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Turkmenbashi: Great Leader Or Worse Than Saddam?  
User currently offlineSonic From Lithuania, joined Jan 2000, 1670 posts, RR: 1
Posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 2070 times:

What is your opinion about Saparmurat Niyazov, leader of Turkmenistan?
He refers to himself as "Saparmurat Turkmenbashi the Great", Turkmenbashi means "leader of all ethnic Turkmens". Although Turkmenistan is probably a safer place than most of other former Soviet central Asian republics, it stayed away of all border disputes between Kazakhstan/Tajikistan/Kyrgistan/Uzbekistan and GDP growth was 15% last year, some of the Turkmenbashi's ruling methods are questionable.
Firstly, he ordered his picture to be placed on every commercial building. Than he told that main streets and mosques in each city's should be renamed to "Turkmenbashi Avenue" and "Turkmenbashi Mosque" names. Later he renamed Ashgabat International Airport to Turkmenbashi International Airport, port city of Krasnovodsk to "Turkmenbashi". Next he called for reform of calendar and renamed month of January Turkmenbashi. Turkmen word for "air" was also changed to Turkmenbashi. When meteorite hit Kazakhstan it was called "Turkmenbashi" and so was called biggest world's carpet when it was made. Ashgabat and Turkmenistan is now full of gold-coloured statues of Turkmenbashi, which replaced statues of all communists which previously stood there. Many buildings were torn down in Ashgabat to make place for a huge squere, in middle of which huge gold plated Turkmenbashi statue stands, which revolves to follow sun. Turkmenbashi also wrote a book, called Ruhnama, which was declared sacred later and now every office must have it, in schools this book is studied two times a week (in schools there are also subjects like "foreign and internal politics of Turkmenbashi"). Book talks about history and how Turkmenistan was a cradle of civilization. This book now takes most place in national libraries. In Turkmenistan there are two national TV companies, both called Turkmenbashi TV and using Turkmenbashi's head as their symbol. They shows Turkmenbashi's speaches, also soap opera called "Turkmenbashi, my Leader", which depicts western woman, who imigrated in Turkmenistan and decided that Turkmenbashi's politics are the best, so asked for political assylum. National slogan of Turkmenistan would be translated as "Nation, people, Turkmenbashi". Turkmenistan's national oath is "Turkmenistan, my beloved motherland, my beloved homeland. You are always with me in my thoughts and my heart. For the slightest evil against you let my hand be lost. For the slightest slander about you let my tongue be lost. at the moment of my betrayal to my motherland, to her sacred banner, to Sapamurat Turkmenbashi, let my breath stop.". Children must say this oath before kissing the flag each day at school. Turkmenbashi's birthday is a national holiday. His press secretary once tried to nominate him for Nobel Peace Price. Some minister said, that although Allah is in heaven, only Turkmenbashi is on Earth. Turkmenbashi's representative once said that Turkmenbashi is prophet no worse than Muhamad. XXI age in Turkmenistan is quite commonly called "Epoch of the Turkmebashi", turkmenbashi was supposedly re-elected last time by 99,8% of votes. However, he won't need elections anymore - parliament declared him president for life. In meetings of cabinet, however nobody is allowed to speak except Turkmenbashi himself. Turkmenbashi also owns a catsle with golden dome, same as one in Jerusalem, where he lives. Huge garden with lots of fountains is in front of that catle. In Ashgabat, there are other 50 governmental structures, each very pompous. Every squere bears a gold coloured statue of Turkmenbashi in various positions, including beneath fountain, with some ancient Turkmens, on top of the world and on top of 75 meters height mast. Only ones who proves their support for Turkmenbashi are allowed to live in Ashgbat. Of course, it is no surprise that Turkmenbashi is also depicted on money and lots of other things, including watches every schoolchild gets as a present for Turkmenbashi's birthday. It is not surprising also that URL of Turkmen embassy to USA is http://www.turkmenbashi.org/ and that the frontpage of the site talks exacly about Turkmenbashi...
Turkmenbashi supposedly asked before several times television stop praising him and told parliament stop giving him new titles and medals (He was called Hero of Turkmenistan, etc.). However, everyone refused to do so and then Turkmenbashi said that he will accept everything to comply with the will of people. He also said that he didn't wanted a palace and instead wanted a small house, but parliament overruled him on the issue. Turkmenbashi claims that people themselves requested to rename all things to Turkmenbashi.

So, what do you think about him? Is he really a "poor" leader which is forced to live like a millionaire by parliament and people? If not, does his achievements (15% GDP growth, on-time pensions, guaranted educationa and healthcare, safety, "neutral" policy which made him friends with everyone, including Iran, Russia, USA, Taliban and other mid Asian countries) surpasses or at least matches his popmpastics? Anyway, he is not a totalytarian leader like Kim Jong Il - government doesn't controls every side of life in Turkmenistan, just politics...

[Edited 2003-03-12 01:23:19]

12 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineSonic From Lithuania, joined Jan 2000, 1670 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 2046 times:

Is no one interested in Turkmenbashi?

