Turkmenistan’s leader Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has fired the head of the powerful national security ministry, state media reported Thursday.
Berdymukhamedov dismissed Yalim Berdiyev, who had held the post since 2018, and replaced him with deputy national security minister Gurbanmyrat Annayev, the state-run Neutral Turkmenistan newspaper said.
Berdiyev had moved on to another job, it said, without giving details.
Berdymukhamedov rules without opposition or free media and little is known about what motivates government appointments.
Berdiyev was replaced after receiving a “final warning” from the Turkmen leader for “shortcomings” in January, although the source of the president’s displeasure was unclear, state media said.
The 62-year-old leader also used the occasion to strip Berdiyev of his parallel role as secretary of the state security council and downgrade his military rank.
The state council secretary role has since been filled by Charymyrat Amanov, whose accompanying position as the cabinet of minister’s deputy chairman for security and military issues was created this year.
Berdymukhamedov fired interior minister Isgender Mulikov after ten years in the post in October last year.
Mulikov was later shown on state television with his head shaven and handcuffed confessing to corruption.
Berdymukhamedov’s predecessor Saparmurat Niyazov, who died in 2006, was similarly inclined to humiliate state officials in public.
Both Berdymukhamedov and Niyazov are feted by golden statues in the white marble-clad capital Ashgabat, testifying to a leadership cult that regularly prompts comparisons with North Korea.