May 17, 2007

Things Getting Back to Normal in Turkmenistan

Clanism, consolidation of power, arbitrary arrests... It's good to know that they never left.

RFE/RL: Arkady Dubnov, a long-time observer of Turkmen politics, wrote on May 16 that the recent dismissal of Akmurat Rejepov as head of the presidential guard is only part of broader moves by Pres. Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov to consolidate power. Dubnov noted that Murad Agaev, a business owner and an associate of Rejepov, was recently arrested in Ashgabat, and that references to Turkmenbashy in the country's state-controlled media are becoming less frequent. Dubnov quoted sources in Turkmenistan as saying that Berdymukhammedov is appointing residents of his native village, Goektepe, to posts in the security services and other agencies. Also on May 16, the online opposition newspaper "Turkmenskaya iskra" published an unconfirmed report that Geldimuhammed Ashirmuhammedov has been relieved of his post as head of the National Security Service.

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