Turkmenistan: Authorities detain those spreading rumors about president’s death

berdimuhamedov-turkmen-5cb

ASHGABAT (TCA) — Independent foreign-based news website Chronicles of Turkmenistan on July 29 reported on active measures being taken in Turkmenistan to suppress rumors about President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov’s death or his poor health. Law enforcement agencies in Ashgabat and in the provinces have been switched to a “combat alert mode”.

According to correspondents of Chronicles of Turkmenistan, three individuals have been detained in Lebap velayat (province) who are accused of spreading rumors to destabilize the situation in the country. The detainees include an employee of the Lebap velayat office of Turkmentelecom, a staff member of the water economy department, and a female employee of the local public utilities office.

Moreover, the Ministry of Culture was charged with the task of conducting a counter propaganda campaign.

It appears that this explains numerous videos posted by Turkmen celebrities in Instagram, urging their fans not to believe rumors and cursing “slanderers of the motherland” as well as reports of pro-governmental websites, criticizing those who spread “fake provocations” and publishing offensive comments.

Turkmenistan’s elders have been encouraged to have preventive conversations with the residents, especially with the families whose relatives are working overseas.

Berdymukhammedov’s failure to appear in public since July 5 fueled speculation about the state of his health.

On July 21, rumors on social media and unconfirmed reports by Russian news outlets claimed he had died.

Diplomats at Turkmen embassies abroad have rejected the rumors of the president’s death as “absolute lies”.

Turkmen state TV showed video footage of Berdymukhammedov at a construction site in the capital, Ashgabat, stating that it was recorded on July 24.

According to sources of Chronicles of Turkmenistan, Berdymukhammedov’s absence in public was due to the critical condition of his mother, Ogulabat Berdymukhammedova, who, according to reports as of 21 July, had been undergoing a course of medical treatment in Germany.

Sergey Kwan

TCA