Representatives of human rights organizations published an open appeal to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with a request to return the visa-free regime for citizens of Turkmenistan.
On September 13, 2022, at the request of Turkmenistan, the Republic of Turkey introduced entry visas for citizens of Turkmenistan.
We consider this step as direct discrimination against the citizens of Turkmenistan in their right to freedom of movement, as a violation of the principles of openness and unification of the Turkic peoples – as the most important part of the foreign policy of the Republic of Turkey. In fact, Turkmenistan has involved the Republic of Turkey in its repressive policy towards its citizens, having decided at the expense of Turkey to make hundreds of thousands of Turkmen citizens banned from leaving the country. In order to better understand the problem that dooms hundreds of thousands of families of citizens of Turkmenistan to starvation, we would like to draw your high attention to the following:
From the first day of Turkmenistan’s independence, the country’s leadership has taken a course towards building a system of authoritarian-repressive power, which provides for the aggressive destruction of civil society and political pluralism. As a result of this policy, thousands of Turkmen citizens were repressed, several hundred thousand representatives of national minorities left the country, step by step the citizens of Turkmenistan were deprived of their fundamental rights. As a result, Turkmenistan, under the leadership of first President Niyazov and then Berdymukhammedov, turned into a totalitarian despotism, and in the ranking of democratic freedoms the country fell below North Korea.
The sole and illiterate management of the economy by the presidents of Turkmenistan, their unlimited enrichment and colossal corruption led to a deep economic crisis and massive impoverishment of the entire population of Turkmenistan. In a country with colossal world-class hydrocarbon resources, the average salary in cities is only $70, and the average pension is $27. Unemployment in the country, especially in rural areas, has become a massive incurable phenomenon. This leads to a further drop in the standard of living of the people of Turkmenistan, which is already record low. Hunger covers more and more layers of Turkmen citizens with low incomes.
The vast majority of Turkmen labor migrants chose to migrate to Turkey in order to survive and feed their families. Turkey is a brotherly country for Turkmens, our peoples are united not only by the proximity of languages and mentality, but also by common historical roots. The worsening economic situation in Turkmenistan determines the high level of labor migration to Turkey. Currently, there are approximately 230,000 legally residing Turkmens in Turkey. To stop the outflow of the able-bodied population from Turkmenistan, the authorities are taking illegal measures, which include both extrajudicial restrictions on leaving Turkmenistan and direct repressive measures – citizens are simply, without explanation, not allowed to fly to Turkey after checking in at the airport Ashgabat. But, since these measures are rather limited, The Turkmen government took an unprecedented step by asking the Republic of Turkey in early September to introduce visas for citizens of Turkmenistan. Unfortunately, the request of the Turkmen government was granted and the Republic of Turkey was involved in a flagrant violation of the international right to freedom of movement.
Concluding our appeal, we ask you, dear Mr. President, to cancel visas for Turkmen citizens and follow the policy of openness of the Republic of Turkey. We believe that the people of Turkmenistan, who determined the historical beginning of your country, do not deserve to be discriminated against in comparison with other peoples.
Temirkhan Misrikhanov . Association of Independent Lawyers of Turkmenistan, Netherlands firstname.lastname@example.org
Vyacheslav Mammadov . Democratic Civil Union of Turkmenistan, Netherlands email@example.com
Tajigul Begmedova . Turkmen Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Bulgaria firstname.lastname@example.org
Leila Yunus . Institute for Peace and Democracy, Netherlands email@example.com
Source: Chronicles of Turkmenistan