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After Turkmenbashi: The Future of Turkmenistan and Central Asia

Recorded on January 16, 2007

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

The death of Saparmurad Niyazov, the bizarre dictator of Turkmenistan, self-named Turkmenbashi (the head of Turkmens), opens a window of opportunity for the reclusive Central Asian nation. Turkmenistan is sitting on the fifth largest natural gas reserves in the world and is the key gas supplier for lucrative Russian gas trade with Europe, including Ukraine. Turkmenistan is also strategically located, bordering Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and the Caspian Sea, the conduit for Central Asian oil and gas.

Turkmenistan's people were denied basic political and economic freedoms during the erratic twenty year rule by Turkmenbashi. They deserve better. Our distinguished panel will examine the repercussions of Turkmenbashi's transition for Central Asia and U.S. interests in the region and will offer insights and policy recommendations during this sensitive time.