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Cablegate: Turkmenistan: State Media Highlight Ifes Pre-Election

VZCZCXRO9470
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLH RUEHLN RUEHLZ
RUEHNEH RUEHPW RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHAH #1616 3531000
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 181000Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2009
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 3152
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 2402
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 2267
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 4598
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 2846
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS ASHGABAT 001616

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/CEN, SCA/PPD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL EAID ECON EPET KPAO OIIP RS TX
SUBJECT: TURKMENISTAN: STATE MEDIA HIGHLIGHT IFES PRE-ELECTION
VISIT

1. (U) Sensitive but unclassified. Not for public Internet.

2. (SBU) SUMMARY: Turkmenistan's state media and some
international news agencies highlighted U.S. International
Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) early December visit to
Turkmenistan. Although this was a visit that post did not promote
with state media, the Turkmen government clearly sought to highlight
this visit as part of an overall focus on promoting the legitimacy
of the December parliamentary elections. END SUMMARY.

MEDIA HIGHLIGHT IFES MEETING AT STATE ELECTION COMMISSION

3. (SBU) The December 3 articles on the front pages of state-run
dailies "Neytralniy Turkmenistan" (Russian, circ. 44,991) and
"Turkmenistan" (Turkmen, circ. 33,391) highlighted IFES December 2
meeting at Turkmenistan's Central Election Commission. The story
noted that the two IFES visitors talked about their work supporting
electoral reform in other countries. In addition, state media
placed the IFES visit in the context of visits from the UNDP and
OSCE, which planned to have a limited monitoring role in the
December 14 parliamentary elections. Similar articles were posted
on government website "Turkmenistan Golden Age" (Turkmen, Russian,
English) and on Russia-based pro-government website
"Turkmenistan.ru" (Russian, English). In subsequent days, state
weeklies "Ahal Durmushy" (Turkmen, circ. 40,091), "Mugallymlar
Gazeti" (Turkmen, circ. 91,341), "Watan" (Turkmen, circ. 30,091) and
"Nesli" (Turkmen, circ. 29,000), ran similar stories as state
dailies, highlighting the meeting. State print outlets gave
generally accurate coverage on the meeting.

SMALL RESPONSE IN INTERNATIONAL MEDIA

4. (U) December 3 Russian "Itar-Tass" (English, Russian) and "RIA
Orienda", cited Turkmen state media, in similar stories on the IFES
visit. Azeri "Trend" (English) news stories from December 3-4 also
gave coverage of the IFES visit based on state media reports.

MILES

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