Kyrgyzstan. According to
COUNTRYAAH, the country sharpened the hunt for radical
Islamists during the year, after the government claimed that
supporters of the Islamic State terrorist group (IS) had
entered southern Kyrgyzstan. In February, suspected members
of the banned Islamic group Hezb ut-Tahrir were arrested.
Later, a woman was arrested accused of leading a female cell
within Hizb ut-Tahrir. In July, six militant Islamists were
reported to have been killed in Bishkek after police planned
attacks in the capital and against a Russian air base. Seven
people were also arrested.
Authorities accused Hizb ut-Tahrir of being a tool for IS
among other things when it came to radicalizing young people
and recruiting them for combat. According to government data
in April, over 330 people from Kyrgyzstan had joined IS in
Syria and Iraq, and about 40 of them had died in fighting.
Of those who returned, many had been arrested and some
convicted of terror-related crimes.
According to the security service, it was mainly ethnic
Uzbek from the Fergana Valley in the south who traveled to
Syria for battle. Political analysts agreed, but warned
against pointing out the uz cup in a way that heightens
tensions in southern Kyrgyzstan.
An imam was sentenced during the year to five years in
prison accused of supporting IS and instigating religious
hatred. According to his defense, he had not supported IS
but criticized the government.
President Almazbek Atambayev visited the EU in March and
asked for European military support to fight the threat from
IS. He recalled that IS had said it wanted to establish an
Islamic caliphate in the Fergana Valley, and he emphasized
that the Russian Federation helped Kyrgyzstan with weapons.
The government claims to have received more than a thousand
tonnes of military equipment from the Russian Federation.
While the US lost its military base in Kyrgyzstan, the
Russian Federation still has four bases, and the West fears
that the country will become a Russian sound state.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on EU leaders to raise
human rights with Atambayev. HRW demanded the release of
imprisoned human rights defender Azimjon Askarov and a stop
for human rights abuses in the country. HRW pointed to a
bill with a ban on so-called gay propaganda and a law
against so-called foreign agents that would affect, among
other things, human rights organizations. The UN also warned
of the law.
In April, Prime Minister Dzjoomart Otorbaev resigned
without giving any reasons. New head of government became
Temir Sarijev. The change came when the old conflict around
the gold mine Kumtor had flared up again. There is a
political dispute over whether the Canadian-owned mine
should be nationalized.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon visited Kyrgyzstan in
June and took part in a ceremony in Osh in the south to
commemorate the victims of the ethnic violence between
Kyrgyz and the Uzbek five years earlier, when more than 400
people were killed. He laid flowers at the monument Mothers
Tears, which depicts an Uzbek and a Kyrgyz woman mourning
In June, Parliament approved with 90 votes against two
the law that criminalizes so-called gay propaganda.
According to the law, "propaganda for non-traditional sexual
relations" can give one year in prison. Journalists can also
be held accountable. The Russian Federation has a similar
In July, Kyrgyzstan formally concluded the 1993 agreement
on military, economic and political cooperation with the
United States. It happened in conjunction with a protest
against the US giving a prestigious human rights award to
imprisoned journalist and activist Azimjon Askarov, who is
serving life imprisonment. Askarov, who is an ethnic Uzbek,
led a group that investigated allegations of police
brutality, but he was formally sentenced, among other
things, for incitement to ethnic hatred during the fighting
in Osh 2010.
In August, Kyrgyzstan formally became a full member of
the Russian-led Euro-Asian Economic Union (EEA), following
the abolition of customs controls at the border with
Kazakhstan. The Union also includes the Russian Federation,
Belarus and Armenia.
President Atambayev canceled a planned visit to the
United States in September with reference to the upcoming
elections in October, but he also made hints at the
deteriorating relations with the United States. The
opposition criticized Atambayev's decision, saying it had
come not to annoy Moscow, and warned against isolation from
The parliamentary elections in October were won by
Atambayev's Social Democratic Party SDPK, which increased
strongly and received just over 27% of the vote. The
opposition party Republican-Fatherland returned sharply,
staying at just over 20%. Instead, new parties entered the
parliament, including the Kyrgyz Party with 13% and Onuguru
Progress with just over 9%. Unit (Bir Bol) received just
over 8%. SDPK's coalition partner Fosterlandet (Ata Meken)
declined to 7%.
According to international election observers from the
OSCE, the election was unique in the region in its open
contest between the parties, but some weaknesses were
US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Kyrgyzstan in
October, met President Atambayev and opened a new US embassy
building in Bishkek and a newly built campus for America
University of Central Asia. Kerry was urged by human rights
groups to address Kyrgyzstan's crimes, but he was also keen
to show support for the regime, in the shadow of
After the Social Democratic election victory, President
Atambayev instructed the SDPK to re-form government. Prime
Minister Temir Sarjev in November presented a new coalition
government with a broad majority, including the Social
Democrats, the Kyrgyz Party, Onuguru and the Foster Country.