Niyazov, to whom parliament officially gave the title of "Turkmenbashi," literally the "head of the Turkmen," turns 66 today.
He has been ruling the mostly desert country since 1985 and secured a presidency-for-life for himself in 1999.
Niyazov's systematic accumulation of power has developed into a cult of personality.
A series of commemorative gold and silver coins dedicated to the president was minted for his 66th birthday. Horse races, fireworks, and a military parade were also planned in the capital Ashgabat today.
RFE/RL Central Asia Report
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