DUSHANBE, December 21, Asia-Plus - The possibility of coming of the opposition to power in Turkmenistan is not yet topical, Tajik expert Hodi Abdurasul said in an interview with Asia-Plus, commenting on the possible developments in Turkmenistan after Saparmurat Niyazov’s death. 

“At present all levers of power are in hands of people from Niyazov’s entourage,” Hodi Abdurasul said, adding that Turkmen authorities had already stated that the country will remain committed to the political course of Saparmurat Niyazov, “and it will scarcely change.”  

The expert stressed that over the years of independence relationships between Tajikistan and Turkmenistan “have not been clouded by any conflicts and one may suppose that cooperation between the two countries will expand in future as well. 

He also reminded that during the civil conflict in Tajikistan (1992-1997), Turkmen authorities provided opportunities for Tajik refugees to live and work in Turkmenistan.  Besides, in 1996, an important round of inter-Tajik negotiations was held in Ashgabat because Turkmenistan was one of guarantor states of Tajik peace process.  

“Moreover, Turkmenistan has written off a part of Tajik debt, taking into account hard economic situation in Tajikistan in the Nineties,” Hodi Abdurasul said.  

In the meantime, some Russian media report that leaders of the opposition, who have been living abroad, have said they might meet within the next few days to discuss the situation following the president’s death.  Thus, RIA Novosti reports that Khudaiberdy Orazov, a former deputy prime minister and chairman of the Vatan movement, said he had already spoken with other opposition leaders over the phone.