In north-western Ashgabat, authorities ordered a new campaign of demolition of residential homes. The selected area lies between the Keshi neighborhood and the trolleybus depot of the Turkmen capital. Residents were told they can autonomously pull to pieces their homes and sell off any resulting building material (bricks, frames, slabs, etc.) before the deadline of March 15.
The demolition will take place along Magtymguly Avenue, between Tehran and Taslama streets, an area designed for the construction of new buildings according to a presidential decree approved by the government on March 2 (the so-called “16th round of reconstruction of the capital”). On Sunday, March 4, workers put up a fence around the area.
Around a dozen buildings (RFE/RL reported a hundred houses) near the avenue had already been demolished last autumn. The new wave of demolitions will target the subsequent line of buildings, but local residents said that it could affect the entire neighborhood, as far as Keshi and the trolleybus depot.
Authorities had promised local residents relocation in the apartments of the Mir neighborhood, but a shortage of available space has delayed the move.
“We were told to either move in with our relatives or rent our own apartment for the time being. What’s more, whenever they will give us an apartment, it will be a two-bedroom, compared to our current four-bedroom here. Should we ask for an equivalent space, we would have to pay an additional charge,” a local resident told ATN.
Between March and September 2015, the entire district of Gazha and the village of Choganly were demolished as part of a program to rebuild Ashgabat ahead of the 2017 Asian Games. Amnesty International calculated that around 50,000 residents lost their homes in Choganly. ATN wrote several reports on the demolitions in the village.
The new wave of demolitions could result in around 5,000 people losing their homes.