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Turkmenistan, ten years of living dangerously

  • Written by Davide Cancarini

ASHGABAT (TCA) — December 2016 marked an important anniversary for Turkmenistan: ten years since the country’s autocratic ruler Saparmyrat Niyazov passed away in December 2006, giving the way to power to the current president, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov. During the last decade he has tried to change, at least on a propaganda level, Turkmenistan's place within the international system, but failing to achieve the main objective: diversification of Turkmen gas export routes.

Read more: Turkmenistan, ten years of living dangerously

Kazakhstan: outcome of Syria talks in Astana

  • Written by Charles van der Leeuw

BISHKEK (TCA) — Is Astana going to become a regular meeting point for squabbling parties in troubled corners of the world, shooting it out at home but inclined to compromise to spare lives and economies? The results of the talks on the situation in Syria, which ended with mostly a confirmation of the status quo excluding any outlook of a longer-term political situation in Syria, are an ambiguous indication of such a prospect. UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura was quoted as stating: "Kazakhstan, under the leadership of President (Nursultan) Nazarbayev, has provided a remarkable contribution to our efforts to push for peace in Syria."

Read more: Kazakhstan: outcome of Syria talks in Astana

Can an ambitious India seize the moment?

  • Written by Stratfor

BISHKEK (TCA) — On 26th January India will celebrate its national day. It will be a day of celebration and confrontation between great achievements and the ambition to become a global player. Problems at home, as fiscal constraints and a demographic explosion, limit the country’s investment and economic development, and although New Delhi has been looking internationally for a quite some time, it has so far not been able to develop a proper strategy toward Central Asia. There is no doubt that a more result oriented policy toward an expanded Central Asia may help India achieve a better result and undisputed links for its business. The situation with Pakistan and China is far from being resolved, and it certainly restrains additional investments and creates barriers toward a global role for India irrespective of its consistent economic growth. The Times of Central Asia is republishing this article of Stratfor under its Geopolitical Diary:

Read more: Can an ambitious India seize the moment?

Syria talks in Kazakhstan: a possible breakthrough

  • Written by Douglas Green

LONDON (TCA) — What is at stake at the upcoming negotiations in Astana between the parties involved in the terrible civil war in Syria? The fact that the Syrian government and most (though not all) of the so-called moderate opposition have promised to be present means little. Those “moderate” groups are in fact armed militias grouped around political chiefs after the notorious model of Lebanon during its 16-year civil war. Iran, Turkey, Russia and most European states appear to be willing to live with that. Two wildcards remain: the USA and Saudi Arabia.

Read more: Syria talks in Kazakhstan: a possible breakthrough

Cause of Kyrgyzstan air crash points to poor navigation control, due to financial woes

  • Written by Douglas Green

LONDON (TCA) — Was it “human error”? Was it “technical”? Or was it just the fog? Whatever caused the terrible accident with the Turkish Boeing that crashed on a Kyrgyz village on January 16 should be revealed after the black boxes have been examined. What is probably almost certain is that Kyrgyzstan’s air navigation services are not always functioning as they should.

Read more: Cause of Kyrgyzstan air crash points to poor navigation control, due to financial woes

Regional solutions key for Asia-Pacific’s transition to sustainable energy

  • Written by Dr. Shamshad Akhtar

BISHKEK (TCA) — As the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) established an intergovernmental Committee on Energy that will meet for the first time in Bangkok 17-19 January, we are publishing this OP-ED by Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, an Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Executive Secretary of ESCAP:

Read more: Regional solutions key for Asia-Pacific’s transition to sustainable energy

Kyrgyzstan continues borrowing, fails to attract FDI and develop production

  • Written by Maria Levina

BISHKEK (TCA) — Kyrgyzstan’s development results for 2016 are encouraging because the country has not faced major upheavals. According to Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev, Kyrgyzstan has shown the best results in terms of economic growth among the CIS countries according to international statistical standards.

Read more: Kyrgyzstan continues borrowing, fails to attract FDI and develop production

2016 economic overview: Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan

  • Written by Douglas Green

LONDON (TCA) — For people in the heart of Central Asia, and especially those bearing state responsibilities, determining one’s fears means looking south and determining one’s hopes means looking north and east. Governments now pin their hope on regional economic integration, but that remains easier to profess than to make it happen.

Read more: 2016 economic overview: Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan

White collar crime in Central Asia: the case of Kazakhstan (part 4)

  • Written by Douglas Green

LONDON (TCA) — “Classical” cases such as the massive amounts of money embezzled by former BTA bank chief Mukhtar Ablyazov and ex-mayor of Almaty Viktor Khrapunov have been haunting Kazakh law enforcers for well over a decade. But white collar crime, meaning not bribes and extortions but straightforward swindle and theft, have become endemic in Kazakhstan during the last couple of years.

