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Yearbook 2008

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.

2008 Turkmenistan

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 Among other things, he repealed Nijazov's old decree that the weekdays and months should have names for the old leader and his family.

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 According to President Berdimuchammedov, the old constitution was outdated and did not fit the country's "progress".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.

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