Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov says his country is making progress in its efforts to promote democratic values.
"The steps we are taking in our daily policy in terms of deepening principles of democracy and humanism are actually unique in world practice," Berdymukhammedov said at a ceremony in the capital, Ashgabat, to launch the construction of a 185-meter-tall monument to honor the country's constitution.
He said the monument should "symbolize Turkmenistan's adherence to its basic law, the constitution, and thus turn into a national treasure." His remarks were broadcast live by the state-owned Altyn Asyr TV.
Berdymukhammedov also spoke of human rights in Turkmenistan, one of the world's most isolated nations, saying, "The priority of interests of an individual and adherence to universally accepted and civilized norms of human rights are the basics of our state policy."
Turkmenistan continues to severely restrict the political and civil liberties of its citizens, according to the U.S. State Department and international rights groups, including torture; abuse of religious minority group members; arbitrary arrests and detentions; and restrictions on free speech, free press, and assembly.