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Friday, 7 February, 2003, 08:08 GMT
Turkmen leader overcome by modesty
Saparmurad Niyazov
Mr Niyazov's dictates are law
Turkmenistan's president has told the country's tightly controlled media to stop praising him.

President Saparmurad Niyazov, an authoritarian ruler who styles himself Father of all Turkmen, told officials that people would be bored by constant repetition of his name and picture.

"As soon as one switches the TV set on, a programme is in progress either about me or about my mother or my father... I beg you not to praise me so much, otherwise it is impossible for me to watch any of your programmes," he said.

Mr Niyazov, 62, has been in power since before independence from the USSR in 1991, suppressing all opposition and building a cult of personality around himself.

In January he said 46 people had been convicted of trying to assassinate him, though overseas-based dissidents said the plot may have been fabricated as an excuse to crack down on opposition.

Turkmenistan
Earlier this week Mr Niyazov introduced a new commission to monitor foreign trips by politicians, as well as plans to track the movements of foreigners within Turkmenistan.

Mr Niyazov also told his press secretary to monitor what the world's media was saying about Turkmenistan.

"If anything wrong is said about Turkmenistan, you and other fellows must repudiate it immediately," Turkmen TV, monitored by BBC Monitoring, quoted him as saying.

See also:

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28 Sep 02 | Asia-Pacific
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