Turkmenistan: Who Cares about People? Turkmen.news Film on Istanbul Tragedy

The tragic deaths of more than 50 of our compatriots in Istanbul have exposed the bankruptcy of Turkmenistan’s official slogan “The state is for the people!” The state, or to be more exact its authorities, could not give a damn about the people. In March more than fifty citizens of our country – migrant workers in Turkey – were poisoned by bootlegged alcohol. Turkish media reported that the Turkmen workers were trying to protect themselves from coronavirus…

Turkmen in Aksaray district, Istanbul 2020

This would be a major disaster for any country, regardless of its size, but it’s a real catastrophe for Turkmenistan with its small population. What do other countries and governments do in similar situations? As a rule, they organize special flights to bring the bodies home, help families to accompany their loved ones on their final journey, declare national mourning… Which of these did Turkmenistan’s authorities do? None at all! They even refused to receive the bodies of their compatriots. Local media made no mention of the tragedy in Istanbul, as though nothing had happened, as though these people never existed.

“The holder of this passport is under the protection of Turkmenistan.” This powerful declaration on the first page of Turkmen passports has proved to be just as hollow as the slogan “The state is for the people!”. It doesn’t matter how dozens of people died, whether it was the result of stupidity or basic ignorance. What matters is that they are citizens of the country and that it is the authorities’ duty to help them and their families at this difficult time.

The current authorities in Turkmenistan could not care less about the deaths of these people, mainly young men, or about their loved ones, who probably relied on support from Turkey to get by. This regime is incapable of providing work for people in their home country, so tens of thousands of our compatriots have to work abroad – they labor on building sites, care for the sick, serve in cafes or shops. They’re hardly living the dream, and it’s not their choice to spend years far away from their families, children, and elderly parents.

Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov’s regime disowned the dead citizens of Turkmenistan, and they were buried in Turkish soil. The time will come when the authorities will have to answer to their relatives and children.

Arkadag, or the Protector as the president likes to call himself, has shown his real face, the face of a coward who refuses to protect his people, ignoring the Istanbul tragedy as if nothing had happened.