On April 1, 2022, a presentation of the review “Turkmenistan. 30 years of independence". The material for the Turkish audience was prepared by young Turkmen activists from the group HHD - «Hak Hukuga Daýanç» (Reliance on Rights and Law), formed last year. The event was attended by representatives of 9 Turkish NGOs and the press.
The presentation was opened by Adem Chevik from the «International platform for justice». The Turkish human rights activist noted that Turkmenistan is one of the most repressive and isolated countries in the world. Many residents live below the poverty line, important legal, social and other problems still remain unresolved. Hundreds of thousands of citizens in search of work are forced to travel abroad, including to Turkey. Any dissent is severely suppressed in the country, independent political and public organizations are banned, and there is no freedom of the media.
The human rights activist urged to work together to attract the attention of the international community, the media and stop the pressure on civil society in Turkmenistan.
HHD activist Dursoltan Taganova noted the contribution of the Turkmen Helsinki Foundation in preparing the review and spoke about serious violations of human rights in Turkmenistan, including freedom of speech, association, expression, religion, and the absence of democratic elections. She also noted criticism of the authorities for refusing to recognize the presence of a coronavirus pandemic in the country.
Taganova focused on the situation with Turkmen citizens in Turkey: “This country has become a second home for many Turkmen citizens. However, thousands of our compatriots have been facing problems with renewing their passports for years, that is why they are forced to find themselves in the position of illegal migrants. The situation escalated noticeably after Turkmenistan closed its borders after the start of the pandemic. Tens of thousands of people still cannot return to their homeland.
Due to an unregulated legal status, we are deprived of many rights here, including the right to medical care, pensions, and protection from work injuries. The saddest thing is that when our compatriot dies here, despite our desperate requests to the Turkmen authorities, we cannot bury him at home. And there are hundreds of such cases."
Other Turkmen and Turkish activists also spoke during the presentation. Lawyer Omer Yuzgul said: “We see the oppressed position of Turkmens. This cannot be ignored, we must stop violating the rights of our brothers - the Turkmens.”
The past presentation is one of the steps in the development of cooperation between human rights defenders and activists in Turkey and Turkmenistan. Some participants expressed hope for a possible change in the course of official Ashgabat after the March 12 presidential elections.
Turkmen Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights