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Some Turkmen Students Allowed To Resume Studies In Kyrgyzstan

Turkmen students listening to a lecture in Ashgabat
Turkmen students listening to a lecture in Ashgabat
ASHGABAT -- Turkmen authorities are reportedly allowing some university students to return to Kyrgyzstan to continue their studies, RFE/RL's Turkmen Service reports.

Some 650 Turkmen students left Kyrgyzstan's southern city of Osh in the wake of the deadly clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in mid-June. Turkmen authorities have since pressured the students not to return to Osh to resume their studies.

But the parents of some students have told RFE/RL that Turkmen authorities have agreed to let their children leave for Kyrgyzstan on the condition that the parents sign a statement assuming responsibility for their child's well being while in Kyrgyzstan.

The students' parents added that they were told that any Turkmen students studying in Kyrgyzstan will not be registered with Turkmenistan's Education Ministry, meaning that diplomas earned in Kyrgyzstan will not be recognized in Turkmenistan.

An anonymous official at the Turkmen Education Ministry told RFE/RL on August 18 that there are more than 4,000 Turkmen students from recent years who have been studying in Kyrgyz universities currently stuck in Turkmenistan.

Last week, students in Turkmenistan intending to continue their studies in Kyrgyzstan were summoned to local education departments where they were asked to sign a statement saying they would refuse to return to Kyrgyzstan for their studies.

Many of the parents sent a letter to President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov last week asking him to intervene on their behalf.

Last year Turkmen officials prevented students from boarding planes taking them to Kyrgyzstan to resume their studies after the summer holiday. No explanation for the ban was given. Dozens of students were later allowed to attend a university in Bulgaria instead.