Explosions and Openings
"On July 7 powerful explosions in Abadan shook Turkmenistan’s political landscape. Following clear attempts to cover up the incident, a few days later the Turkmen regime had to admit that the incident had caused 'some casualties.' Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov demoted several government ministers, threatening them with a military tribunal.
"Ironically, on the day of the incident, Berdimuhamedov expressed his willingness to cooperate with the opposition and allow them to participate in the presidential elections in February next year. 'We are ready for a dialogue with groups that identify themselves as ‘opposition.’ If any of them wish to participate in the upcoming presidential election, they can be sure to return to Turkmenistan. I guarantee that for them, as for the citizens of our country, equal opportunities will be created to participate in the elections,' Berdimuhamedov said during his meeting with government officials (www.turkmenistan.ru, July 9)."
Wisely and predictably, opposition leaders don't fully trust the Turkmen government, and the official version of the Abadan explosions is widely doubted. The blasts were probably associated with weapons supplies, and Russian media reported casualty figures over 1000.