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Turkmen Report: October 27, 2003

27 October 2003
Turkmenistan Marks 12th Anniversary Of Independence
27 October 2003

On 27-28 October, Turkmenistan marks the 12th anniversary of its independence, reported on 27 October. A military parade, performance theater, and procession with representatives of all the country's regions took place on the square in front of the presidential palace in Ashgabat on 27 October. Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov participated in the celebrations. (

Turkmen Of The World Gather In Ashgabat
24 October 2003

The Seventh Conference of World Turkmen took place in Ashgabat on 24 October, RFE/RL's Turkmen Service reported, citing Turkmen State TV. According to a source at the World Turkmen Humanitarian Union (WTHU), representatives of 22 states, including Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Austria, Canada, China, Latvia, and countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States participated in the conference. Delegates discussed strengthening the ties of the world's Turkmen with their historical homeland -- Turkmenistan. According to Turkmen State TV, at a meeting with the members of the WTHU on the country's 12th anniversary of independence, President Niyazov spoke about democracy, human rights, neutrality, and independence. "Democracy is people's freedom. You have visited Turkmenistan and walked around. Are the Turkmen people experiencing freedom now? Yes, they are," Niyazov told the conference. Speaking about 12 years of Turkmen independence, Niyazov said that "many states' media have characterized Turkmenistan in the wrong way. But we did not reply to them. We have continued working in the country," he concluded. The previous world Turkmens conference was held in May 2001. (RFE/RL Turkmen Service, Turkmen State TV)

European Parliament Criticizes Human Rights Situation In Turkmenistan
24 October 2003

The Brussels-based European Parliament has adopted a joint resolution deploring the deterioration of the human rights situation in Turkmenistan, RFE/RL reported on 24 October, citing a European Parliament press release. The parliament on 23 October called on the Turkmen government to stop the torture and ill treatment of political opponents. The parliament also called on Turkmenistan's government to release immediately and unconditionally all prisoners of conscience. The parliament requested that the Turkmen authorities ensure that independent observers are granted access to criminal trials. Moreover, the parliament called on the Turkmen government to respect the principle of religious freedom and abolish all restrictions on activities of religious minorities. (RFE/RL)

Turkmen Leader To Pardon 7,000 Convicts
24 October 2003

Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov will amnesty over 7,000 convicts, who will celebrate the Night of Omnipotence and Pardon together with their families, ITAR-TASS reported. The president made the statement at the 24 October World Turkmen conference. The Koran says that Allah decides on people's future and people forgive one another on that night. This year it is celebrated on 21-22 November. Since 1998, the Turkmen president has signed pardon decrees on the eve of celebration. He pardons those convicts, who sincerely regret their conduct and who have committed crimes accidentally or by thoughtlessness. Before leaving the prison, the pardoned convicts must promise that they will not break the law again. Last year, 8,000 convicts were amnestied on the Night of Omnipotence and Pardon. All in all, more than 120,000 convicts have been pardoned in independent Turkmenistan. (ITAR-TASS)

Turkmen President To Visit Belarus
20 October 2003

The governments of Turkmenistan and Belarus are currently setting the date for President Niyazov's visit to Minsk, Interfax reported on 20 October. The estimated date for the meeting between the presidents of the two countries has been set for 27-28 November, the Turkmen Ambassador to Belarus Ilya Veldzhanov said at a press conference on 20 October. "Above all, the head of Turkmenistan will be interested in new products from Belarusian manufacturers and the possibility of importing them to Turkmenistan," the diplomat said. In the first half of this year, Turkmenistan imported 1050 tractors, 400 MAZ trucks and buses, and around 40 BelAz loaders and bulldozers from Belarus, together worth more than $35 million. "Turkmenistan's purchases this year should reach $50 million," Veldzhanov said. "Turkmenistan is interested in boosting trade turnover between the two countries," said the diplomat. (Interfax)

Russian Firm Signs Contract To Build New Turkmen Seaport
17 October 2003

The Vyborg Machine-Building Plant has signed a contract with Turkmenistan's state oil company, Turkmennebit, to build a modern seaport on the Caspian coast, ITAR-TASS and reported on 17 October. The port will be built in the town of Okarem about 50 kilometers north of the Iranian border. The contract covers the design, construction, and initial operation of the port, which will be used primarily for the export of oil. At present, Turkmenistan has only one major port on the Caspian Sea, in the town of Turkmenbashi. (, ITAR-TASS)