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New Turkmen President Berdymukhammedov Moves to Consolidate Power

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan -- Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has won a power struggle with officials of Turkmenistan's government who played key roles in building and maintaining the oppressive regime of his predecessor, and who helped bring the new president to power. It remains unclear, however, whether Berdymukhammedov intends to use his consolidated power to continue down the dictatorial path of former leader Saparmurat Niyazov, or to institute promised reforms.

The influential head of the presidential security service, Akmurad Rejepov, who served the late Niyazov loyally for nearly 20 years, was removed from office in mid-May. While Turkmenistan's state television said Rejepov was transferred to another job, other reports from the region claimed he had been arrested. Rejepov's son, Nurmurat Rejepov, who was a colonel in the Turkmen National Security, was also detained, according to the Russian Vremya Novostei newspaper. ...

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