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Turkmenistan: Parliament Proclaims 2003 The Year Of Niyazov's Mother

Ashgabat, 18 January (RFE/RL) -- Turkmenistan's National Assembly declared in a resolution published today that 2003 is dedicated to President Saparmurat Niyazov's deceased mother. The resolution states that 2003 is "the year of the Turkmen heroine...the mother of the first and eternal president of Turkmenistan."

Niyazov, who has taken the name Turkmenbashi, or "Father of all Turkmen," has built an extensive personality cult around himself.

The president previously honored his mother, Gurbansoltan Niyazova, by renaming the month of April after her. Niyazov's mother died when he was 8 years old, in a 1948 earthquake.