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Turkmenbashi: Thousands of Passengers Siege Ferries to Azerbaijan

Friday 20 July 2018

TURKMENBASHI (ANT) — At the Turkmen sea terminal Turkmenbashi, thousands of people are struggling to get on the ferry for Baku. The international port in the Caspian Sea, which was launched in May this year, never saw a similar influx of passengers, even at the time of the old port.

A turkmen ferry at Baku
(Credit: Oxu.az)

Passengers have to wait several days before boarding. According to local sources, the matter is complicated not only by the fact that there is not a daily departure, but also for the difficulty to get a ticket. Officially, the price of the ticket is 160 manats ($10 at the rate of the market), while it is sold actually in black market three times this price, i.e. 500 manats (about $31)). Moreover, sly intermediaries take the money without giving the ticket.

“The ticket itself is free, it just gives you the right to get on board the ferry”, reports one source in Turkmenbashi. “But try to get it! It is necessary to stay in the port for 3 to 5 days. Many mediators have been repeatedly caught at the scene of the crime and arrested, but others still continue to sell illegally, which is a very profitable business. Half of the city is engaged in it.”

Passengers from Turkmenistan prefer to sail on the local Berkarar ferry than in Azerbaijan, because it is cheaper. A ticket for an Azerbaijani ferry costs $60 but you need to pay in foreign currency.

Turkmens go to Baku to find job. Many are ready to stay for a long time, albeit illegally, if only there was an opportunity to work. Women allegedly go to work as hairdresser, masseur, waiter, but in reality increase the number of sex workers there.

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