Jan 23, 2008

The decline of obscurantism in Turkmenistan

Congress Centre
Achgabat- Turkmenistan

"Our flourishing nation should not stand separate from the world. It absolutely should have a worthy operatic theater and a worthy state circus."
Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov - Turkmenistan president

Can you believe opera was banned for 7 years in Turkmenistan, before Berdymukhamedov announced this week "Today a new period is starting in our country which we have called an era of great renaissance", effectively ending this ridiculous ban set by former leader Saparmurat Niyazov (who died in late 2006) ?
This announcement was made during a televised interview during which he also estimated the first opera would be performed in six or seven months. He did not mention anything regarding the return of ballet.

Where the operas would be performed remains a problem, as Niyazov also destroyed the only building available for that purpose in Archkhabad in 2001.
And one more good news for people living there: they will be able to watch movies in theaters again, as Berdymukhamedov also ended that ban.

More on the matter:

- Reuters: "Country ends ban on opera and circus"
- AP: "Opera, circus bans in Turkmenistan ended"
- International Herald Tribune (from AP): "Turkmenistan's president lifts 7-year ban on operas, circuses, citing country's development"
- Le Parisien: "Réouverture des cinémas, interdits depuis une dizaine d'années"

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