Turkmenistan names police unit after leader's father in echo of late president's parent cult

Associated Press/February 8, 2012

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan -- Turkmenistan has named a police unit after the authoritarian president's father, echoing a common practice under his predecessor of naming streets and public organizations after the leader's parents.

Neutral Turkmenistan state newspaper reported Tuesday that the one-party parliament approved the gesture as recognition for Myalikguli Berdymukhamedov's years of service in the Central Asian nation's Interior Ministry.

President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov exercises unbridled power, but has to date largely refrained from the eccentric megalomaniacal tendencies displayed by the late leader Saparmurat Niyazov, who died in 2006.

Several statues were erected in honor of Niyazov's parents and the Women's Union and Veteran's Association were named after his mother and father respectively.

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