Exiled Turkmen Activists Barred From OSCE Conference

Two exiled Turkmen opposition politicians have been refused permission to attend the first stage of a three-part OSCE event, RFE/RL's Turkmen Service reports.

Nurmuhammet Hanamov, founding chairman of the Republican Party of Turkmenistan in exile, and Annadurdy Hajiyev, a member of the Watan movement and former deputy chairman of the Central Bank of Turkmenistan, who has obtained political asylum in Bulgaria, say they were kept away from the first part of the review conference to prepare for an OSCE Summit in Astana on December 1-2.

Hanamov told RFE/RL that the refusal was purportedly in line with new OSCE regulations that say NGO representatives may not attend if any OSCE member state objects to their presence.

Hanamov said he was informed that the Turkmen government had identified him as being part of a group of people that seeks to overthrow the existing government structure by force.

The Turkmen authorities reportedly threatened to boycott the Astana Summit if the two men were allowed to participate in the review conference.

Hanamov told RFE/RL that he met with members of the U.S. delegation and asked them to raise his case at the review conference.

"The United States and Canadian delegations have shown solidarity with us and promised to try to resolve the situation," Hanamov said. He added that the delegates said they would walk out of the proceedings if they could not bring about an acceptable solution.

Deputy OSCE spokesperson Frane Marovich told RFE/RL that the accreditation of participants for the Warsaw meeting has already been completed, and the only disputed case is that of Annadurdy Hajiyev. "We have received from one of the participating states a letter stating that an individual (Hajiyev) has been accused of criminal offenses and therefore cannot participate at the conference," Marovich told RFE/RL.

The OSCE has begun consultations with participating states, and Hajiyev's case is under consideration. As for Mr. Hanamov, Marovich said that he never registered for the conference. "He could not gain entry to the conference as he never completed the registration process," Marovich said.

Some 400 NGOs are participating in the review conference, which takes place in three stages over a period of two months in Warsaw, Vienna, and Astana.

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