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Viewing cable 10ASHGABAT111, TURKMENISTAN: CAT IMPLICATED IN PRESIDENTIAL

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10ASHGABAT111 2010-01-22 11:11 2010-12-01 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Ashgabat
VZCZCXRO5073
PP RUEHAG RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDBU RUEHLH RUEHNEH RUEHPW RUEHROV RUEHSL
RUEHSR
DE RUEHAH #0111/01 0221144
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 221144Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4113
INFO RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 6155
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 3840
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 3699
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 4399
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHMCSUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 4324
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ASHGABAT 000111

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR SCA/CEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/21/2020
TAGS: PGOV SOCI TX
SUBJECT: TURKMENISTAN: CAT IMPLICATED IN PRESIDENTIAL
SECURITY INCIDENT

Classified By: Charge Sylvia Reed Curran, Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) SUMMARY: There have been reports about a recent
incident in which a motorist crossed an intersection
in front President Berdimuhamedov's motorcade as it
moved through Ashgabat. Several high ranking police
officials were fired after the incident, and the
driver of the vehicle was reportedly beaten and
charged with attempted assassination. In another
incident, a military official was fired after a cat
ran in front of the president's car as he was
traveling to his dacha. Rumors are also circulating
that there was an assassination attempt against
Berdimuhamedov last summer, which was immediately
followed by heightened security measures. END
SUMMARY.

2. (C) A police captain from the Diplomatic Security
Department of the Ministry of Interior, often assigned
to duty at the Embassy compound, told Embassy
political assistant about the incident in December
involving the president's motorcade. A motorist
allegedly drove through a blocked-off intersection in
front of the President's cortege in Ashgabat. It is
not known how the car managed to bypass the police and
Ministry of National Security (MNB) officers that
cordon off the streets where the president's motorcade
is going to pass. One ex-traffic police officer
believes that the driver either ignored the officer
blocking the street and simply by-passed him, or knew
the officer personally and tried, unsuccessfully, to
get through before the motorcade arrived.

3. (C) According to yet another source, the driver
was a resident of Mary, driving a relative's car with
Ashgabat license plates. It is possible the
provincial driver was unfamiliar with local
regulations. The driver was alone in the car. He was
quickly stopped by presidential security and
bodyguards before he even got close to the president's
vehicle. The driver was reportedly "beaten black and
blue" before being transported to an MNB detention
facility. According to some, he was charged with
attempted assassination and sentenced to 25 years in
prison. The acting head of Ashgabat's traffic police
department and his two deputies were fired the next
day. (NOTE: The fired acting head of the Asghabat
police force, Major Babamyrat, is a neighbor of an
Embassy employee and confirmed having lost his job in
December. END NOTE) The traffic police officer
responsible for blocking the street in question was
also jailed.

4. (C) Another incident reportedly occurred two
months ago that was feared to be an assassination
attempt. It was committed by a cat that ran in front
of the President's car as he was traveling to his
residence in the village of Archibil. (NOTE: Archabil,
20 kilometers from Ashgabat, is located in the
foothills of the Kopet Dag Mountains and is surrounded
by forest. END NOTE) A military lieutenant reported
that an officer from the Presidential Security
Regiment, responsible for safeguarding that particular
area, was fired the following day.

5. (C) COMMENT: Presidential security measures
appear to have been heightened in recent weeks. Even
streets and parking lots located several blocks from
the motorcade's route are blocked off, and any
vehicles or pedestrians in the vicinity deemed
suspicious are stopped and questioned. There are also
rumors circulating that an assassination attempt
against the president took place during a visit last
August to Balkan Province. Whether or not there is
any truth to the rumor, we have noted that since

ASHGABAT 00000111 002 OF 002


last summer, the President's security detail
has become more professional and has increased
the security cordon around President at events.
END COMMENT.
CURRAN