Challenges to democracy

  • Although Turkmenistan refers to itself as a secular democracy, its structure and process of government is highly authoritarian. Since independence, Turkmenistan has failed to implement free or fair elections, and polls provide no legitimate opponent to reigning Berdymukhammedov, who regularly wins over 96% of the vote in national elections.
  • Corruption is endemic through all branches of government in Turkmenistan. There is a significant lack of transparency and accountability to the public. Money is regularly diverted away from social projects to the benefit of the ruling elites.
  • The government severely limits media independence.
  • Personal freedoms, including freedom of religion, freedom of education, freedom of movement, freedom to assembly are highly restricted and monitored by the government.
  • NGOs and other public organization operate under immense scrutiny by the government.
  • There are no independent rule of law institutions in Turkmenistan. Citizens are routinely denied right to due process, and torture and extrajudicial killings are commonplace.  
  • Individuals in Turkmenistan are regularly denied equal access to education and employment on the basis of gender, ethnic identity, religion, and sexual orientation.