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Turkmen Leader To Have Second Eye Operation

Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov (file photo) (ITAR-TASS) ASHGABAT, November 17, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- A German eye specialist today said Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov is due to have a second eye operation in January.

Talking to reporters in Ashagabat, Arthur Mueller said that Niyazov's left eye, which he operated on in February 2005, is in "a very good condition."

He said he and the rest of Niyazov's German medical team had decided that his other eye should now be operated on, "so that his sight is balanced."

A German anaesthetist, Klaus Tschaikowski, said he was convinced the Turkmen president could undergo a second eye surgery without problems, saying that Niyazov is in "very good health" and that "all his organs are working normally."

This is the second time in less than a month that Niyazov has undergone a medical checkup.

A team of German doctors head by Hans Meisner examined him in October and concluded that he was "lively and full of energy."

A few days earlier, on October 20, Niyazov had publicly admitted to having heart problems and said the medication he was taking was preventing him from fasting during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

Niyazov's health is a topic surrounded with the utmost secrecy in Turkmenistan. Exiled opposition activists recently reported that his physical condition has deteriorated.

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

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