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Turkmen-Kazakh Border Shut Down For Turkmen Presidential Elections

  • RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

AQTAU, Kazakhstan -- Turkmen authorities have closed the Turkmen-Kazakh border, citing the presidential election due to be held in Turkmenistan on February 12.

Kazakh customs and border guard officials in the western Manghystau region said on February 8 that the Turkmen side "has tightened security measures due to the presidential election and therefore the border will be closed for the period between February 8 and February 15."

Permanent residents of the Manghystau region have a right to enter Turkmenistan's Balkan Province for five days without visas.

In mid-December in the region, at least 16 people were killed in the city of Zhanaozen in clashes between striking oil workers and police.

Eight members of Turkmenistan’s only legal party, including incumbent Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, are seeking the presidency in Sunday's election.

Berdymukhammedov is expected to win.