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Turkmen opposition claims defence minister, over 100 officials arrested.

Turkmen opposition claims defence minister, over 100 officials arrested.

Text of report by Russian Ferghana.ru news agency website

Turkmen Defence Minister Agageldi Mammetgeldiyew and around 120 representatives of the middle and lower echelons of the Turkmen nomenclature were arrested in Asgabat yesterday [25 December], Nurmuhammet Hanamow, a Turkmen opposition leader and the chairman of the Republican Party of Turkmenistan has told the Moscow newspaper Vremya Novostey. If this report is true, the predictions made by analysts immediately after his [Nyyzow’s] death on an inevitable and brutal struggle for dividing Turkmenbasy’s power heritage will be fully justified, Vremya Novostey writes.

The newspaper also reports that sources at the Turkmen leadership are designating Mammetgeldiyew to the post of the chairman of Halk Maslahaty (People’s Council).

The removal of the defence minister from the ranks of rivals pretending for the high-ranking posts proves that those who have authority with the army are being removed from the leadership. The country will most probably be run by persons from special services.

Vremya Novostey further quotes Nurmuhammet Hanamow as saying that his sources in Asgabat believe that the move paves the way for Gen Akmyrat Rejepow’s election at today’s [26 December] session.

Akmyrat Rejepow is the head of the security service of the late president. Some representatives of the Russian business community, who have worked in Turkmenistan and who known Rejepow well, do not rule out a possible strengthening of his position. They believe that this "man is quite an intellectual person and one can reach an agreement with him".

BBC Original source: Ferghana.ru news agency website, 25.12.06 December 26, 2006

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