individuals and society, ensures sustainable development for the benefit of the entire people. And that citizens have the right to social security due to age, in case of illness, disability, loss of ability to work, loss of a breadwinner, unemployment and for other legal reasons. And, according to the Law, young families, large families, children who have lost their parents, veterans and persons who have lost their health while protecting state or public interests are provided with additional support and benefits from state and public funds. But is this true in practice? Vulnerable people are barely surviving!
In addition, the government regularly violates Article 11 of the Law of Turkmenistan “On the approval and implementation of the Code of Turkmenistan on Social Protection of the Population,” which states that the state pension guarantee guarantees indexation of the size of paid pensions assigned under the distribution and conditionally funded pension systems. But in fact everything remained unchanged.

Question 4: Why was our constitutional right to free access to information taken away from us? Mr. President, why, on your personal instructions, is it prohibited to use all opportunities to obtain free information through the Internet and even the media? Why, as the Guarantor of our Constitution, are you violating our constitutional rights to receive free information? Why was Article 42 of the Constitution of Turkmenistan violated? It also clearly states that every person is guaranteed freedom of thought and speech. No one has the right to prohibit a person from freely expressing his opinion, or to prevent its dissemination in accordance with the law. No one can be forced to express their opinions and beliefs or to renounce them. Every person has the right to freely search, receive and disseminate information in a manner not prohibited by law, with the exception of information containing state or other secrets protected by law. But in fact, even such simple things are prohibited and completely isolated from the outside world!

Question 5: Why does Turkmenistan introduce different visas with foreign countries every year, thus complicating the exit from Turkmenistan for our citizens? Why is our country isolated from the outside world and not developing with the times? Why inside Turkmenistan are citizens of the country from different velayats (regions) not allowed to come to the capital Ashgabat? Why did you, as the President, give instructions not to allow citizens of Turkmenistan living in Tashauz, Mary, Balkan, Lebap regions into the capital of Turkmenistan – the city of Ashgabat. Aren’t they citizens of Turkmenistan with the right to internal migration or tourism? Why are Articles 26, 27, 28 and especially Article 39 of the Constitution of Turkmenistan violated in this way?

Question 6: Why don’t you, Mr. President, allow free registration of a party in Turkmenistan? Why are registered parties clones that only support you? Why are Articles 17, 42, 43 and 44 of the Constitution of Turkmenistan violated? Why are citizens sentenced to varying terms of imprisonment under flimsy charges for registering a party or for having a disloyal opinion towards the current government? Why is it that almost none of the so-called prisoners for political reasons are included in the amnesty lists?

Question 7: Why are religious people persecuted in Turkmenistan? Why is keeping the Koran in the homes of Turkmenistan a crime? Why have you imprisoned or exiled those Muslims who are not loyal and do not support your current policies? Why are Articles 18 and 41 of the Constitution of Turkmenistan violated?

Question 8: Why are there many illegally convicted people in prisons in Turkmenistan? Those whose guilt has not been proven and those who have parole (parole)? According to the latest World Prison Brief report, there are 576 prisoners in Turkmenistan for every 100,000 of the country’s population. This is the third largest number in the world. But if we take into account the fact that 4 million people live in Turkmenistan instead of the declared 6.5 million people, then, consequently, Turkmenistan is in first place in the world in terms of prisoners. Accordingly, why are there very few acquittals in Turkmenistan, independent private lawyers are not allowed to see suspects, and for using the usual traditional “nasvay”, citizens of Turkmenistan are sentenced to 5 years in prison? Isn’t this a common administrative violation? Why are Articles 31 – 36 of the Constitution of Turkmenistan violated?

Question 9: Why is unemployment more than 50% in Turkmenistan? New jobs are not being created in Turkmenistan and highly qualified specialists are forced to leave this country in order to find work in other countries. Why, in order to feed their family, 45% of citizens of Turkmenistan are forced to leave their homeland and work illegally abroad as labor migrants? At the same time, not a single Turkmen embassy abroad helps them with their legalization, changes their passports, or helps them obtain medical insurance? Why do employees of the Turkmenistan embassy in Turkey, Russia and Europe, instead of helping their compatriots, on the contrary, persecute our citizens abroad? At the same time, you, Mr. President, prohibited changing passports at the embassies and consulates of Turkmenistan, forcing citizens to return to their homeland and re-do the documents there! Why is it necessary to pay a bribe of up to $3,000 to various authorities in order to replace a passport and leave the country? Isn’t this massive corruption involving immigration officials, Homeland Security, the police and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs? According to Article 91 of the Constitution of Turkmenistan, you are the Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan. If you fail to create jobs for people within the country and cross the unemployment threshold by half, then you have brought the economy of Turkmenistan to the highest crisis. This means that you, as the Prime Minister and head of the Cabinet of Ministers, have failed in your job and must leave your position!
Even we, ordinary people, see in migration issues incompetence and violations of Articles 10, 91 of the Constitution of Turkmenistan, Article 3 of the Law “On Migration of Turkmenistan” and Article 5 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of April 24, 1963, which Turkmenistan signed.

Question 10: Why are citizens of Turkmenistan, having the right to receive free medical services, obliged to pay huge bribes to officials, doctors, etc.? And why is there no proper medical support for the entire medical field, or are all medications paid for and not available to everyone?

