ASHGABAT — The inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington was watched and followed in countries around the world. But not in Turkmenistan.
State-run media and news sites calling themselves semiofficial in the tightly controlled Central Asian state mentioned nothing of the January 20 proceedings in the U.S. capital, according to RFE/RL correspondents.
The silence comes at odds with authoritarian President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov’s previous statements on the incoming 46th president of the United States.
Berdymukhammedov sent a letter to Biden in late November congratulating him on his election victory, saying he was “convinced that friendship, mutual understanding, and interested partnership between Turkmenistan and the United States of America will continue to be strengthened for the benefit of the peoples of both countries.”
Government critics and human rights groups say Berdymukhammedov’s government has suppressed media and dissent and made few changes in the restrictive country since he came to power after the death of autocrat Saparmurat Niyazov in 2006.