Turkmenistan celebrates Melon Day

Turkmenistan's leader on Sunday congratulated citizens of the ex-Soviet republic on the Turkmen Melon Day he established to honour the favourite fruit of the sun-drenched Central Asian nation.

    Niyazov (R) has a variety of melon named after him

    The nation currently grows 500 varieties of melon, including the Czar Melon, grown to honour President Saparmurat Niyazov, and the Golden Age, meant to symbolise prosperity under the president, the Agriculture Ministry said.

    "Let the life of every Turkman be as beautiful as our melons," Niyazov said in a statement.

    "There is nothing like that in any country of the world," the state-run Neutral Turkmenistan daily said in a headline.

    Niyazov has led the former Soviet republic, a largely desert nation rich in natural gas, since 1985 as Communist Party chief. He was elected president in 1992 in the wake of the Soviet collapse, and has since created a personality cult around himself.

    Niyazov's image adorns buildings across the country of 4.8 million people, and a gold statue of him in Ashgabat rotates to always face the sun. He has renamed months of the year after himself and his family.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.