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Turkmenistan Türkmenistan Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+5) right .tm 993 Drives on the Internet TLD Calling code


Coat of arms

Anthem: Independent, Neutral, Turkmenistan State Anthem

Capital (and largest city) Official languages Language for interethnic communication Demonym Government President

37°58′N 58°20′E / 37.967°N 58.333°E / 37.967; 58.333

Turkmen Russian

Turkmen Presidential republic Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow from the Soviet Union 27 October 1991 8 December 1991 488,100 km2 [1](52nd) 188,456 sq mi 4.9 5,110,023 (112th) 9.9/km2 (208th) 25.6/sq mi 2008 estimate $30.091 billion[2] $5,710[2] ▼ 0.712 (medium) (109th) Turkmen new manat (TMT) TMT (UTC+5)

Independence - Declared - Recognized Area - Total Water (%)

Turkmenistan (Turkmen: Türkmenistan; also known as Turkmenia, Russian: Туркмения) is a Turkic country in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic (Turkmen SSR). It is bordered by Afghanistan to the southeast, Iran to the southwest, Uzbekistan to the northeast, Kazakhstan to the northwest, and the Caspian Sea to the west. The name Turkmenistan derives from Persian, meaning "land of the Turkmen". The name of its capital, Ashgabat, means "the City of Arsaces" in Persian. It also loosely translates as "the city of love" or "the city that love built", derived in folk etymology from the Arabic ishq for "love" with the Persian suffix abad for "inhabited" or "built".[3] Turkmenistan’s GDP growth rate of 11.5% (IMF estimate for 2007) ranks 11th in the world, but official government statistics on which this estimate is based are widely regarded as unreliable.[1] Although it is wealthy in natural resources in certain areas, most of the country is covered by the Karakum (Black Sands) Desert. It has a single-party system, and was ruled by President for Life Saparmurat Niyazov (called "Turkmenbashi", or "leader of the Turkmen") until his sudden death on 21 December 2006. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow was elected the new president on 11 February 2007.

The territory of Turkmenistan has a long and checkered history, as armies from one empire after another decamped there on their way to more prosperous territories. The region’s written history begins with its conquest by the Achaemenid Empire of ancient Persia, as the region was divided between the satrapies of Margiana, Khwarezm and Parthia. Alexander the Great conquered the territory in the fourth century BCE on his way to South Asia, around the time that the Silk Road was established as a major trading route between Asia and the Mediterranean Region. One hundred and fifty years later, Persia’s Parthian Kingdom established its capital in Nisa, now in the suburbs of the capital, Ashgabat. After replacement of Parthian empire by Persian Sassanids, another native Iranian dynasty, the

Population - December 2006 estimate - Density GDP (PPP) - Total - Per capita HDI (2007) Currency Time zone


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region remained territory of Persian empire for following centuries. In the seventh century CE, Arabs conquered this region, bringing with them Islam and incorporating the Turkmen into Middle Eastern culture. The Turkmenistan region soon came to be known as the capital of Greater Khorasan, when the caliph Al-Ma’mun moved his capital to Merv.

unmapped and virtually unknown to Europe and the Western world. Rivalry for control of the area between the British Empire and Tsarist Russia was characterized as The Great Game. Throughout their conquest of Central Asia, the Russians were met with the stiffest resistance by the Turkmen. By 1894, however, Russia had gained control of Turkmenistan and incorporated it into its empire. The rivalry officially concluded with the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907. Slowly, Russian and European cultures were introduced to the area. This was evident in the architecture of the newly-formed city of Ashgabat, which became the capital. The October Revolution of 1917 in Russia and subsequent political unrest led to the declaration of the area as the Turkmen SSR, one of the six republics of the Soviet Union in 1924, assuming the borders of modern Turkmenistan. The new Turkmen SSR went through a process of further Europeanization. The tribal Turkmen people were encouraged to become secular and adopt European-style clothing. The Turkmen alphabet was changed from the traditional Arabic script to Latin and finally to Cyrillic. However, bringing the Turkmens to abandon their previous nomadic ways in favor of communism was not fully embraced until as late as 1948. Nationalist organizations in the region also existed during the 1920s and the 1930s. When the Soviet Union began to collapse, Turkmenistan and the rest of the Central Asian states heavily favored maintaining a reformed version of the state, mainly because they needed the economic power and common markets of the Soviet Union to prosper. Turkmenistan declared independence on 27 October 1991,[4] one of the last republics to secede. In 1991, Turkmenistan became a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, an international organization of former Soviet republics. However, Turkmenistan reduced its status in the organization to "associate member" in August 2005. The reason stated by the Turkmen president was the country’s policy of permanent neutrality.[5] It is the only former Soviet state (aside from the Baltic states now in the European Union) without a full membership. The former Soviet leader, Saparmurat Niyazov, remained in power as Turkmenistan’s leader after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Under his post-Soviet rule, Russian-Turkmeni relations greatly suffered. He styled himself as a promoter of traditional Muslim and Turkmen culture (calling himself "Turkmenbashi", or "leader of the Turkmen people"), but he became notorious in the West for his dictatorial rule and extravagant cult of personality. The extent of his power greatly increased during the early 1990s, and in 1999 he became President for Life. Niyazov died unexpectedly on 21 December 2006, leaving no heir apparent and an unclear line of succession. A former deputy prime minister rumored to be the illegitimate son of Niyazov,[6] Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, became acting president, although under

Magtymguly Pyragy In the middle of the eleventh century, the Turkomanruled Seljuk Empire concentrated its strength in the territory of modern Turkmenistan in an attempt to expand into Khorasan (modern Afghanistan). The empire broke down in the second half of the twelfth century, and the Turkmen lost their independence when Genghis Khan took control of the eastern Caspian Sea region on his march west. For the next seven centuries, the Turkmen people lived under various empires and fought constant inter-tribal wars. Little is documented of Turkmen history prior to Russian engagement. However, from the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries, Turkmen formed a distinct ethnolinguistic group. As the Turkmen migrated from the area around the Mangyshlak Peninsula in contemporary Kazakhstan toward the Iranian border region and the Amu Darya basin, tribal Turkmen society further developed cultural traditions that became the foundation of Turkmen national consciousness. Between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, control of Turkmenistan was fought over by Persian Shahs, Khivan Khans, the Emirs of Bukhara and the rulers of Afghanistan. During this period, Turkmen spiritual leader Magtymguly Pyragy reached prominence with his efforts to secure independence and autonomy for his people. At this time, the vast territory of Central Asia including the region of Turkmenistan was largely


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the constitution the Chairman of the People’s Council, Ovezgeldy Atayev, should have succeeded to the post. However, Atayev was accused of crimes and removed from office. In an election on 11 February 2007, Berdimuhamedow was elected president with 89% of the vote and 95% turnout, although the election was condemned by outside observers as unfair.[7] He was sworn in on 14 February 2007.

effectively permitted to operate. Political gatherings are illegal unless government sanctioned. Turkmenistan is among the twenty countries in the world with the highest perceived level of corruption: the 2008 Corruption Perception Index for Turkmenistan is 1.8 on a scale of 0 (most corrupt) to 10 (least corrupt).[8]

Human rights
Although some human rights are guaranteed in the Constitution of Turkmenistan (such as social equality, sex equality, freedom from cruel and unusual punishment and freedom of movement), human rights remains a contentious issue in the country. Other social and economic rights include the right to work, the right to rest, and the right to education. However, there are freedom of religion issues.[9] According to the 2007 Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index, Turkmenistan had the third-worst restrictions on the freedom of the press in the world. Former president Saparmurat Niyazov enforced a ban on satellite dishes[10] and also banned beards, long hair, ballet, opera and recorded music in Turkmenistan.[11] These restrictions are now being gradually relaxed by the new president Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow. Although there were modest improvements, the government continued to commit serious abuses, and its human rights record remained poor.[12]


Turkmenistan national assembly building in Ashgabat After 69 years as part of the Soviet Union (including 67 years as a union republic), Turkmenistan declared its independence on 27 October 1991. President for Life Saparmurat Niyazov, a former bureaucrat of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, ruled Turkmenistan from 1985, when he became head of the Communist Party of the Turkmen SSR, until his death in 2006. He retained absolute control over the country after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. On 28 December 1999, Niyazov was declared President for Life of Turkmenistan by the Mejlis (parliament), which itself had taken office a week earlier in elections that included only candidates hand-picked by President Niyazov. No opposition candidates were allowed. The politics of Turkmenistan take place in the framework of a presidential republic, with the President both head of state and head of government. Under Niyazov, Turkmenistan had a single-party system; however, in September 2008, the People’s Council unanimously passed a resolution adopting a new Constitution. The latter resulted in the abolition of the Council and a significant increase in the size of Parliament in December 2008. The new Constitution also permits the formation of multiple political parties. The current President of Turkmenistan is Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, who took control following Niyazov’s death in December 2006. The former Communist Party, now known as the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan, has been the only one

Administrative divisions

Provinces of Turkmenistan Turkmenistan is divided into five provinces or welayatlar (singular welayat) and one capital city district. The provinces are subdivided into districts (etraplar, sing. etrap), which may be either counties or cities. According to the Constitution of Turkmenistan (Article 16 in the 2008 Constitution, Article 47 in the 1992 Constitution), some cities may have the status of welaýat (province) or etrap (district).


