Another side of Turkmenistan

Another side of Turkmenistan

There are 26 comments on the Evening Sun story from Jun 30, 2008, titled Another side of Turkmenistan. In it, Evening Sun reports that:

Having just returned from a 38 day overland trip through Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, April 16 - May 23, I've read with interest the story about the Turkman exchange student's article in the Hanover ...

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Evening Sun.

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Vienna, VA

#1 Jun 30, 2008
First, you should have done some research before you go to Central Asia or before you've written your article. Non of the Central Asian countries or "Stans" are "officially" Islamic states. All of those countries are secular, but majority of population is Muslim. Second, all of those statues are former president's or "Glorious leader's", who died in 2006. And he was former communist boss; statues are not Islamic. I agree that it is mostly police state, but people are happier and live better than in West. It dependes on how you measure happiness. You can find something to criticise in all countries. You just looked at everything from capitalistic biased perspective. You are not gonna understand any culture in 1-2 months. In Turkmenistan citizens can fill their car with gasoline for free three times/ month, electricity, gas, and other utilities are free of charge. To conclude your article does not reflect the truth, you are just looking at empty side of the glass filled half with water.

Perrysburg, OH

#2 Jun 30, 2008
I aggree with you Johnny. And agree with the editor for some part of it.

Sheridan, WY

#3 Jun 30, 2008
Good job on reflecting on a frustrating travel. Generally fair assessment of a country for someone who had spent so little time and spoke no Turkmen.
But you shouldn't regard that Turkman exchange student (or whoever s/he was). It is not easy to be openly against a dictatorial regime when you have your whole family in there and you are out for a few months or couple of years.

Houston, TX

#4 Jul 2, 2008
The thing is that Turkmen people are not fanatic to the western life, they werent and wont be ... because they are people who had a culture before the western even new what is a culture. So the nation with that kind of great culture which can be an example for everyone wont be a fanatic to anyone but will be an example to everyone. In addition please if you want to criticise something at least be a little bit realistic in order the readers would believe.
A fan of Turkmenistan

United States

#5 Jul 2, 2008
I read the articles written about the exchange student, and there was hardly any information about Turkmenistan on them, so I do not understand what this the writer of this article is basing his information on when he talks about what the student "said" about his country. He said he spent a month in the area, and I bet that out of that month he only stayed in Turkmenistan for a maximum of three or four days...How much information, or relevant experience could he really have gathered?
An ex-pat in Turkmenistan


#6 Jul 2, 2008
For the last 18 months I have lived, worked, and breathed Turkmenistan. I run an office in the capital city and travel to various areas of this country regularly. The wonderful thing about Turkmenistan is that people coming here for a short time have an extremely biased, political opinion and have no real opportunity to experience the culture, the people and the feeling that makes this place what it is. When I arrived and for the first three weeks, I am sure I would have been tempted to post a similar thread to that featured here. However, once you start to scratch the surface you realise there is an awful lot more to this place. Yes it has survived under a previously very oppressive regime, yes there is much that can be done to apparently 'improve' the way of life here, but to echo the comments posted by Johnny - do some research and rather than criticise the country in its entirety, post your thread in the context of your experience: a short-term tourist. The political situation is changing, doing business here is at times slow and frustrating, but still possible. Many large, global Oil & Gas companies operate here and the amount of construction taking place is slowly turning Ashgabat in particular into a mini-Dubai!! Yes it is a difficult country to get into, and sometimes even out of, but the people and their culture here are nothing short of inspiring. I have 20 Turkmen people working for me who, in my opinion, are more reliable, professional, courteous and trustworthy than many English/American/European colleagues I have had the displeasure of encountering in my career! I enjoy travelling back home to the UK to see my relatives and friends, but I still enjoy just as much (if not more) travelling back to Ashgabat. For me it is a second home and an experience I will treasure for the rest of my life. Don't knock it so hard, times are changing and one should never judge or compare a country like Turkmenistan to their own capitalist environment. With soaring fuel prices, income tax at an all time high, pensions crises, health service decaying, is my home country better than this?? In my opinion, no. The key to enjoying Turkmenistan? Accept it for what it is, try and understand it more, but most of all appreciate the beauty that can be found in the people, the culture, and many parts of the country. And there's no McDonalds :-) Brilliant. The day that arrives here, I'm bugging out!!
anthr side of trmn


#7 Jul 6, 2008
Only a turkmen will understand a turkmen)) (c) Turkmenbashy.
turkmen guy

Sheridan, WY

#8 Aug 17, 2008
I think "An ex-pat in Turkmenistan" got the point. Not only Turkmenistan but wherever you go, you should try to understand what kind of life do people have. When you start sharing your life with others then it makes sense. I am here in US as a turkmen guy. During my visits to Turkmenistan, when people ask about US, I can also complain about the difficulties I face in life, and how some people are disrespectful to foreigners but I don't. I have had good friendships here. I am sharing my life with others, with families etc. So I enjoy it. Which you should try the similar ways I guess.

