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Turkmenistan Increases Control Of Student Contacts With U.S. Organizations

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov

University students in Turkmenistan say that the government is tightening its controls over student contacts with U.S. organizations.

Students in Ashgabat told RFE/RL's Turkmen Service that they have been warned by officials at their schools that they should not visit American organizations working in Turkmenistan, such as the Public Affairs Office at the U.S. Embassy, the U.S.-sponsored American Center, the Interational Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), and others.

Secondary-school students are reportedly discouraged from applying to FLEX, a U.S. exchange program organized by the American Center.

University officials are also refusing to provide school transcripts in English for students who want to do postgraduate studies in the United States.

Turkmenistan is still known as the most closed country in Central Asia, despite pledges by Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov to loosen government control over society.

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