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Saturday, February 10, 2007 

Turkmenistan's Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov

Listen. No one but me is blogging on the elections in Turkmenistan. Somebody has to. This is a story with dictators, intrigue, names that are very hard to say, potential scandal and who knows what else!

Voters in Turkmenistan are going to the polls to choose a successor to late autocratic President Saparmurat Niyazov amid hopes of a political thaw. Here's the official Turkmenistan government news release.

Six men are vying for the post - the first multi-candidate elections in the gas-rich Central Asian nation.

UPDATE: - Sunday, February 11th - It's ELECTION DAY IN TURKMENISTAN!!

You can get up to speed here with earlier Buckdog stories on the situation.

The Turkmenistan thing.


Have to admit I am not at all familiar with the politics of Turkmenistan but it sounds like a country at least beginning to take baby steps towards democratization.

With the increasing availability of technology and access to media I think it's inevitable. Countries moving (albeit slowly) to ease the transition for thier citizens...well..I can't knock it.

hey mama! I decided to be the official Turkmenistani blogger because the names are all so cool - like presidential contender, "Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov" - and you are correct - these folks are taking 'baby steps towards democratization.'

Still catching up, buckdog, but thanks for the updates and the prod.

hey mama! I decided to be the official Turkmenistani blogger because the names are all so cool

Oh fer sure, never discount the power of an interesting name. Trying to get the DH to change his to "Asher-Omar Tyrone Bin Sanchez-Jackson-Miyami". Figger that ought to piss off just about everyone.

Anyway someone has to blog them. We in the west tend to forget there's a whole other world out there.

If someone got pulled over by state trooper and you handed him a drivers license that had the name 'Asher-Omar Tyrone Bin Sanchez-Jackson-Miyami' - uh .... yeah ... I see your point!

Isn't Turkmenistan great?! :) I have links to 'Turkmenbashi' - he's my favourite crazy third-world dictator! :)

Veterans of the four and half hours of PBS Frontline on Bush's War will know what I mean when I say that one might have hoped, at this late lame-duck stage, for Dick Cheney to give it a rest. But no. Gates and Rice may have prevailed finally over now-absent Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld -- ironically, putting even more servicemen and servicewomen in harm's way on the fool's errand of Iraq -- but Dick is as active as ever in the service of more war, less peace, and greater international friction. Case in point, this excerpt from a March 25 story on EurasiaNet. It details the intersection (literally) of a trip the Turkmeni head of state, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, made to Turkey, as crossed by the blinkered and aggressive vision of US policy which our Vice President still promotes. In the background lie a number of possibilities for international trade in oil and gas which would engage Iran with its regional neighbors and the wider world (a prospect Darth Vader is hard at work to quash):

Turkey is clearly not pinning all its energy hopes on [the Trans Caspian Pipeline]. Asked recently what his priority projects were, Turkish Energy Minister Hilmi Guler replied "Iraq and Turkmenistan." The Turkish journalist asking the question interpreted his Delphic response as evidence of his support for TCP, but Guler might equally have been thinking of another transit option - via Iran.
Dependent on Russia for two-thirds of its gas, Turkey would like to increase imports from Iran. Currently, Ankara imports about 8 billion cubic meters of gas annually from Iran. These imports are a source of friction with Washington. When Turkey announced plans last September to sign a $3 billion accord with Iran to exploit the South Pars gas field in southern Iran, some Europeans openly welcomed the news. US officials, meanwhile, urged Ankara to "sacrifice" the project in favor of a united front to promote Iran’s economic isolation.
As a NATO member and a key strategic partner of the United States, Turkey’s energy bind will probably not ease for the foreseeable future. The existing dilemma was underscored by the fact that Berdymukhamedov and visiting US Vice President Dick Cheney, the Bush administration point man on energy issues, briefly crossed paths in Turkey on March 24.
Cheney’s visit hinted that, if anything, Turkey’s balancing act stands to become more difficult. Given surprisingly little space by a Turkish media obsessed with the country’s growing political crisis, Cheney’s meetings with Turkish officials appeared friendly enough. He expressed is support for a new Turkish-American Joint Energy Committee that got the go-ahead when Gul visited Washington last January. But he also asked Turkey to "raise her voice" against what he called Iran’s "nuclear armament program."
Cheney left Turkey after six hours without giving a press conference, making it difficult to know what alternative energy sources to Iran he might have proposed to officials in Ankara. The general drift of US policy recently, though, has been to emphasize the energy export potential of Iraq.


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