Turkmen lawmakers have conferred the title of Hero of Turkmenistan on President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov.
Parliament speaker Akja Nurberdiyeva said on October 25 that the Council of Elders -- a body of some 600 people aged over 60 -- bestowed the award on Berdymukhammedov for his contribution to Turkmen independence 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Berdymukhammedov has in recent years moved to dismantle the personality cult of late Turkmen leader Saparmurat Niyazov, but critics have accused him of setting up his own personality cult instead.
Niyazov himself was awarded the title three times.
compiled from agency reports