Turkmen students might not come to AUCA
Several Turkmen friends told me that students from Turkmenistan coming to attend 2009/2010 academic year at the American University of Central Asia (AUCA) are being stopped at the airport of Ashgabat, capital of Turkmenistan.
Its mostly first year students*, who are going to AUCA for the fist time, and those who have not served in the army yet (military service is required in Turkmenistan). Border officials at the airport customs are asking students to collect “all required documents to leave the country for studying.”
As my Turkmen friends say, ACCELS promised Turkmen students to provide with necessary documents to cross the border and come to Bishkek to continue their studies at AUCA.
Why Turkmen officials would stop students coming to study at the American university in Kyrgyz capital? Two answers come to my mind straight off:
1 – Students are powerful mass, and Turkmen officials know it. I guess that the latter do not want the “future of country”, the way Central Asian leaders like to refer to youth, to be “brainwashed” by imperialists and capitalists, who teach at the American University of Central Asia.
2- It might be that Turkmen government does not want youth from Turkmenistan to witness and/or experience a freedom of assembly. Political opposition of Kyrgyzstan is promising to start open-ended demonstrations throughout the country on July 29, 2009. History shows how successful demonstrations can be in Kyrgyzstan – it was mass demonstrations that made ex-president Askar Akaev give up presidency and flee the country in March 2005 during so-called Tulip revolution. And students played a great role in it. It is possible that Turkmen authorities fear the color revolution to be exported to Turkmenistan.
Anyway, the real reasons of Turkmen authorities to stop students are unknown. These are ideas that came to me straight off when I heard the news. Give your possible reasons in comments section.
* Literally, they are not freshmen. Since Turkmenistan decreased the school education (secondary education) from 11 to 10 years, all Turkmen students coming to study at AUCA are required to study11th year of high school in Kyrgyz schools to meet the Kyrgyz Education Ministry’s requirements.