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Turkmen Report: April 8, 2002

8 April 2002
Dry-Cargo Dock Built In Port Of Turkmenbashi

5 April 2002

The construction of a dry-cargo dock designed for sea vessels of any type and class has been completed as part of a project to renovate one of the main "gateways to the sea" of Turkmenistan.

According to on 5 April, the Turkish construction company STFA carried out the construction of the dry-cargo terminal using the most advanced equipment. A mobile heavyweight super-crane of German origin capable of lifting up to 500 tons of freight will be installed in the dry-cargo dock. (

World Bank Chief To Visit Turkmenistan

4 April 2002

The World Bank issued a press release on 2 April, officially announcing that the bank's president, James Wolfensohn, would tour Central Asia, ITAR-TASS reported on 4 April. He intends to arrive in the region on April 5 from Moscow, where he is to have prior meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and other leaders.

According to the press release, Wolfensohn's eight-day tour, which will bring him to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, will focus on reforms that are necessary to reduce the scope of poverty and promote a just and sustainable development. (ITAR-TASS)

Leaders of Pakistan, Afghanistan, And Turkmenistan To Meet To Discuss Gas Pipeline

4 April 2002

According to a CNA report on 4 April, the leaders of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Turkmenistan will meet to discuss the prospects of a gas pipeline originating from Turkmenistan, Pakistani Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz said.

He said that heads of the three countries would hold talks in the near future to look into the technical and financial aspects of the proposed project. President Pervez Musharraf and interim leader Hamid Karzai held initial talks on the project during the former's visit to Afghanistan, he added.

Turkmenistan has huge gas reserves which it desires to export to neighboring countries to earn precious foreign exchange. Afghanistan and Pakistan each can also earn up to $500 million if the three countries agree to build a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through the two countries for export of gas to India and other areas, Aziz said. First they have to look for a sponsor with expertise in laying gas pipelines and prepare reports on the pre-feasibility and feasibility of the project. (CNA)

New Military Rank Introduced

4 April 2002

The highest military rank -- marshal -- has been introduced in Turkmenistan with the passing of the law "About conscription and military service," RIA-Novosti reported on 4 April. Previously, the maximum rank -- general of the army -- in the republic belonged to two persons: President Saparmurat Niyazov and a former defense minister, Danatar Kopekov.

According to the law, conscription for regular military service will be implemented from 18 to 30 years of age, and, in case of voluntary written application, from 17 years of age. (RIA-Novosti)

Niyazov Invited To Turkey

3 April 2002

Turkmen mass media published a letter from Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer to Saparmurat Niyazov which includes an invitation to visit Turkey, reported on 3 April.

The Turkish president underlined the relevance of high-level mutual visits, and said that he will be pleased to see Niyazov visiting Turkey soon.

In concluding the letter, the Sezer wished "health and happiness" to Niyazov and "well-being and prosperity to the brotherly Turkmen people." (

Turkish Experts To Help Restore Sultan Sanjar Mausoleum

3 April 2002

Turkish restorers will help to reconstruct the Sultan Sanjar mausoleum. a historical and architectural monument in Turkmenistan, reported on 3 April. Turkmen President Niyazov backed the proposal of the Turkish organization on relations with foreign countries at a meeting with Turkish State Minister Reshat Dogru.

According to the Turkish minister, the Sultan Sanjar mausoleum, situated in the center of the ancient state of Merv, is a monument to the history of the Turkmen and Turkish people. Reshat Dogru told journalists that restoration of the mausoleum will continue till 2005. (

Parliament OK's Criminal Case Against Parliamentarian

2 April 2002

The Turkmen parliament has agreed to honor the request of Turkmen Prosecutor-General Kurbanbibi Atajanova and start a criminal case against Nurtach Velmamedova, chairman of the Committee on Science, Education, and Culture and the sister-in-law of the former National Security Committee chief, Mukhammed Nazarov.

Velmamedova has also been relieved of her duties as chairman and member of the committee on the grounds that she committed an act incompatible with the status of a parliamentarian, a source in the Turkmen presidential administration told Interfax on 2 April. Velmamedova has been relieved of her duties as a parliamentarian for the period of the investigation.

The parliament presidium is expected to organize a meeting of voters of the district that elected Velmamedova, where the decision to end her authority as a parliamentarian will be made.

It is alleged in the prosecutor-general's request to the parliament that Velmamedova received a bribe of $1,500 during her tenure as head of the social security department of Gyaur region, which is located near Ashgabat. (Interfax)

New Military, Law Enforcement Appointments Made

2 April 2002

President Niyazov has announced new appointments to the National Security Committee, armed forces, the Prosecutor-General's Office, the Interior Ministry, and the Border Guards Service, Interfax reported on 2 April.

