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Turkmenistan: WikiLeaks Shows French Firm Indulging Berdymukhamedov’s Penchant for Grandiosity

The French construction company Bouygues has dramatically expanded its business in Turkmenistan since President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov assumed power, according to US Embassy cables, obtained by the WikiLeaks website and reviewed by the French newspaper Le Monde.

Bouygues built many of the white marble buildings in Ashgabat that became a hallmark of former president Sapurmurat Niyazov’s tenure. But the cables suggest that Berdymukhamedov, since taking over four years ago, also has developed a taste for architectural splendor. While the global economic crisis of 2008 prompted the company to scale back operations in most of the world, a cable from January 2010 says that Bouygues had added 450 expatriate employees in Turkmenistan over the previous nine months.

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Joshua Kucera is a freelance writer focusing on security issues. He is the editor of EurasiaNet's Bug Pit blog.

Turkmenistan: WikiLeaks Shows French Firm Indulging Berdymukhamedov’s Penchant for Grandiosity

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