Turkmenistan leader unveils bronze monument to father

  • December 22, 2013 - 7:31 pm
  • Turkmenistan
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Agence France Press, August 13, 2013

Turkmenistan’s president has unveiled a five-metre-high bust of his father, a retired interior ministry official who is still alive, state television reported Tuesday.

President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, a dentist by profession, took over power after the death of eccentric dictator Saparmurat Niyazov, who renamed the month of April after his mother as part of a bizarre personality cult. The Turkmen president was shown bowing respectfully to the bronze bust on a five-meter-high granite pedestal depicting his father Myalikuguly Berdymukhamedov, 81, a retired interior ministry lieutenant colonel.

State television praised the president's father as an "example of conscientious, selfless service to his people and his beloved Fatherland". The bust is in a camp for interior ministry troops on the edge of Ashgabat, which is also named after the president's father, who appeared in public in February voting in presidential polls. The complex already includes a museum devoted to the president's father, who retired in 1982. Among the exhibits are his uniform, telephone and typewriter as well as a carpet embroidered with a line from a poem he wrote: "Let's plant more grain." Berdymukhamedov has embarked on tentative reforms even if his critics say the stabs at change have been little more than window dressing and he has done little to truly dismantle Niyazov's legacy.