Turkmen president calls to restrict foreign academics

The President of Turkmenistan has placed further restrictions on foreign academics saying that foreign academics must obtain government approval before publishing any research.

Turkmen president calls to restrict foreign academics

World Bulletin / News Desk

Energy-rich Turkmenistan's President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said foreign academics must earn government approval before publishing research on the isolated country in comments relayed by state television on Saturday.

"Foreign academics can only publish their scientific work after consideration of the Ministry of Culture or the academic committees of the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan," the 58-year-old president said, without specifying how the government could prevent independent research being published. 

In a speech critics will argue testifies to the Central Asian state's attempt to control every facet of life within its borders, Berdymukhamedov also complained that some academic work carried out by foreigners clashed with the country's "doctrine".

"Foreign academics coming to Turkmenistan write their personal views in their articles and scientific work on issues concerning the emergence of cultural values, history and way of life of the Turkmen people," Berdymukhamedov said.

"In some instances [the work] does not correspond to our conventional wisdom or doctrine."

The speech, which will inevitably become policy in a country where there are no checks on presidential power, may touch on the work of archaeological teams from France, Italy and Russia currently researching the country's ancient heritage. 

Culture and history is the preserve of the state in Turkmenistan, where vast gas reserves and leaders with extravagant personality cults have kept afloat one of the world's most authoritarian governments.

In 2008, Berdymukhamedov created a special government commission "empowered to assess the artistic level of creative works and to authorise their publication, stage production, and filming." 

More recently in April there were reports of smartphones being confiscated from schoolchildren in different parts of the country after a clip featuring a posse of schoolgirls dancing to a Western pop song surfaced on the internet.

Berdymukhamedov, officially known as Turkmenistan's 'Protector' replaced his predecessor Saparmurat Niyazov as president when the 'Father of the Turkmen' died in 2006.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Ağustos 2015, 14:36