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Wednesday, 29 June 2005
Red Cross, Turkmenistan Agree to Deepen Cooperation
Topic: Foreign Relations
Ashgabat, 29 June 2005 (nCa) --- During a high level meeting Tuesday, Turkmenistan and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) agreed to deepen mutual cooperation.

President Saparmurat Niyazov and Professor Jacques Forster, Vice-President, International Committee of the Red Cross, discussed a wide range of issues.

It was decided that an agreement for long-term cooperation would be prepared. An important point in the agreement would be the humanitarian legislation training for the armed forces of Turkmenistan under the Geneva Convention.

Turkmenistan is a signatory to the Geneva Convention.

Niyazov reassured Forster that his country continued to pay serious attention to the collaboration with the ICRC.

“Turkmenistan completely shares the noble objectives and charter of the International Committee of Red Cross and is ready to expand efforts in support of humanitarian activity of ICRC,” said Niyazov.

The sides expressed satisfaction with the present level of mutual interaction. Forster especially mentioned the successful implementation of assistance programme for Afghanistan, signed between ICRC and Turkmenistan in 1998. He also praised the achievements of ICRC delegation in Turkmenistan.

Forster noted that Turkmenistan was the first Asian country to abolish death penalty. He also lauded the amnesty programme of Turkmenistan that sets free almost 50% of the prisoners every year on Gadyr Gije – The Night of Power in the Holy Month of Ramadan.

After his meeting with Niyazov, Forster told the press, “I was privileged to meet the head of the state. We had very good meeting and we discussed perspectives for cooperation in the future.”

“I am confident that our relations would develop well in future,” said Forster.

Posted by countryturkmenistan at 2:26 PM
Turkmen Akhal-Teke Horse
Topic: Turkmen Traditions
The Akhal-Teke horse breed (pronounced Ah-cull Tek-y) is a breed from Turkmenistan, where they are the national emblem. It is named after the nomadic tribe that bred them. They are racehorses, noted for their endurance on long marches and are thought to be the predecessors of the Arabian and English thoroughbred breeds. These beautiful "golden-horses' are adapted to severe climate conditions and are thought to be one of the oldest surviving horse breeds. There are currently about 3,500 Akhal-Tekes in the world, mostly in Turkmenistan and Russia, although they are also seen in Germany and the United States.

Alexander the Great's horse, Bucephalus, is said to have been an Akhal-Teke.

Breed characteristics

The Akhal-Teke's most notable and defining characteristic is the natural metallic bloom of its coat. This is especially seen in the palominos and buckskins, as well as the lighter bays, although some horses "shimmer" more than others, and is thought to have been used as camouflage in the desert, where the heat causes the desrt to shimmer. Also noteworthy are the breed's almond-shaped eyes. The breed is very tough and resilient, due to the harshness of the Turkmenistan lands, living without much food or water. This has also made the horses good for sport. The breed has great endurance, shown in 1935 when a group of Turkmenian horsemen rode the 2500 mile journey from Ashgabat to Moscow, which lasted 84 days, and included a 3 day desert crossing of 235 miles without water.

The horses have a fine head with a straight or slightly convex profile, and long ears. The mane and tail is usually sparse. Their long back has little muscle, and is coupled to a flat croup and long, upright neck. The Akhal-Teke possesses a sloping shoulder and thin skin. These horses have strong, tough, but fine limbs, although the hind legs are sometimes sickle-hocked. They have a rather shallow body with a shallow ribcage (like an equine greyhound), although a deep chest, and this shallowness continues to the back of the frame. The conformation is not considered "good" by Western terms, but that is made up by the breed's great beauty, and tremendous athletic ability.

The Akhal-Tekes are brave riding horses, lively, and alert, but are known to be obstinant and rebellious at times. They are generally a one-rider horse.

The horses are usually a pale golden color (like honey) with black points. They can also be bay, black, chestnut, or gray. The Akhal-Teke usually stands between 14.3 and 15.2 hh.

Male horses are not gelded in Central Asia.

Breed history

According to some, the Akhal-Teke has been kept hidden by their tribesmen for years. The area where the breed first appeared, the Turkmenistan desert Kara Kum, is a rocky, flat desert surrounded by mountains. However, others claim that the horses were descendents of the mounts of Mongol raiders in the 13th and 14th century.

The breed is very similar to the Turkoman Horse, bred in neighboring Iran. Some historians believe the two are different strains of the same breed, and that the incredibly influential Arabian was developed out of this breed.

