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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Turkmen President Dismisses His Influential Security Chief

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan -- Turkmenistan's president has dismissed the country's influential security chief.

The head of the presidential security service, Akmurad Redzhepov, was dismissed by President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov's decree "in connection with his transfer to another job," state television said Tuesday. Redzhepov's replacement was not announced.

Redzhepov served as security chief to late President Saparmurat Niyazov for much of his 21-year rule and was seen as one of his most loyal and influential men who also controlled the country's security agencies.

Analysts saw political significance in the dismissal of Redzhepov, who headed an elite presidential security force of about 2,000.

Apart from exercising power and influence under Niyazov, Redzhepov also played a large role in getting Berdymukhammedov installed as his successor, analysts said.

Berdymukhammedov emerged as an interim leader following Niyazov's death and assumed the office's duties in full after a landslide victory in February elections that were not monitored by Western observers.

Berdymukhammedov has promised more openness and taken steps to remove the most radical measures introduced by Niyazov, who had scrapped old age pensions, cut university courses by two years and banned young people from studying abroad. He has given no sign, however, that he will scrap the country's one-party rule.

Niyazov, who died in December, ruled the country with iron control and instituted a vast cult of personality.

AP, Reuters