President Niyazov (file photo)
Ashgabat, 22 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Reports from Turkmenistan say President Saparmurat Niyazov has appointed his former bodyguard to the post of deputy prime minister in charge of relations with CIS members.
The 39-year-old Aganiyaz Akyyev was Niyazov's bodyguard from 1994 until 2002, when he was appointed deputy security minister.
In 2003, he became mayor of Turkmenbashi (formerly Krasnovovsk), Turkmenistan's main Caspian Sea port, and a month ago Niyazov appointed him to run his chancellery.
In related news, Niyazov today stripped Saparmamed Valiev, the former head of the Turkmenneft state oil company, of his title of "Hero of Turkmenistan."
Valiev, who was dismissed earlier this month on charges of corruption and illegally awarding contracts to foreign companies, was awarded the title of "Hero of Turkmenistan" in return for the country's record oil production in 2001.
(RFE/RL's Turkmen Service, ITAR-TASS)