Launch of a direct channel between citizens and Serdar Berdymuhamedov. Most requests for help concern social issues. The authorities ignore cases of human rights violations.
Moscow () – The website turkmen.news has published information about some employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Turkmenistan who are apparently responsible for collecting appeals addressed to President Serdar Berdymuhamedov. The leader of Turkmenistan urged the population to go directly to him to present demands and complaints.
The offices in charge of collecting this information for the president are located in the “Adalat Košgi” (see photo), the Palace of Justice in Ashgabat. In the same headquarters works the ombudsman (the Ombudsman’s Office), the city court and the Supreme Court of Turkmenistan. The published news maintains that the efficiency of these facilities leaves much to be desired, and that in August the situation worsened, coinciding with the leaders’ vacations.
A witness spoke of the endless queues that applicants must make. They are first checked by the security services, who search all visitors, confiscate their phones, and then enter their details in a special register. One morning a week, on Thursday, the supreme judge personally receives the applicants. The other days their deputies take turns, but in reality it is the secretaries who speak with those who come to them, writing down their requests in a notebook. Every day at least fifty people arrive to present their petitions, but only a few get an audience.
The Ombudsman is a woman, Jazdursun Gurbannazarova, and she receives people every day full time, but even to reach her there are filters that are difficult to overcome, and above all, she does not seem very competent in terms of rights. The 2021 report shows that the issues of freedom of expression, of assemblies and of worship no longer interest him, nor do they concern slave labor in the cotton fields, discrimination against women or other such issues. She talks about the wonderful achievements of the Turkmen state and makes some concessions, such as granting social subsidies and supporting the unemployed with citizen income.
Indeed, most of the requests for help refer to social issues, especially housing problems related to evictions and the demolition of houses to build new urban spaces. The latter is a mania of the Turkmen leadership that has recently led to the destruction of entire neighborhoods in Ashgabat, such as Čogany and Šora. In several cases, the petitions demand justice for unjustified accusations and detentions, without room for the presumption of innocence. In general, applicants leave the Palace quite frustrated.
The most efficient office in the Adalat Košgi is occupied by the Deputy Minister of the Interior, who is engaged in fabricating criminal cases against unsavory political activists, often with fabricated motives or by bending the Code. In September, the Security Council of Turkmenistan should take stock of the management of these justice bodies during the first half of 2022, and the resignation of the head of the Ministry of the Interior, Gurbanmirat Annaev, is awaited.
Serdar Berdymuhamedov tries to distinguish himself by replacing ineffective officials en masse. However, it will be difficult for the newcomers to eradicate the Turkmen habit of holding onto power and disregarding the needs of the common people. Equally hard will be to stop the persecution of those who try to shed some light and spread news about real life in the darkness of one of the most closed countries in the world, such as Turkmenistan.