Turkmenistan, a little known country in Central Asia, is making headlines across the globe because of its president’s obsession with dogs.
Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov on Tuesday November 10th unveiled a giant golden statue of his favorite dog breed – the Alabay dog in the capital Ashgabat.
The Alabay dog is a home-bred Turkmen variety of the Central Asian shepherd dog and is listed under the country’s national heritage.
The Alabay dog is also officially listed as an asset of the country’s national heritage, along with handmade carpets and the ancient Ahal Teke breed of race horse.
The 19ft (6m) golden statue in the heart of the Turkmen capital is the highest honor the president has ever bestowed on his favorite dog breed.
It isn’t the first time the breed has been honored by the Turkmen president – last year he devoted a book to the Alabay.
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The president ordered a number of national banks in the country to fund the enterprise to improve the pedigree of the Alabay dog breed.
Under the Turkmen presidential decree of 2018, eight banks are required to chip in with a 12.5% stake each.
The Turkmen president declared 2018 the Year of the Dog in the country, praising the virtues of the animal on national TV.
The Alabay is a home-bred Turkmen variety of the Central Asian shepherd dog and Mr Berdimuhamedov seems to be a fan of the breed.
He declared 2018 the Year of the Dog in Turkmenistan, praising the virtues of the Alabay dog breed on national TV.
Earlier that year, the dog loving president spent his annual leave writing a book about the Alabay dog.
The book entitled “Turkmen Alabay” received critical acclaim in the country with government officials and scholars attending the book unveil.
Despite the grandeur of the president pet project, much of Turkmenistan’s 5 million population is impoverished.
Turkmenistan is also an autocratic state with press freedom almost nonexistent. The Central Asian nation was ranked one of the least free in the world by press freedom organisation RSF, just one place above North Korea.
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