It’s perfectly evident that the Turkmenistan president will use the assassination attempt for his own interests
Early today, an attempt was made on the life of the president of the former Soviet republic of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Niyazov. There is scarce information about the incident. It was reported that the presidential motorcade was fired upon on its way from a suburb residence in Archabil (28 kilometers to the south from the capital, Ashkhabad) to the presidential palace in the center of the city, right at the moment when the cars were approaching the palace. A KamAZ lorry blocked the road, and people opened fire from the lorry.
The Turkmenistan president wasn’t injured; a policeman escorting the motorcade was wounded (according to different sources, some passers-by were also wounded at the attack). Nothing is reported yet about the attackers.
There are several possible versions as to who could be the organizer of the assassination attempt. Saparmurat Niyazov mentioned four possible organizers at an extraordinary session of the Turkmenistan Cabinet of Ministers: former Foreign Minister Boris Shikhmuradov, former Central Bank President Khudaiberdy Orazov, former ambassador to Turkey Nurmuhamed Khanamov and former Deputy Minister of Agriculture Saparmurat Yklymov. It is not clear yet if these people were the organizers of the attempt. However, it’s perfectly evident that the Turkmenistan president will use the assassination attempt for his own interests; to be more precise, he will try to finish off the opposition that currently exists in the country.
However, it is not ruled out that today’s attack was just a show designed to liquidate politicians who are disagreeable for the present-day regime in Turkmenistan. To tell the truth, nearly all politicians who pose any danger to the Turkmenistan president are already jailed or have emigrated.
Another theory is that the attack was organized by the local criminal groups fighting with each other. It’s highly likely that the president infringed upon the interests of some clan during his regular cleansing in the government, and this clan decided to get back at the president. Although this version will hardly be officially declared, it will be obvious when more reshuffling in the governmental structures will take place. And the reshuffling will surely take place. On the other hand, that could be quite a different reason for the attempt, as cleansings are rather frequent in Ashkhabad.
Finally, there are two more possible variants of the assassination attempt: it could have been organized by Turkmen driven to despair because of the awful living conditions in the republic; or it could be just another action organized by Islamic radicals. However, these two are rather unlikely suggestions, as the Turkmen population is so oppressed that it can hardly organize attempts of this kind. What is more, nothing has ever been reported about discrepancies between the Turkmen president and Islamists. It is known only that Niyazov used to be on friendly terms with the Taliban.
It is highly likely that the so-called opposition will be accused of the attempt on the president’s life (especially since the Turkmenistan president has already declared openly the opposition was guilty). So, Turkmenistan is in for another wave of repressions.
Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://world.pravda.ru/world/2002/5/15/40/3502_niyazov.html
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