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Turkmen Report: December 31, 2001

31 December 2001
Turkmenistan To Reconstruct Export Gas Pipeline, Sign Contract With Ukraine

29 December 2001

Turkmenistan begins reconstruction of an overage export gas pipeline that to build up exports of natural gas from the fields in its western areas.

On 27 December Saparmurat Niyazov signed a decree on reconstructing the Belek compressor plant and building a section of the pipeline across the strait of Karabogaz.

The pipeline, built in 1974, was previously called Central Asia-Center. It carried Turkmen natural gas to the junctions with Russian and Ukrainian pipelines via the territory of Kazakhstan.

Unlike another branch of the Central Asia-Center system that takes gas from the fields in Turkmenistan's east and accounts for 90 percent of the country's export gas, the western branch is in a critical technical condition.

The Ukrainian company Ukrgazprombud has been chosen to do all the projection and construction works. It is expected to sign an agreement totaling 16 million U.S. dollars with the national gas seller Turkmenneftegaz.

Turkmenistan will offset the works by supplying 383 million cubic meters of natural gas in the years 2002 and 2003 at $42 per 1,000 cubic meters. The price which the Ukrainian national oil and gas company Naftogaz Ukrainy is supposed to pay per 1,000 cubic meters of gas under a contract with Turkmenneftegaz next year.

Ukraine has a contract for about 40 billion cubic meters of Turkmen gas. (Itar-Tass, Interfax)

Niyazov Sacks Deputy Education Minister

29 December 2001

Saparmurat Niyazov has dismissed First Deputy Education Minister Novruz Kurbanmuradov "for serious shortcomings in his work and abuse of office."

The former high-ranking official abused his office by "registering the employment of his sons and other relatives in the education system, thereby deriving illegal material benefit. For instance, his son Kuvvat Kurbanmuradov was illegally registered as occupying two offices in educational institutions in two districts of the country, but did not appear for work," a source in the Turkmen presidential office told Interfax on 28 December.

In addition, the former deputy minister used his unearned incomes to illegally build several houses in a district center not far from Ashgabat, and to buy cars and apartments in Ashgabat, the source said. (Interfax)

Joint Session Of National Revival Movement Council And Democratic Party Held In Ashgabat

25 December 2001

Participants of the joint session of national revival movement "Galkynysh" and Democratic Party of Turkmenistan, which took place in Ashgabat on the eve, have defined the main task for forthcoming period -- "upbringing of patriotism, perception of the moral imperative before the native Land". Delegates have made decision "to put in the head of the work the book "Rukhnama" written by the country's president Saparmurat Niyazov.

As informs the Public service of news "Turkmendovlethabarlary", delegates have unanimously voted for granting to the president of Turkmenistan the authorities of termless chairman of the National Council of National movement "Galkynysh" and Democratic party of Turkmenistan. (

President Of Romania To Visit Turkmenistan In Spring 2002

25 December 2001

The president of Romania will make an official visit to Turkmenistan in spring 2002, Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov said at a Tuesday meeting with Romanian Ambassador Ion Porojan.

The meeting began with Porojan's presenting his credentials. Porojan had worked in Turkmenistan for more than four years in the rank of the temporary charge d'affaires in Turkmenistan.

Niyazov congratulated Porojan on the appointment of the first Romanian ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to Turkmenistan in the history of the bilateral relations. He said that mutually beneficial economic partnership between Turkmenistan and Romania, which is expanding year by year, prompted the decision to open the Turkmen embassy in Bucharest.

The bilateral goods turnover has increased from 20 to 70 million dollars over the recent years, Porojan said. Most of Romania's imports from Turkmenistan are crude oil and petroleum products, he said. Romania is also interested in importing gas, he said.

The embassy in Romania will be opened early next year, Niyazov said. The embassy, which has been functioning in Kishinev, will move to Bucharest. The level of the Turkmen- Moldovan relations is such that it does not require the permanent presence of a diplomatic mission, he said. (Itar-Tass)

Exit Visas Abolished In Turkmenistan

24 December 2001

Exit visas are abolished in Turkmenistan since January 1, 2002. The decree was signed by the Turkmen President Niyazov.

According to the new order, while crossing Turkmen state border the people should possess only entry visa of the foreign state, in case another regime is established by international agreements. Nevertheless, the Turkmen legislation can place temporary limitations on rights of separate citizens for leaving the state bound up with state secrets awareness, involving in crimes, calling up for active military service and so on.

Romanian Foreign Minister Mircea Gioane, who holds rotating chairmanship of OSCE, has welcomed a decision made by Niyazov to abolish exit visas for Turkmen citizens. A statement issued by the OSCE secretariat in Vienna says that the decree fully conforms to the agreements reached in June 2001, when the OSCE rotating chairman visited Turkmenistan. Mircea Gioane expressed confidence that the decision adopted would be of benefit to the Turkmen people. (RFE/RL Turkmen Service, CAN, Itar-Tass)

Vice-premier Of Turkmenistan Visits United Arab Emirates

24 December 2001

Vice-Premier of the government of Turkmenistan Yelly Gurbanmuradov arrived in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for talks on prospects of economic and scientific and technological cooperation with the UAE.

