Turkmenistan. From the New Year, the ban on foreign
currency trading was lifted, a step in President Gurbanguli
Berdimuchammedov's attempt to open the energy-rich
Turkmenistan economically to the outside world.
From the beginning of the year, Turkmenistan gas supplies
to Iran citing technical pipeline failure and non-payment
from Iran. According to Iran, Turkmenistan wanted to nearly
double the gas price. According to
Countryaah reports, the delivery stoppage led to severe
gas shortages in the mountainous regions of northwestern
Iran and the harsh winter cold took many people's lives.
In April, Turkmenistan signed an agreement with the EU on
the supply of ten billion cubic meters of gas a year from
2009. The agreement was seen as a support for the plans for
the so-called Nabucco pipeline through Turkey and the
Balkans to Central Europe, which is intended to reduce EU
dependence. of Russian gas.
In May, President Berdimuchammedov ordered that the high
rotating gold statue of Turkmenistan's former leader
Saparmurat Nijazov be moved from its seat in the center of
Ashgabad and placed on the outskirts of the capital.
Berdimuchammedov also sought in other ways to phase out the
personal cult of Nijazov, who passed away in 2006. Among
other things, he repealed Nijazov's old decree that the
weekdays and months should have names for the old leader and
In September, the People's Council, a gathering of 2,500
clan leaders and local politicians, adopted a new
constitution for Turkmenistan, which according to the regime
means abolishing the council, introducing political parties
and recognizing the market economy. Previously, only the
president's party, the Democratic Party, was allowed.
According to President Berdimuchammedov, the old
constitution was outdated and did not fit the country's
"progress". But politicians in exile and foreign judges
described the changes as cosmetic because the president had
the power to govern through decrees.
When Reporters Without Borders in October presented the
list of press freedom in the world, Turkmenistan ended up in
171st place with only North Korea and Eritrea behind.
According to Human Rights Watch, the country was still one
of the most oppressive and authoritarian in the world.
In December, parliamentary elections were held to show
that Turkmenistan was on its way to democracy. But about 90
percent of all candidates represented the power-bearing
Democratic Party, while the others came from politically
meaningless so-called initiative groups approved under the
new constitution. All the candidates had stated that they
supported President Gurbanguli Berdimuchammedov.