Accessibility links

Breaking News

Visiting German FM Assails Turkmen Rights Record

German Foreign Minister Steinmeier (file photo) (epa) November 2, 2006 -- Visiting German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has criticized Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov's government over its poor human rights record.

Germany's dpa news agency quoted Steinmeier as saying that Turkmen authorities are "too hesitant" in implementing political reforms.

The ZDF state television channel says the German visitor referred to Turkmenistan's "deficit in democracy."

Steinmeier made the comments in Ashgabat, where he arrived today as part of a weeklong tour of Central Asian capitals.

Steinmeier, who met with Niyazov for three hours, said both sides could not overcome their differences.

Turkmenistan's official TDH news agency reported on the meeting between Niyazov and Steinmeier but made no mention of the German foreign minister's criticism.

In a letter sent to Steinmeier on October 26, the New York-based nongovernmental group Human Rights Watch (HRW) said it hoped he would use his visit to "reinforce the message about the urgent need for concrete reform steps as a pre-condition for any deepening of EU engagement with the Turkmen government."

Germany is due to take over the EU's rotating presidency on January 1.

(dpa,, HRW letter)

Central Asia In Focus

Central Asia In Focus

THE COMPLETE STORY: Click on the icon to view a dedicated webpage bringing together all of RFE/RL's coverage of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

If you are in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine and hold a Russian passport or are a stateless person residing permanently in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine, please note that you could face fines or imprisonment for sharing, liking, commenting on, or saving our content, or for contacting us.

To find out more, click here.