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Majlis Podcast: Turkmenistan Hosts Major Sports Event, But Was It Worth The Cost?

  • Bruce Pannier

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov (second left) takes part in the country's National Melon Day celebrations surrounded by officials and participants involved in the upcoming 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, in Ashgabat on August 18.

This week’s Majlis podcast looks at the upcoming Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG), which Turkmenistan is hosting from September 17 to September 27.

The games will be a rare event for Turkmenistan, a country that usually shuns outside visitors but for the latter half of September will allow thousands of foreigners into the country.

Turkmenistan has been spending a huge amount of money to prepare for AIMAG.

But while the authorities are anxious to show off the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat, to the world, they seem less anxious for the world to see Turkmenistan’s citizens, whose access to the games has been heavily curtailed even though they have been forced to help pay the costs.

Muhammad Tahir, RFE/RL's media relations manager, moderated a discussion about the price that the people of Turkmenistan are having to pay for AIMAG.

From New York, Rachel Denber, the deputy director of the Europe and Central Asia division at Human Rights Watch, took part in the discussion. Farruh Yusupov, the director of RFE/RL’s Turkmen Service, joined the talk from Prague. And, as I've been tracking the costs of these games for a while, I also had a few things to say.

Listen to the podcast above or subscribe to the Majlis on iTunes.

About This Blog

Qishloq Ovozi is a blog by RFE/RL Central Asia specialist Bruce Pannier that aims to look at the events that are shaping Central Asia and its respective countries, connect some of the dots to shed light on why those processes are occurring, and identify the agents of change. Content will draw on the extensive knowledge and contacts of RFE/RL's Central Asian services but also allow scholars in the West, particularly younger scholars who will be tomorrow’s experts on the region, opportunities to share their views on the evolving situation at this Eurasian crossroad. The name means "Village Voice" in Uzbek. But don't be fooled, Qishloq Ovozi is about all of Central Asia.

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