Writingsby People's writer, the renowned poet and publicist Atamyrat Atabaev. have been banned from being published in the Turkmen print media since December 2013.
According to insiders, the reason behind the ban is that A. Atabaev had expressed to his colleagues his discontent with the Turkmen President's policy pertaining to the presenting of literature awards.
The grand ceremony honouring the artistic intelligentsia was held in Avaza on 8 October 2013. The main prize, the international award named after Makhtumkuli, was presented to Gozel Shagulieva who extols presidents. Previously, she had praised Turkmenbashi whereas now the hero of all her poems and odes is Arkadag, the incumbent Turkmen President. This is the only topic covered by the female poet. The award of this prize is equivalent to $10000.
Atamyrat Atabaev, whom many lovers of literature consider to be a more talented and multi-faceted writer, was awarded the prize "Turkmenistan's golden age" worth $1000.
This disappointed Atabaev, who is well aware that it is the country's President who personally distributes prizes and awards. The one who praised him most of all will get the main prize.
The discontent expressed by the writer reached the President and now the writings by Atabaev are banned from publication. During the whole of December his name was not mentioned in any newspapers and magazines published in Turkmenistan.
It should be noted that the international award named after Makhtumkuli was last presented under Niyazov's presidency to Yusup Azmuna for the translation of Makhtumkuli's poetry into English. Twenty years later, this once prestigious award, was presented to poet laureate G. Shagulyeva. One can understand A. Atabaev's feelings.