Read more: White collar crime in Central Asia: the case of Kazakhstan (part 4)

White collar crime in Central Asia: the case of Uzbekistan (part 3)

  • Written by Charles van der Leeuw

BISHKEK (TCA) — In Kazakhstan, a crooked private entrepreneurial sector emerged in the early years of independence and “poisoned” the state-run part of the economy. In Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, the opposite happened as corrupt regimes entangled the private sector, forcing entrepreneurs to comply with white collar crime in state echelons and thus become involved in it themselves. The case of Uzbekistan is more complicated, since it appears to involve international fraud chains along with local culprits.

Read more: White collar crime in Central Asia: the case of Uzbekistan (part 3)

White collar crime in Central Asia: the case of Tajikistan (part 2)

  • Written by Abdul Aziz

OSH, Kyrgyzstan (TCA) — Traumatized by a six-year civil war and next door to terror-haven Afghanistan, Tajikistan seems to be a most unlikely place for uppity crime to flourish. Yet, it does. In contrast to most other former Soviet republics, where white collar crime in the private sector and state corruption have developed independently, Tajikistan is an example of endemic fraud in the private sector which originates from embezzlement of state funds.

Read more: White collar crime in Central Asia: the case of Tajikistan (part 2)

Transport a pivotal sector in Asia and the Pacific’s journey to sustainability

  • Written by Dr. Shamshad Akhtar

BISHKEK (TCA) — As the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) organized the Ministerial Conference on Transport from 5-9 December in Moscow, Russia, we are publishing this article by Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, the UN ESCAP’s Executive Secretary:

Read more: Transport a pivotal sector in Asia and the Pacific’s journey to sustainability

White collar crime in Central Asia: the case of Kyrgyzstan (part 1)

  • Written by Charles van der Leeuw

BISHKEK (TCA) — White collar crime is a global problem, but there is no such thing as a global solution. Transnational law is powerless and even often abused by criminals rather than helping to bring them to justice. This means that national jurisdictions can only prosecute and try major-scale fraudsters and embezzlers on their territory, while the perpetrators freely move themselves and their bounties in offshore havens. This article is the first part of a series of four articles covering the issue in Central Asian countries.

Read more: White collar crime in Central Asia: the case of Kyrgyzstan (part 1)

SPECA cooperation offers Central Asia a better pathway to achieve Sustainable Development Goals

  • Written by Dr. Shamshad Akhtar

BISHKEK (TCA) — As countries of the Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA) convened last week under the chairmanship of Azerbaijan in Ganja, we are publishing this article by Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of ESCAP:

Read more: SPECA cooperation offers Central Asia a better pathway to achieve Sustainable Development Goals

Astana Expo-2017: a race against time

  • Written by Douglas Green

LONDON (TCA) — Deadlines have never been taken too seriously in Kazakhstan, and the quarter-century delay in the construction of the Almaty Underground and the Kashagan offshore oil drama are just examples of it. Due to such long hauls, projects are overtaken by economic and other realities – and the Expo 2017, the event that should put Kazakhstan and its capital Astana in the spotlight once and for all, seems to be no exception to it.

Read more: Astana Expo-2017: a race against time

Afghanistan: Trump faces impossible US mission between corruption and military deadlock

  • Written by Abdul Aziz

OSH, Kyrgyzstan (TCA) — “The United States has spent some $115 billion in aid for Afghanistan, but 15 years after the hardline Islamist Taliban were toppled after the Sept. 11 attacks, a third of the country is out of government control and security forces are struggling,” Reuters wrote in a recent article.

Read more: Afghanistan: Trump faces impossible US mission between corruption and military deadlock

Trump triumph and Central Asia connections: a chorus of congratulations from Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan

  • Written by Douglas Green

LONDON (TCA) — Does the average citizen of a former Soviet republic of Central Asia have to worry about his country’s future prospect in relation to the election of a new President of the United States? One thing looks certain: Donald Trump’s arrival may deepen the gap between intervention-minded and isolationist groups within the America’s higher political and administrative echelons. Which side will gain the upper hand – Trump or no Trump – is an issue just one election does not determine, but it is crucial regarding the expectations of Central Asia and the world powers surrounding it.

Read more: Trump triumph and Central Asia connections: a chorus of congratulations from Kazakhstan,...

Political changes and volatility in Central Asia: focus on Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan

  • Written by George Voloshin

BISHKEK (TCA) — As Central Asia’s political ground has been shifting in recent months, and years, we are republishing this article by George Voloshin, originally published by The Jamestown Foundation’s Eurasia Daily Monitor:

Read more: Political changes and volatility in Central Asia: focus on Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan,...

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