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Wait, I Thought He Was A Dentist…


Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov

Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov

Turkmen state media report that Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has opened a new cancer hospital in Ashgabat by performing the first operation himself.

Reports say Berdymukhammedov -- who is a trained dentist -- removed a benign tumor from behind the patient's ear at the hospital on July 21.

Berdymukhammedov was assisted by German and local doctors.

A local dentist and retired doctor told RFE/RL's Turkmen Service that it is not surprising that Berdymukhammedov attended the operation because any dentist is capable, in principle, of performing oral surgeries.

Another Turkmen doctor told RFE/RL that the president has thus far done many things outside of his learned profession, such as reportedly piloting a fighter plane and driving tanks.

Some observers say Berdymukhammedov's surgical performance -- which has been widely published in the Russian media -- is being used by the Kremlin to try to damage the president's reputation after his recent moves away from Moscow and toward the West in his energy policy.

On the same day as Berdymukhammedov performed the surgery, he also held a promotional launch for his latest book, this one on medicinal plants.

-- Turkmen Service

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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