Kiel, Germany

#9 Sep 14, 2008
Well, it is hard to accept but all he wrote of Turkmenistan is true....though I would not agree that turkmen people are unhappy - they may be shy and reserved meeting foreigners. Yes, I do understand what some guys meant in their comments, but it is, unfortunately, also only one sided story - only those who have at least some hard-cash income can have "comfortable" life there enjoying what the country may offer. Did any of you spend at least one day in the ordinary village of Turkmenistan between 1995-up to day? Did you see what they eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner? In fact, can they afford 3-time meal? I'm not talking of "well-sponsored" Ahal (no offence to those coming from there), I mean any other velayat? Then you haven't seen what did happen to turkmen people in those years....In any case, I'm glad someone is still trying to and visiting Turkmenistan, which is indeed a unique place on earth.
Rizal sam

Doha, Qatar

#11 Oct 12, 2008
Hi, can anyone advise cost to buy an apartment in Turkmenistan (lebap area). Appreciate the help and advise, thank you in advance and, if there are any agency that deals with this sort of enquiry. Please assist, need help on this matter to help a very good Turkman friend of mine. You may also reply to my personal email address [email protected]

Best regards.


#12 Oct 16, 2008
Thats nice to read

Almere, Netherlands

#13 Oct 26, 2008
Agree with Johny, the writer is negative person, and just cant see anything positive in the life.

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

#14 Dec 23, 2008
anyone can help me? my husband is living with a local girl in asghabat and now she is pregnant. anyone can help me to clarify on the marriage law in tukmenistan?

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

#16 Dec 23, 2008
of course, he is doing behind me and i found out. may i know how can i report him to the authority in asghabat? to whom and to where can i do that?

Duluth, MN

#18 Apr 10, 2010
as a turkmen it is near impossible for me to visit as I was born in the U.S.A.

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

#19 Apr 24, 2010
"anyone can help me? my husband is living with a local girl in asghabat and now she is pregnant. anyone can help me to clarify on the marriage law in tukmenistan?"

I have heard that if a foreigner wants to marry a Turkmeni girl, he effectively has to "buy" her from the state.$50,000 is the price, allegedly.

I have no idea what the local law says about bigamy though.

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

#20 Apr 24, 2010
I fully agree with "An ex-pat in Turkmenistan" and "Johnny".:)
Amer obead

Manama, Bahrain

#21 May 24, 2010
I have been there in 2004 , I married from there as well , I can say this country loves the citiezien as the turkman love the country , it's diff kind of relation between the land and the citiezien . As I love Turkmen

Amer. Jordan
Just saying

Louisville, KY

#22 Nov 12, 2010
-Turkmenistan like any other country is not immune to inflation (basic economics here)
-Turkmenistan is authoritarian in its regime (let's just be honest here)
-Majority of the population is well above the poverty level (people in remote areas are not starving, in fact there has never been a hunger issue)
-There are ATMs in Ashgabat
-There are Currency Exchange Points
-Weapons are not widely owned or carried, no such thing as a Concealed Carrier either...


My major discontent is with the author's decision to use his energy to negate the country as opposed to influencing a change, if he has identified some areas for improvement...

So, Mr. Schaff, what did you do about this situation? How did you help those people that you have deemed to be so unhappy?

Point made!


#23 Nov 13, 2010
Shivanand wrote:
"anyone can help me? my husband is living with a local girl in asghabat and now she is pregnant. anyone can help me to clarify on the marriage law in tukmenistan?"
I have heard that if a foreigner wants to marry a Turkmeni girl, he effectively has to "buy" her from the state.$50,000 is the price, allegedly.
I have no idea what the local law says about bigamy though.
This is true, 50 000 dawry.

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