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Turkmen Report: July 8, 2002

8 July 2002
Niyazov Not Done With Turkmen Security Committee Just Yet

6 July 2002

Four senior officers of the National Security Committee were fired by decree of Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov published in the "Justice" newspaper of law enforcement agencies, Interfax reported on 6 July.

Methodology Department head Major General Farid Atamuradov, Central Asian administrative department head Colonel Ismail Amanov, deputy head of the National Security Department in Mary Oblast Colonel Allamurad Rakhimov, and Inspection Department chief specialist Murad Berdykuliev were dismissed. (Interfax)

Niyazov Ignores Russia-Central Asia Summit In Kazakhstan

6 July 2002

Saparmurat Niyazov did not attend the summit of the Central Asian leaders and Russia in Kazakhstan, although he was invited, ITAR-TASS and Interfax reported on 6 July.

The summit in Aktau focused on restoring political and economic stability in Afghanistan and progress in repairs on some economic facilities. Cooperation in the fuel and energy sector was another important issue on the agenda. The presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Russia participated in the summit. (ITAR-TASS, Interfax)

Niyazov Announces Travel Restrictions For Uzbekistan, Iran

5 July 2002

President Niyazov declared at a cabinet meeting on 4 July that Turkmen citizens traveling to neighboring Uzbekistan and Iran will have to comply with tighter rules for at least the next two years, ITAR-TASS reported the next day. According to Niyazov, simple rules for crossing Turkmenistan's borders with Iran and Uzbekistan facilitate drug trafficking and smuggling of Turkmen goods out of the country.

As of 5 July, all those going to Iran will have to declare the purpose and duration of their trip and a special mark will be made in the travelers' passports. Previously, a traveler had to present a pass attached to the passport and a voucher. A $6 exit visa has been introduced.

The same rules will be effective on the border with Uzbekistan. Lately, there has been an increase in the smuggling of fuels and lubricants to that country. In some cases, criminal gangs reportedly settle scores on the border. Niyazov said that the newly adopted, tighter rules of travel to neighboring countries are not political and he did not rule out that the previous, simpler rules for crossing the border might be restored with time. (ITAR-TASS)

Turkmen Parliament Ratifies Friendship Treaty With Russia.

5 July 2002

The Turkmen parliament ratified on 5 July a treaty on friendship and cooperation between Turkmenistan and the Russian Federation, ITAR-TASS reported the same day.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkmen President Niyazov signed the treaty on 23 April, as part of a summit of Caspian Sea states in Ashgabat. The parliament in the same session also ratified an agreement between Turkmenistan and Iran on long-term economic, trade, scientific, and cultural cooperation, which was also signed on 23 April, as well as three Turkmen-Belarusian documents signed during an official visit to Turkmenistan by Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka on 17 May. These included a treaty on friendship and cooperation, a convention on avoiding double taxation, and a treaty on mutual extradition. (ITAR-TASS)

Niyazov's Mother Named National Heroine

5 July 2002

Turkmenistan's parliament has named as a national heroine the deceased mother of President Niyazov, Interfax reported on 5 July. Niyazov's mother, Gurbansoltan-eje, who died during an earthquake in 1948, becomes the first woman to receive the highest state title "Hero of Turkmenistan."

Niyazov's deceased father was named a national hero two years ago, while Niyazov himself has been awarded the title five times. (Interfax)

Turkmen Soldiers To Act As Traffic Police

5 July 2002

Young army conscripts will take over the duties of road traffic inspectors in Ashgabat from 1 August as part of a presidential order, Interfax and ITAR-TASS reported on 5 July.

"In this way drivers will be freed of the need to pay bribes," President Niyazov said on national television on 4 July.

By presidential decree, two months ago the Defense Ministry incorporated the traffic police, interdepartmental guard service, and the fire service. Specially trained conscripts will be the patrolmen, while graduates of university-level institutions will be the commanding officers in those services. (Interfax, ITAR-TASS)

Turkmen GDP Reportedly Grows 18 Percent In First Half Of Year

5 July 2002

Gross domestic product in Turkmenistan grew 18 percent over the first half of the year, President Niyazov told a session of the Cabinet of Ministers on 2 July on the country's economic development, ITAR-TASS reported on 5 July.

"Industrial production grew 19 percent as compared with the previous year, while agricultural production growth amounted to 17 percent," Niyazov said. According to the president, all the main economic branches were operating effectively. Gas production grew 9 percent, while oil production grew 14 percent, he said. Favorable balance of foreign trade turnover amounted to $379 million over the first six months of the year, the president added. "Gas remains the main export product," Niyazov said, adding that gas exports had grown 11 percent. (ITAR-TASS)

Farmers Harvest 2 Million Tons Of Wheat

2 July 2002

The Turkmen State News Service said on 2 July that Turkmen farmers had harvested 2 million tons of grain, Interfax reported the same day.

The country's media reported that some farmers in the Amudarya River valley in the Lebap region in eastern Turkmenistan harvest 70 to 80 tons per hectare.

Turkmenistan is expected to harvest a total of 2.3 million tons of grain in 2002, and 2.5 million tons in 2003. (Interfax)

Turkmen College Applicants Tested On Niyazov's Book

30 June 2002

A source in the Turkmen Education Ministry said that all applicants to Turkmen colleges and universities would take a verbal exam on President Niyazov's book "Rukhnama" this year, Interfax reported on 30 June.

Turkmenistan's 17 institutions of higher education will process applications between 1-15 July. They plan to accept 3,480 students after exams. Turkmenistan maintains a governmental system of overseeing educational institutions. Deputy prime ministers and several ministers supervise relevant institutions. Niyazov himself watches over Turkmen University, the Culture Institute, the Conservatoire, and the Arts Academy. (Interfax)