Question 11: Turkmenistan is mired in corruption due to your fault, because the officials you hired are engaged in large-scale bribery. Why do officials, that is, servants of the people, introduce bans on everything, always referring to you? Why do officials say that all bans are a direct order of the President of Turkmenistan? Why are you, being the Guarantor of the Constitution, not fighting corruption, but on the contrary – you yourself are creating conditions for corruption with your oral decrees? Why does Turkmenistan rank 170 out of a possible 180 places on the Corruption Perceptions Index? Why do you have to pay a huge bribe to become an official? Why do the Presidential Administration and Cabinet officials sell government jobs at prices like in stores? Why in Turkmenistan do government officials receive from 2000 to 5000 manats (100 to 250 US dollars); don’t these small incomes become an excuse to engage in corruption?

https://www.transparency.org/en/news/cpi-2023-eastern-europe-central-asia-autocracy-weak-justice-systems-widespread-enabling-corruption

If you do not fight corruption, then naturally your low-paid officials will not fight against it. After all, according to the Constitution of Turkmenistan, it is you who are the Guarantor of justice, order, our rights and all laws of Turkmenistan!

Question 12: Why is the population of Turkmenistan decreasing every year? Why do no more than 4 million citizens actually live in Turkmenistan, while Turkmenistan everywhere declares a different figure – about 6.5 million people. Where are these 2.5 million people: show them to us! Why are real statistical data on the socio-economic state of the country not made public? Why does Turkmenistan hide all macro- and microeconomic indicators? Why do many international organizations not believe in the statistical data provided by Turkmenistan and have stopped using this data altogether? How long can you deceive the whole world and when will the lies about the real situation in Turkmenistan stop?

Question 13: Why has there been no free conversion of Turkmen manat in the country since the formation of the state of Turkmenistan in 1991? Why has Turkmenistan, over the 33 years of its independence, been unable to strengthen its national currency, and the main place for exchanging Turkmen manat for dollars is the black market with a difference of more than 570%, that is, the official dollar exchange rate is 1 dollar = 3.5 manats, and on the black market market exchange rate is 1 dollar 20 manat. Why is it that in 33 years of independence of Turkmenistan the national currency, the Turkmen manat, is not freely convertible?

Question 14: Mr. President, why did your dad, National Leader of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, award you the Hero of Turkmenistan medal? During the 2 years of your presidency, what kind of heroic act did you perform? In fact, during the 2 years of your presidency, you led our country into the deepest political and economic crisis. Over the past 33 years, Turkmenistan has completely lost its authority in the international arena. Turkmenistan is associated as a country with the most brutal authoritarian regime, and you did not raise the authority of Turkmenistan, but on the contrary, you lowered it even more. Are these not failures in the foreign and domestic policies that you are pursuing?
In foreign policy, our country, which is under your control, is associated as a country with enormous corruption and an authoritarian regime of government – isn’t this a failure in foreign policy?

Question 15: Why is Turkmenistan not developing, but rather turning into a raw material base for many countries? Why did we become an oil and gas gas station? Isn’t all this an indicator of the complete failure of your program for the social and economic development of Turkmenistan?

Question 16: Why, having sufficient energy resources, does Turkmenistan not develop, jobs are not created and factories are not built, but on the contrary, the country has turned into a raw material base for many countries whose economies are developing?
Why has Turkmenistan turned into a gas station selling oil and gas? Why does Turkmenistan not export finished products, but sell raw materials? Why is the country selling off natural resources instead of deep processing of raw materials? Isn’t all this an indicator of the complete failure of your program for the social and economic development of Turkmenistan?

Question 17: Why have Turkmenistan not created conditions for citizens to live in velayats (regions), etraps (districts)? Why are roads and communications in terrible condition in velayats and etraps? Why have roads, bridges, canals, rivers, and seed lakes not been repaired or cleaned for 33 years?
As you know, Mr. President, in Turkmenistan 60% of citizens live in rural areas, why are they not invested? Why aren’t clinics, hospitals, kindergartens, schools, cultural centers built there, roads and bridges aren’t repaired, canals aren’t cleared, gas isn’t supplied to homes, and existing electrical communications constantly break down?
Why is your father, the so-called “national leader of Arkadag” – Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, without asking the people, building his personal city “Arkadag”, on the construction of which he has already spent more than 5 billion US dollars of budget funds.

Question 18: As you know, more than 1.5 million citizens of Turkmenistan are forced to work as labor migrants abroad. Why don’t embassies and diplomatic consulates located abroad help our citizens in trouble, but on the contrary, they persecute them? Some citizens abroad have accidents or accidents, or die from illness. Why do you prohibit citizens from bringing their relatives into Turkmenistan to bury the dead bodies?

Question 19: Why is there massive corruption in the education sector in Turkmenistan? For example, to enter a higher education institution, a bribe is required in the amount of 50 to 150 thousand US dollars, depending on the institution. Why can’t an ordinary talented person with good knowledge freely enter a higher education institution? Why do teachers and professors receive salaries ranging from 100 to 150 US dollars at the exchange rate in manats? Is it possible to live with dignity on these funds? Mr. President, can you imagine that the state, without paying teachers and professors for their work, forces them to take bribes, after which the overall level of education of pupils and students falls? Why is Article 55 of the Constitution of Turkmenistan violated? Why is a citizen of Turkmenistan who received education abroad, for example in Russia or Turkey, required to pay a bribe to employees of the Ministry of Education in the amount of 10,000 US dollars to confirm his diploma? Why does everyone know about this and no one fights it?

Question 20: Why in Turkmenistan, according to Article 96 of the Constitution of Turkmenistan, judicial power does not belong to the courts and there are no independent judges? Why is it impossible to get a fair trial in the court of Turkmenistan? Why does the judicial system in Turkmenistan not work for the benefit of the people, but only for the benefit of the president?