Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Uzbek Enclaves in Kyrgyzstan on Brink of Explosion, Residents Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 29 – The foreign policy course of new Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, one that stresses the brotherhood of all Central Asian peoples, has left the residents of the three Uzbek enclaves inside Kyrgyzstan – Sokh, Shakhimardan and Chongar -- wondering what will be their fate given that they see Kyrgyz officials systematically working against them.

            In a comment for the CentrAsia portal, one local resident, Sukhrob Mamadaliyev, says that Tashkent in its efforts to reach agreement with Bishkek is ignoring the interests of ethnic Uzbeks in Kyrgyzstan and especially those who live in the three relatively small Uzbek enclaves there (centrasia.ru/news.php?st=1503960060).

            And that in turn, Mamadaliyev continues, is leading Bishkek to assume that it can get away with anything and to encourage young Kyrgyz to seize land and inflict other damages on Uzbeks in the name of Kyrgyz “hurrah patriotism.”  Not surprisingly, this is infuriating local Uzbeks who now feel defenseless because they are cut off from their own country.

            This problem didn’t arise yesterday or even the day before yesterday, he suggests; but it has gotten worse in recent months, largely because of Tashkent’s unwillingness to oppose what Bishkek is doing.  If nothing changes, he implies, the local residents will have to take things into their own hands, a step that would likely trigger the kind of conflict Tashkent couldn’t ignore.

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