Books on Turkmenistan
Update No: 300 - (01/01/06)
Bulletin on a buffoon
Turkmenistan's president, Sapamurat Niyazov, does not have a sense of humour.
Dictators rarely do, so it seems. He has obviously not quite realised that he
has become an international laughing stock.
He has just ordered construction of a university to be named after his book
Rukhnama, which is held to be a sacred text in this ex-Soviet republic. The
university is to be completed in 2010 in the capital, Ashgabat.
In Rukhnama, meaning "the book of the soul," the autocratic leader
dispenses moral guidance for citizens of the Central Asian nation. He regards it
as a work of sublime wisdom, superior to the Bible, the Talmud or the Koran, no
It is mandatory reading for every Turkmen in schools and workplaces. Convicts
must take an oath involving the book upon their release from prison. Children
swear by it everyday on coming to school.
Nazarbayev has obviously never read Orwell's 1984. It would be interesting to
know what the Turkmens would be thinking about it all in a hundred years' time.
Ashgabat, Tehran discuss prospects of cooperation
Nevertheless, serious affairs of state have to proceed. In December President
Niyazov, received Iranian foreign minister, Manuchehr Mottaki, who arrived in
Ashgabat on a one-day visit. The head of the ministry of foreign affairs of Iran
passed on a message sent by Iranian President, Mahmud Ahmedinezhad, to Niyazov,
in which the leader of the neighbouring state invited the head of Turkmenistan
to pay an official visit to Iran. This is one country he can be sure of visiting
without being dispatched to The Hague.
During the talks with Mottaki, both sides discussed the priority areas of
Turkmen-Iranian economic cooperation taking into context good dynamics of
cooperation in other fields as well. It was recalled that the growth in trade
turnover between the two countries amounted to US$1bn a year.
The prospects of expanding cooperation in the oil and gas sector, the issue of
participation of Iranian firms in projects on modernisation of Seydi oil
refinery and projects on setting up polyethylene production there were also
discussed. Noting the high quality of Turkmen liquefied gas, Mottaki expressed
Iran's readiness to increase the purchase of this fuel.
Partnership in road construction projects, where Turkmenistan and Iran had
experience of cooperation was considered as promising area of mutually
beneficial cooperation. Iranian specialists have completely reconstructed the
Ashgabat-Geoktepe-Archman road. Mottaki expressed hope for further expansion of
partnership in this sector and other economic fields.
He said that Iran intends to strengthen the relations of respect and friendship
with its good neighbour and is willing to participate in various joint projects
on the most favourable terms for Turkmenistan.
Both sides also exchanged views on the positions held by both countries on
drawing up the legal status of the Caspian Sea. Niyazov and Mottaki reaffirmed
their mutual desire to resolve this issue as soon as possible based on mutual
consent and in the interests of all littoral states. During the one-day visit,
Mottaki also held talks in the ministry of foreign affairs of Iran and visited
the Ashgabat office of Iranian car-building company "Iran Hodro,"
accompanied by a delegation of Iranian businessmen and members of Parliament,
where he also met with Iranian businessmen working in Turkmenistan.
Cabinet discusses 2006 budget
Turkmenistan started formally the process for compiling the annual budget
2006 at the first cabinet session held on November 18, Turkmenistan.ru reported.
Turkmen President Sapamurat Niyazov as executive head of the government led the
session. It was evident from Niyazov's speech that the budget for 2006 would not
differ much from the past but more attention would be paid to oil extraction and
export. Housing construction, expansion of rail and road network, improvement of
refining capacity, strengthening of industrial base and growth of cultural
activities would be given due space in the next budget.
According to the procedures in Turkmenistan, budget debate is initiated in a
cabinet session and then it takes one or two more sessions to finalise the draft
document. The draft budget is then sent to the parliament for approval.
Russia, Turkmenistan to expand cooperation in space
Turkmen President, Sapamurat Niyazov, on November 28th met with a Russian
delegation led by Vladimir Abdreev, director general of the International Space
Company KosmoTras and head of the company's ground infrastructure department
Rushan Kadirov, Turkmenistan.ru reported.
During the talks, Niyazov said that Turkmenistan is willing to expand
cooperation with Russia in peaceful use of space. However, Abdreev said there
was great potential for mutual cooperation in areas such as geological
exploration, cartography and other spheres. KosmoTras, that has placed Turkmen
flag, state symbol and Ruhnama, the moral and spiritual code penned by Niyazov,
into space, offered a set of possibilities for mutual cooperation. Both sides
also had an interesting exchange of ideas on the issues of further development
of cooperation. The Russian delegation put forward a number of proposals
concerning future partnership. Niyazov expressed interest in these proposals and
stressed them as a signatory of the international programme of peaceful
exploration of outer space. Niyazov stressed the need to adhere to peaceful
exploration of space and said that his country would like to cooperate with
Russia keeping in view the national and regional interests.
Niyazov meets German businessmen
Recently a round-table meeting was held in Ashgabat between Turkmen President
Sapamurat Niyazov and German businessmen led by the chairman of the Committee
for Economic Cooperation with Eastern European countries, Baltic states and CIS
of the Association of German Industrialists, chief adviser to the board chairman
of Daimler Chrysler company, Klaus Mangold, New Europe reported.
The Turkmen side was represented by heads and senior specialists of relevant
state bodies, including the ministries of trade and consumer cooperation,
agriculture, textile industry, oil and gas industry and mineral resources,
energy and industry, Central Bank and State concern Turkmenneft. The meeting
focused on the issues of Turkmen-German trade-economic cooperation. Niyazov
acquainted the German delegation on the major areas of the republic's
social-economic development and the most important projects that should be
implemented, Turkmenistan.ru reported. Niyazov even urged the German side to
draw up a proposal on participation in construction of a mint. Among such joint
projects that were commissioned in September this year are the unit on hydro
fining of diesel fuel at the Turkmenbashi oil refinery and gas compressor
station at Korpeje oil field. Representatives of German companies also showed
interest in taking part in development of the resources of another unique
natural reserve of Turkmenistan, Garabogaz bay. Niyazov also worked out a number
of proposals regarding Turkmen-German partnership in the power industry. In
fact, construction of a power station near Dashoguz and an aluminum plant were
cited as promising projects. Cooperation in the field of sun energy was also
considered an area of interest. Turkmen-German meetings have become traditional
in recent years. During the current round of the constructive dialogue organised
in association with the ministry of trade and consumer cooperation of
Turkmenistan, the sides discussed some results of the long-term trade-economic