Turkmen citizens residing in Northern Cyprus have staged at least three protests in recent days to demand the resignation of Turkmenistan’s authoritarian leader, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov.
The latest rally was held by dozens of Turkmen nationals in North Nicosia on June 14 where they accused Berdymukhammedov of being a dictator “incapable of providing the Turkmen nation with bare necessities such as food and a decent life.”
Some of the protesters held posters with Berdymukhammedov’s picture emblazoned with swastikas over them and inscriptions saying “the Craziest Dictator Ever” and “The President Must Resign!”
“There is an increasing famine in Turkmenistan and the population’s immiseration continues. Turkmenistan’s authorities totally ignore the real catastrophe and by all possible means suppress any form of dissent. The country is on the edge of a humanitarian catastrophe,” one of the protesters said, adding that she will send her demands to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
The protesters also demanded a crackdown on corruption, and assistance for residents of the eastern regions of Lebap and Mary to tackle problems caused by heavy storms and rains in April.
Similar protests were held in Northern Cyprus on May 11 and May 20.
Turkmen people in the United States have also held several similar protests in recent weeks and the newly established opposition movement, Democratic Choice of Turkmenistan, which is based outside of the country, announced in early June that it plans to hold protests with the goal “of liberating Turkmenistan from Berdymukhammedov’s dictatorial regime.”
Berdymukhammedov has ruled the former Soviet republic with an iron fist since the death of his autocratic predecessor, Saparmurat Niyazov, in December 2006.
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