New York- The 2nd half of the Noiser Podcasts production on the life, obscurantist rule, and death of President Saparmurat Niyazov is out this week. As I stated in my previous post since I didn’t shoot a single photo during my Turkmen travels in 2001 I had to brainstorm how to illustrate this short entry. I turned to my scrapbook where I have currencies from the various regimes I visited during the late 90s and early period of the terror wars.
Neutral Türkmenistan, as it was certified in 1995, was by far the strangest place I visited at the time for how incredibly repressive it was. I’ll never forget checking into the Hotel Türkmenistan and finding out that the internet had been banned in relation to some supposed feud Turkmenbashy was having with Türk Telecom at the time. After a month of covering the war in Afghanistan without a satellite phone, all I pined for upon reaching Ashgabat was to communicate with home. I went over to the Sheraton Grand Türkmen hoping for a different answer to my query. I was politely told that men from the regime had recently come to the hotel’s modest business centre and confiscated the computers they had on had for guests.
It would only get weirder.