You would think that after his near-death experience on the track a couple of weeks back Turkmenistan’s top jockey, Gurbanguly Berdymukhemedov, might stop playing with ponies for a while. But nooooo. …
Berdymukhamedov was back in the saddle the other day hosting Turkish President Abdullah Gül at the track in the Turkmen capital Ashgabat. Gül was in Turkmenistan on a state visit, during which he signed an array of bilateral agreements, including one on energy cooperation. Berdymukhamedov also lavished some nice swag on his Turkish guest, including a state medal, an honorary professorship and an Akhal-Teke horse.
It’s ironic that as Gul was buddying up to Berdymukhamedov, whose regime is ranked by watchdog groups as one of the most despotic on earth, protests were erupting in Istanbul over the Turkish government’s increasingly authoritarian ways. Makes you wonder whether Berdymukhedov has been giving Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pointers on how to trample on individual rights?
Speaking of horses, Berdymukhamedov clearly suffers from a strange strain of equinophlia. If you delve into the history of horse-obsessed despots, you may recall that the Roman Emperor Caligula expressed an intention to make his favorite horse a consul. So don’t be surprised if Berdymukhamedov issues a presidential decree one of these days appointing an Akhal-Teke stallion as education minister.
And while we’re at it, will someone please tell Berdymukhamedov to please find a better tailor. Those silks are, to put it kindly, a sartorial disaster. Berdy’s moobs give Steven Tyler’s a run for their money.