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Turkmen anthem set for makeover

The late Saparmurat Niyazov in Moscow 09/05/2005
During his reign, Mr Niyazov named cities and airports after himself

The government of Turkmenistan is to amend the country's national anthem to remove repeated references to the late president, Saparmurat Niyazov.

The anthem refers four times to Turkmenbashi - a name meaning Father of all Turkmen - that was used by Mr Niyazov before his death in 2006.

It also refers to the state as a "creation of the great Turkmenbashi."

An official said the changes were necessary to bring the anthem into line with international standards.

The chairwoman of parliament, Akdzha Nurbadyeva, also said the changes were "necessitated by numerous appeals from the country's citizens".

The new anthem is to be introduced after 21 December, the second anniversary of Mr Niyazov's death.

Personality cult

This is another goodbye to the legacy of the late Turkmenbashi, the BBC's Rayhan Demytrie in Central Asia says.

Map

Mr Niyazov's successor, President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, has introduced tentative reforms aimed at eroding the personality cult.

He has eased rules on the use of the internet and begun to open the country to foreign investment.

Under President Niyazov, sounds of the old anthem could be heard every morning and night on national television, schools and in other public places.

He also renamed months and days in the calendar after himself and his family, and ordered statues of himself to be erected throughout the desert nation. Cities, an airport and a meteorite were also given his name.

Since his death from a heart attack in 2006, his portraits have disappeared.

But observers with access to this closed nation say new portraits of the current president have replaced them, our correspondent says.

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SEE ALSO
Ex-Turkmen leader's statue moved
03 May 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Turkmen go back to old calendar
24 Apr 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Turkmenistan mourns late leader
24 Dec 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Turkmenistan's 'iron ruler' dies
21 Dec 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Turkmen president waxes lyrical
25 Jul 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Mosque to carry Niyazov's stamp
03 Jun 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Obituary: Saparmurat Niyazov
21 Dec 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Timeline: Turkmenistan
30 Jul 08 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Turkmenistan
30 Jul 08 |  Country profiles


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