ASHGABAT  - Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov fired a key cabinet minister for being a bad father after one of his sons was involved in a road accident, state media reported Saturday. Energy and Industry Minister Yarmu-khammet Orazgulyev was sacked after his son was involved in a traffic accident with the children of other high-ranking Turkmen officials. “Some officials are not paying enough attention to the upbringing of their children, at a time when the authority of an official depends a lot on the kind of upbringing his children receive and how they behave in society,” Berdymukhamedov told a cabinet meeting.
“Badly brought-up children as rule get into unpleasant and tragic situations, like this traffic accident, which was caused by the children of high ranking officials and had serious consequences,” he added.
At the meeting shown on state television, Orazgulyev asked the president’s forgiveness for failing to “inspire the members of my family with the teachings and directions of the Protector.”
Berdymukhamedov — who won a new term in February with 97 percent of the vote in presidential elections — is known in Turkmenistan as the “Arkadag” or “Protector”.
Orazgulyev also promised to work in any job that Berdymukhamedov offered him.
The accident involved the children of top officials studying at the prestigious Turkmenistan Polytechnic Institute. Its head was also fired and the minister of education and her deputy given formal warnings.
Further details about the accident were not disclosed by the state Turkmenistan media.
State newspaper Neutral Turkmenistan confirmed the minister had been fired in a short statement Saturday which gave no details on the circumstances.
The fired minister was one of seven candidates who stood against Berdymukhamedov in the elections but they offered no more than a token challenge and spent most of the campaign praising the president to the skies.
Orazgulyev managed to come second in the elections — with just 1.2 percent of the votes.
Berdymukhamedov has made stabs at reform in the reclusive ex-Soviet state since taking over after the death of his notoriously eccentric predecessor Saparmurat Niyazov in 2006.
But Berdymukhamedov is accused by critics of setting up his own personality cult which risks becoming just as excessive as that of the late president.