Last week, a message came from Brussels that the European Union (EU) refused to consider the resumption of the trade agreement with Turkmenistan, which was once suspended due to total non-observance of human rights by Turkmenistan. However, Turkmen officials and their European colleagues were constantly looking for an opportunity to circumvent the ban. Although the absence of such an agreement did not prohibit the commercial and state firms of individual countries from independently entering the Turkmen market. The list of sponsors for the publication of President Ruhnama’s President Saparmurad Niyazov’s books is impressive. Almost all European firms that have and have their commercial interests in Turkmenistan are present in it. This is the specificity of European business in Turkmenistan. In any other (European) country, this practice automatically leads to corruption charges with all the ensuing consequences. And in Turkmenistan everything gets away with it, in Europe they don’t even know how Europeans do their business there.
However, the gas scandal between Russia and Ukraine frightened European bureaucrats so much that it seemed to them for the good to go to pay tribute to Turkmenbashi. And first of all for gas. And the members of the EU Special Commission on Foreign Relations and those who sent them there were not at all eager to know why trade relations with Turkmenistan were once frozen and how their trip correlated with the basic principles of the EU in the field of human rights. And in the field of transparency of the economy as well.
Human rights organizations took tremendous efforts to incline the EU bureaucrats to dialogue and try to draw their attention to the very nature of the Turkmenbashi regime. The persecution of all dissidents, the closure of all independent NGOs, the complete absence of independent media, restrictions on leaving the country and many other things that were secret only for the EU bureaucracy were also listed. A special sensation caused the report of the organization Global Witness about the machinations of President Niyazov himself with the sale of gas to a number of Russian and Ukrainian firms. As it turned out, most of the profits from the sale of gas are concentrated on the accounts of Turkmenbashi in Deutschebank itself. The report included both the money laundering schemes and specific accounts. And it turns out that Turkmenbashi does not think about the people of Turkmenistan, but about his own trick. This made European officials look more closely at what is happening in Turkmenistan. How so? Does Europe feed only one Turkmen with its own money, when gas belongs to all the people?
The next trip of the delegation, the purpose of which was not just talking in the palace of Turkmenbashi, but acquaintance with real life, threw the delegation into shock. In an interview with one of them, examples of numerous monuments of Turkmenbashi are given, descriptions of all the media without exception with portraits of Turkmenbashi and enumeration of a huge number of those portraits. As for civil society, members of the delegation were simply not allowed to meet with him. Like, we do not have this. Yes, and not necessary. And the issue of political prisoners, the Turkmen authorities simply deflated. "We have no such, and who are sitting - those are the terrorists."
But bureaucracy was strong. Or her fear of a monster in the face of Gazprom. The question of the resumption of Turkmenistan-EU trade relations was again submitted for consideration. However, the machine of the Turkmen state does not tolerate any logic. In the summer of this year, directly on the eve of the visit of the EU delegation, three human rights activists were arrested, among whom was the journalist of Radio Liberty. Members of their families were also repressed. The main reason for the arrest was “unauthorized” contacts with correspondents from the BBC and the French agency “Galaxy Press”. In this case, two employees of foreign missions were declared accomplices of the spy network, which was created by European human rights organizations to spy and undermine state foundations. But this information was not followed by virtually no reaction from the EU. Thunder struck when in September it became known that Ogulsapar Muradova, a Freedom correspondent, died in prison. What did Turkmenbashi himself count on by giving the order for reprisals against human rights activists and journalists? The fact that Europe once again swallows all its antics and mockery of its own people?
In vain. The European Parliament refused to consider renewing the trade agreement. He called upon Ashgabat to free all political prisoners, allow registration and unimpeded activity of NGOs, open the country to the International Committee of the Red Cross and provide the monitoring mechanisms of the UN and OSCE in the field of human rights with “timely” access to Turkmenistan. Thereby, stating the existence of all these problems.
However, a natural question emerges. If the EU stated a total violation of human rights in Turkmenistan and canceled a trade agreement, thereby saying “A”, would it not be logical, having gathered the will and principle in a fist, say “B”. Develop and enforce sanctions against Turkmenistan? How was this done in relation to Belarus and its leadership? Although the regime in Belarus is not an example of the regime in Turkmenistan, it is softer. It is clear that neither for Turkmenistan, nor for the EU, neither the cancellation of a trade agreement, nor the imposition of sanctions are economically key and vital. The EU is already “looking” for gas in Kazakhstan, is going to “soften” sanctions against Uzbekistan because of the same gas, and Turkmenistan will just as easily sell its gas to Russia and, soon, to China. It is clear that for Turkmenistan this issue is image-oriented, or rather, and first of all, for Turkmenbashi himself. But why the EU countries, horrified by the situation with human rights, simply will not cease to let into his territory both himself and his retinue? Why, knowing or knowing about his personal accounts in Europe, won't these accounts freeze until their origin is ascertained? This will be his most effective means of persuasion. And then Turkmenbashi will become official unshackled outcasts. And he has not yet crossed the line when such a title for him will no longer play values. He painfully loves all these official receptions of foreigners in his palace. And then what to say to your people?
In diplomatic circles it is customary to say that it is impossible, they say, to completely break the thread of relations and lose the opportunity to influence the situation. Completeness, gentlemen, European bureaucrats, examples of gangling dictators have not taught you anything. In the meantime, you are afraid of “breaking the thread”, one will detonate an atomic bomb, another will continue to construct this bomb, and the third will simply pull its people into the Middle Ages and will not be surprised why Europe is silent when it kills its citizens.
Well, if you said "A", find the conscience to say and "B."