|Assumed office 21 December 2006 Acting until 14 February 2007|
|Öwezgeldi Ataýew (Acting)|
|In office 21 December 2006 – 18 August 2013 Acting until 4 August 2007|
|In office 1 March 2001 – 14 February 2007|
|(1957-06-29) 29 June 1957 (age 56) Babarab, Turkmen SSR, Soviet Union|
|Independent (2013-present) Democratic Party of Turkmenistan (Before 2013)|
|Turkmen State Medical Institute|
Gurbanguly Mälikgulyýewiç Berdimuhamedow (or Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov, Berdymukhammedov,..., born June 29, 1957) is a Turkmen politician who has served as the president of Turkmenistan since 2006. Berdimuhamedow, a dentist by profession, served in the government under President Saparmurat Niyazov as minister of health beginning in 1997 and as deputy prime minister beginning in 2001. He became acting president following Niyazov's death on 21 December 2006 and subsequently won the February 2007 presidential election. He faced no meaningful opposition in the vote and won by an overwhelming margin. In the February 2012 presidential election, he was re-elected with 97% of the vote. He uses the honorific title Arkadag, meaning "Patron".Contents
Berdimuhamedov was born on 29 June 1957 in Babarab in what is now the Geok Tepe etrap ("district") of Ahal province. He graduated from the Turkmen State Medical Institute in 1979 and entered a career in dentistry. He also received a PhD in medical sciences in Moscow. By 1992 he had become part of the dentistry faculty at the Medical Institute.
In an interview when asked about his life experience Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said:
"It is too early for me to write a detailed biography. My biography is in many respects typical of people of my generation."
On influencing factors to his character:
"My parents always managed to maintain the hospitable atmosphere in the family. They were happy at an opportunity to communicate openly with people - friends and relatives. They always took active part in the resolving of other people's problems and difficulties...(more)...this necessity in empathy my parents had instilled in me in the childhood influenced, to the considerable extent, my choice to devote my life to medicine...(more)...readiness to help a neighbor is peculiar to the society as a whole, it may characterize the strength and moral health of the nation. The Turkmen literature has many splendid authors who gave the world their immortal works that express the profound Turkmen people's wisdom in a concentrated form. I admire Magtymguly, Andalib, Azadi, Kemine... Due to my medical education I read a lot the works of Ibn Sina (Avicenna), a great scholar of the medieval times, with great interest. The expanse of his interests and the depth of the scientist's judgments struck me. Ibn Sina was a great man not only as a doctor but as a philosopher and thinker as well."
In 1995, during the rule of Saparmurat Niyazov, Berdimuhamedov became head of the dentistry center of the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry. He was appointed to the government as Minister of Health in 1997, and he was additionally appointed as Deputy Prime Minister in 2001. In April 2004, Niyazov suspended Berdimuhamedov's salary for three months because healthcare workers were also not being paid.
The Health Ministry was responsible for carrying out Niyazov's notorious order to close all hospitals outside of the capital city and major regional towns in 2005.
According to a cable from the U.S. embassy in Ashgabat, Berdymukhamedov is married with two daughters and a son, but his wife lives in London. He has another daughter with his long-term Russian mistress.President of Turkmenistan
|This section requires expansion. (March 2013)|
Following Niyazov's death in December 2006, the State Security Council of Turkmenistan appointed Berdimuhamedow as acting president. The Council stated in its announcement that Öwezgeldi Ataýew, who as the Chairman of the Assembly of Turkmenistan was to become the acting president, was not appointed "in view of the fact that the prosecutor-general had instituted criminal proceedings against him."
Article 60 of the Turkmen Constitution stipulated that the acting president "may not stand for election to the Presidency", which would have barred Berdimuhamedow from running in the 2007 presidential elections. However, on December 24, 2006 People's Council voted to remove this provision, making him eligible for the election as one of the six chosen candidates, all members of the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan. Berdimuhamedov was supported by the current elite, and the official results showed him as winning 89% of the vote. In his first presidential trip abroad, Berdimuhamedov visited Saudi Arabia in mid-April 2007. There he performed the Umrah pilgrimage and met with King Abdullah. He then visited Russia and President Vladimir Putin at the end of the same month.
He has also been quoted as saying
"A human being always communicates with God... There is no place for insincerity and craftiness. Even if you try to palter before God he will see it anyway. Truly, the one who can afford talking honestly and sincerely not only to God but people as well is happy."
After taking office, Berdimuhamedow reversed several of Niyazov's more eccentric policies. Internet cafes offering free and uncensored Web access opened in Ashgabat, compulsory education was extended from nine to ten years and classes in sports and foreign languages were re-introduced into the curriculum, and the government announced plans to open several specialized schools for the arts. President Berdimuhamedow has called for reform of education, health care and pension systems, and government officials of non-Turkmen ethnic origin who had been sacked by Niyazov have returned to work. He also restored the pensions of 100,000 elderly people whose pensions Niyazov had slashed in the face of an unspecified budget crisis. Later on, he reopened the Turkmen Academy of Sciences, which had been closed by Niyazov.
Berdimuhamedow also took steps to curb the extensive personality cult surrounding his predecessor. He called for an end to the elaborate pageants of music and dancing that formerly greeted the president on his arrival anywhere, and said that the Turkmen "sacred oath", part of which states that the speaker's tongue should shrivel if he ever speaks ill of Turkmenistan or its president, should not be recited multiple times a day but reserved for "special occasions." He also gave up his right to rename any landmarks, institutions, or cities. He also restored the traditional names of the months of the year and days of the week (Niyazov had renamed them after himself and his mother, among other things), and announced plans to move the infamous gold rotating statue of Niyazov from Ashgabat's central square. In 2008, he sacked Akmyrat Rejepow, the longtime chief of the presidential security detail and one of the main proponents of Niyazov's personality cult.
Although Berdimuhamedow's regime is much more open than Niyazov's, it is still rigidly authoritarian. Indeed, Berdimuhamedow has explicitly ruled out any move toward Western-style democracy.
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