Turkmenistan erects a pet horse statue of the former president

Ak Khan, the favorite horse of the former President of Turkmenistan, was placed on the outskirts of the capital Ashgabat.

Turkmen President Serdar Berdymukhamedov, son of former President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, today approved a plan to build a statue of his father’s favorite horse in Akhal province, on the outskirts of the capital Ashgabat.

Former President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov wears a traditional riding costume in 2018.  Photo: AFP

Former President Berdymukhamedov wears a traditional riding costume in 2018. Photo: AFP.

“The monument will increase the glory of the Akhal-Teke horse breed, the national pride of the people of Turkmenistan,” said President Berdymukhamedov’s decree.

The Akhal-Teke race has always played an important role in the propaganda of the Turkmen government. Ak Khan, former President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov’s favorite horse, once won the Guinness World Record for walking 10 meters in 4.19 seconds in 2018.

In 2017, athletes wore it to light the torch of the Asian Indoor and Traditional Games, a competition organized by the Olympic Council of Asia in Turkmenistan.

People gather in the capital Ashgabat May 25, 2015 to see the inauguration of a monument to President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov.  Photo: AP

The dedication ceremony of the monument to President Berdymukhamedov in the capital Ashgabat, 2015. Photo: AP

Former President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, 64, resigned in March after 16 years in power in hopes of allowing “younger leaders” to rule the country. His only son then won the election.

Gurbanguly took power in 2006 after the sudden death of former leader Saparmurat Niyazov. He served as Niyazov’s personal dentist, and then assumed the position of Minister of Health.

Dubbed the “defender of Turkmenistan” by state media, former President Berdymukhamedov still leads the House of Lords. In 2015 he was honored with a huge statue in the capital Ashgabat.

Hong Hanh (Corresponding AFP)