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Archive for Turkmenistan

Newsline: Turkmenistan Dismisses U.S. Embassy COVID-19 Alert as ‘Fake News’

Turkmenistan scolded the United States embassy over a health alert which cast doubt on official reports of zero COVID-19 cases in the country. The Ashgabat government has repeatedly said the desert nation of 6 million is free of the novel coronavirus. It has imposed quarantine for those flying in from abroad, closed land border crossings and curbed travel between provinces. “While there are no official reports of positive COVID-19 cases in Turkmenistan, the U.S. Embassy has received reports of local citizens with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 undergoing COVID-19 testing and being placed in quarantine in infectious diseases hospitals for up to fourteen days,” the embassy said in the alert message posted on its website. “Private citizens who undergo testing for COVID-19 in Turkmenistan may be sent to involuntary quarantine at a government-selected facility at their own expense with no control over the amenities for an unspecified period of time.” (https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2020-06-23/turkmenistan-dismisses-us-embassy-covid-19-alert-as-fake-news) The Turkmen foreign ministry said the U.S. embassy statement was distorting information about measures it has taken against the virus. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan points out the lack of substance and objectivity in this kind of ‘fake news’,” it said, adding that it had already warned the U.S. ambassador against spreading information “not supported by facts”.

Newsline: Turkmenistan’s embassy in Moscow dismisses reports about president’s death as hoax

Rumors about the death of Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov are absolutely not true, a spokesman for the Turkmen embassy in Moscow told TASS on Sunday. “They are an absolute hoax,” the spokesman said. (https://tass.com/politics/1069675) A number of media outlets cited their sources earlier on Sunday alleging that the Turkmen president had died.

Newsline: Italian diplomat held for alleged child abuse in Philippines

An Italian diplomat detained in the Philippines is being investigated for alleged child abuse after he was found in the company of three boys, the government said. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said police arrested Daniele Bosio at a water fun park near Manila at the weekend following a tip-off from a local child rights group. “He is now in detention while his case is undergoing preliminary investigation with the fiscal (prosecutor),” de Lima told Agence France-Presse. “He was caught in the company of three boys, ages 8 to 12 year old.” Bosio, the Italian ambassador to Turkmenistan, was on holiday in the Philippines when he was detained, the Italian foreign ministry said earlier in Rome. The ministry on Monday said he had been suspended. “Following the confirmation of the arrest by Philippine authorities yesterday of ambassador to Turkmenistan Daniele Bosio, the foreign ministry has suspended the ambassador from his duties in accordance with the law,” it said in a statement. De Lima said police alleged Bosio had violated the country’s law on anti-trafficking and abuse of children, and prosecutors were conducting follow-up investigations. In the Philippines, prosecutors officially lay charges in the court. The police chief for the region with jurisdiction for the case, Chief Superintendent Jesus Gatchalian, said Bosio was being held in a jail in the town of Biñan, 39 kilometers from Manila. “Officials from the Italian Embassy in the Philippines have already visited him,” Gatchalian said.


Newsline: Iran neighbour Turkmenistan gets first Israeli ambassador

The Central Asian state of Turkmenistan, which shares a 1,000 kilometre border with Iran, has accepted the credentials of the first ever Israeli ambassador to the country. President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov received the ambassadorial credentials of senior Israeli diplomat Shemi Tzur. Tzur also invited Berdymukhamedov to make his first visit to Israel. Diplomatic relations between ex-Soviet Turkmenistan and Israel were established in 1992 and the Jewish state first announced a plan to send an ambassador to Ashgabat in 2009. However Ashgabat never accepted the credentials of the first candidate for ambassador, Reuven Daniel, an ex-Mossad agent whose nomination had reportedly irked Iran. Daniel was reportedly expelled by Russia from his posting in Moscow in 1996 in an espionage scandal. A second candidate was also rebuffed and according to media reports Turkmenistan finally accepted the nomination of Tzur after several months of negotiations. The Israeli ambassador will be the second representative of the Jewish state in a Muslim ex-Soviet country bordering Iran. Israel already has an envoy in Azerbaijan with whom it has built strong relations much to the concern of Tehran.


Newsline: Turkmenistan’s embassy to be opened in Japan

President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhammadov signed a decree on the opening of the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Japan. The country’s president said that the opening of the diplomatic mission in Japan is of great importance in the context of further strengthening of successfully developing intergovernmental Turkmen-Japanese dialogue. Impetus towards relations with Japan was given through Berdimuhammadov’s official visit to Tokyo in 2009, resulting in the signing of intergovernmental agreements and contracts


Newsline: U.S.appoints first Turkmenistan envoy in 5 years

TheUnited States has appointed its first ambassador to Turkmenistan in five years, the U.S. Embassy said, boosting ties with the reclusive Central Asian state as its companies pursue lucrative oil and gas deals. Robert Patterson has been appointed for three years, the embassy said in a statement, representing U.S. interests in a country bordering Afghanistan and Iran that hosts the world’s fourth-largest gas reserves. Turkmenistan, a former Soviet republic of 5 million people, was largely isolated under the eccentric rule of its first leader Saparmurat Niyazov, who died in 2006 after imposing a formidable personality cult. His successor, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, has pledged gradually to open upTurkmenistan to foreign investment. But he tolerates no dissent in a country from which vocal opponents to his rule have long since fled.


Newsline: Turkmen Leader Called “vindictive” In US Cables

Turkmenistan’s authoritarian president has been described in leaked U.S. diplomatic dispatches as a vain, vindictive liar, and authorities reportedly feared his being assassinated so much that a stray cat was once a suspect. The memos from U.S. Embassy staff in Turkmenistan published on the WikiLeaks website on Thursday portray the reclusive former Soviet Central Asia nation as a hive of corruption led by a dimwitted autocrat. In a cable dated last December, President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov is referred to by U.S. officials as “vain, suspicious, guarded, strict, very conservative, a practiced liar,” a good actor, and vindictive. The cable says that assessment of the president was made by an individual, but their identity has apparently been censored by WikiLeaks. Citing a source with close access to the president, the memo further notes he is wary of his intellectual superiors. “Since he’s not a very bright guy, our source offered, he is suspicious of a lot of people,” the note said. A separate cable dated in January describes two incidents involving the presidential motorcade that were perceived as possible assassination attempts, noting that there have been persistent rumors of a failed attempt to kill Berdymukhamedov in August 2009. In one, a motorist reportedly cut off the president’s motorcade. The hapless driver was “beaten black and blue,” sentenced to 25 years in jail for attempted assassination and the acting head of the capital’s traffic police and two deputies were immediately fired, the memo said. In the other, a cat darted out in front of the president’s car near his home and the security officer responsible for monitoring that area was promptly fired, the cable said, citing military sources. Another cable says the Russian natural gas company Itera tried to expedite deals by buying the Turkmenistan government a yacht reportedly worth $60 million. Turkmenistan’s leaders have wielded tight control over the former Soviet republic. The revelations in the formerly secret diplomatic cables are not likely to do much for Berdymukhamedov’s opinion of the United States, which the memo says he already dislikes.