ASHGABAT -- A recent economic downturn in Turkmenistan is causing a worrisome out-migration of workers, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)'s Turkmen service reported October 29.
RFE/RL gave no specific numbers. A growth in the number of Turkmen migrants is visible in Turkey, which allows Turkmens to enter without visas, RFE/RL reported.
Turkmen authorities are expressing concern that Turkmens who stay illegally in Turkey could become vulnerable to recruitment by the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL), RFE/RL reported. Ashgabat has never acknowledged the presence of Turkmen citizens in the Syrian insurgency, but unofficial estimates put the number at about 360.
Turkmenistan has struggled to cope with falling prices for its principal export, natural gas, since 2014.