Leader of Birdamlik Party Bakhodir Khan Turkiston in 2014; photos by C-1
The People’s Democratic Movement Birdamlik of Uzbekistan was reorganised to a Party, and Bakhodir Khan Turkiston was elected its leader for a four years term – everything was done at a virtual Congress …
The People’s Democratic Party of Uzbekistan Birdamlik was established on the 15 of November 2018 at its virtual Congress, held using different messengers and telephone communications.
During the online-Congress, the founder of the Birdamlik movement Bakhodir Khan Turkiston (formerly – Bokhodir Choriyev – note by C-1) was in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan, while his associates were in various villages and town of Uzbekistan.
The Birdamlik members were forced to have to use modern communication means after the event when the authorities of Uzbekistan had not allowed them to meet in Tashkent, and then with the help of their colleagues they disrupted the Congress in RK, which was to be held recently in Shymkent, a town in a southern Kazakhstan.
Bakhodir Khan Turkiston, who had founded the Birdamlik Movement in 2004, told C-1 that about 45 of his delegates took part at the virtual Congress, while it was impossible to establish quality and stable communication with the rest of the members.
In the end, they achieved everything that had been planned to do for the meeting in the Dostyk Hotel conference-hall in Shymkent. The management and activists of the Movement made speeches with their reports on what had been done so far, then proceeded with discussion of the Birdamlik Party Programme and Charter, which they approved and then they elected Bakhodir Khan Turkiston chairman of the new political union for a four years term – till 2022.
The People’s Democratic Party Birdamlik set economic efflorescence of Uzbekistan and fight with poverty and misery as their priority objective. The Party will be fighting for secular Uzbekistan, where political and civilian freedoms will be guaranteed for all citizens.
Worse than he had expected
According Turkiston, the fact that Uzbek authorities did not allow Birdamlik members to meet even in the territory of a neighbouring country was not a shock for him: he had predicted something similar, however, he thinks what had happened was worse than his worst expectations.
“I had booked and paid hotel rooms for 60 people, but thought that will have to hold the congress with a maximum of ten people (knowing the most people would not be let leave Uzbekistan), but the fact that none of my colleagues could stay in Shymkent and I would be refused entry to Kazakhstan – I could not imagine,” – shared Bakhodir.
Turkiston thinks that he Kazakh authorities wouldn’t have bothered about Birdamlik Congress if Tashkent wouldn’t have asked them for help. The leader of Birdamlik is of opinion that participation of Kazakhstan officials in suppression of ordinary freedoms of citizens of Uzbekistan does not do any favour either to the country or its management.
He adds that by the time of holding the Congress, the Kazakh officials even blocked Birdamlik web-sites.
Tashkent and competition are not compatible
According to Turkiston, disruption of meeting a secular democratic opposition of Uzbekistan by joint efforts of authorities of the two countries indicates “remoteness” of the new leaders in Tashkent from serious reforms. “The government in Uzbekistan continues fearing competition, and therefore, they do not think of the country, but are concerned only about their unlimited and uncontrolled management,”- says Turkiston.
A week before the planned date of the Congress in Shymkent, dozens of Birdamlik members started experiencing pressure in Uzbekistan: some were blocked at their homes at the level of area police officers, while authorities confiscated passports of some other members, and the third category people were given claims for monetary debts. Those, who eventually could leave the country, were returned at the checkpoints (CP) initially of Uzbekistan and later of Kazakhstan. In the end, only four Birdamlik members could reach Shymkent Dostyk Hotel on the 14 of November, but they all were almost immediately detained by the National Security Committee (NSC) of RK and deported back home. On the 11 of November, Turkiston himself was not allowed to enter the territory of Kazakhstan at his attempt of legal crossing of Kyrgyz Republic and Republic of Kazakhstan near Bishkek. There is a stamp of deportation from Kazakhstan in passport of a citizen of the USA.
Attempts of the opposition leader appeal the deportation at the embassy of RK in Bishkek was unsuccessful: he did not manage to reach Shymkent.