Turkmen President Serdar Berdymukhammedov
Turkmenistan's new president has called for a public discussion to name a new city in Akhal Province outside of the capital, Ashgabat, that the country’s new president says is “nearing completion.”
State newspaper Neutral Turkmenistan said on April 29 that Serdar Berdymukhammedov “touched upon the topic of choosing a worthy name for the future city" and mentioned the "expediency of bringing this issue to the national discussion" during a visit to the site.
Many in the Central Asian authoritarian nation expect the city will be named after his father and predecessor, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov.
On April 28, state television showed footage of the $1.5 billion city being built by some 15,000 workers with several grand-looking objects taking shape, including a hippodrome. Serdar Berdymukhammedov, 40, was sworn in on March 19, taking power from his father, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, who had ruled the tightly controlled Central Asian nation with an iron fist since 2006 while building a cult following that left no room for dissent. Serdar Berdymukhammedov has pledged to continue the course of his father, who is still referred to as Turkmenistan's "protector" or "hero protector" by state media. Construction of the city in Akhal began several years ago and was partly overseen by the younger Berdymukhammedov, who served as the province's governor from 2019 to 2020 during his rise to the top of government.