The post of interior minister is still unfilled, sources in Ashgabat told Interfax. Sakhatberdy Sakhatmuradov has been appointed first deputy interior minister for investigations and Annaberdy Kakabaev, a former National Security Committee official, has been appointed deputy interior minister for prisons.

Mukhammetkuli Ogshukov has been named deputy prosecutor-general. He will retain his current post of prosecutor of Dashoguz. And former deputy prosecutor of the Dashoguz district Begench Redjepov has been named deputy prosecutor-general.

Colonel Mashat Ovezgeldiev, the former chief of the headquarters of the air defense missile brigade, has been appointed commander of the ground forces. (Interfax)

Turkmen Economy Reports 13 Percent Growth In First Quarter

2 April 2002

Turkmen President Niyazov said on Turkmen TV on 1 April that the Turkmen economy grew by 13 percent in the first quarter of 2002 compared with the first quarter of 2001, Interfax reported the next day. Output totaled 13 trillion manats, up by 1 trillion on the first three months of 2001, he said.

According to Niyazov, industry expanded at a rate of 15 percent from last year, agriculture by 8 percent, construction by 10 percent, and services are up by over 5 percent. The exchange rate is $1 to 5,200 manats.

Also on 1 April, Niyazov signed a decree that permits companies and organizations to hire people who have reached the age of 16, the presidential administration reported. Ministries and agencies are to draft "a special program to provide employment for people who turned 16, thus implementing their right to work," the administration said. The Turkmen parliament will amend laws to allow people who are younger than 18 "to carry out certain types of work involving storage, processing, sales, shipment, and application of products in their care," they said. (Interfax)

Turkmenistan Continues Probe Of Security, Government Officials

1 April 2002

Numerous breaches of the law have been uncovered at Turkmen government bodies, as well as among the security forces, Interfax reported on 1 April.

A source in the presidential staff told Interfax this information was disclosed at a Monday (1 April) meeting of the state commission probing illegal operations in the National Security Committee in Ashgabat. The source said the head of the Mary Oblast administration, former Deputy Prime Minister for Industry and Energy Amangeldy Ataev, and Food Industry Association Chairman Kakadjan Ovezov were fired for bribery.

At the meeting, new National Security Committee chief Poran Berdyev said the commission, set up at the initiative of President Niyazov, has discovered numerous offenses committed by security officers. He spoke of numerous illegal arrests, searches, and cases of blackmail, extortion, bribery, and the cover-up of crimes, he said.

During one month of the commission's work, the president fired and demoted 22 top security officers. Criminal cases have been opened against some of them. In addition, scores of security officers were forced to resign, the source said. (Interfax)

Niyazov Demotes Former Defense, Security, Border Guard Heads To Private

1 April 2002

According to an Interfax report on 1 April, President Niyazov has signed a decree demoting three generals to the rank of private, including the former defense minister and the heads of the National Security Committee and Border Guards Service.

Major General Kurbandurdy Begendjev, Lieutenant General Mukhammed Nazarov, and Major General Tirkish Tyrmyev, who had recently headed the National Security Committee's Mary office, have been stripped of all the benefits of servicemen and of their medals, a source in the presidential headquarters told Interfax on 1 April.

Tyrmyev, head of the Border Guards Service, was dismissed on 5 March and Nazarov, National Security Committee chairman, on 14 March for "serious offenses." (Interfax)

Turkmenistan To Participate In Regional Communications Summit

1 April 2002

The heads of the telecommunications ministries of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia will meet at a three-day communications summit in Istanbul on 22 May, CNA reported on 1 April.

The officials will discuss regional cooperation in the telecommunications sphere and investment in the Caspian and Central Asian national and regional telecommunications networks.

The talks will be focused on development of the 20,000-kilometer Trans-Asia-European optic fiber cable which runs from China to Germany, and the development of the Russian and Central Asian satellite network. The subject of investment in Internet technology in the region is also expected to be high on the agenda of subjects under discussion.

Delegations from the European Commission, the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Telecommunications Union, and the European Bank of Regional Development will participate in the meeting as well. (CNA)

English Version Of Turkmen Leader's Spiritual Guide Released

29 March 2002

An English edition of the book "Rukhnama" written by Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov is now available at bookstores in Ashgabat, the BBC reported on 29 March citing the Turkmen State News Service. (BBC)