ASHGABAT -- Turkmenistan's authoritarian President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has replaced several officials, regional judges, and prosecutors.
According to state media reports, Berdymukhammedov sacked Mergen Gurdov from the post of the chairman of the State Migration Service; Bekmyrat Ovezov became the service's new chief. No explanation for the moves was given.
Berdymukhammedov also reprimanded the commander of the border guard service, Shadurdy Durdyev, and Charymyrat Amanov, the deputy prime minister and secretary of the Security Council, for "improperly carrying out their duties." It was not clear what duties the two officials failed to carry out properly.
Berdymukhammedov also fired the deputy chief of the state bank Dayhanbank, Yslam Artykov, for "poor performance" and appointed Guichmyrat Berdiev to the post.
Additionally, Berdymukhammedov replaced several regional judges and prosecutors, state media reports said, without saying why.
Berdymukhammedov, 63, has run the former Soviet republic since 2006, tolerating no dissent and becoming the center of an elaborate personality cult. Turkmen citizens often refer to him as Arkadag (The Protector).
Government critics and human rights groups say Berdymukhammedov has suppressed dissent and made few changes in the secretive country since he came to power after the death of autocrat Saparmurat Niyazov.
Like his late predecessor, Berdymukhammedov has relied on subsidized prices for basic goods and utilities to help maintain his grip on power.
According to Human Rights Watch, Berdymukhammedov, "his relatives and their associates control all aspects of public life, and the authorities encroach on private life."