Why are freedom fighters portrayed as terrorists?

On September 12, 2023, Turkmenistan will put forward many important initiatives at the 78th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, the Cabinet of Ministers of the country reports. This year, the Turkmen side plans to put forward an initiative to develop a Global Security Strategy. Along with this, it will be proposed to create a permanent structure on security issues in Central Asia and hold its first meeting in 2024 in Ashgabat. Another proposal of our country concerns the creation of a Counter-terrorism Program for Central Asia jointly with the UN Counter-Terrorism Office.

The 78th session of the UN General Assembly will also announce Turkmenistan’s initiative to hold a major international forum on food security in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the World Food Program, the World Health Organization, and the UN Children’s Fund.

In addition, it will be proposed to organize in Turkmenistan in December 2024 an international conference of the Friends of Neutrality Group, formed on the initiative of our country based on the UN, and also to begin exploring the possibilities of creating an Institute of Neutrality and Security in Ashgabat.

At first glance, these initiatives look right, the familiar cliches about the importance of solving pressing problems of international and domestic relations sound. However, they conceal the strengthening of berdymukhammedov’s dictatorial regime, Murad Kurbanov is sure:

“When Turkmenistan puts forward such initiatives on a global security strategy it is about how to protect the regime from popular revolutions aimed at establishing a democratic regime for the benefit of the people. The regime views popular aspirations, supporters of constitutional rights, activists, and other fighters as terrorists. The main reason is the regime’s fear of the physical seizure of power by the people.”

Turkmenistan has built a regime in which it is generally impossible to prove their case, to protect their rights, people are accused of terrorism for legitimate demands, or they will be prosecuted for other criminal cases, such as economic crimes.

The power of the Berdymukhammedov family has completely usurped the law enforcement and law enforcement system. Peaceful demonstrations with balloons and posters (as happened in other post-Soviet countries) will not give the desired result. Moreover, there are no such forms of protest left in Turkmenistan. The regime also has sufficient financial resources to fight dissent.

Murad Kurbanov suggests a probable action plan for the authorities, in case of emergencies: “Let’s figure out – what is the current Berdymukhamedov regime afraid of? They are afraid of an armed coup. And that can be done by the opposition forces. Therefore, they are signing agreements on the fight against terrorism with all countries – including China, Azerbaijan, and Turkey, with everyone possible. If they have a coup, they can invite external forces and say, they say, these are terrorists, they are capturing us. Just for that.”

The regime only tightens control over citizens, including entry and exit from the country – this is how the visa regime has been introduced even with Turkey, which is friendly to Turkmenistan. All other activities allegedly to combat terrorism are an illusion.

It is also important to note that Turkmenistan, despite its extensive border with Afghanistan, one of the most unstable countries not only on the Asian continent but also around the world, has suffered only two terrorist attacks in 32 years of independence. That is, there is no de facto serious threat to the country in the field of security.

At the same time, more than 10 thousand Turkmen have been living in a deportation camp in Turkey for the last few months. The official Ashgabat is indifferent to their fate – people have become hostages of anarchy. They cannot not only stay in Turkey but also leave the country since the diplomatic agencies do not even try to change their expired documents and legalize them. Against the background of all these problems, an initiative of the current regime for human rights, the fight against terrorism, and strengthening security in the region looks like utter hypocrisy.