Against repression in Turkmenistan.

Statement of the political movement “Democratic Choice of Turkmenistan” (DVT).

November 2022 marked the 20th anniversary of the beginning of mass repressions against dissidents in Turkmenistan. After November 25, 2002, dozens of people accused of a coup were arrested in the country, deprived of legal protection, medical care, and any connection with the outside world. And this practice continues. According to the international company “Show them alive!”, 162 people have disappeared in Turkmenistan since 2002, and the fate of 97 of them is still unknown. The term of imprisonment of 33 people has already expired, but their fate also remains unknown.

The 14th round of the dialogue on human rights between the EU and Turkmenistan took place in Ashgabat recently. The press service of the EU Foreign Ministry notes that the issues of the situation of civil society, restrictions on freedom of assembly, and freedom of speech were raised. EU representatives expressed concern about torture, ill-treatment, and enforced disappearances of people in places of detention. The Turkmen side was given a list of cases of concern.

On the eve of this meeting, the International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) and the Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights (TIPH) presented to the EC a document on key human rights issues that the EU should discuss with the Government of Turkmenistan. In addition to the issues of illegal repression, issues of Internet censorship were raised there, including the project of the Government of Turkmenistan on an “autonomous national digital network”, the risks of deportation of those critical of the Berdimuhamedov regime from Turkey, an excessively harsh reaction of the authorities to spontaneous speeches of citizens, the introduction of large-scale restrictions on the appearance and behavior of women.

The scale of human rights violations in Turkmenistan is huge and, unfortunately, it only increases over time. The trends are extremely alarming. The rulers are changing, but their policy towards any manifestations of dissent and criticism is not softening but is becoming increasingly harsh and sophisticated.

The only thing that can be opposed to repressive tendencies in Turkmenistan today is a rapid, substantive, and tough international reaction to the events taking place in the country. Unfortunately, neither the judicial system, the servile parliament, nor the manual media are capable of performing these functions. We welcome the interest of the European Union in human rights issues in Turkmenistan and sincerely hope that this will not be a one-time surge, but a constant monitoring of the situation in our country.

The very fact that the Deputy Foreign Minister was sent to negotiate with the EU suggests that the Turkmen authorities are not going to change anything and seriously answer questions from EU representatives. There were no people at the talks who are responsible for human rights violations in Turkmenistan or have information on these issues. The EU delegation was not received by the President of Turkmenistan. He does not consider this problem important for himself.

We demand an end to all forms of political repression and human rights violations, the immediate release of all political prisoners, free and fair elections, and an end to endless corruption and large-scale theft of the country’s national wealth. They do not belong to the Berdymukhamedov clan but to the people of Turkmenistan.

Turkmenistan will be free and prosperous!