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Turkmenistan's 'White' Revolution

Since coming to office five years ago, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has sought to show off his own style of leadership -- all the way down to the color scheme. From his clothing to his carpets to the flowers that ornament his public appearances, everything in Berdymukhammedov's world is a gleaming, crystalline white. We look at Turkmenistan's own "colored" revolution.

Keeping it clean: Berdymukhammedov gives presents to children during the opening ceremony of a new presidential palace in Ashgabat last year.
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Keeping it clean: Berdymukhammedov gives presents to children during the opening ceremony of a new presidential palace in Ashgabat last year.

White is a highly respected color in traditionally nomadic countries like Turkmenistan, where the color is associated with milk, a key staple of the nomadic diet. Here, Berdymukhammedov, in the white shirt, visits a shepherd's yurt in Ruhabat.
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White is a highly respected color in traditionally nomadic countries like Turkmenistan, where the color is associated with milk, a key staple of the nomadic diet. Here, Berdymukhammedov, in the white shirt, visits a shepherd's yurt in Ruhabat.

Berdymukhammedov at a cabinet meeting. The Turkmen president is frequently shown against a foreground of white roses, and is even the subject of an adulatory poem entitled "White Roses."
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Berdymukhammedov at a cabinet meeting. The Turkmen president is frequently shown against a foreground of white roses, and is even the subject of an adulatory poem entitled "White Roses."

Berdymukhammedov participating in a government video conference from his presidential office. Even the traditional Turkmen carpet, usually woven in a range of reds, has been adapted to reflect the president's predilection for white.
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Berdymukhammedov participating in a government video conference from his presidential office. Even the traditional Turkmen carpet, usually woven in a range of reds, has been adapted to reflect the president's predilection for white.

No Turkmen presidency is complete without a photo on a horse. Here, Berdymukhammedov is pictured astride a white Akhal-teke stallion. Other equestrian portraits up the ante by adding a white dove landing on the president's shoulder.
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No Turkmen presidency is complete without a photo on a horse. Here, Berdymukhammedov is pictured astride a white Akhal-teke stallion. Other equestrian portraits up the ante by adding a white dove landing on the president's shoulder.

Turkmen newspapers published identical photographs of a white-suited Berdymukhammedov on the occasion of his birthday, June 29.
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Turkmen newspapers published identical photographs of a white-suited Berdymukhammedov on the occasion of his birthday, June 29.

The first day of classes at School No. 55 in Ashgabat. Many parents in the Turkmen capital have received school requests asking to provide their children with all-white outfits for performances and other special occasions.
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The first day of classes at School No. 55 in Ashgabat. Many parents in the Turkmen capital have received school requests asking to provide their children with all-white outfits for performances and other special occasions.

Berdymukhammedov's predecessor, Saparmurat Niyazov (left), favored white himself, both in architecture and -- for a while -- his own hair, which prompted a poet to dub him a "white-haired angel." Niyazov dyed his hair black soon afterward.
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Berdymukhammedov's predecessor, Saparmurat Niyazov (left), favored white himself, both in architecture and -- for a while -- his own hair, which prompted a poet to dub him a "white-haired angel." Niyazov dyed his hair black soon afterward.

Young people carrying white balloons attend a 2011 inauguration ceremony for a public building recently erected in the Turkmen capital. The color white is frequently associated with cleanliness and good fortune in Central Asia.
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Young people carrying white balloons attend a 2011 inauguration ceremony for a public building recently erected in the Turkmen capital. The color white is frequently associated with cleanliness and good fortune in Central Asia.

Berdymukhammedov serving as master of ceremonies during the unveiling of a new palace in Ashgabat last year. If white has become the dominant color in Turkmen celebrations, the emerald green of the Turkmen flag still serves as a close runner-up.
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Berdymukhammedov serving as master of ceremonies during the unveiling of a new palace in Ashgabat last year. If white has become the dominant color in Turkmen celebrations, the emerald green of the Turkmen flag still serves as a close runner-up.

Even in leisure time, white is the color of choice for the Turkmen president, shown here bicycling with black-clad minders. Berdymukhammedov is frequently seen wearing white sweaters and fleece jackets during casual public appearances.
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Even in leisure time, white is the color of choice for the Turkmen president, shown here bicycling with black-clad minders. Berdymukhammedov is frequently seen wearing white sweaters and fleece jackets during casual public appearances.

The Turkmen president on holiday in the western Caspian Sea city of Turkmenbashi. Berdymukhammedov began his government career as a Health Ministry dentist. But he's since sought to build his own power base and shrug off Niyazov's legacy.
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The Turkmen president on holiday in the western Caspian Sea city of Turkmenbashi. Berdymukhammedov began his government career as a Health Ministry dentist. But he's since sought to build his own power base and shrug off Niyazov's legacy.

Berdymukhammedov has even performed pop songs in an attempt to build his own personality cult. Here, he plays an all-white guitar for a performance backed by singers dressed in white and playing white instruments.
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Berdymukhammedov has even performed pop songs in an attempt to build his own personality cult. Here, he plays an all-white guitar for a performance backed by singers dressed in white and playing white instruments.

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