Turkmenistan: Authorities resume ‘clampdown’ on dark cars, female drivers

ASHGABAT (TCA) — Starting from 14 February cars of dark colours are again being stopped by traffic police and towed away to car impounds in Turkmenistan’s capital Ashgabat, independent foreign-based news website Chronicles of Turkmenistan reports.

The owners of the vehicles towed away to car impounds told Chronicles of Turkmenistan that no documents which forbid the use of colour vehicles had been presented to them.

However, they will now have to repaint the cars and pay a fee of 6 to 10 thousand manats for the repainting service. The large-scale “clampdown” on cars of dark colours was last recorded in Ashgabat in early January 2018.

Also, from February 17 female drivers have been stopped again in the capital.

The traffic police inspectors did not directly mention the ban on vehicle being driven by females but meticulously looked for reasons to tow the vehicles to the car impound. They thoroughly searched the content of first aid kids, the availability of a fire extinguisher, a spare wheel, a lift jack, and a warning triangle. If any of these items was missing, a report was drawn up and the vehicle was sent to the car impound.

According to sources of Chronicles of Turkmenistan, about 20 vehicles with female drivers were arrested on Neutrality Avenue alone. According to various sources, 90 to 120 cars were transported to the car impound on that day.

Those affected believe that the actions by the authorities are designed to urge women to refuse to drive cars.

The numerous bans of this kind (for colour vehicles, female drivers, wearing a beard, the introduction of curfew and others) are not stipulated by law or official regulations. They are introduced as verbal instructions and have no legal force. The residents are not informed in advance about the introduction of a ban and they find out about it from law enforcement officers.

The ban on the vehicles of dark colour is allegedly related to personal preferences of Turkmenistan’s authoritarian President, whose favourite colours are white and green.

Sergey Kwan


Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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