The Corner

Turkmenbashi’s Dentist

An update from Turkmenistan, whose late dictator offered endless hours of amusement to observers of foreign affairs with his grandiose buffoonery. (Among other things, he named January after himself and April after his mother; he banned gold teeth and car radios; and erected a gold statue of himself that rotated to always face the sun.) I did not know that his successor, with the wonderful name of Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, started out as the dictator’s dentist. One thing about the story, though — the writer thinks the country is on the Black Sea, rather than the Caspian. Now, if you’re slinging hash in Kansas City or writing computer code in Cambridge, you really don’t need to know where Turkmenistan is. But this is the New York Times, for crissake — if their foreign correspondents and world-news copy editors don’t know that kind of basic information, it’s not much of a newspaper of record, is it?

Mark Krikorian, a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995.

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