20 October 2000
CELEBRATIONS OF TURKISTAN'S 1500TH ANNIVERSARY STARTED.
Celebrations marking the 1500th anniversary of the town of Turkistan, which is considered a sacred place of the Turkic world, started on October 20, including concerts, sporting competitions and mass gatherings. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev and visiting Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer arrived in Turkistan from Astana on the morning of 20 October and visited the Qoja-Akhmet Yassavi Mausoleum and other holy places. They also met with ordinary citizens of Turkistan. An international conference entitled "Kazakhstan and Turkic world, Qoja-Akhmet Yassavi and Turkistan" was held as part of the celebration.
On October 19, the Mufti of all Kazakh Muslims Absattar Derbisaliev, local religious leaders, local officials and representatives of UNESCO attended the ceremony of opening a new mosque in the city's Tole-Bi street.
RFE/RL correspondents in Almaty quoted the KTK television channel as reporting on 19 October that numerous leaflets calling for the overthrow of "Nursultan Nazarbaev's regime, as well as all the other regimes in Central Asia" started being distributed in Turkistan's Quanysh Market, railway station and near the city's Central Mosqueon the eve of the anniversaray celebrations. The leaflets were reportedly signed by Hezb-ut-Tahrir Party activists who said that a single Islamic state (Khalifat) should be established in Central Asia. One person suspected of distributing the leaflets was reportedly detained by officers of Kazakh National Security Committee.
The Almaty newspapers "Zhas Alash" and "Express-K" reported on 12 October that four Turkistan policemen had warned local authorities that they plan to burn themselves to death in public during the anniversary celebrations. The four officers are demanding to be reinstated in their jobs. They have recently been acquitted by a local court on unspecified charges. Interior Ministry officials said the four officers will be reinstated.
ELECTRICITY SUPPLY AND HEATING SYSTEM OF EASTERN KAZAKHSTAN DISCUSSED IN ALMATY TODAY.
On October 20, the head of the Altai Power Company, Chris Charterson and the President of the Oskemen City Heating and Electricity Supply Centre, Sergei Tazin, told a press conference in Almaty that since 1999, when the U.S. AES company took over controlling the energy and heating supply system of Eastern Kazakhstan, Altai Power has invested about $60 million in the region's heating and energy supply system.
GENERAL PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE DISCUSSED DRUGS TRAFFICKING PROBLEM.
On October 20, the General Prosecutor's office held a session, devoted to illegal drugs possession and drug trafficking through the country. It was reported that in all, about 35,000 drug addicts are officially registered in Kazakhstan, although the real number is much higher. The average age of drug addicts in Kazakhstan is reported as between 25--30 years, of whom 90 per cent are unemployed. Alexander Demidenko, who is Chief of Drugs Crimes Investigations Department at the General Prosecutor's Office, said at the session that in the last 10 months Kazakh policemen have confiscated about 8,000 kilograms of illegal drugs from traffickers and users. More than 130 kilograms of that amount was heroin. Demidenko also said that the number of crimes committed by drug users has increased by a factor of five since 1995. He added that South Kazakhstan, Qyzyl-Orda and Qaraghandy Oblasts of Kazakhstan are regions where the number of citizens illegally using and trading drugs is very high.
TURKISH PRESIDENT IN ASTANA.
Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer arrived in Astana in the afternoon of 19 October on a plane belonging to Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev, after technical problems were reported with Sezer's aircraft. It was President Sezer's first official trip to Kazakhstan after taking the office last summer, and the last stop of a four-day tour of Central Asia that took him also to Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan. President Sezer held talks on arrival with his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbaev.
ECOLOGICAL SITUATION IN CASPIAN REGION DISCUSSED.