Tribesmen of Turkmenistan first used the horses for raids, feeding the animals grains and mutton. They selectively bred the horses, keeping records of the perdigrees orally. The horses were called "Argamaks" by the Russians, and were cherished by the nomads.

In 1881, Turkomenistan became part of the Russian Empire. The tribes fought with the tzar, eventually losing. A Russian general, Kuropatkin, who grew to love the horses he had seen while fighting the tribesmen, founded a breeding farm after the war and renamed the horses "Akhal-Tekes," after the Teke Turkmen tribe that lived near the Akhal oasis. The Russians printed the first studbook in 1941, which included 287 stallions and 468 mares.

The Akhal-Teke has had influence on many breeds, including the Thoroughbred through the Byerley Turk (which is thought to be Akhal-Teke), one of the foundation stallions of the breed. The Trakehner has also been influenced by the Akhal-Teke, most notably by the stallion Turkmen-Atti, as has the Russian breeds Don, Budyonny, Karabair, and Karabakh. The Arabian is also thought to have had an influence by the Akhal-Teke, most noteworthy being the Syrian Arabian.

The breed suffered greatly when the Soviet Union required horses to be slaughtered for meat, which however the local Turkmen refused to eat. At one point only 2,000 horses remained and export from the Soviet Union was banned. The government of Turkmenistan now uses the horses as diplomatic presents as well as auctioning a few to raise money for improved horse breeding programs.

In the early 20th century, crossing between the Thoroughbred and the Akhal-Teke took place, aiming to create a faster long-distance racehorse. However, the Anglo Akhal-Tekes were not as resilient as their Akhal-Teke ancestors, and many died due to the harsh conditions of Central Asia. The crossbreeding was ended in 1935, after the 2,600 mile endurance race from Ashkabad to Moscow, when the pure-breds finished in much better condition than the part-breds. The Thoroughbred cross is believed to have been so destructive to the breed that a horse with Thoroughbred ancestors must have 15 generations pass before it can be registered in the studbook. Since 1973, all foals must be blood-typed to be accepted in the stud book in order to protect the purity. A stallion not producing the right type of horse can be removed. The stud book was closed in 1975.

Uses of the Akhal-Teke

Because of the purity of the ancient breed, the Akhal-Teke is often used for developing new breeds. The Akhal-Teke, due to its natural athleticism, makes it a great sport horse, good at dressage, show jumping, eventing, racing, and endurance riding.

One such great sport horse was the Akhal-Teke stallion Absent, who won the individual gold medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics, at the young age of 8, under Sergei Filatov. He went again with Filatov to win the bronze individual medal in Tokyo in 1964, and won the Soviet team gold medal under Ivan Kalita at the 1968 Mexico Games.

Many Akhal-Tekes look like they move "above-the-bit," with the mouth about level with the rider's hands. This is mainly due to their upright necks.

Most Akhal-Tekes are found at the Tersk stud in the northern Caucasus Mountains.

Source: Wikipedia

Posted by countryturkmenistan at 1:50 PM
Tuesday, 28 June 2005
Ukraine to pay 100% Cash for Turkmen Gas Deliveries
Topic: Economy & business
Ashgabat, 24 June 2005 (nCa) --- It was decided Friday during a meeting between President Niyazov and the Ukrainian delegation headed by Chairman of NeftegazUkrainy that in future Ukraine would pay 100% cash for the natural gas it buys from Turkmenistan. Barter element has been eliminated.

According to the document signed between the two countries, starting 1 July 2005 Ukraine would pay entirely in cash for the gas volumes it obtains from Turkmenistan.

The new price – actually the old price of December 2004 level, sans barter element – would be US $ 44 per 1000 cubic meters.

It must be recalled that up to December 2004, Turkmenistan was shipping its volumes to Ukraine at US $ 44 per 1000 cubic meters but the supplies were halted because of the concerns that Ukraine was charging unrealistically high prices for the items it supplied under gas-for-goods plan. The arrangements then allowed for 50% payment in cash and 50% in the shape of goods and services.

When Turkmenistan stopped gas supplies to Ukraine on 1 January 2005, the problem was resolved after three rounds of negotiations by agreeing that the supplies would be resumed to Ukraine at US $ 58 per 1000 cubic meters. Barter element remained in place.

However, as it turned out later, Turkmenistan again had the reason to complain that Ukraine was not keeping to its end of the bargain. A circular issued by the foreign office of Turkmenistan asserted that Ukraine had failed to supply items worth about US $ 600 million for the barter portion of gas volumes. Most of the accumulated debt was incurred during the first five months of this year.

