Turkmenistan wants white vehicles only, reportedly bars women from driving

ASHGABAT (TCA) — After reporting on a ban on the use of black (dark) cars introduced in Turkmenistan starting from the beginning of January, the Chronicles of Turkmenistan independent website now reports that road police in Turkmenistan are stopping not only black and dark-grey vehicles, but also cars of other colors as well, demanding that cars of blue, red, green and other colors be towed to a car impound, without providing any explanation.

According to Turkmenistan-based correspondents, as well as readers of Chronicles of Turkmenistan, since no written regulations or decrees have been issued with regard to the use of black vehicles, the road police interpret the instruction from above at their own discretion and make arbitrary decisions as to which colors are permitted and which are not. Some drivers can be released but the majority of car owners are ordered to re-paint their car or to refrain from using the vehicle.

The new requirements led to the fact that the fees for car painting services have doubled. The car painting used to cost $500 whereas now $1000 is charged for the same service.

Starting from January 2015 black cars were banned from being imported into Turkmenistan. At that time customs officers failed to explain the reasons behind the ban. They responded to outraged questions that white cars needed to be purchased as “white color is supposed to be lucky”.

Moreover, according to ANT, females now seem to be forbidden to drive in Turkmenistan.

The Chronicles of Turkmenistan has repeatedly received complaints from females who claim that it is far more challenging for them to obtain a driving license because they are either coerced to pay bribes or are deliberately made to fail the driving test.

On 5 January one of the Turkmen television channels showed a broadcast featuring the procedure of obtaining a driving license. Interestingly enough, there was not a single female among those who took the driving test.

Sergey Kwan