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Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

Turkmenistan

APPEAL On the need to cancel visas for Turkmen citizens

APPEAL On the need to cancel visas for Turkmen citizens

APPEAL:

On September 13, 2022, at the request of Turkmenistan, the Republic of Turkey introduced entry visas for citizens of Turkmenistan.

We consider this step as direct discrimination against citizens of Turkmenistan in their right to freedom of movement, a violation of the principles of openness and unification of the Turkic peoples, as an important part of the foreign policy of the Turkish Republic. In fact, Turkmenistan has involved the Republic of Turkey in its repressive policy towards its citizens, having decided, at Turkey’s expense, to prohibit hundreds of thousands of Turkmen citizens from leaving the country. In order to better understand the problem that condemns hundreds of thousands of families of citizens of Turkmenistan to hunger, we would like to draw Your highest attention to the following:

From the first day of Turkmenistan’s independence, the country’s leadership set a course for building a system of authoritarian-repressive power, providing for the aggressive destruction of civil society and political pluralism. As a result of this policy, thousands of Turkmen citizens were repressed, several hundreds of thousands representatives of national minorities left the country, and step by step the citizens of Turkmenistan were deprived of their fundamental rights. As a result, Turkmenistan, under the leadership of the first President Niyazov and then Berdymukhammedov, turned into a totalitarian despotism, and the country fell below North Korea in the ranking of democratic freedoms.

The single-handed and illiterate management of the economy by the presidents of Turkmenistan, their unlimited enrichment and colossal corruption, led to a deep economic crisis and mass impoverishment of the entire population of Turkmenistan. In a country with colossal world-class hydrocarbon resources, the average salary in cities is only $70, and the average pension is $27. Unemployment in the country, especially in rural areas, has become a widespread and incurable phenomenon. This leads to a further decline in the standard of living of Turkmenistan citizens, which is already at a record low. Hunger is affecting more and more low-income layers of Turkmen citizens.

The overwhelming majority of Turkmen labor migrants chose to migrate to Turkey in order to survive and feed their families. For Turkmens, Turkey is a fraternal country; our peoples are united not only by the similarity of languages and mentality, but also by common historical roots. The deteriorating economic situation in Turkmenistan determines the high level of labor migration to Turkey. Currently, there are approximately 230 thousand Turkmen citizens legally residing in Turkey. To stop the outflow of the working-age population from Turkmenistan, the authorities are taking illegal measures, which include both extrajudicial restrictions on leaving Turkmenistan and direct repressive measures - citizens are simply, without explanation, not allowed to fly to Turkey after checking in at the airport of Ashgabat. But since these measures are quite limited, the Turkmen government took the unprecedented step of asking the Republic of Turkey in early September to introduce visas for citizens of Turkmenistan. Unfortunately, the Turkmen government's request was granted and the Republic of Turkey was involved in a flagrant violation of international law on freedom of movement.

Concluding our appeal, we ask You, dear Mr. President, to cancel visas for Turkmen citizens and follow the policy of openness of the Turkish Republic. We believe that the people of Turkmenistan, which determined the historical beginning of Your country, do not deserve to be discriminated against in comparison with other peoples.

Temirkhan Misrikhanov, Association of Independent Lawyers of Turkmenistan, Netherlands, sefihan25@hushmail.com

Vyacheslav Mamedov, Democratic Civil Union of Turkmenistan, Netherlands, dcutm@protonmail.com

Tajigul Begmedova, Turkmen Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Bulgaria, helsinkitadm@gmail.com

Leila Yunus, Institute for Peace and Democracy, Netherlands, yunus.arif.leyla@gmail.com

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