Monday, September 03, 2012 -
U.S. Peace Corps volunteers will leave Turkmenistan for good later this month, and the program in the Central Asian state will be closed permanently this December, the U.S. Embassy in the Turkmen capital Ashgabat said on Friday.
“After nearly 20 years of partnership with the people and government of Turkmenistan, Peace Corps will phase out its program in Turkmenistan by the end of 2012,” the statement reads.
“Currently, there are 18 serving volunteers in Turkmenistan. They will complete their service in September and the Peace Corps administrative office in Ashgabat will close in December.”
Problems emerged earlier this year, when Turkmen officials refused to extend the visas of those volunteers already in the country in April.
The Turkmen foreign ministry also reportedly then sent a note to the U.S. government and demanded the removal of the volunteer troupe, which works in medical facilities and schools.
Turkmenistan had previously interfered with the Peace Corps – in September 2011, the Turkmen government refused to allow volunteers into the country despite the fact that they possessed valid visas.
The U. S. Peace Corps removed volunteers from Kazakhstan in November 2011 and ended the program, giving no formal response. However, several volunteers spoke of several instances of sexual assault on the Peace Corps staff during their tenure in the Central Asian state.