An international seminar on the ecological situation in the Caspian Sea region, organized by the Kazakh Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology, was held on October 19 in Almaty. Kazakhstan's Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology, Serikbek Daukeev, told RFE/RL correspondents that experts from all the Caspian states (Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan) participated in the seminar. He added that the ecological situation in the Caspian area is getting worse, adding that it is not fully clear what had caused mass death of 11,000 seals in the Caspian Sea earlier this year. According to Daukeev, one of the main problems is the reluctance of the outer world to pay more attention to the ecological problems of the Caspian Sea.
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF 'SOLDAT' NEWSPAPER ACCUSED AGAIN.
Ermurat Bapi, Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper "SolDat," has been sentenced in absentia by the Zhambyl District Court in Almaty to pay a fine 7,250 Tenges ($50) to the Almaty City authorities after being found guilty of publishing "false materials'" in his newspaper. A recent issue of his newspaper was impounded on the way to Almaty from neighbouring Kyrgyzstan, where the newspaper had been printed following the refusal of all Kazakhstani publishing houses to print it earlier this year (see "RFE/RL Kazakh Report," 13 October 2000). Bapi told RFE/RL that Kazakhstan's Interior Affairs Ministry's Military Investigations Department also started investigating "his case" and that he had been summoned for interrogation on October 19. The last issue of "SolDat" last issue (about 10,000 copies) was terminated by Almaty Police Department due to the decision of Almaty City's Zhambyl District Court. "SolDat" started facing problems in July after printing materials criticising President Nursultan Nazarbaev and his policy.
TAJIK TRAINS BETWEEN MOSCOW AND DUSHANBE SUSPENDED.
As of October 19, Kazakhstan's State Railway "Temir-Zhol" has suspended all Tajik passenger trains between Moscow and Dushanbe at the request of Russian officials because of poor sanitary conditions and fire safety control aboard those trains. Kazakh police have arrested 118 drug traffickers on Dushanbe-Moscow trains so far this year.
KAZAKH PARLIAMENT DISCUSSED IMPLEMENTATION OF 2000 STATE BUDGET.
On October 18 the lower chamber of Kazakhstan's Parliament discussed the implementation of 1999 law on the state budget for 2000. It was reported at the session that the financial and economic crisis of 1999 which hit South East Asia, Russia and some European states had significantly affected Kazakh economy, and in turn had necessitated several revisions of the state budget for 2000. Kazakh Finance Minister Mazhit Essenbaev told parliament deputies that there had been numerous obstacles to implementing the budget.
INHABITANTS OF ORBITA DISTRICT ON STRIKE.
Hundreds of residents of Almaty's Orbita district staged an action of protest on October 17 to demand heating for their apartments blocks in conditions of snow and sub-zero temperatures. Local heating centres had decided to switch off heating in those buildings in which at one or more apartments failed to pay for the housing utilities.
KAZAKH PREMIER: INDUSTRIAL ACHIEVEMENTS ARE NOTICEABLE.
Prime Minister Qasymzhomart Toqaev chaired a cabinet session on October 17 at which he said that Kazakhstan's industrial growth so far this year was 5.5 percent higher than it had been in the same period in 1999. Toqaev also said that the government will invest about 2,800 million Tenges in agriculture next year.
KAZAKH PARLIAMENT POSTPONED DISCUSSION OF POSSIBLE AMENDMENTS TO LAW ON HANDICAPPED PERSONS.
At a 17 October session of the Mazhilis, the lower chamber of Kazakhstan's Parliament, one of the main issues discussed was the draft law on amendments to Kazakhstan's Law on Handicapped Citizens. After emotional debates, it was decided to postpone further discussions. The main problem during the discussions was the Chapter about the persons who have lost their health during their work.
Deputy Ghani Qasymov said at the session that situation in small towns in Kazakhstan is drastic. He called on deputies to start paying more attention to the problem. Qasymov said there are about 70 small towns in the country facing huge economic and social problems. Some of them, such as Zhanatas, Priozersk and Taldy-Qorghan are reminiscent of Chechnya or of World War Two battlefields, Qasymov said.
