İrem UZUN -TDO- Turkmenistan's president has bestowed his favorite dog breed with the highest honor, a giant golden statue. Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov unveiled the 6m statue of the Alabay dog in the capital Ashgabat on Tuesday. The Alabay is a home-bred Turkmen variety of the Central Asian shepherd dog and is listed under the country's national heritage.
A state television on November 10 showed Berdymukhamedov gazing happily at a gold-leaf canine– the centerpiece of a residential area designed for civil servants in Ashgabat. Turkmenistan’s state news agency wrote that the six-meter statue captures the “dignity and self-assuredness” of the bulky-skulled shepherd breed. In a song and dance-filled ceremony opening the residential area, an elder handed an Alabay puppy to a young boy, symbolizing the dog’s constancy through generations of Turkmen. The new monument that was commissioned several years ago puts the Alabay in exalted company at the forefront of state propaganda. It isn't the first time the breed has been honored by the president - last year he devoted a book to the Alabay.