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Posted by admin on 2007/9/10 16:18:00 (1025 reads)

Progress Is Heard, But Not Seen

WASHINGTON, September 1, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- A team from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom that has just returned from a weeklong trip to Turkmenistan says it heard encouraging things from the government on how it will handle religious worshippers in the future. But commission members also heard from religious and human rights leaders that things have yet to change on the ground.

The commission is a bipartisan U.S. government agency, which gives policy recommendations to the White House, State Department, and Congress. RFE/RL correspondent Heather Maher interviewed the commission's chairman, Michael Cromartie, who says President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov's six-month-old government is saying the right thing but the approach hasn't "trickled down" to the policy level.

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Posted by admin on 2007/9/7 16:17:00 (982 reads)

Installing hi-tech equipment in Turkmenistan’s television and radio stations will not improve programme quality as long as the authorities continue to keep journalists on a short leash and censor their work, say NBCentralAsia media-watchers.

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Posted by admin on 2007/8/24 17:04:00 (1035 reads)

NBCentralAsia observers say the release of Turkmenistan’s former chief mufti along with other political prisoners is unlikely to lead to further releases as the authorities are too nervous of their position to free those who may pose a threat.

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Posted by admin on 2007/8/23 9:12:00 (1010 reads)

Turkmenistan should introduce alternatives to army conscription for conscientious objectors instead of locking them up, say NBCentralAsia observers.

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Posted by admin on 2007/7/30 17:22:00 (1072 reads)

Amnesty International urged Turkmenistan to revoke suspended sentences handed down to three Jehovah's Witnesses accused of refusing to serve in the army on religious grounds.

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Posted by admin on 2007/7/21 15:16:10 (950 reads)

A few days ago, the silhouette portrait of the deceased Turkmen despot, Saparmurat Niyazov, was unexpectedly removed from the upper corner of state television broadcasts. While it might be tempting to see the disappearance as a harbinger of the dismantling of Turkmenistan’s notorious cult of personality, there is plentiful evidence in Ashgabat to suggest otherwise. If anything, it seems as if the country’s new leader, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, is simply replacing Niyazov as the chief object of the cult’s affection. Indeed, Berdymukhamedov’s portrait has already replaced Niyazov’s on state television news broadcasts. The displays in connection with Berdymukhamedov’s 50th birthday on June 29 confirmed what many outside observers had suspected: the cult of personality – and centralized, one-man rule -- seems destined to remain a dominant feature of public life in Turkmenistan for the foreseeable future.

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Posted by admin on 2007/6/10 11:50:00 (1020 reads)

Turkmenistan is beginning to open up and build up relationships with other countries, but NBCentralAsia experts say the diplomats in charge of projecting the country’s image are holding back the process.

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Posted by admin on 2007/6/3 8:22:00 (1066 reads)

A plan to establish a free economic zone in the Caspian port city of Turkmenbashi is designed to boost Turkmenistan’s foreign trade, but NBCentralAsia experts say its success will depend on whether the government is genuinely committed to a free market, liberal visa and customs regulations, transparency, and investment guarantees.

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Posted by admin on 2007/5/11 20:34:00 (1930 reads)

By Hugh Williamson in Berlin
Deutsche Bank has confirmed for the first time that for more than a decade it has been managing funds in the central bank of Turkmenistan, whose former president has been criticised by human rights groups as highly repressive.

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Posted by admin on 2007/4/30 21:00:00 (1256 reads)

VIENNA, April 27, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Many observers of Turkmenistan's political life hoped the March 30 session of the Halk Maslahaty (People's Council) would herald an era of democratization in the Central Asian country's post-Soviet history.

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