Sat, 29 Jan 2022

The first lady of Turkmenistan, Ogulgerek Berdymukhammedova, has appeared in the media for the first time since her husband took over the extremely secretive and isolated Central Asian country in December 2006 after the death of his predecessor Saparmurat Niyazov.

Turkish media published a photo of Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, along with their spouses, during Erdogan's visit to Ashgabat over the weekend.

Media reports in Turkey mentioned Emine Erdogan, the Turkish president's wife, but did not mention Berdymukhammedova's name, only noting her as Berdymukhammedov's spouse.

Media in Turkmenistan did not publish the photo of the two presidents with their wives, which was taken on November 27 during a banquet in Ashgabat.

Ogulgerek Berdymukhammedova has never been shown on TV or in any other media; Berdymukhammedov is regularly shown on TV alone.

Berdymukhammedov has ruled the Central Asian state with an iron hand, tolerating little dissent.

In the rare family pictures actually shown on media outlets in Turkmenistan, Berdymukhammedov is often accompanied by his son, daughters, and grandchildren but never by his wife, whose background had never been made public.

With reporting by SonDakika, IHA, and Beyazgazete

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Washington DC 20036

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