Ashgabat Restaurants Belonging to Relative of Turkmenistan’s President Demolished After Waiter Stabbed Colleagues

Demolition work has begun on the Botanical Garden and Georgia restaurants in Ashgabat, which are owned by Ibabekir Bekdurdiyev, husband of one of the Turkmen president’s cousins. A few days ago the furniture was removed from the restaurants and now the buildings are being taken down. On September 8, a waiter at the Botanical Garden attacked his colleagues with a knife.

Botanical Garden restaurant in Ashgabat

The demolition of the restaurants is the personal initiative of President Serdar Berdimuhamedov, sources reported.

“The president was furious,” a well-informed source said. “First, because the restaurants were on the territory of the Botanical Garden, which is forbidden, and second because of the incident there and news of it reaching the Internet, and third because the names of the president’s relatives are again being mentioned in public in a negative light.”

Ibabekir Bekdurdiyev (nicknamed Guga) is married to Ogulsheker Bekdurdiyeva (maiden name Dovletova). She is the daughter of Gulnabat Dovletova, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov’s sister. The Botanical Garden and Georgia restaurants are registered in the name of a friend of Bekdurdiyev – Maksim Shvydko, but their real owner is Guga himself. Both restaurants were popular in Ashgabat and the Georgia had even brought in a chef from Georgia.

Ibabekir Bekdurdiyev (left) and Maksim Shvydko

The loss of these two establishments shouldn’t come as too much of a blow to Ibabekir Bekdurdiyev’s finances, observers say. He controls several other eateries in Ashgabat – the Mandarin, Melbourne, and Melbourne Burger restaurants, the Chocolate Club, and the Arassa Deniz catering company which is also registered in Maksim Shvydko’s name.

“Guga has suffered more in terms of his reputation in the president’s eyes,” a source said. “He will now take a step back and keep his head down, but over time this episode will be forgotten, and everything will go back to the way it was.”

On September 8, a waiter named Sukhan, under the influence of alcohol or narcotics, stabbed two of his colleagues with a knife — a female chef and a cleaner, a girl named Guncha. He ran out of the restaurant and was hit by a taxi. Sukhan then stabbed the taxi driver too. According to as yet unconfirmed information, two of the victims later died but it is not clear which of them.

In 2018, examined Ibabekir Bekdurdiyev’s social media presence and found that the president’s relative has a lavish lifestyle. In particular Guga really loves expensive watches and has a collection worth at least a million. He also appreciates expensive cars and alcohol, and yacht trips in the world’s best resorts. His official job title at that time was project engineer, second rank, in the projects service at the Turkmen Gas Supply Association, part of the Turkmengaz state-owned company.