Turkmenistan honors president by opening park in his name - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Turkmenistan honors president by opening park in his name

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 Turkmenistan has marked its leader's 58th birthday by opening a park named after him, a move reflecting his blossoming personality cult.

   The park called Arkadag (Protector), the nickname of President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, has a massive marble arch at its entrance adorned with a large portrait of him.

   Berdymukhamedov, a former dentist who came to power in 2006 after the sudden death of his eccentric predecessor, didn't attend the park's opening Monday.

   Last month, Turkmenistan unveiled a grandiose gold-leafed statue of the president carrying a dove and riding atop a horse, the first such monument to Berdymukhamedov in the country dotted with gold-leafed statues of his predecessor, Saparmurat Niyazov.

   Like Niyazov, Berdymukhamedov hasn't allowed any dissent or independent media in the country that sits on the world's fourth-largest natural gas reserves.

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