A visit by a European parliamentary fact-finding delegation to Turkmenistan encountered problems in Ashgabat, including restricted access to a prison. But despite the mixed impressions of delegation members, the European Union is expected to take steps soon to strengthen its ties to Turkmenistan.
The delegation’s main aim during its late April trip to Ashgabat was to assess human rights conditions in Turkmenistan. According to delegation members, officials in Ashgabat hampered the ability the European members of parliament (MEPs) to interview Turkmen citizens, and to visit sites of interest, including the Ovan-Depe high security prison.
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Deirdre Tynan is a Bishkek-based reporter specializing in Central Asian affairs.