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Turkic Body Talk

13 Sep

Here’s an interesting image from last month’s meeting of the Turkic Council in Azerbaijan. Look who’s holding centre stage – yes, it’s none other than Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Paying rapt attention to the elder statesman of Turkic politics are Kyrgyzstan’s President Almazbek Atambayev, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev and his bespectacled friend. Turkey’s President Abdullah Gül looks on bemused as the others chat away, presumably, in Russian. Kazaxia’s favourite is the uncomfortable looking guy on the far left – Turkmenistan’s Vice-President Sapardurdi Toylıyev, who appears to be to nervous to catch anyone’s eye less he get into trouble back in Ashgabat.

Turkic Council not effective due to conflicting interests

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Kazakhstan: The Leader’s Fame Knows No Bounds

10 Oct

The cult of personality that has been developing around Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev shows no sign of abating as a Kazakh artist unveils a huge canvas with the president at its centre and a town in Turkey names a street after the long-serving leader.

Kazakh artist Amanat Nazarkul’s masterwork “Astana — The City of Youth and Knowledge” depicts President Nazarbayev surrounded by adoring crowds with white doves flying overhead as he opens a new university facility in the his purpose-built capital city.

Nazurkul took nine months to complete the canvas which contains imagery that harks back to the glory days of socialist realism. He believes his labour of love, which measures 32 square meters, could well be the largest painting in the country — even the former Soviet Union — and is looking for experts to verify this.

AFP reported that the monumental work was commissioned by Maksut Narikbayev, a former politician and now president of the Kazakh Humanities and Law University.

The Turkish town of Kırşehir has jumped on the Nazarbayev bandwagon by naming a street after the man who has been running Kazakhstan since Soviet times. Kırşehir is more commonly associated with the Mevlevi school of Sufism and the mystical side of Islam but it’s now seen fit to call one of its streets after Kazakhstan’s former communist party head.

The governor of Kırşehir province, Ozdemir Kachadzhyk, called it a great honour to name a street after Nazarbayev and praised him with the following:

During his leadership the country has made great achievements, and has become a symbol of prosperity, peace and stability for many nations and states, including Turkey

In recent years President Nazarbayev has been featured in a film, a play, had a statue erected to him in an Almaty park, had a university and a network of schools opened using his name and appeared as the hero of a children’s fairy tale, leading many observers to believe a personality cult may be forming.