Residents of the Turkmen capital hoping to kick back with a few drinks may have to hold off until October, as a ban on alcohol sales comes into force ahead of next month's Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG).
According to local media reports on 19 August, liquor stores will be shut and supermarkets shelves devoid of booze until October. AFP affirmed that the ban is connected with AIMAG, to be held in Ashgabat from 17 — 27 September, quoting an anonymous official from the Trade Ministry.
“The main goal of the ban is to ensure peace and public order in the country in connection with the strengthened regime introduced by law enforcement agencies from August 17,” the official explained.
The mandatory dry September forms part of both authoritarian President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov's vision to grow Turkmenistan's status as a regional hub for sporting events, which has seen ex-convicts ordered to stay away from sports venues and stray animals removed from the streets, and his comprehensive healthy lifestyle programme. With physical fitness at the top of his agenda, Mr Berdimuhamedov has launched a programme to make Turkmenistan tobacco-free by 2025 and last year instigated a national month dedicated to health and fitness.
Source: Radio Free Europe