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Turkmenistan: A Trip Home, After 15 Years

RFE/RL Turkmen Service correspondent Yovshan Annagurban drove to Ashgabat International Airport one morning in October 1997. He was planning a quick trip to Prague, to participate in a journalism training seminar. But he suddenly found himself arrested at the airport, allegedly for carrying classified documents, and was imprisoned for nearly two weeks. He was released after an international outcry, and soon after, he decided to flee the country and travel to Moscow. Eventually, his wife and three children were able to join him, and the family emigrated to Norway. In May 2013, Annagurban traveled back to his home country for the first time in 15 years. What he found was a Turkmenistan that in some ways had changed dramatically -- and in other ways hadn't changed at all.