User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13213 posts, RR: 77
Reply 2, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 2042 times:

Seems like another despot draining what should be a weathy nation dry, to the detriment of it's people, backed up a an oppressive police state.
But US forces are apparently based there right now, so it won't matter, until it ends up like Afghanistan or something similar, and bites the West on the arse.
Have any lessons been learned?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/country_profiles/1298497.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/2054121.stm


User currently offlineSonic From Lithuania, joined Jan 2000, 1670 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 2019 times:

GDB, I doubt it would end up like Afghanistan, since Turkmenbashi uses neutral policy. As I said before, it means he has relations with everybody (even with Taliban he had relations, but also with other central Asian states, Russia, China, USA, EU, etc). Thus probably suhc leadership is even safer than Islamic fundamentalists which could come in power if Turkmenbashi falls...

User currently offlineSwissgabe From Switzerland, joined Jan 2000, 5266 posts, RR: 33
Reply 4, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 2004 times:

I don't know a lot about Turkmenbashi yet but I really would like to visit Turkmenistan very soon. Anyone been there so far?


Smooth as silk - Royal Orchid Service /// Suid-Afrikaanse Lugdiens - Springbok
User currently offlineAviatsiya From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 2002 times:

Niyazov is a despot. But at least he's our despot. Sound familiar? > Acting devilish

User currently offlinePacificjourney From New Zealand, joined Jul 2001, 2734 posts, RR: 8
Reply 6, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 2000 times:

I saw some TV videoed from Turkmenistan once and this guys face is on it ALL the time. Even during weather or sports etc for over 6 hours there is a little pucture of him in the corner. Unbelieveable !

I also hear there is a fee for non-Turkmen to marry a Turkman woman, for the privilage of joining the race ? Yet this guy is now receiving diplomatic oral sex in the "war against terror". Realpolitik sucks.



" Help, help ... I'm being oppressed ... "
User currently offlineAviatsiya From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 1997 times:

I saw some TV videoed from Turkmenistan once and this guys face is on it ALL the time. Even during weather or sports etc for over 6 hours there is a little pucture of him in the corner. Unbelieveable !

You mean like this?



User currently offlinePacificjourney From New Zealand, joined Jul 2001, 2734 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 1984 times:

Just like that. If it wasn't for real it would be hilarious.


" Help, help ... I'm being oppressed ... "
User currently offlineSonic From Lithuania, joined Jan 2000, 1670 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1953 times:

Yeah, he could compete with Kim Il Sung for the "biggest personality cult ever" title...

As for money for marrying Turkmen woman, you are probably right, since "Turkmenbashi" means "leader of all Turkmens" and he himself has pursuitted certain quite nationalistic policies since breakup of Soviet Union (which is strange, since in USSR he was communist which agreed with Russian occupation and with Stalinist policy that Turkmens aren't original people who lived in a place... Probably this means that Niyazov/Turkmenbashi is man without true political opinion and is changing as times changes).


User currently offlineDelboy From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 725 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 1940 times:


Went To Turkmenistan in the early 90's. Stayed in the only 'western' hotel in Ashgabad, it was $100 a night and the room was no bigger than a closet. The water was brown, the bed looked like someones throw away and the air conditioning (now that was a joke. A unit resting on the top of a chair, crudely cut into the window) leaked like a sieve. The place was (and still is I believe) a dust bowl.

Many western companies were looking looking to invest in the country at the time. If memory serves me right they were oil type companies. There were plans to drill offshore when I was there.

The main airport resembled a local flying club. Very friendly staff there, managed to see all of Turkmenistan's fleet in two days, including all of the IL76's.

Don't think it would feature on anyones 'must visit' list, I wouldn't want to go back there.


User currently offlineJaysit From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 1931 times:

"Niyazov is a despot. But at least he's our despot. Sound familiar?"

LOL. Well said. As was once said by a senior State Dept. member about the Shah of Iran - "He may be a bastard, but he's our bastard." Its called realpolitik.

There was an interesting article in the NYTimes Sunday Magazine on Turkmenbashi and what a surreal place Turkmenistan is. They're also sitting on a lot of untapped oil reserves.


User currently offlineAviatsiya From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (11 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 1928 times:

Jaysit, I wonder if the NY Times had an article only a few weeks ago telling how Niyazov sent his troops in and invaded the Uzbekistan Embassy in ASB, and raided the ambassador's residence. All because he had a fear that the leadership in Uzbekistan were behind an 'alleged' assassination plot. He is a megalomaniac to the extreme. People, from afar, will probably say "So what", but it was enough for people I have been in contact with the flee Turkmenistan to neighbouring Kazakhstan because the real chance of 'shit going down'. They are yet to return. And these are people who's livelihood is in Turkmenistan.

I participate from time to time on forums dealing with Turkmenistan, (both expats and Turkmenis), and the general feeling is the same all round in regards to this guy.

Sonic, Turkmenbashi doesn't mean "Leader of all Turkmens", but something which is even more egotistical; "Father of the Turkmen".

As far as I am concerned, the Father should release economic data concerning his country, but Niyazov refuses to do this (probably coz he is filling his own coffers).

And then there are some well founded rumours regarding the Boeing aircraft which Niyazov was able to afford for T5; even though, from what I have been told by various sources, the Turkmen coffers were basically dry. The rumours included corruption and kickbacks.

They're also sitting on a lot of untapped oil reserves.

And this is why certain 'western' countries deal with a despot, which one of their own intelligence agencies has basically described him as a despot.


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