Turkmenistan: Death and Corruption at the Top of the Tree
Occupying high office in Turkmenistan is never a comfortable affair, but this has been an especially bad week.
On May 3, the 51-year old deputy prime minister for industry Batyr Ereshov suddenly dropped dead from unknown causes. The following day, the president fired General Prosecutor Amanmyrat Halliyev and another ten more junior prosecutors amid accusations that they were taking bribes.
Ereshov’s sudden death has sparked much murmuring and gossip. He was one of Turkmenistan’s more visible political figures and had never appeared superficially to be in any ill-health.
But official media did not dwell on the causes of death, limiting themselves instead to dry obituaries listing his achievements. There it was stated that he rose to the position of deputy prime minister in July 2014 — this is a more senior ranking than might first appear, since Turkmenistan has no prime minister, as President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov is in effect both head of state and the leader of the Cabinet. Earlier, in July 2013, Ereshov was the minister in charge of construction — another important portfolio.
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