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ASHGABAT, July 3 (Itar-Tass) - A new law On Citizenship forbidding dual citizenship in the country came into effect in Turkmenistan on Wednesday.
Its Article Five says “the citizen of Turkmenistan is not entitled to any other country’s citizenship” and “if a Turkmen citizen has citizenship of some other state, he or she is regarded only as citizen of Turkmenistan in line with the Turkmen legislation”.
The new law has got Article 41 “Right to Choose Citizenship” which gives the people reaching the age of 18 “the right to choose the citizenship of Turkmenistan or that of a different country”.
The new provisions are addressed to more than 43,000 people living in Turkmenistan and having both Turkmen and Russian citizenship. They received the latter in accordance with the Agreement on Dual Citizenship which the presidents of Russia and Turkmenistan, Boris Yeltsin and Saparmurat Niyazov, signed in December 1993.
On April 10, 2003, Moscow and Ashgabat agreed to terminate the agreement on dual citizenship and presidents Saparmurat Niyazov and Vladimir Putin signed a protocol on that. In the same month Turkmenistan ratified it, demanding from the citizens with two passports to choose one citizenship. Russia said this demand was unlawful and refused to ratify the protocol. Meanwhile, in 2006 and then in 2008 Turkmenistan fixed in the Constitution the provision saying that “the national of Turkmenistan is not entitled to any other country’s citizenship”. In 2007, Article 9 On Dual Citizenship was removed from the law On Citizenship of 1992.
Up till the present moment, the condition of people having dual citizenship was on the agenda of all Turkmen-Russian consultations and talks. They have become more active this year, when the migration service of Turkmenistan announced that starting from July 10 the foreign passport of citizen of Turkmenistan becomes the only document for travels abroad. This document was not issued for people with dual citizenship and they were automatically banned from travelling abroad. Prior to this date a dual national had no problems with visa-free trips to Russia if he had the Turkmen and Russian foreign passports in effect.
By the present time, an agreement has been reached at the summit level that if the State Duma ratifies the protocol, Turkmenistan will provide with new foreign passports all appealing for it, irrespective of when the applicants acquired dual citizenship. Ashgabat recognizes the status of dual citizenship for all people who acquired it before the present moment. At the same time, since the protocol comes into effect, dual citizenship will not be granted any more.
From June 17, the Turkmen migration service began receiving applications for foreign passports from people with Russian citizenship acquired before 2003.