There were also bitter complaints that Ukraine was again charging very high prices for the barter items. At one point, President Niyazov called it a “mechanism for swindling”.

During the last one week some top officials of the oil and gas sector of Turkmenistan were fired for being instrumental in obtaining exorbitantly priced items from Ukraine, presumably because of some personal gratification.

The new documents signed this Friday would bring transparency to the process of exporting Turkmen gas to Ukraine.

Turkmenistan has reduced the gas price from US $ 58 to US $ 44 per 1000 cubic meters but the entire payment must now be made in hard cash.

Moreover, under the new understanding between the two countries, Ukraine must clear the outstanding log of barter items by December 2005. It is also stipulated in the documents signed today that prices of items supplied under this scheme must be “similar to average world market prices.”

Turkmenistan would not allow any rise in the prices until the outstanding debt is cleared.

The new agreement comes in force on 1 July 2005 and would remain valid in 2006.

Even though Ukraine had rejected categorically a few days ago any possibility for switching to 100% cash payment, it was clear by this afternoon that Ukraine would prefer long-term partnership with Turkmenistan rather than short sighted squabbles.

In all, four documents were signed during Niyazov-Ivchenko meeting. These include revised payment system, supplementary agreement on delivery of barter goods by 31 December 2005, increase in the volume of investment gas from 4.5 bcm to 5 bcm for 2006 and allocation of investment gas to Ukrainian companies working in Turkmenistan.

Alexi Ivchenko, head of NaftegazUkrainy, signed the documents on behalf of his government.

Posted by countryturkmenistan at 10:45 AM
Friday, 24 June 2005
Turkmenistan Schoolchildren Win a Gold and Two Silver Medals at International Olympiad
Topic: Health, Education, Social
02 June 2005. Senior pupils from Turkmenistan Dovrangeldi Hudayberdiev, Shatlyk Ashiraliev and Rustam Allakov won a gold and two silver medals at the 7th International Mathematic Olympiad held in Almaty (Kazakhstan). More than 100 best young mathematicians from 21 countries took part in the prestigious intellectual contest.

The original mathematic projects presented by the Turkmen pupils and their rich knowledge in computer science and other subjects were direct results of the new educational policy pursued in our country and experience acquired by the representatives of Turkmenistan in the similar international Olympiads. It should be noted that purposeful education of the talented and gifted children is also of great importance. During the years of independence the participation of the Turkmen pupils in the prestigious intellectual contests directed to the development of the scientific and creative potential of the youth has become traditional.

State Information Agency of Turkmenistan (TDH)

Posted by countryturkmenistan at 10:34 AM
Thursday, 23 June 2005
Turkmen carpet weaving
Topic: Turkmen Traditions
Turkmen arts and crafts witnessed uneven development of various specialties. They had high esthetic and technical qualities, especially among herders. This included embroidery of clothing, especially wool leggings - jorab, purses and carpets.

Turkmen carpets are especially famous. They were produced by all tribes in present-day Turkmenistan with the exception of the non-Turkmen nukhurli tribes.

A Turkmen carpet is not only a work of art, but also a necessary thing for every day life. The carpets had their own uses: haly - carpets for decoration of dwellings; namazlyk - small carpets for prayer; and gapykilim, ensi - medium sized carpets used for curtaining of entrance and yurts. Besides that, carpet goods included different bags - torba, which people used to hang on the walls of buildings or yurts for keeping house utensils; other bags - chuval, maprach - for dresses, clothes and other belongings. At the same time these bags were used with a decorative purposes, such as saddle bags - horzuun, and finally, there were decorative ornaments - osmaldyk, halyk - for camel bale, as well as various carpet bands - akyup, golan (polam) 10-15m in length and 20-40m in width used for decorating inside walls of yurts and for fixing outside felt covers.

The carpets of separate large tribes were different in their patterns and manufacturing styles. The most popular ones belonged to tekins (Turkomen) and pendins (salyrs). Though yomut carpets were original and have beautiful patterns and colors, they were not so popular in the world market. All Turkmen carpets are similar in colorings and style, and differ from other national carpets. The major color of Turkmen carpets is red, and the color spectrum goes from dark-cherry (pendin carpets) to scarlet (tekins). Other colors used are black and white, and yomuts used blue color for carpets as well. White gradually becomes ivory, and red colors slightly fade, giving old carpets a specific lightness and coloring harmony.

