Grady Vaughan (MARS-REERS '21) writes in the Diplomat that although Turkmen at home and abroad rarely protest, the botched responses to natural disasters and the pandemic have led to a surge of activism (June 19, 2020).
From the Introduction:
Over the last several months Turkmen diaspora communities in Turkey, Cyprus, and the United States have initiated a rare wave of demonstrations in response to Ashgatbat’s inadequate response to a raft of man-made and natural disasters. The main catalysts for this diaspora mobilization were the devastating hurricane-like downpours that ravaged the eastern provinces of Lebap and Mary on April 27 and May 4. As residents of those regions were left scrambling for answers after suffering severe damage to their houses, Turkmenistan’s authoritarian leader Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov claimed ignorance, and state media refused to broadcast local pleas for assistance.