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Turkmenistan President Saparmurat Niyazov (file photo)
5 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The press service for Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov said that more than 16,000 refugees were officially granted citizenship in Turkmenistan.
Turkmen state television reported last evening that Niyazov announced to the cabinet he was granting 16,298 migrants and refugees Turkmen citizenship.
Niyazov said most came from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
Niyazov said the Tajik refugees arrived in Turkmenistan during the 1992-97 Tajik civil war.
Niyazov did not say when the Uzbeks arrived.
The Turkmen president said the new citizens of Turkmenistan were settled in Khauz-Khan, where "they now live in prosperity, they have their homes, created their farms, breed cattle, and plow land."
Niyazov said all the new citizens were happy with their new homeland and "they enjoy all the privileges of Turkmen citizens."
Circumstance Of Niyazov's Birthday Surrounded By Plenty Of Pomp