Dear representatives of the OSCE and other international institutions. We have met with you within these walls more than once. Every time, Turkmen human rights activists draw your attention to gross violations of the rights of our citizens. The official Turkmen delegation has been singing the same song for decades - everything is wonderful in the country, they say Turkmenistan is ready for change. And you still believe it. Some will say, no, we don’t believe it! But then why do you so readily swallow the Turkmen sweetened pill, why do you regularly go there as a tourist trip, thereby legitimizing the regime in the eyes of the people? After all, there is no effective return from these trips and negotiations. Because of geopolitics? But economic interests are not an excuse for those who allegedly ignore human rights for the sake of these interests.
I have always been surprised by the West's willingness to dance to the tune of dictators. We meet with you, sound the alarm, talk about the problems in Turkmenistan, in turn you hold official meetings with Turkmen officials, participate in formal events, and... that’s it. And do not rush to demand the implementation of the Agreements signed by Turkmenistan. Hundreds of thousands of Turkmen people ask: “When will you have political will? When will you stop mumbling and bowing in front of autocrats?" You can answer that the format of cooperation does not allow you, etc. Let's already admit, OSCE, UN, etc. organizations in the form in which they exist have exhausted themselves. It's time to move on to a different format of relationship.
There is no need to go far - such dances with a tambourine led to the crisis that is now being discussed within these walls. If we do not stop turning a blind eye to the brazen invasion of autocrats who are using all ways and opportunities to strengthen themselves, including illegal methods, then the crisis that is the title of this Meeting will become protracted. It’s time to admit: there are no regional and local institutions in Turkmenistan that meet the requirements of this meeting. There are puppet structures specially created to avert eyes. And you know and see this, and for many years you have been babysitting autocrats, and they are taking root more and more impudently.
Leaders of other countries are learning from Turkmenistan how to cover up the eyes of democracy and we see how they successfully implement the Turkmen experience of fooling the people, ignoring the recommendations of international organizations and sanctions, and introducing the principle “you give me, I give you” on the sidelines of international meetings. We need to seriously think about how to rebuild this cooperation. In the interests of peace and democracy, why not act somewhat proactively? We are ready to share our proposals; the OSCE just has to show political will.
Turkmen Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights