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Turkmenistan Flag

Capital City: Ashgabat

Border countries: Afghanistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan

Internet Links

Official Sites of Turkmenistan
Embassy of Turkmenistan

Political Map of Turkmenistan

Caucasus and Central Asia Map



Background:  Annexed by Russia between 1865 and 1885, Turkmenistan
became a Soviet republic in 1925. It achieved its independence upon the
dissolution of the USSR in 1991. President NIYAZOV retains absolute
control over the country and opposition is not tolerated. Extensive
hydrocarbon/natural gas reserves could prove a boon to this underdeveloped
country if extraction and delivery projects can be worked out.

Geography Turkmenistan

Location:  Central Asia, bordering the Caspian Sea, between Iran and

Geographic coordinates:  40 00 N, 60 00 E

Map references:  Asia

Area:  total: 488,100 sq km water: 0 sq km land: 488,100 sq km

Area - comparative:  slightly larger than California

Land boundaries:  total: 3,736 km border countries: Afghanistan 744 km,
Iran 992 km, Kazakhstan 379 km, Uzbekistan 1,621 km

Coastline:  0 km; note - Turkmenistan borders the Caspian Sea (1,768 km)

Maritime claims:  none (landlocked)

Climate:  subtropical desert

Terrain:  flat-to-rolling sandy desert with dunes rising to mountains
in the south; low mountains along border with Iran; borders Caspian Sea
in west

Elevation extremes:  lowest point: Vpadina Akchanaya -81 m; note -
Sarygamysh Koli is a lake in northern Turkmenistan with a water level
that fluctuates above and below the elevation of Vpadina Akchanaya (the
lake has dropped as low as -110 m) highest point: Gora Ayribaba 3,139 m

Natural resources:  petroleum, natural gas, coal, sulfur, salt

Land use:  arable land: 4% permanent crops: 0% other: 96% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  18,000 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:  NA

Environment - current issues:  contamination of soil and groundwater
with agricultural chemicals, pesticides; salination, water-logging of
soil due to poor irrigation methods; Caspian Sea pollution; diversion of
a large share of the flow of the Amu Darya into irrigation contributes
to that river's inability to replenish the Aral Sea; desertification

Environment - international agreements:  party to: Biodiversity, Climate
Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes,
Ozone Layer Protection signed, but not ratified: none of the selected

Geography - note:  landlocked; the western and central low-lying,
desolate portions of the country make up the great Garagum (Kara-Kum)
desert, which occupies over 80% of the country; eastern part is plateau

People Turkmenistan

Population:  4,688,963 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 37.3% (male 895,536; female 853,301) 15-64
years: 58.6% (male 1,350,142; female 1,399,879) 65 years and over: 4.1%
(male 72,784; female 117,321) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  1.84% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  28.27 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  8.92 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  -0.98 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.05
male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female 65 years and over:
0.62 male(s)/female total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  73.21 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   64.8 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  3.54 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  0.01% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  less than 100 (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  less than 100 (1999 est.)

Nationality:  noun: Turkmen(s) adjective: Turkmen

Ethnic groups:  Turkmen 77%, Uzbek 9.2%, Russian 6.7%, Kazakh 2%, other
5.1% (1995)

Religions:  Muslim 89%, Eastern Orthodox 9%, unknown 2%

Languages:  Turkmen 72%, Russian 12%, Uzbek 9%, other 7%

Literacy:  definition: age 15 and over can read and write total
population: 98% male: 99% female: 97% (1989 est.)

Government Turkmenistan

Country name:  conventional long form: none conventional short form:
Turkmenistan local long form: none former: Turkmen Soviet Socialist
Republic local short form: Turkmenistan

Government type:  republic

Capital:  Ashgabat

Administrative divisions:  5 provinces (welayatlar, singular - welayat):
Ahal Welayaty (Ashgabat), Balkan Welayaty (Balkanabat), Dasoguz Welayaty,
Labap Welayaty (Turkmenabat), Mary Welayaty note: administrative divisions
have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have
the administrative center name following in parentheses)

Independence:  27 October 1991 (from the Soviet Union)

National holiday:  Independence Day, 27 October (1991)

Constitution:  adopted 18 May 1992

Legal system:  based on civil law system

Suffrage:  18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:  chief of state: President and Chairman of the
Cabinet of Ministers Saparmurat NIYAZOV (since 27 October 1990, when
the first direct presidential election occurred); note - the president
is both the chief of state and head of government head of government:
President and Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers Saparmurat NIYAZOV
(since 27 October 1990, when the first direct presidential election
occurred); note - the president is both the chief of state and head
of government cabinet:  elected by popular vote for a five-year term;
election last held 21 June 1992 (next to be held NA); note - President
NIYAZOV was unanimously approved as president for life by the Assembly
on 28 December 1999); deputy chairmen of the cabinet of ministers are
appointed by the president election results: Saparmurat NIYAZOV elected
president without opposition; percent of vote - Saparmurat NIYAZOV 99.5%
note: NIYAZOV's term in office was extended indefinitely on 28 December
1999 by the Assembly (Majlis) during a session of the People's Council
(Halk Maslahaty)

Legislative branch:  under the 1992 constitution, there are two
parliamentary bodies, a unicameral People's Council or Halk Maslahaty
(more than 100 seats, some of which are elected by popular vote and some
of which are appointed; meets infrequently) and a unicameral Assembly or
Majlis (50 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year
terms) election results: Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA%;
seats by party - NA; note - all 50 elected officials preapproved by
President NIYAZOV; most are from the DPT elections: People's Council -
NA; Assembly - last held 12 December 1999 (next to be held NA 2004)

Judicial branch:  Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the president)

Political parties and leaders:  Democratic Party of Turkmenistan or DPT
[Saparmurat NIYAZOV] note:  movements exist underground or in foreign

Political pressure groups and leaders:  NA

International organization participation:  AsDB, CCC, CIS, EAPC, EBRD,
IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OIC, OPCW, OSCE,

Diplomatic representation in the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador
Mered Bairamovich ORAZOV FAX: [1] (202) 588-0697 telephone: [1] (202)
588-1500 chancery: 2207 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

Diplomatic representation from the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador
Laura E. KENNEDY embassy: 9 Pushkin Street, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
774000 mailing address: use embassy street address telephone: [9] (9312)
35-00-45 FAX: [9] (9312) 51-13-05

Flag description:  green field with a vertical red stripe near the
hoist side, containing five carpet guls (designs used in producing rugs)
stacked above two crossed olive branches similar to the olive branches
on the UN flag; a white crescent moon and five white stars appear in
the upper corner of the field just to the fly side of the red stripe

Economy Turkmenistan

Economy - overview:  Turkmenistan is largely desert country with intensive
agriculture in irrigated oases and huge gas (fifth largest reserves in
the world) and oil resources. One-half of its irrigated land is planted
in cotton, making it the world's tenth largest producer. Until the end of
1993, Turkmenistan had experienced less economic disruption than other
former Soviet states because its economy received a boost from higher
prices for oil and gas and a sharp increase in hard currency earnings. In
1994, Russia's refusal to export Turkmen gas to hard currency markets
and mounting debts of its major customers in the former USSR for gas
deliveries contributed to a sharp fall in industrial production and
caused the budget to shift from a surplus to a slight deficit. With an
authoritarian ex-Communist regime in power and a tribally based social
structure, Turkmenistan has taken a cautious approach to economic
reform, hoping to use gas and cotton sales to sustain its inefficient
economy. Privatization goals remain limited. In 1998-2001, Turkmenistan
has suffered from the continued lack of adequate export routes for
natural gas and from obligations on extensive short-term external
debt. At the same time, however, total exports have risen sharply
because of higher international oil and gas prices. Prospects in the
near future are discouraging because of widespread internal poverty, the
burden of foreign debt, and the unwillingness of the government to adopt
market-oriented reforms. However, Turkmenistan's cooperation with the
international community in transporting humanitarian aid to Afghanistan
may foreshadow a change in the atmosphere for foreign investment, aid,
and technological support. Turkmenistan's economic statistics are state
secrets, and GDP and other figures are subject to wide margins of error.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $21.5 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  10% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $4,700 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 27% industry: 45% services:
28% (2000 est.)

Population below poverty line:  34.4% (2001 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 31.7% (1998)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:  40.8 (1998)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  10% (2001 est.)

Labor force:  2.34 million (1996)

Labor force - by occupation:  agriculture 48%, industry 15%, services 37%
(1998 est.)

Unemployment rate:  NA%

Budget:  revenues: $588.6 million expenditures: $658.2 million, including
capital expenditures of $NA (1999 est.)

Industries:  natural gas, oil, petroleum products, textiles, food

Industrial production growth rate:  NA%

Electricity - production:  9.256 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 99.94% hydro: 0.06%
other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  7.708 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  900 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  0 kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products:  cotton, grain; livestock

Exports:  $2.7 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

Exports - commodities:  gas 33%, oil 30%, cotton fiber 18%, textiles 8%

Exports - partners:  Ukraine 27%, Iran 14%, Turkey 11%, Italy 9%,
Switzerland 5% (1999)

Imports:  $2.3 billion (c.i.f., 2001 est.)

Imports - commodities:  machinery and equipment 60%, foodstuffs 15% (1999)

Imports - partners:  Turkey 17%, Ukraine 12%, Russia 11%, UAE 8%, France
6% (1999)

Debt - external:  $2.3 billion to $5 billion (2001 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:  $16 million from the US (2001)

Currency:  Turkmen manat (TMM)

Currency code:  TMM

Exchange rates:  Turkmen manats per US dollar - 5,200 (January
2002-January 2000), 5,350 (January 1999), 4,070 (January 1997)

Fiscal year:  calendar year

Communications Turkmenistan

Telephones - main lines in use:  363,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  4,300 (1998)

Telephone system:  general assessment: poorly developed domestic: NA
international: linked by cable and microwave radio relay to other CIS
republics and to other countries by leased connections to the Moscow
international gateway switch; a new telephone link from Ashgabat to Iran
has been established; a new exchange in Ashgabat switches international
traffic through Turkey via Intelsat; satellite earth stations - 1 Orbita
and 1 Intelsat

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 16, FM 8, shortwave 2 (1998)

Radios:  1.225 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  3 (much programming relayed from Russia
and Turkey) (1997)

Televisions:  820,000 (1997)

Internet country code:  .tm

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  NA

Internet users:  2,000 (2000)

Transportation Turkmenistan

Railways:  total: 2,440 km broad gauge: 2,440 km 1.520-m gauge (2001)

Highways:  total: 22,000 km paved: 18,000 km (includes some all-weather
gravel-surfaced roads) unpaved: 4,000 km (these roads are made of
unstabilized earth and are difficult to negotiate in wet weather) (1996)

Waterways:  the Amu Darya is an important inland waterway for Turkmenistan

Pipelines:  crude oil 250 km; natural gas 4,400 km

Ports and harbors:  Turkmenbasy

Merchant marine:  total: 1 ship (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 4,600
GRT/5,000 DWT ships by type: petroleum tanker 1 (2002 est.)

Airports:  76 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 13 2,438 to 3,047 m: 9 1,524 to
2,437 m: 4 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 63 2,438 to 3,047 m: 7 1,524
to 2,437 m: 5 914 to 1,523 m: 10 under 914 m: 41 (2001)

Military Turkmenistan

Military branches:  Ministry of Defense (Army, Air and Air Defense,
Navy, Border Troops, and Internal Troops), National Guard

Military manpower - military age:  18 years of age (2002 est.)

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 1,206,920 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 979,282
(2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:  males: 48,292
(2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $90 million (FY99)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  3.4% (FY99)

Transnational Issues Turkmenistan

Disputes - international:  Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and
Uzbekistan wrestle with sharing limited water resources and regional
environmental degradation caused by the shrinking of the Aral Sea;
multilaterally-accepted Caspian Sea seabed and maritime boundaries have
not yet been established in the Caspian - Iran insists on division
of Caspian Sea into five equal sectors while Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan,
Russia, and Turkmenistan have generally agreed upon equidistant seabed
boundaries; Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan await ICJ decision to resolve
sovereignty dispute over oil fields in the Caspian Sea

Illicit drugs:  limited illicit cultivator of opium poppy, mostly
for domestic consumption; limited government eradication program;
increasingly used as transshipment point for illicit drugs from Southwest
Asia to Russia and Western Europe; also a transshipment point for acetic
anhydride destined for Afghanistan

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty Turkmen Service

The Times of Central Asia


International Newssources Turkmenistan

Arts & Culture

Turkmen Rugs and Carpets

Business & Economy

Country Guides
Ashgabat Gazette

Turkmenistan Chaihana

Turkmen International

Turkmenistan Online

History of Turkmenistan

Culture, Traditions, and History of Turkmenistan

TM Domain
.TM domain registration




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