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Division Ashgabat City Ahal Province Balkan Province Daşoguz Province Lebap Province Mary Province TM-A TM-B TM-D TM-L TM-M ISO 3166-2 Capital city Ashgabat Anau Balkanabat? Daşoguz Türkmenabat Mary Area[13] 470 km2 (180 sq mi) 97,160 km2 (37,510 sq mi) 139,270 km2 (53,770 sq mi) 73,430 km2 (28,350 sq mi) 93,730 km2 (36,190 sq mi) 87,150 km2 (33,650 sq mi)

Pop (2005)[13] 871,500 939,700 553,500 1,370,400 1,334,500 1,480,400 1 2 3 4 5 Key

Map of Turkmenistan

Kopetdag Mountains in Ahal. Over 80% of the country is covered by the Karakum Desert. The center of the country is dominated by the Turan Depression and the Karakum Desert. The Kopet Dag Range, along the southwestern border, reaches 2,912 meters (9,553 ft) at Kuh-e Rizeh (Mount Rizeh).[14] The Great Balkhan Range in the west of the country (Balkan Province) and the Kugitangtau Range on the south-eastern border with Uzbekistan (Lebap Province) are the only other significant elevations. The Great Balkhan Range rises to 1,880 metres (6,200 ft) at Mount Arlan[15] and the highest summit in Turkmenistan is Ayrybaba in the Kugitangtau Range – 3,137 metres (10,290 ft).[16] Rivers include the Amu Darya, the Murghab, and the Tejen. The climate is mostly arid subtropical desert, with little rainfall. Winters are mild and dry, with most precipitation falling between January and May. The area of the country with the heaviest precipitation is the Kopet Dag Range. The Turkmen shore along the Caspian Sea is 1,768 kilometres (1,099 mi) long. The Caspian Sea is entirely landlocked, with no access to the ocean. The major cities include Ashkhabad, Türkmenbaşy (formerly Krasnovodsk) and Daşoguz.

Dust Storm Over Turkmenistan

The Caspian Sea at Türkmenbaşy At 488,100 km2 (188,500 sq mi), Turkmenistan is the world’s 52nd-largest country. It is slightly smaller than Spain and somewhat larger than the US state of California.

Half of the country’s irrigated land is planted with cotton, making the country the world’s tenth-largest producer of it. It possesses the world’s fifth-largest reserves of natural


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most of which are held in off-budget funds such as the Foreign Exchange Reserve Fund in the Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt, according to a report released in April 2006 by London-based non-governmental organization Global Witness. According to the decree of the Peoples’ Council of 14 August 2003,[17] electricity, natural gas, water and salt will be subsidized for citizens up to 2030; however, shortages are frequent. On 5 September 2006, after Turkmenistan threatened to cut off supplies, Russia agreed to raise the price it pays for Turkmen natural gas from $65 to $100 per 1,000 cubic meters. Two-thirds of Turkmen gas goes through the Russian state-owned Gazprom.[18]

Presidential Palace in Ashgabat.


Covered produce market in Ashgabat gas and substantial oil resources. In 1994, the Russian government’s refusal to export Turkmen gas to hard currency markets and mounting debts of its major customers in the former Soviet Union for gas deliveries contributed to a sharp fall in industrial production and caused the budget to shift from a surplus to a slight deficit. Turkmenistan has taken a cautious approach to economic reform, hoping to use gas and cotton sales to sustain its economy. In 2004, the unemployment rate was estimated to be 60%;[1] the percentage of the population living below the poverty line was thought to be 58% a year earlier. Privatization goals remain limited. Between 1998 and 2002, Turkmenistan 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, the value of total exports has risen sharply because of increases in international oil and gas prices. Economic prospects in the near future are discouraging because of widespread internal poverty and the burden of foreign debt. President Niyazov spent much of the country’s revenue on extensively renovating cities, Ashgabat in particular. Corruption watchdogs voiced particular concern over the management of Turkmenistan’s currency reserves,

Turkmen girl in traditional dress. Most of Turkmenistan’s citizens are ethnic Turkmens with sizeable minorities of Uzbeks and Russians. Smaller minorities include Kazakhs, Tatars, Ukrainians, Armenians, Azeris, and Balochis. The CIA World Factbook gives the ethnic composition of Turkmenistan as 85% Turkmen, 5% Uzbek, 4% Russian and 6% other (2003 estimates).[1] According to data announced in Ashgabat in February 2001, 91% of the population are Turkmen, 3% are Uzbeks and 2% are Russians. Between 1989 and 2001 the number of Turkmen in Turkmenistan doubled (from 2.5 to 4.9 million), while the number of Russians dropped by two-thirds (from 334,000 to slightly over 100,000).[19]


