Ashgabat: Expensive living rings hollow in a deserted land of make believe

For most expats, Turkmenistan or for the purposes of this exercise its capital Ashgabat, would not rank highly on a list of locations they expect to find themselves. The hydrocarbons sector is heavily underpinned by foreign nationals brought in by countries sitting on a wealth of gas and oil, and accounts for a significant proportion…

Turkmenistan: Germany remains despotic regime’s tacit apologist of choice

It is a link that refuses to go away, with neither party seemingly in a hurry to deny a tacit tie up between the two nations, but why does Germany persist with cosying up to Turkmenistan when such an alliance does little for the image of Europe's powerhouse nation? Unsubstantiated but persistent rumours place $23…

Turkmenistan: Far from yelling at clouds, President Berdymukhamedow looks the other way as the international community picks up his Covid tab

As one of the handful of countries who protest against the existence of novel coronavirus within its borders, authoritarian Turkmenistan is not an outright denier of Covid-19 bus has simply insisted that it has not transgressed from, for example, neighbouring Iran which in the early days of the pandemic was one of the most affected,…

Turkmenistan: Why some keep friends in low places

In a world connected by data, rolling news, and instant messaging there can be little excuse for ignorance. Drilling down into almost any conceivable issue within modern society and those redolent of another age is as easy today as can be imagined, but the devils of fake news, hearsay, and online maliciousness remain very much…

Turkmenistan: Pride without a fall, with Covid-19 no match for the president

On December 23rd 1995 the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution that recognized Turkmenistan as a permanently neutral state. This process into obscurity and ultimate hermitude had in effect begun three years previously, when a newly independent Turkmenistan outlined the strands of its foreign policy at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in…

Turkmenistan: Is Afghanistan aid programme an exercise in financial expediency by President Berdymukhamedow?

Not known as a man whose conscience unduly troubles him when it comes to the plight of his fellow Turkmen, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedow has instead turned his attention to neighbouring Afghanistan in what appears to be an unprecedented act by the former dentist of humanitarian assistance to an outside nation. Turkmenistan has firmly established itself…

Turkmenistan: Berdymukhamedow to celebrate independence – from which few have benefited more than he

All appearances would suggest that Turkmenistan president Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedow continues to refuse to allow trifling humanitarian issues within the former Soviet republic of Central Asia to distract his focus from the real issues at hand. Kismet has decreed that Turkmenistan sits atop untold Hydrocarbon wealth which many of its 'stan' neighbours can only dream. And…

Turkmenistan: What is behind Germany’s continual dance with the devil?

As one of more than 130 countries participating in the Frankfurt Heimtextil international textile expo Turkmenistan cannot be singled out for favouritism by the host nation Germany, but nevertheless the link between President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedow's closed, authoritarian state and Angela Merkel's Teutonic powerhouse remains strong, but all the while disconcertingly baffling. The Azerbaijan-based AzerNews portal…

Turkmenistan: A hollow facade of neutrality in a country at odds with its own people

It is unclear if Armenian president Armen Sarkissian is completely ignorant of the ruinous cul-de-sac down which President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedow is taking Turkmenistan, or if the content of a recent letter to his despotic counterpart to mark the annual Day of Neutrality was intended to be so ironic that it veered towards black comedy. Intending…

Turkmenistan and North Korea: Autocratic regimes rely on opacity and agendas to oppress citizens and bamboozle those on the outside

Once again we visit Turkmenistan, the land of irony, where truth and fiction become entwined to a point where there can be little to differentiate these polar opposites. Every bad guy needs a patsy, someone who will take the rap when merely following orders - usually on the pain of death, imprisonment or some other…

Turkmenistan: Why are German companies all too eager to overlook the Human Rights abuses committed by the Berdymukhamedow regime?

Call it a love affair, an obsession with, or a shameless dash for cash while there is still some at the country's disposal, Germany's interest in Turkmenistan, a country in the iron grip of a dictator seemingly hell-bent on emulating the Kim dynasty's template for running North Korea, shows little sign of waning. At first…

Turkmenistan: A presidential portrait of modern-day narcissism wrapped in despotism

In 2004 the Harvard Business Review called it right. Their take on narcissists concluded that the vainglorious are "unproductive when, lacking self-knowledge and restraining anchors, they become unrealistic dreamers. They nurture grand schemes and harbour the illusion that only circumstances, or enemies block their success". Does all this sound terribly familiar, even in the modern…