Country Listing

Turkmenistan Table of Contents


Internal Security Forces

The criminal justice system of Turkmenistan is deeply rooted in Soviet institutions and practices. Its Committee for National Security, headed by chairman Saparmurad Seidov, retains essentially the same functions, operations, and personnel of the Soviet-era KGB. As it did in the Soviet period, the Ministry of Internal Affairs continues to direct the operations of police departments and to work closely with the Committee for National Security on matters of national security.

The national police force, estimated to include 25,000 personnel, is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The force is located in cities and settlements throughout the country, with garrisons in Ashgabat, Gyzylarbat, and Dashhowuz. Police departments do not have an investigative function in Turkmenistan; that role is filled by the procurator's offices in Ashgabat and other cities (see Criminal Justice, this ch.). The police role is confined to routine maintenance of public order and to certain administrative tasks such as controlling the internal passport regime, issuing visas for foreign travel, and registering foreign guests.

At the national level, the primary security concerns are prevention of trafficking in drugs and other illegal commodities, and combatting organized and international crime. In December 1994, Turkmenistan's Committee for National Security and the Russian Federation's Foreign Intelligence Service (a successor agency to the KGB) signed a five-year agreement for cooperation in state security and mutual protection of the political, economic, and technological interests of the two states.

Data as of March 1996