SPECIAL ACTION CALLED "FOR REAL EDUCATION" WILL BE HELD IN KAZAKHSTAN SOON.
A special one-month action called "For Real Education" will start in Kazakhstan on October 19. Special polls will be conducted by Kazakhstan's General Prosecutor's Office and Ministry of Education and Sciences. University students and their parents will answer questions concerning the level of knowledge the students receive at the Universities and the competence of the faculty staff.
KAZAKH BUREAU FOR HUMAN RIGHTS CONCERNED ABOUT DESTINY OF UYGHUR FAMILY FROM XIN JIANG.
The Kazakh Bureau on Human Rights has expressed its concern about the fate of an Uyghur family from Xin Jiang. Jelalitdin Aynutdin, a Uyghur from the Chinese province of Xin Jiang, was shot dead by Almaty police on September 27 during crossfire between persons identified as "Uyghur religious extremists" and Almaty Police officers. The crossfire occurred after an attempt by local police to detain several Uygurs suspected of killing of two Kazakh policemen. Jelalitdin Aynutdin's wife Aishat is in Almaty Central Isolator of Preliminary Arrest currently. Her children, aged two and four, are in an Almaty orphanage. Aynutdin's family in Xin Jiang has officially disowned them, and Chinese officials are demanding that Aishat Aynutdin and her children be extradited to China. Meanwhile, the Kazakh Bureau on Human Rights and Rule of Law says that Aishat will be executed by Chinese authorities if she returns. Several Uyghur families in Kazakhstan expressed their readiness to adopt the two children.
'ORDALY ZHYLAN' TRANSLATED INTO RUSSIAN.
RFE/RL correspondents in Almaty reported on 17 October that Temirtas Tleulesov, the author of "Ordaly Zhylan," held a press conference at which he told journalists that a Russian translation of his book titled as "Shymkentskaya Mafia" (Shymkent Mafia) was published this week. Tleulesov said some amendments were added to the Russian version of his book, which is about corruption among the leadership of South Kazakhstan Oblast. He has been threatened several times and badly beaten once after the book was published n Kazakh last year.
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON STATE BUDGET OPENS IN ASTANA.
RFE/RL correspondents reported from Astana on October 13 the opening of an international conference within the framework of the UN Program on Assistance to Kazakhstani Parliament. The main purpose of the conference is to discuss the state budget allocation procedure in the Parliament, the methods of the implementation of laws on the budget, as well as the system of control of the laws' implementation. Zharmakhan Tuyaqbaev, who is speaker of the Mazhilis, the lower chamber of Kazakhstan's Parliament, told RFE/RL that the conference was very useful and very important "especially now, the time when Parliament is discussing the state budget for 2001."
KAZAKH PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION LEFT FOR JAKARTA.
A Kazakh Parliament delegation led by Lower Chamber (Mazhilis) Vice Chairman Mukhammed Kopey left Astana for Jakarta on October 13. The 104th Conference of Inter-Parliamentary Assembly will open in the Indonesian capital on October 15 and will last till October 20. Kopey is expected to address the Conference.
KAZAKHSTAN'S ETHIC UYGHURS PROTEST THE 'UYGHUR TERRORISTS' LABEL.
A 12 October session of the National Assembly of Kazakhstan which unites leaders of the country's different ethnic minorities discussed the 28 September shooting by police of a group of criminals consisting of ethnic Uyghurs from China, who killed two Kazakh policemen and opened fire on police who tried to capture the group. Farkhad Hassanov, a leader of the ethnic Uyghurs in Kazakhstan, told RFE/RL that it is wrong to define any criminal group by the ethnicity of its members. According to Hassanov, "unfortunately these days the word combination 'Uyghur terrorists' became a frequent phrase in Kazakhstani mass media, but Kazakh officials including President Nursultan Nazarbaev and Premier Qasymzhomart Toqaev have said several times that criminals and terrorists have no nationality or ethnicity at all."