By the end of the 19th c, the Turkmen used only natural, very strong dyes for coloring of wool. Later they started to use cheaper, weaker aniline dyes, which considerably affected the color range. The patterns had a geometrical shape, and each big tribe had its own distinctive type. Big carpets have a clearly visible division on the central part and borders. In the center one can see octagonal figures and rhombs filled in with patterns. Yomut carpets have patterns like cogged rhomb-shaped rosettes. According to the opinion of carpet expert Moshkova V.G the central pattern, called gel', represented the tribe emblem with the image of a totem in the old days.

The edging consists of ordinary conventionalized geometrical, and sometimes plant motives. The carpets produced at the end of the 19th c and beginning of the 20th c do not contain very many geometrical shapes of animals and plants. Old carpets manufactured hundred years ago were showing everyday life scenes. The yomut strips of carpet were especially interesting in this regard. They showed migration and other scenes. The museum of ethnography of the USSR in St Petersburg keeps an old yomut strip of carpet which reflects a return from a foray - alaman. The modern yomut carpets also contain geometrical plant patterns.

The Turkmen carpets can be divided into fleecy (chitme technique) and non-fleecy (kakma technique). Along with these main types, there are intermediate type, where fleecy patterns are made on a non-fleecy background.

In fact the carpets, carpet bags and decorations for camels are produced in a fleecy way. The Turkmen fleecy carpets are of a high quality; they have thick knots and a short nap. Yomuts are mostly non-fleecy. They include big floor covers, kit-bags - chuval, as well as carpet strips for surrounding wooden frames of yurts and outside cane mats (duzi, bilyup, etc.). However the most beautiful carpet strips, which are now very rare, had patterns on a non-fleecy background. This was the way yomuts produced golan and akyup carpet strips. Strips had very specific drawings: their geometrical pattern goes on white background and changes along the whole length several times. The main picture of this pattern reminds one of a branching tree, strongly conventionalized. These combined strips are very close to Karakalpak ones. Significantly often the Turkmen start using other type of strips for securing yurts: they have colored patterns on a white background. In spite of the variety of carpet forms, the manufacture techniques were not complicated. The carpets were produced on a horizontally installed loom, a very ordinary device.

Two pairs of stakes were hammered into the ground according to the size of the planned carpet. Behind the stakes there were fixed two beams for stretching the main part of the carpet. For thread shifting they used a stick with loops catching one part of the base, and a small board. A stick with loops was installed on forks hammered into the ground, or on handmade loam columns. In order to keep base threads immovable, they fixed them by loam to the stick. Woof thread was taken through by hand without a shuttle. For hammering the woof, people used a massive iron comb with a wooden handle. They cut the nap with scissors made by local craftsmen.

This delicate technique did not allow fast work. It took a month of hard work for a Turkmen woman to weave a 4-5 m carpet. For wide carpets, several women worked, sitting in a row.

During cold times the loom was installed inside a special yurt. In summer it was installed under a shed. Mainly, carpets were produced during the warm period of the year, as it was difficult to work in winters. Threads were made gradually, and mainly of sheep wool cut in spring.

Now carpet weaving is becoming more popular but is done in special artels. Weavers have learned new techniques (vertical weaving) and new patterns. The carpets are made to order.


Felt works are also made, but are not so outstanding as those of the Kazakhs, Kirgiz and Karakalpaks.

Reed mats are used as frames. Layers of wool are spread, soaked and rolled on them. The mat is tied round with a rope and the rolling continues, sometimes with the help of a horse. The felt is removed, turned over and rolled by hand.

The mats are used as bedding and cover for the lower part of the yurt, with the felt on top. They are woven on primitive devices with thick thread. This is different from techniques of the Uzbeks and Tajiks. Their nomadic lifestyle gave preference to felt ornament on carpets and purses - keche.

Ornamented felts - keche - have extremely interesting and peculiar patterns. The main pattern, which frames the central part, is called sary ichyan (yellow scorpion), saylan (election) or gochak (ram horn). The central field is usually occupied by 2-4 large circles, which have different names in various tribes. The central pattern's name is the name of the felt. Yomut-djafarbays and inhabitants of the Caspian Sea coast have two-sided ornamented felts - goshma keche. The local crafts women are considered to be the most skillful in making felts. Felt items by Turkmen-Saryks were especially prized. They are produced in settled areas now as well. Turkmen herders of sheep produced the most felt, both monotone and ornamented.

The manufacturing process is mainly the same like in other regions of Central Asia; felt production is only a women's occupation.

New ornaments are now used. Carpet making became an industry, but it is still done as a handicraft.


Posted by countryturkmenistan at 12:16 PM

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