Recently, Turkmen security forces have increased pressure on relatives of dissidents who speak out on Internet platforms with criticism or dissatisfaction with certain actions of the authorities. It should be noted that the speeches of not only activists are monitored, but also those who leave comments.
A citizen of Turkmenistan, a migrant in Turkey, recently told activists that his relatives were summoned to the local office of the Ministry of National Security and threatened with reprisals: “After that, my relatives contacted me and asked me to delete all my speeches on YouTube and not return to my homeland.” THF has his data, but for security reasons we do not publish it.
Over the past three weeks alone, several complaints have been heard in the chats of Turkmen activists about such actions of the Ministry of National Security in various regions of the country.
In addition, the authorities have strengthened control over those entering the country from abroad. So, at the end of 2022, upon arrival in Ashgabat, a citizen of Turkmenistan and her two small children were kept for 8 hours, interrogated and searched. She is married to a Jordanian, has a daughter who has Turkmen citizenship and a son who is a citizen of Jordan. According to her, at the airport they asked her questions: “Why did you marry an Arab and not a Turkmen, what does he do, is he a terrorist?” Why did you get your passport done at the Saudi Arabian embassy and not in Turkey?“
According to our compatriot, they had no reason to ask such questions. “Yes, they do their job, but why keep a woman with small children for 8 hours straight after a tiring flight. Why torture youngsters, me, be rude, call names and threaten? They could have invited me to their place the next day, I would have left the children with relatives and calmly answered all the questions. I’m sure this is being done to keep us in fear...”
Let us recall the message dated January 13, 2023, which states that the Turkish authorities rejected the Turkmen consulate’s complaint against Turkmen activists. The point is that, without any evidence base, the employees of the Turkmen consulate decided to use the practice of peremptory accusations developed in Turkmenistan. That is, to clothe slander in an official document.
As is known, a complaint to the Turkish prosecutor's office against three activists was filed by the consulate in response to a lawsuit filed by Turkmen activists against employees of the Turkmen consulate for attacking visitors.
After this publication, several more similar cases surfaced, which Turkmen migrants began to tell on Internet broadcasts and chats. There is a lot of information on social networks where Turkmen migrants talk about how several employees of the Turkmen consulate in Istanbul for many years treated their compatriots rudely and peremptorily, were seen in selfish mediation in the renewal of documents, in the illegal sale of air tickets, etc.
Turkmen Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights