Republic Day is a significant date in the life of Azerbaijan. On May 28, 1918, the Declaration of Independence of Azerbaijan was proclaimed in the historical Viceroy’s Palace in that time Tiflis. Thus, the centuries-old tradition of statehood of the Azerbaijani people was revived in a new form of secular democratic republic. Becoming the first republic in the Muslim East, Azerbaijan affirmed the equal rights of all its citizens, regardless of gender, religious, ethnic or social affiliation. In the country, earlier than among many leading European nations, women's suffrage was guaranteed. All ethnic groups were represented in the Parliament of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR).
Noteworthy is such an important circumstance as – ADR closely coordinated its efforts in the foreign policy arena with the Georgian Democratic Republic. So, in 1919, our countries concluded a defensive pact against the common threat posed by Denikin’s troops. The independence of both states was de facto recognized by the Supreme Council of the Allied Powers under a decision of January 11, 1920. It is truly symbolic that the sketch of the ADR coat of arms, taken as the basis of the current coat of arms of the Republic of Azerbaijan, was proposed by Prince Alexander Shervashidze, who was then in Baku.
Alas, that time global political situation did not allow Azerbaijan to maintain its independence. In April 1920, Baku was occupied by the Red Army. And less than a year later, the Georgian Democratic Republic fell under the blows of the Bolsheviks. All this once again demonstrated that the destinies of our countries are intertwined with history. The successes of one lead to the good of the other. And vice versa, the trouble of one is reflected in the next.
Being a part of the USSR, Azerbaijan also strove to develop friendly contacts with Georgia; outstanding representatives of the intelligentsia of both countries were connected by warm and close relations. Our peoples continued to crave for each other. The crown of this cooperation was the friendship between the leaders of the republics – Heydar Aliyev and Eduard Shevardnadze, whose activities laid the foundations for the restoration of the countries’ independence.
Returning to the leadership in Azerbaijan after the collapse of the Soviet Union and taking the country away from the edge of the abyss in 1993, Heydar Aliyev began to systematically strengthen the foundations of statehood. He became a true architect of the today’s Republic of Azerbaijan, identifying key areas and a strategy for its development. It is no coincidence that the main export pipeline Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, the construction of which through the territory of Georgia became the triumph of Heydar Aliyev’s oil diplomacy, is inextricably linked with his name.
Relying on the strong foundation of modern effective statehood, the Republic of Azerbaijan, under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, has developed successes in all areas: reducing poverty from almost 45% in 2003 to less than 5% by now, developing social infrastructure, technological modernization, stimulating the non-oil sector, ensuring dynamic stability within the country and strengthening its prestige in the international arena. In this connection, it’s enough to recall at least such momentous events as the election of Azerbaijan as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council from a group of Eastern European states for 2012-2013 and the country's chairmanship in the Non-Aligned Movement, uniting 120 states, which began in 2019.
Azerbaijan is successfully building up cooperation in all significant vectors: from the European Union to the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to the Council of Europe, from NATO to UNESCO, etc. Of course, the strengthening of strategic partnership with neighboring countries occupies a special place in the system of priorities, and among them Georgia traditionally plays the role of our closest good neighbor, whose brotherhood has passed the test of the long history and the collisions of the present stage.
Our countries, like a hundred years ago, continue to coordinate their activities, invariably provide mutual support to each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Like a hundred years ago, we have similar problems, we feel common pain. One fifth of the internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan is under occupation. A fifth of Georgia’s territory has also been occupied.
The people and the state of Azerbaijan are determined to restore international law and justice, to ensure the violated rights of hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons who have been subjected to ethnic cleansing in their own country and forcibly expelled from their homes. Strengthening the Azerbaijani state’s power significantly increased the ability to assert its rights and eliminate the consequences of the illegal use of force against it. And everyone can be sure that the success of Azerbaijan in this direction will create conditions for improving the situation in the region as a whole.
Today, celebrating Republic Day, the Azerbaijani people rely on their own strengths and actively use the potential of international cooperation. We are convinced that only by developing a mutually beneficial partnership it’s possible to confidently continue forwarding on the path of progress and prosperity. In its turn, the progress and prosperity of Azerbaijan will always benefit its good neighbors and Georgia, of course, in the first instance.
Press Service of the Embassy
of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Georgia
On June 3, 2019, in Tbilisi Olympic Sports Center the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Georgia with the assistance of Georgian National bicycle federation held the cycling race dedicated to the World Bicycle Day.
The representatives of Georgian National bicycle federation, athletes and coaches of Georgia took participation in this event, which was covered by the local media.
Before the start of the race, it was noted that the World Bicycle Day was established by the Resolution of the UN General Assembly on the initiative of the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. This historical event is another evidence of growing international authority of Turkmenistan and its commitment to the principles of peace-loving, humanity and efficient cooperation.
Speakers noted that Turkmenistan pays a great attention to the development of cycling. The country realizes programme measures for the popularization of cycling and attraction of whole population especially the youth to this environmentally friendly sport. At the same time, the merit of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov - an active promoter of cycling, an initiator of regular cycling races and cycling holidays, in which the head of state participates directly, was particularly emphasized.
The participants of the cycling race noted that this sports event is another step in strengthening friendship and cooperation between our countries, as well as promoting sport and a healthy lifestyle.
Raffles University of Johor Bahru hosted a celebratory event for International Human Solidarity Day on December 29th and 30th at Capital City Mall in Malaysia. The event was co-hosted by international NGOs called Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) and International Peace Youth Group (IPYG) to raise awareness of solidarity for peace-building. Also, the Capital City joined the event in partnership.
The event included various booths, presentations and exhibitions. The Peace Letter project, one of the most-crowded booths during the event, encouraged the participants to write hand-writing letters in support of the establishment of international law for peace.
According to the volunteer of the IPYG running the booth, the letters written by the youth all over the world have been delivered to the head of each state. He added that the contents of the letters include the voice of youth urging for the legally binding document that prevents any war-like activities based on the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW).
Several schools in Malaysia including Dato Osman Awang, Mohd Khalid are known to implement peace education in their curriculum. With the aim of fostering a culture of peace through peace education, HWPL carried out a survey during the event. The participants partook in the survey that collected the demands of the citizens for implementing peace education throughout the country.
Denise, Education Consultant in Raffles University Iskandar who headed the event, said ‘I hope that this event can be an example for our students like how to organize events in future, and also to bring our students and society to a next level to more concern the world's news. And we believe this will also help our students to be more responsible to the society. ’ in regards to the expected outcome of the event.
Co-hosts IPYG and HWPL also stated ‘ First I want to thanks for all the help in this events and being our partner until the end of the event. And I do hope that we can work together next time.’.
Last weekend, over 3,000 people gathered in the city of Marneuli, in the Kvemo Kartli region of southern Georgia, for the sixth regional Europe Day organised by the EU Delegation to the country.
Festivities in Marneuli closed the Europe Day activities held in the country this year. In 2018, the EU Delegation to Georgia brought Europe Day celebrations to seven locations: the capital of Tbilisi and six regional towns.
Residents of these towns enjoyed a number of information activities, including for children, to learn about the diverse Member States of the EU and EU-Georgia cooperation. Adults had the opportunity to sample delicious food and find out more about how the EU is helping create more opportunities for Georgian citizens.
"Turkey is the largest trade partner for our country" stated Mamuka Bakhtadze, Prime Minister of Georgia at the Reception marking 95th Anniversary of the Republic Day of Turkey.
Head of Government of Georgia congratulated H.E. Fatma Ceren Yazgan, Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary Ambassador of Turkey to Georgia with the Republic Day and noted that Turkey has overcome a number of challenges throughout these 95 years and transformed into a large economic and political power.
According to the Prime Minister of Georgia, many regional and historic projects have jointly been implemented by Georgia and Turkey, including the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum (BTE), Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC), South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP) and Baku-Tbilisi-Kars BTK.
"I am thrilled that I have participated in the BTK myself" noted the Prime Minister of Georgia.
Head of Government of Georgia underlined the consistent support of Turkey since Georgia regained its independence.
"We regard Turkey as our strategic friend. At the same time, it is an idea of our international aspirations as Georgia strives to become a fully-fledged member of NATO and Turkey is a great supporter of ours in this endeavor. Hence, Ladies and Gentlemen, I once again wish to congratulate our Turkish friends with the Republic Day and wish them all the best. Friends, I wish you peace and prosperity" concluded the Prime Minister of Georgia.
Official Reception was attended by diplomatic corps accredited in Georgia, officials of non-government and international organizations, mass media, political parties and religious authorities.
Turkmenistan marked the Commemorative Day of 1948 Ashgabat Earthquake as we as of the warriors lost in the battlefields. The State flags was flying half-staff on occasion of sorrowful date across the country. Mourning prayers and food donations were held all around Turkmenistan.
Early in the morning, thousands of Ashgabat residents came to «Halk hakydasy» Memorial Complex to lay the flowers to the pedestal of «Ruhy tagzym», «Milletiň ogullary», «Baky şöhrat» monuments.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov took part in mourning flower laying ceremony to the monuments of «Halk hakydasy» Memorial Complex. The vehicle of the President stopped at the square in front of the Memorial Complex where the soldiers of the Guard of Honour have lined up.
The Head of the State was met by the Speaker of the Mejlis, Deputy Chairmen of the Cabinet of Ministers, hyakims of the velayats and capital, leaders of ministries and departments, public organizations and mass media, heads of diplomatic missions and international organizations accredited in our country, foreign businessmen, elders, students, numerous residents of the capital.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov went to designated place. National anthem of Turkmenistan was played, which was replaced with sorrow melody written by Nury Halmamedov for the movie “Kepchelek” (Bitter Destiny), which became musical symbol of the Commemorative Day.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov laid the flowers to the monuments «Ruhy tagzym», «Milletiň ogullary», «Baky şöhrat». As a sign of deep mourning, the Head of the State bowed his head. Ruthless disaster took the life of the grandfather of Turkmen leader – Berdymuhamed Annayev, the Great Patriotic War veteran, teacher and populariser of national cultural heritage, in that horrible October night in 1948.
Leaders of the Mejlis, Deputy Chairmen of the Cabinet of Ministers, hyakims of velayats and Ashgabat, heads of military and law enforcement agencies, ministries and departments, public organizations, heads and representatives of diplomatic missions accredited in Turkmenistan, foreign companies, clergymen and elders, youth, numerous residents and guests of the capital laid the wreaths and bunches of flowers were after the President of country.
Natural catastrophe caused irreparable loss to Turkmen nation. Those who survived that night of October 6, 1948, when the disaster completely destroyed Turkmen capital, have demonstrated true courage, selflessness and restraint. Common trouble consolidated the power and moral spirit of people. Today, Ashgabat is a white-marble megacity, one of the most beautiful cities of the world, oasis of peace and prosperity.
Bouquets of flowers were laid to the pedestal of «Milletiň ogullary» monument, which is the symbol of national respect of the courage and resilience of Gyoktepe Fortress defenders.
The carpet of flowers covered the foot of the monument «Baky şöhrat», which was built in honour of Turkmenistan citizens lost in combat against the fascism.
After flower laying ceremony, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and the participants went to the place of memorial repast.
Addressing the participants, the Head of the State noted that adherence to commemorative traditions is one of good traditions of our nation. Being the demonstration of humanity and morality, it consolidates the solidarity of the nation.
We deservingly continue national traditions that come from the depth of the centuries. Commemorative food donations and prayers are held on this day to honour the memory of heroes lost in the battlefields during the war and victims of Ashgabat earthquake in 1948.
Having laid the flowers to «Ruhy tagzym», «Milletiň ogullary», «Baky şöhrat» monuments, we paid tribute to the light memory of our compatriots who died in cruel wars and natural catastrophes, - the Head of the State said.
Turkmen people has survived terrible catastrophe in XX century – the Ashgabat Earthquake on 6 October 1948 night. Impact of natural disaster was merciless. Powerful earth quakes turned Ashgabat and more than 40 surrounding villages into ruins, having killed 176,000 people.
Having noted that courage, patriotism and humanity are mental features of our nation, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov highlighted that our compatriots demonstrated an example of resilience and compassion, having united and saving survived people from the ruins. Medics were fighting in hard conditions for the lives of the injured. Proper organization of rescue works, funerals of the victims, provision of the population with necessities, protection of public order allowed reducing negative impacts of the disaster. Turkmenistan citizens will always remember great support with gratitude, which was given by fraternal nations.
Continuing, the Head of the State said that our way is the way of creativeness. Prosperity of the country is provided by realization of large-scale projects and reforms in all spheres of the state life. Industrial and production, social and cultural facilities, modern houses, new villages are built and put into operation. Greatest attention is paid to development of Ashgabat to make it as international centre of political, humanitarian and business cooperation.
- We honour our prosperous life, popularize the traditions of peace-loving and friendship, improve the authority of Turkmenistan in the world arena. Our main goal is to activate multi-aspect cooperation, to consolidate the peace and friendship, to bring international relations to new level. Constructive proposals of Turkmenistan on key aspect of global and regional development have been made from the tribune of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, - President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov noted.
The Head of the State expressed the wish that all tributes to the victims of the earthquake and wars, food donations and prayers were heard and accepted by the Almighty. Let terrible natural disasters, which takes human lives, never happen again! Let good memory of the lost compatriots stays in our heart forever! – Turkmen leader highlighted.
The President of Turkmenistan gave floor to the mufti who read commemorative prayer, after which commemorative repast have taken place. Commemorative prayer was read again after its completion.
Having wished peace, prosperity and harmony to everybody, the head of the State said goodbye to the participants of the ceremony and left the place of event.
Commemorative ceremonies took place all around the country.
The state news agency of Turkmenistan
I would like to congratulate you on Turkmenistan Independence Day, which is first time observed on September 27! Independence is a solid foundation of the state sovereignty, unity and solidarity of the nation, - the message of the Head of the State to the nation says.
New history of the Motherland, all our success and achievements have begun from the independence. That is why we are proud to celebration this day as national holiday reflecting creative spirit of the epoch and inspiring for achievement of high target.
The way we chose is a way of creation, which we take our country to high levels. We successfully implement large-scale programmes and social and economic, scientific and educational, social and political reforms aimed at prosperity of the country. industrial facilities, social and cultural objects, modern living, settlements and villages are built in all regions of the country under the Programme of the President.
Our integrated reforms consolidate the bases of sovereignty, provide steadfast, multilateral and dynamic development of the economy, support fundamental improvement of social protection of the populations, - the message mentions.
We restore the Great Silk Road in the third millennium laying new motor roads and railway, building seaports and transnational gas lines uniting the nations by the contacts in cultural, scientific, educational and sport spheres. In this context, such big projects as construction of Turkmenbashy International Seaport, Turkmenabat International Airport have been accomplished, the construction of afghan part of Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan – India gas pipeline, Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan power and fibre optic line has been launched. We opened Serhetabat – Turgundy railroad. Cycling races, track and field competitions and Amul – Hazar 2018 International Rally have been successfully conducted along the roads of the Great Silk Route.
In addition, we out into operation the first combined cycle power station on the territory of Mary State Power Station, new petrochemical complex in Garabogaz, Ahal Velayat and other big facilities.
Our independent state acts in international relations under legal status of permanent neutrality for 23 years. Turkmenistan makes connection with the states and nations of the world based on the principles of friendship and good neighbourliness, which meet national interests and foreign course of the state. Independent Turkmenistan consolidates the efforts of the countries, international and regional organizations in improvement of peace and harmony of the planet, develops the relations based on mutual understanding and trust.
Such important facts as the selection of our neutral state as the member of the Bureau of the Internal Transport Committee of the United Nations European Economic Commission as well as the member of the Economic and Social Council for 2019 – 2021 have entered the chronicle of 2018. The Resolutions on support of international efforts for stabilization of the situation in Afghanistan and on Cooperation between the United Nations Organization and International Fund for Saving of Aral Sea have been adopted by the initiative of Turkmenistan. The World Bicycle Day will be observed annually on June 3 by our initiative as well. All these remarkable events became undisputable evidence of steadfast growth of international authority of neutral Turkmenistan, - the message of the President highlights.
The state news agency of Turkmenistan
The President of Turkmenistan - Scientific studies by the youth plays great role in technological and innovative progressTuesday, 12 June 2018 16:48
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov congratulated the winners of the Best Youth Works contest timed to the Day of Science.
Modernization of national economy, establishment of modern industrial facilities making wide variety of competitive production, which is on high demand on local and foreign markets, realization of the projects of global importance achieve high results in social and economic development of the state. The reforms improving the basis of economic growth are successfully implemented, which is stipulated by the core objectives in science and technologies, the message of the Head of Turkmen State says.
National science system, which priority directions are studied by scientific and research facilities and universities, was modernized as well as the structure of profile institutes was improved for the short period. In this context, scientific and innovative activities supporting the development of society are developed, scientific and technological achievements are gradually implemented, all conditions for mastering of new knowledge about the nature, environment and human being are made. All of these enhance the training and formation of young generation of high-class specialists who devoted themselves to science and creativity.
Creative initiatives and scientific studies made by our youth deserve the highest appraisal in acceleration of the rates of scientific, technical, technological and innovative progress.
Filling the ranks of young scientists, engineers, technologists and specialists who presented multifaceted and substantial scientific studies in such priority subjects as Nano, chemical and computer technologies, development of new materials, energy sphere, biotechnologies, molecular biology, agriculture, ecology and genetics, information and communication systems, health protection and production of medicine and drugs, innovative economy and humanitarian sciences at the contest organized by the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan with the Central Council of Magtumguly Youth Organization are important step toward the bringing creative potential of our society to new level.
Turkmen land was the place where science and education, culture and art were reigning for thousands of years. Great sons of Turkmen nation formed scientific schools of the East and the West by their first priceless discoveries and numerous inventions in astronomy, chemistry, physics, mathematics, geometry, medicine, music art, history and literature and linguistics in such cities as Merv, Nisa, Urgench, Abiverd and Serakhs.
In XXI, our main goal is to improve the position of Turkmenistan located along the Silk Road as one of the most developed and strong states in the world. For achievement of this target, Turkmen people who paid special attention to science and education from ancient times expects new discoveries from young generations aimed at the improvement of the world prestige and glory of our state.
Our youth, our future has to make deserving contribution to the great achievements for prosperity and progress of the country by their knowledge, love of native land and people, - the message highlights.
The World Bicycle Day instituted by the Resolution of the United Nations General Assembly by the initiative of President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov was observed for the first time in many countries on June 3.
The Resolution of the UN general Assembly greeted and support huge work carried out in Turkmenistan for support of sport, physical training and health improving movement, formation of ecological culture of the society and cooperation in this sphere between the states and nations.
By the suggestion of Head of the State Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the Vehicle-free Day was timed to the World Bicycle Day in Turkmenistan. The Head of the State took part in mass action together with the compatriots, which became an exemplary input too health-improving movement in the country, to support of cycling, popularization of sports in general as well as the call for assertion of new ecological understanding, for improvement of responsibility of the society for the environment.
According to the President’s opinion, such actions support the improvement of health of the population, growth of ecological wealth and popularization of cycling. Such events motivate the participants for further going in for favourite sports more systematically. In addition, sports mass actions together with health-improving and educational direction bring positive emotional charge combining entertainment and propaganda functions.
Participation of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov in this event highlights the status of not only current event but also all projects related to health of the nation, serves as vivid evidence that formation of integrated national system of physical, spiritual and moral improvement is the government political dominant.
These days, cyclists of all ages can be seen everywhere. Together with boys and girls, many adults recall the feeling of the childhood riding two-wheel vehicle. There are many of those who ride the bicycles for the first time. every day, the number of supporters of this transport grows. It is obvious that the idea has not just been adopted but found wide response and numerous followers, which indicates its appropriateness and requirement.
Early in the morning, numerous capital citizens gathered on the bikes in picturesque place of Turkmen capital near Kopetdag Avenue and Julge Street roundabout from where beautiful panoramic view of Ashgabat opens.
There are members of the Government, leaders of the Parliament, military and law enforcement agencies, ministries and departments of the country, representatives of non-governmental organizations and mass media, diplomats and youth among the participants. Joyful elated mood and energy of nice and healthy morning reign among them.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov came there, to the starting point of mass cycling raid. Talking to the heads of famous international organizations and world cycling champions, the Head of the State expressed the gratitude to them for the participation in current event and had joint photo with them by their request.
When everything was ready to start the race, the President of Turkmenistan addressed greeting speech to the participants.
Having reminded that relative Resolution co-sponsored by 56 countries was adopted after proposal of Turkmenistan at the 82nd plenary meeting of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly on April 12, 2018, the President mentioned that declaration of June 3 as the World Bicycle Day was the evidence of unanimous recognition of the initiatives of our state aimed at the consolidation of peace, friendship and fruitful cooperation.
This historical event is another evidence of growing international authority of Turkmenistan and its commitment to the principles of peace-loving, humanity and efficient cooperation. The Head of the State also expressed special gratitude to President of International Cycling Union David Lappartient for his support in development of cycling in Turkmenistan.
The cycling is widely spread in the world and in one of the most known sports included in the programme of the Olympic Games. Its history began front he first big races held in France between Paris and Rouen in 1869, the Head of the State continued.
At present, the cycling not only reflects the changes in sport sphere but also is the evidence of the triumph of peace-loving goals, friendship and solidarity of humankind, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said, having highlighted that our country pays great attention to rapprochement of the nations, consolidation of peace, positive relations and cooperation in the planet.
Turkmenistan intensifies and consolidates the collaboration with International Olympic Committee, Olympic Council of Asia, the UN Office on Sports for Development and Peace, the World Health Organization as well with other competent interregional associations in this direction.
Turkmen leader highlighted that bicycle helps to take care of the environment and to improve health among the main advantages of such ecologically friendly transport as bicycle, which has been used by people for more than 200 years.
Famous guest from different world countries took part in current cycling raid. There are triple Olympic Champion Vyacheslav Ekimov, World Champion Sergey Nikitenko and other titled sportsmen and lovers of cycling.
Taking the opportunity, the Head of the State expressed the gratitude to them for the participation in this event as well as to the representatives of the Guinness World Record Book for the Certificate for the largest cycling awareness lesson. This prestigious award supplemented the list of our entries to the collection of the world records.
Having again cordially congratulated the participants on the World Bicycle Day, the President wished them strong health, prosperity and great success.
After, Sheida Subashi, the Official Representative of the Guinness World Records made speech.
First of all, the guest congratulated President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and people of Turkmenistan on the first World Bicycle Day and expressed deep gratitude for the opportunity to come to our country again and to take part in these events dedicated to new remarkable date.
After, Mrs Subashi informed that new world record has been registered during cycling awareness lesson in Ashgabat Stadium on June 1, 2018. 3246 people took part in this event, during which master class on riding a bicycle was given and awareness work on traffic safety and ecological education was carried out. As for today, this was the largest by number of people cycling training.
This fact was officially registered by the Guinness World Records and confirmed by relative certificate, which was presented during current event on occasion of the World Bicycle Day. Therefore, Turkmen capital was entered again into the World Records Book, having continued the series of its achievements including in sports. There are already the facilities of Ashgabat Olympic village in the Book. These are the image of Ahalteke horse at the Olympic Stadium and Water Sports Complex with the largest indoor swimming pool.
After, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov gave start to mass cycling race and headed the column. The Head of the State was followed by the members of the Government of the country. As it was mentioned in the speech of the Head of the State, members of Russian delegation – President of ARETI International Group of Companies I. Makarov, President of Russian Cycling Federation V. Ekimenko, World Champion S. Nikitenko and other famous sportsmen, who arrived in the country were honourable guests of the event.
During the raid, the Head of the State had a conversation with I. Makarov who noted again that weather and climate conditions in Turkmenistan allow conducting cycling trainings and competitions almost all year around.
Having said that Turkmenistan realizes programme measures for popularization of cycling and attraction of all population especially the youth to this environmentally friendly sport, the President gave number of valuable recommendation to the guest on expansion and development of international cooperation in this direction. Exchange of practices, establishment of bilateral contacts will provide the creation of necessary opportunities for integrated development of cycling.
It is worth mentioning that 190 national federation and 5 continental cycling confederations as well as great numbers of lovers in parts of the planet joined the celebration of the World Bicycle Day. They are all united by the idea of Turkmen leader to create and develop cycling culture for the citizens of all ages and physical abilities would be able to take part in this movement and to enjoy the riding with the use for their health.
Cycling raid and cultural events of occasion of the World Bicycle Day will promote the improvement of the image of Turkmenistan as a country of health and sports.
Turkmenistan adopted the state programmes developed at the request of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov on training of high-class sportsmen and started integrated reforms. All regions of the country including Avaza National Tourist zone have sport facilities, stadiums, equestrian complexes, specialized sport schools, entertainment and recreation centres and sanatoriums.
Ashgabat itself has around 40 facilities equipped in accordance with the requirements of International Olympic Committee including the Olympic village, which has 16 structures designated for various sports. Having successfully conducted V Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in 2017, Turkmenistan appeared in front of the world as the country with the capabilities of organization of international sport competitions.
The programme of the Games also included the track racings. Competitions of this spectacular discipline were held at one of the facilities of the Olympic Village – an excellent Indoor Racing Track. Its track meet relative international standards and modern requirements for such facilities by all parameters.
Facilities of the track allow conducting international competitions and tournaments including the world championships. The facility has all necessary infrastructure making optimal conditions for sportsmen and coaches, technical and service personnel and, of course, for the spectators - the lovers of this sport.
New page in the history of national cycling movement has been opened after the opening of indoor track at the Olympic village in Ashgabat as the such kind of facility was built for the first time in Turkmenistan. The quality of the facility was appreciated not only by the participants of test national competitions but also by the specialist of International Cycling Union, having expressed the interest in organization of the world championships there.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov went the distance of 8,500 metres along Kopetdag Avenue and finished at the Path of Health.
In the conversation with the members of the Gvernment and leaders of military and law enforcement agencies, the Head of the State noted that Turkmenistan hosts big international competitions this year – International Rally Amul – Hazar 2018 and the World Weightlifting Championship. We have good experience in organization of such large-scale events, the President said, having requested to prepare thoroughly to coming competitions and to provide their high level.
The President also instructed to familiarize the course of preparation to the start ceremony of International rally Amul – Hazar 2018 on site as well as ordered to hold the session with relative managers for coordination of the activity of different departments and structures involved in organization of the races.
Having said goodbye to the participants of cycling raid, the Head of the State left the place of event and went to the Motorsport Centre located in the north of the capital, having added training driving to the sport part of the holiday.
Other cyclists continued their way along the streets of Ashgabat. Overall length of the route was 30 km.
There were representatives of working collectives of the ministries and departments, offices and organizations, which have their own team with appropriate equipment, among the cyclists.
There is a tendency of the development of sport participatory in the country and cycling is one of available and “folk” type of physical activity. Finally, cycling is a great emotional pleasure and wonderful opportunity to study the world, visit sanctuary parts of the nature without making any harm to environment. Therefore, it is no wonder that bicycle was the winner of the international poll on the most outstanding invention of humankind. By number of votes, it took over the telephone and internet together.
The fact that 56 countries representing almost all regions of the planet were the co-authors of the UN document of International Bicycle Day speaks of the appropriateness and importance of this initiative, its requirement in modern world.
The celebration was held not only in our white-marble beautiful capital but also in all velayats. Live assertion power of the urge to physical and spiritual perfectness brought out numerous supporters of healthy life style to the roads and highways all around the country.
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International Bicycle Day was also marked in many countries of the world where sport and entertainment actions were held on June 3. Turkmenistan Embassies to foreign countries initiated cycling races. Such mass raids with the participation of Turkmen and foreign diplomats, heads of non-governmental, sport organizations, the youth including Turkmen students studying in foreign universities were held in the capitals of the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Thailand and other countries.
Every year on 3 May, the world marks Press Freedom Day. It’s a day on which we are reminded of the role of free media as a cornerstone of democracy, of the importance of media pluralism, of the significance of objective, quality, ethical journalism in informing citizens and defending their interests, holding the powerful to account.
We hear a lot about independence, but less about what independence really means. We think of independent opinion, of the journalists who investigate, who often face the most direct threats, but far less of the media managers in the offices behind them, ensuring that their stories can go to air or print, that wages and suppliers can be paid.
It’s an issue of which the European Union is acutely aware. “The threats to free journalism are complex,”European Neighbourhood Commissioner Johannes Hahn told an Eastern Partnership media conference last September: “Vested interests and concentration of media ownership often make it difficult for independent media to survive,” he added, highlighting the vital importance of “looking for ways to achieve economic sustainability of the media”.
“There is a lot of support for content, for journalism, but local media need more help to become sustainable,”confirms Veselin Vačkov, director of the oldest and most prestigious Czech daily newspaper Lidové noviny, who has been working with the EU-funded OPEN Media Hub project, leading a series of media management workshops and master classes in Eastern Partnership countries, focused on increased organisational and financial management skills, and ways to maximise revenues from print and online.
Vačkov says the media he has worked with in Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine are aware of media ethics, and work very hard to be balanced and to produce quality work, “even by Western standards”.
“But if you are dependent on state support, on the support of a local entrepreneur or oligarch, even on EU money, you soon find out that you are not entirely free.”
Financial pressure can be far more effective than overt political pressure in strangling independent media, says Artur Corghencea, news director at PRO TV in Chisinau – a leading independent media in the Republic of Moldova. “Financial independence is synonymous with editorial independence – the Moldovan authorities have understood this and are trying to make it difficult for independent media to survive,” he said.
Last year, the authorities introduced new rules obliging television channels to produce at least eight hours of local programming a day, six of them during prime time. “Beside the fact that this is an unbearable financial burden for most stations, including PRO TV Chisinau,” this meant television stations were not allowed to broadcast high-rating foreign programmes at prime-time, such as football or Holywood movies – “and these are the programmes that attract advertising and therefore money,” said Corghencea.
PRO TV has managed to step back from the brink with the help of the European Endowment for Democracy (EED), a foundation supported by the European Union, that provides grants to organisations promoting democracy and human rights. EED funding has helped PRO TV to develop four new shows, including ‘In PROfunzime’ a weekly political talk show that has become one of the most popular programmes in Moldova, as well as popular entertainment shows.
“Thanks to EED support, we have been able to meet the quota of locally-made production”, but also to build a more sustainable base for the future, says Corghencea. “Because the shows are popular and have high ratings, we are convinced that we will gain advertising in the future with these programmes, despite the difficult circumstances.”
EED support also helped PRO TV to build production teams and in-house capacity for the programmes. “These teams now have the experience to continue producing the shows and to initiate new TV projects in the future,” said Corghencea.
But financial pressures are not only political. In fact, most of the challenges facing media in the Eastern Partner countries are very similar to those that have swept the media landscape in Western European countries in recent years, says Veselin Vačkov. Among them, he lists the loss of circulation in the print media, compounded by the economic crisis, the transition from print to digital and the difficulties of raising revenue online, the need to invest in new technology, as well as the squeeze in advertising revenue.
His media management training – which is also available as an online course – addresses all these issues and more. “We have had a very positive feedback,” says Vačkov. “Participants are really glad to have this support for a much healthier future.”
Operating a successful media business in a small market is a challenge in itself, according to Lyudmila Chekina, CEO at TUT.BY, the leading online news portal in Belarus, employing more than 50 editorial staff and read by 42.9% of all Belarusian internet users.
“A successful financial model enables an independent media outlet to survive,” she says. “Increased profitability also enables an outlet to be independent of large corporate advertisers.”
Though the company had grown from a start-up in 2000 to a major digital media player, its dependence on the brand advertising market in Belarus and increasing online competition, including from foreign players, meant TUT.BY needed to develop its organisational structure and introduce better operational processes to stay ahead of the game.
To do so, it turned to the EU-funded Advice for Small Businesses programme, implemented by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which connected TUT.BY with a team of international business consultants. “The project helped the company improve significantly its operational performance, provided advice on its video sector development and budgeting, as well as enabled it to make some strategic decisions that changed its structure,” said Chekina.
As a result, earnings are up 20%. “For sure, the improved earning capacity has gradually increased the editorial budget and the number of employed journalists,” she says, adding: “Our earning capacity helps us to preserve our independence.”
Lyudmila Chekina is confident looking forward, but conscious of the need to diversify for growth: “In small countries, the limited market is a key problem for the media operating based on an advertising model. Therefore, we believe that the development of content projects with the possibility to expand into large markets and media cooperation with leading service companies in other markets… are the most forward-looking and efficient strategies.”
On World Press Freedom Day, it’s a reminder that independent media needs a sustainable business model to keep the stories coming out.
“Running a media is not only writing articles,” Veselin Vačkov reminds participants in his media management workshops. “Sustainability is more of a challenge than quality. And the more the media is economically successful, the freer we are as journalists.”
Author: Kosta St. Pavlowitch (former BBC journalist, contributor to Radio France Internationale and Editor in Chief of the Cyprus Mail newspaper)
OPEN Media Hub
The OPEN Media Hub is an EU-funded project supporting media professionals across the EU Neighbourhood area. A total of 753 people have benefited from the project’s media management actions across the Neighbourhood region, including 244 individual media managers, with follow-up in-house management consultations for selected independent media. The Media Hub’s four online courses – which are open to everyone and also available in Russian – have been followed by 350 users, with 148 taking the course on media management. www.openmediahub.com www.openmediahub.com/e-learning
European Endowment for Democracy
The European Endowment for Democracy (EED) is an independent grant-giving organisation that supports actors of democratic change in the European Neighbourhood and beyond. It is a joint initiative of EU member states and institutions, and receives EU funding to cover its operating costs. The EED assists pro-democratic civil society organisations, movements and individual activists acting in favour of a pluralistic multiparty system regardless of their size or formal status, as well as independent media and journalists. Support to independent media is a key area of EED work in the EU neighbourhood. www.democracyendowment.eu