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Turkmen security forces tried to recruit the minor son of an activist living in Turkey

Turkmen security forces tried to recruit the minor son of an activist living in Turkey

Civil activist Dursoltan Taganova reported a recent attempt by the special services to recruit her minor son, living in Lebap province of Turkmenistan, as an agent.

According to Taganova, before the New Year, her 12-year-old son Firuz Taganov, a 6th grade student at secondary school No. 19 in the city of Turkmenabat, was invited to the office of head teacher Haitgul Jumaeva. There were two men there: one tall, thin, dark-skinned, the other light-faced and of large build. They checked the student’s name and began asking about the mother: does she call her son, does she send money, etc. At the end of the conversation they suggested «being friends». By «friendship», Taganova notes, «they, as it turned out, meant agreement to periodically give them information about their mother and classmates». Firuz’s other classmates were not called to this kind of «conversations».

On the same day, Firuz's aunt was called to the school and demanded to provide copies of all the documents of Dursoltan and Firuz’s father, whom she had divorced, that were preserved in the family. The same questions as Firuz were asked during a call her ex-mother-in-law.

According to the activist, «after the visit of these men, the head teacher of the school began to scold Firuz and threatened that if he was stubborn, she would hand him over to the police, who were talking to him in her office».

After such «conversations» Firuz was in a state of stress and only in early February he decided to tell his loved ones about what had happened.

In addition, last week, an unknown man called the personal number of one of her brother’s teachers, 16-year-old Serdar, a student at school No. 10, and, inquiring whether Serdar was a student at this school, turned off the phone.

Now Dursoltan's relatives, who are in Turkmenistan, accuse the activist of the fact that the authorities do not leave them alone.

Dursoltan Taganova, who lives in Istanbul, is known for her civic activism. She has her own page on Tik Tok and, without hiding her name, she regularly conducts video conversations with young people on current topics of protecting the rights of Turkmens. Her broadcasts attract hundreds of listeners, sometimes up to 500 people. This popularity is causing concern among Turkmen authorities.

From pro-government users, threats and insults are made against her via the Internet, including threats to find out her home address and kill her. Several times, edited fake footage was posted online, humiliating her dignity. Recently, a fake channel was created allegedly in her name, where her phone number is indicated.

Dursoltan's son was left in the care of his father and grandmother in infancy when she left for Turkey in 2011 to work. «One of the reasons that I began to criticize the regime was the inability to freely travel to see my son in Turkmenistan» - says Taganova.

Turkmen Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

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