Turkmenistan: young men prevented from leaving the country


ASHGABAT (TCA) — Young people under 30 years of age are prevented from boarding international flights in Ashgabat airport without any reason, the independent foreign-based news website Chronicles of Turkmenistan reports.

If previously the travel ban has been unofficially explained by the fact that men can leave the country only after doing military service, now the authorities deny exit to those who have already done military service, are unfit for service based on a medical condition, or who have turned 27 and are subject to no draft.

Some passengers prevented from boarding a flight get an airline ticket refund.

Chronicles of Turkmenistan has reported that Turkmenistan Airlines offices in Ashgabat and in regional centers assigned a separate ticket office window to refund passengers who had been barred from boarding planes.

Last week, Radio Azatlyk reported that an unofficial new instruction was issued by the Migration office, pursuant to which young men under 30 are prohibited from boarding international flights.

According to the Radio sources, these measures are being undertaken to ensure the security of residents.

The next day the official website of Turkmenistan’s Migration Office published an announcement which runs that “no citizen of Turkmenistan can be deprived of the right to enter and exit the country”.

This statement was disseminated by local pro-governmental internet news outlets, which deny the travel ban imposed on young people referring to an official from the Migration Office.

Sources of Chronicles of Turkmenistan note that, with a view to the severe economic crisis in Turkmenistan, there is an increasing number of residents trying to go abroad in search of work or leave Turkmenistan forever. It appears that the authorities are trying to limit large-scale migration of residents in this way.

Sergey Kwan