In a just world, the Council of Europe and Turkmenistan’s neighbors and allies would use this as a teaching opportunity, to show Ashgabat the possibilities of reform and help them draw slowly toward it.
Europe is tired of the Gazprom monopoly and isn’t going to take it any more. At least, that appears to be the message from Lithuania, which will take over the European Union’s rotating presidency in July.
The Kremlin is concerned enough about increasing ties to the West to feel the need to pooh-pooh Ashton’s visit. One gets the impression that Putin doth protest too much.
A reform program in Turkmenistan would most obviously benefit the Turkmen people. They would gain control over their own government, as well as encourage increased international investment.
All of these nations would benefit from a substantial dose of freedom. The peoples of Central Asia will flourish once they are able to take charge of their respective economic and political destinies.
Turkmenistan is, by any measure, one of the worst dictatorships on Earth. Now is not the time to use enriching its political class as a tool to bring Turkmenistan kicking and screaming into the nineteenth century.