Thursday, August 20, 2009

Update on the Turkmen Student Situation

The Turkmen government is still preventing about 130 students from leaving Turkmenistan to continue their education here at AUCA. Around 20 Turkmen students have gotten here. Most of them got here by coming before the Turkmen government started denying exit visas to AUCA students. Others got here by lying to the Turkmen authorities. But, it is unclear how many of them will be staying. The Turkmen government obviously will not renew passports of students to enable them to continue to study here. Even more ominously one student told me that he was returning to Turkmenistan because the government was threatening his father with arrest. Just to make sure the student knew they were serious they had already had the man fired from his job. It looks like the current batch of Turkmen seniors here may be the last Turkmen students to graduate from AUCA and even then there may be very few of them.


WR said...

What are they so afraid of, Otto? Do you have any idea? I thought they were currently trying to woo the US in the currently popular board game, "Screw Russia"?


J. Otto Pohl said...

Walt it appears they are afraid of Turkmen students from AUCA bringing back ideas about democracy and human rights. It is the potential domestic influence these students might have upon returning to Turkmenistan that the government is worried about from what I can see. So building a US base in Turkmenistan would be okay, but teaching students about civil rights and intellectual freedom is not.

WR said...

So Berdymukhamedov is pretty much Niyazov without the comedy relief?

J. Otto Pohl said...


Yes, no comedy relief.But, Niyazov never prevented Turkmen students from going aborad to study. So overall he actually worse than the late Turkmenbashi.