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Turkmenistan Steps Up Security Measures Ahead Of Independence Day

A military parade in Ashgabat for Independence Day in 2019.
A military parade in Ashgabat for Independence Day in 2019.

Turkmenistan has stepped up security measures on highways leading to the capital, Ashgabat, in recent days, with police stopping and controlling all vehicles coming from the provinces.

RFE/RL correspondents in the city say that officers thoroughly check the drivers and passengers’ documents and register every person and vehicle that enters the capital.

At the same time, authorities have removed medical checkpoints that were installed at the city's entrances to check the body temperatures of drivers and passengers as part of measures introduced to control the coronavirus even though the tightly governed Central Asian nation officially hasn’t reported a single COVID-19 infection.

An increased police presence has also been reported in Mary Province in recent days. An RFE/RL correspondent in the provincial capital, Mary City, said that police officers can be seen almost “every 50 meters.”

“They stop people and demand they show their IDs,” the correspondent said. Meanwhile, traffic police are stopping cars, checking documents, and searching vehicles.

No explanation was given for the latest measures, which came without any prior announcement by authorities or state media.

Turkmenistan often beefs up security ahead of major public events. On September 27, the country marks its Independence Day.

On September 25, Ashgabat will host a meeting of the rubberstamp People’s Council that is expected to approve a package of amendments to the constitution.

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