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Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

Turkmenistan

Ban on communication with activists

Ban on communication with activists

Turkmen authorities again warn the population against joining anti-government groups.

In eastern Turkmenistan, authorities are holding meetings with relatives of Turkmens living outside the country and warning them not to join various anti-government groups.

The meeting held with local residents in the Farap district was reported by the correspondent of Radio Liberty in this region.

The meeting in Farap district was attended by employees of the Migration Service of Turkmenistan, the local police, parents and relatives of Turkmen citizens who are migrating abroad were invited to it.

Authorities demanded from the residents invited to the meeting that their relatives not join various opposition organizations and not make anti-government speeches on the Internet.

“First of all, they were required to warn their relatives not to speak on the Internet, and not to participate in various groups against Arkadag,” one of the local residents who participated in the meeting told Radio Liberty.

The organizers of the meeting also warned the parents of migrants that the Turkmen special services began to work actively in foreign countries.

The Turkmen government does not publish statistics on the number of Turkmen citizens who migrate outside the country. In May 2019, Radio Liberty sources reported that over the previous 10 years, about 2 million Turkmen citizens had left the country.

The severe economic crisis of recent years has forced many Turkmen citizens to leave for other countries in search of work.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic that began more than a year ago, many countries, including Turkmenistan, canceled international flights.

According to our correspondent, at a meeting in Farap, authorities warned that international flights would most likely not be resumed before March 2023.

This is not the first time that Turkmen officials have stated that international flights with Turkmenistan are likely to resume only in 2023.

But Turkmenistan is working to return its citizens stranded abroad due to pandemic restrictions. So far, export flights have been organized from countries such as China, Turkey, Russia.

Relatives of migrants at the meeting in Farap were also required to report deaths among Turkmen migrants.

Radio Liberty reported on April 11 about several deaths of Turkmen citizens studying at foreign universities.

Last year, more than 60 Turkmen migrants died in Turkey at the height of the pandemic, poisoned by homemade vodka. They were all buried in one of the Istanbul cemeteries.

A local resident who attended the meeting in Farap noted that the authorities, who announced the activation of the Turkmen special services abroad, wanted to know about the death of migrants only for reporting, since the issue of providing assistance to them was not raised.

"They didn't say anything about possible assistance," said a resident of Farap.

Turkmen authorities have previously held meetings with relatives of Turkmen migrants demanding that they not participate in anti-government groups.

In June 2020, such meetings were held in Lebap and Dashoguz, at which people were warned about the punishment of persons caught in opposition activities as “traitors to the motherland”.

International organizations also report that citizens of Turkmenistan are subjected to repressions for attempts to express themselves and criticize the authorities.

The US State Department, in its latest report on the state of human rights in the world, noted that the Turkmen authorities stigmatize citizens as "traitors to the motherland" for criticizing them.

https://rus.azathabar.com/a/31204829.html

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