He arrived in the capital of UAE, Abu Dhabi, on an official visit on 24 December at the invitation of Crown prince Khalifa al-Zayed al-Nahayan and held already talks with Minister of Oil and Mineral Resources of the UAE Obaid al-Saif al-Nasseri.

Yelly Gurbanmuradov is in charge of the oil-and-gas complex of Turkmenistan, and it is expected that during his visit the sides will consider the possibilities of investment assistance of the UAE in mastering Turkmen hydrocarbon deposits.

On his arrival in Abu Dhabi the Turkmen vice-premier told journalists that President of Turkmenistan Saparmurat Niyazov would visit the UAE in the near future.

According to Gurbanmuradov, the dates of the visit of the head of state are being discussed through diplomatic channels.

"The ties between Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates have a stable and traditionally friendly character, and meet the interests of the two countries and peoples," the vice-premier stated. (Itar-Tass)

Turkmen Head Slams State TV Chiefs For Poor Performance

24 December 2001

Turkmenbashi sharply criticized the state TV management for poor performance at a meeting on 24 December.

Niyazov said there was a lack of original national programs on television and slammed the quality of TV advertisement.

Speaking about advertisement on Turkmen TV, he said: "Shame on you, you pour Fanta [soft drink], showing ugly people. You copy others. You do this for five coins. I will send an inspection to you. You are interested in dollars, manats [the Turkmen currency]."

The president gave the heads of the Turkmen TV channels until 15 January 2002 to improve their work. "I will asses all your new year programs until 15 January [2002] and then you will be relieved of television and creative jobs," he said. (Turkmen TV)

Letter Of Turkmen Students Supporting Opposition And Acting Against Niyazov's Regime

29 December 2001

Dear Sirs,

We, the students receiving education in Turkey, USA, Ukraine, Russia, England, France, Iran and Byelorussia have conducted an Internet conference concerning the situation in our homeland -- Turkmenistan. We are united by desire to serve our homeland and our people and by those awful consequences of the present Niyazov's regime. We want our knowledge to be useful for people.

Saparmurat Niyazov is an unprincipled, morally spoilt person, who turned our country into prison and is not capable to govern the state. His main purpose is to continue to dominate in Turkmenistan. We had to conceal that we study abroad, because of a negative attitude of Turkmen authorities in this concern. We have got tired of hiding.

We know, that upon completion of study it is impossible for us to get a good job or to open the business in Turkmenistan, because we are useless for Niyazov's system. We desire to use our knowledge to advantage of our fatherland, we do not want to be emigrants in other countries. We speak against the educational policy of Niyazov.

His policy hinders from obtaining the valuable middle and higher education. Persons of our age cannot continue their further education and development after they complete the school. They are also unable to study foreign languages as Niyazov has prohibited learning foreign languages in educational institutions. The educational system of Niyazov has reduced acceptance of students to colleges of Turkmenistan in 5 times, from 15000 to 3000 thousand persons. Niyazov doesn't need educated people. All he needs is the speechless and degraded crowd, which kisses his arms. Quantity of high schools and students grows all over the world, the youth has freedom of choice where to go to study. But not in Turkmenistan. Dosens of technical schools and colleges are closed in Turkmenistan. All over the world educational institutions are equipped with necessary modern machinery for improvement of educational process. The duration of training increases from 10 to 12 years whereas in Turkmenistan 10-year education system has been reduced to 9 years. We consider this to be a crime against education and setting of obstacles for the Turkmen youth to continue education abroad. We, 42 students receiving education abroad of Turkmenistan, protest against the order of Niyazov about prohibition of diplomas about education obtained abroad. How person who assigns scientific degrees and high ranks to himself can consider diplomas of universities of Moscow, Istanbul, Chicago, Kiev and other places to be invalid? It doesn't matter if Niyazov doesn't want to accept our diplomas, support of our people is more important for us. We believe that we could be useful for our country because our homeland needs well-educated people competent in problems of the 21st century. The president of Turkmenistan praises those who build the limitless number of monuments to him and his family. When we come home, we feel pity for our contemporaries, which all day long swear of loyalty to the president and read his books. Condition of buildings belonging to schools and universities are mournful and instead of repairing them Niyazov spends millions of dollars for exponentiation of monuments to himself and members of his family and construction of fountains. Many students lack elementary textbooks whereas Niyazov issues a many million edition of his book Rukhnama reminiscing of Hitler's Mein Kampf and Brezhnev's trilogy. It is a pity that such quantity of money is being wasted.

We support the Turkmen democratic opposition. We hope that opposition will contribute to revival of the educational system in Turkmenistan and will bring justice to our country. We are willing to support the Turkmen opposition. There are lawyers, politologists, diplomats, historians, journalists, cultural workers and economists among us. We are sure that supporting the opposition we are supporting our people. This is the main purpose of participating in our Internet conference. (Group of Turkmen students)