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Turkmen Report: May 27, 2002

27 May 2002
Former Defense Minister Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison

24 May 2002

Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov announced that the state commission investigating the illegal activities of the former leadership of the Committee for National Security (KNB, former KGB) has completed its task, reported on 24 May. All of the data on the case have been sent to the Supreme Court.

According to Niyazov, speaking with representatives of Mary Velayat, some of the former KNB officials have already been punished. In particular, former Defense Minister Major General Kurbandurdy Begendjev, who served as the chief of the KNB's military intelligence, has been received a sentence of 10 years. The president stressed that former KNB officials would not necessarily serve their sentence in prisons, as they could be exiled. "We do not want them to be imprisoned for 10 years, let them work and pray for forgiveness of their sins. But the sentence remains in force. And if they commit crimes again, then they will serve their terms in prison," said Niyazov. (

Niyazov Suggests New Concepts About Age

23 May 2002

Speaking on national TV, President Niyazov said that over the past 12 years the average life expectancy in Turkmenistan rose from 59 to 71 years, Interfax reported on 23 May.

According to Niyazov, the approach to determining "the stages of human life" should be changed. In Turkmenistan, the "muche" calendar, which was invented by the Turks some 2,500 years ago and which has been modified by Niyazov, will be used for this purpose.

Niyazov believes that the period until the age of 13 is childhood, 13-25 are the teen years, 25-37 is adolescence, and 37-49 is youth. "By Turkmen standards, this is the age when people achieve success in their personal life and work," Niyazov said on 22 May.

The period from 49 to 61 is "the time of wisdom, but not old age, when young people ask this person for advice and look to him as an example to follow. The next 12 years is the time of stability. The age from 73 to 85 can be considered the threshold of old age. The age after 85 can be considered the time of grandchildren," Niyazov said.

This year Niyazov turned 62. (Interfax)

Turkmen President Opens Harvest Campaign

23 May 2002

Visiting the eastern Lebap Velayat of Turkmenistan on 22 May, President Niyazov opened this year's harvesting campaign, Interfax reported the next day.

This region, whose population is 1.2 million, is expected to harvest 420,000 tons of grain. Under the current plan, a total of 2.2 tons of grain is to be harvested in Turkmenistan this year.

Niyazov said that net consumption of grain in Turkmenistan amounts to 1.3 million tons and 300,000 tons must be used as seeds. (Interfax)

Russian Ambassador Completes His Mission In Turkmenistan

21 May 2002

Russian Ambassador to Ashgabat Anatolii Shelkunov paid a farewell visit to President Niyazov upon the completion of his mission, reported on 21 May. While talking with the Russian diplomat, Niyazov praised his five years in the post, stressing that over this period of time relations between Turkmenistan and Russia developed dynamically, particularly politically.

According to the presidential press service, special attention was paid to the expansion of the two countries' economic partnership. The participants of the meeting also stressed the importance of the intergovernmental commission to be formed by decision of the two presidents. Details of preparation of the visit of St. Petersburg Governor Vladimir Yakovlev to Turkmenistan were also touched upon. During the visit, several agreements aimed at developing bilateral ties in various spheres will be discussed. The sides also exchanged opinions regarding the process of defining the legal status of the Caspian Sea, as well as expanding cooperation in the oil and gas sphere. (

Golestan Province Fair To Open In Turkmenistan

21 May 2002

The second exclusive fair of Iran's northern province of Golestan will begin in Ashgabat on 23 May. Iranian companies will display construction, farming, and farming industry achievements.

According to IRNA on 21 May, 40 companies from Golestan Province and certain Iranian companies have announced their readiness to attend the weeklong fair. The first such fair was held in the republic in January 2001. (IRNA)

Turkmen Businessman Calls For Setting Up Trade Center In Ashgabat

21 May 2002 During his visit to the Iranian city of Sabzevar, Turkmen Trade Union head Kurban Muradov called for the establishment of a trade center in Ashgabat in cooperation with Iran, IRNA reported on 21 May.

Muradov said that his visit to this northeastern Iranian provincial city is aimed at expanding trade and economic ties with Iran. He called on Iran to train Turkmen agriculture students, saying that his country is for establishment of a joint stock company in either country. He expressed satisfaction with his visit to Sabzevar, hoping for promotion of bilateral ties and cooperation. (IRNA)

Turkmen President To Discuss Gas Pipeline In Pakistan

20 May 2002

The presidents of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan will meet in Islamabad on 29-30 May to discuss implementation of the trans-Afghan pipeline project and parallel ventures to build a railway line, power line, and highway, Interfax and ITAR-TASS reported.

Turkmen President Niyazov held a meeting with Pakistani Ambassador to Turkmenistan Babar Malik on 20 May, the Turkmen State News Service reported. The diplomat handed the Turkmen leader a message from Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who renewed his invitation to Niyazov to visit Islamabad, where, at the initiative of the Turkmen leader, a trilateral meeting is to take place with Afghan interim leader Hamid Karzai. The main subject of the discussion will be the terms for the implementation of major regional economic projects, which are meant to improve the economic and social situation in these countries and bring peace and stability in the region.

"The main purpose of the planned facilities is to stabilize the situation in and around Afghanistan. And especially for this reason we have a right to rely on political support from the UN. It will fully reflect the interest of the international community in the peaceful economic development of the region as a whole. It is advisable to invite to the talks representatives from interested countries, including Russia and the United States," Niyazov said at the meeting with the Pakistani ambassador.

The planned pipeline will stretch nearly 1,500 kilometers and may be built from Dovletabad in Turkmenistan to Kandahar in Afghanistan and Multan in Pakistan. The gas pipeline will have a capacity of 15 to 30 billion cubic meters of gas a year, and is expected to cost $2-2.5 billion. (RFE/RL Turkmen Service, Interfax, ITAR-TASS, Turkmen State News Service)