Only Turkmen Graduates Allowed to Participate in “Last Call”

Konye-Urgench;,Turkmenistan: image: TCA

In Balkan velayat (administrative district) this year, only graduates of Turkmen nationality will be able to participate in the “last call” –  the secondary-school graduation ceremony held throughout the CIS, which is held annually in front of the Central Library of Balkanabad. This decision by the local authorities caused bewilderment among the residents of the velayat, where representatives of many nationalities live.

This is the second known case in the last four months when the authorities of the western velayat have infringed on the rights of ethnic minorities. In early February, it was reported that in Balkanabad and Turkmenbashi, only Turkmen music was allowed at weddings, whilst songs in the languages of other ethnicities were prohibited.

Violations of the rights of ethnic minorities, limiting their opportunities for education in their native language, and observance of cultural traditions is a long-standing problem. Turkmenistan says it “condemns racial discrimination and constantly pursues a policy of mutual understanding between peoples.” However, members of minorities complain of systematic restrictions of their rights on ethnic grounds.

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Times of Central Asia

Askar Alimzhanov graduated from the journalism department of the Kazakh State University named after S. Kirov, then worked as a correspondent for the daily republican newspaper Leninskaya Smen. He then moved to the United States to be a reporter for the daily newspaper "Cape Cod Times" in Hayanis, Massachusetts, (USA) under the journalist exchange program between the Union of Journalists of the USSR and the New England Society of News Editors. Since then, he has helped build transparency and understanding of Central Asia region in various executive level positions at esteemed media organizations including "Akbar"(Alma-Ata) international center for journalism, the Khabar News agency, the Television and Radio Corporation "Kazakhstan" JSC, and MIR- Kazakhstan.

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