Turkmenistan: Who Fabricates Cases Against Dissidents?
NTT DATA Romania S.A. – an international IT company – was to have supplied special equipment to Turkmenistan’s Cyber Security Service worth €29,401,506. The Europeans were also to have trained Turkmen specialists under the terms of the contract. This is evident in confidential documents which turkmen.news has in its possession. We do not know whether the equipment has been delivered and the training provided, as the company has not replied to our enquiry.
Then President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov signed the order to conclude the contract in April 2021. The Romanian company was not only to supply equipment, but also to install it and to train their Turkmen counterparts to operate the new hardware and software.
Turkmen.news sent a letter to NTT DATA Romania S.A. with a few questions — have they delivered this equipment, and are they aware that it will be used to block the Internet and restrict freedom of speech? The company has not replied to the letter.
In April 2022 turkmen.news learnt that the Extraordinary Commission to Combat Infectious Diseases had allowed specialists from Serbia, Israel, and Belarus to enter Turkmenistan in order to set up special equipment for the Ministry of National Security.
NTT DATA Romania S.A. has an office in Serbia, so its employees were probably amongst those concerned.
All independent media and popular social media networks are blocked in Turkmenistan, as are many websites for reasons that are hard to understand. As part of efforts to prevent the use of VPNs the special services switch off whole IP subnetworks, inadvertently blocking many websites in the process.
“The latest batch of subnetworks are suspended at the moment,” a source said. “It resembles a total shutdown. You open the Internet and find that it’s become even more limited.”
Recently, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov said openly at a government meeting that an autonomous national digital network is being created in Turkmenistan. These plans are also mentioned in Turkmenistan’s State Cyber Security Program for 2022-2025, which turkmen.news has in its possession.
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