Melon Day, which pays tribute to the approximately 1,100 different sorts of melons that grow in the country, has been an annual holiday in Turkmenistan since 1994.
Newspapers in Turkmenistan on August 11 carried a message from President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov in which he reminded the country that "since ancient times Turkmenistan has been considered the homeland of the best melons in the world."
A billboard in Ashgabat with portraits of the candidates in the February 11 election (OSCE)
SIGNS OF CHANGE? Reporters Without Borders analyst Elsa Vidal and RFE/RL Kazakh Service Director Merkhat Sharipzhanov led an RFE/RL briefing in Prague about the significance -- or lack thereof -- of Turkmenistan's first-ever competitive presidential election.
LISTENListen to the entire briefing (about 60 minutes):
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