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• The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia by Peter Hopkirk • Tradition and Society in Turkmenistan: Gender, Oral Culture and Song by Carole Blackwell • Tribal Nation: The Making of Soviet Turkmenistan by Adrienne Lynn Edgar • Eastward to Tartary: Travels in the Balkans, the Middle East, and the Caucasus by Robert D. Kaplan • Unknown Sands: Journeys Around the World’s Most Isolated Country by John W. Kropf • Rall, Ted. "Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East?" New York: NBM Publishing, 2006. • Theroux, Paul, "Letter from Turkmenistan, The Golden Man, Saparmyrat Nyyazow’s reign of insanity" New Yorker, 28 May 2007

Turkmen is the official language of Turkmenistan (per the 1992 Constitution), although Russian still is widely spoken in cities as a "language of inter-ethnic communication". Turkmen is spoken by 72% of the population, Russian 12%, Uzbek 9%, and other languages 7%.[1]

Further information: Religion in Turkmenistan Islam is the dominant religion in Turkmenistan (89% of the population); 9% adhere to the Eastern Orthodox Church, and for 2% religion is reported as unknown.[1] Under the Law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations as amended in 1995 and 1996, religious congregations are required to register with the authorities and must have at least 500 adult adherents in each locality where registration is to be carried out. Smaller religious populations are not recognized by the government, and because of the 500-member limit only Sunni Muslims and Russian Orthodox Christians are registered as legal religious organizations in Turkmenistan.[20]


Education is universal and mandatory through the secondary level, the total duration of which was earlier reduced from 10 to 9 years; with the new President it has been decreed that from the 2007 - 2008 school year on, mandatory education will be for 10 years. • Akhal-Teke horse • Yomut carpet • Turkmen carpet • Islam in Turkmenistan • Merv • Music of Turkmenistan

Miscellaneous topics
• Central Asian Union • Foreign relations of Turkmenistan • International organization membership of Turkmenistan • Military of Turkmenistan • Scouting in Turkmenistan • Transport in Turkmenistan • Geok-Tepe

Further reading
• Bradt Travel Guide: Turkmenistan by Paul Brummell • Historical Dictionary of Turkmenistan by Rafis Abazov • Lonely Planet Guide: Central Asia by Paul Clammer, Michael Kohn and Bradley Mayhew

^ Turkmenistan, CIA World Factbook. Retrieved on 2008-12-26. [2] ^ "Turkmenistan". International Monetary Fund. http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2009/01/ weodata/ weorept.aspx?sy=2006&ey=2009&scsm=1&ssd=1&sort=country Retrieved on 2009-04-22. [3] Folk etymology of the name Ashgabat, Iraj Bashiri, 1999. [4] Tribe, Class, and Nation in Turkmenistan, page 1 Tribal Nation: The Making of Soviet Turkmenistan [5] Turkmenistan Reduces Ties To ‘Associate Member’ Radio Free Europe, 29 August 2005 [6] "Profile: Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov". news.bbc.co.uk. BBC. 2007-12-21. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6346185.stm. Retrieved on 2008-10-08. [7] "Country profile: Turkmenistan". news.bbc.co.uk. BBC. 2008-07-30. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asiapacific/country_profiles/1298497.stm. Retrieved on 2008-10-08. [8] 2008 Corruption Perception Index from Transparency International. Retrieved on 14 March 2009 [9] Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (2008). "Turkmenistan: International Religious Freedom Report 2008". US State Department. http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2008/108508.htm. Retrieved on 2008-11-15. [10] Pannier, Bruce (2002-07-26). "Turkmebashi Takes New Interest In Satellite Television". EurasiaNet. http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/rights/ articles/pp072602.shtml. Retrieved on 2009-01-02. [11] "Turkmenistan bans recorded music". BBC News. 2005-08-23. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/ 4177622.stm. Retrieved on 2009-01-02.


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[12] U.S. Department of State, Turkmenistan: Human Rights Report 2008, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 25 February 2009. [13] ^ Statistical Yearbook of Turkmenistan 2000-2004, National Institute of State Statistics and Information of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, 2005. [14] Kuh-e Rizeh on Peakbagger.com [15] Mount Arlan on Peakbagger.com [16] Ayrybaba on Peakbagger.com [17] Resolution of Khalk Maslahati (Peoples’ Council of Turkmenistan) N 35 (14.08.2003) [18] BBC NEWS | Business | Russia reaches Turkmen gas deal [19] Ethnic composition of Turkmenistan in 2001, Demoscope Weekly, No. 37-38, 8-21 October 2001. [20] compiled by Wagner, Ralph D.. "Turkmenistan". Synopsis of References to the Bahá’í Faith, in the US State Department’s Reports on Human Rights 1991-2000. Bahá’í Academics Resource Library. http://bahai-library.com/documents/hr/hrturkmenistan.htm. Retrieved on 2008-05-25.


External links
Government • Turkmenistan government information portal • Chief of State and Cabinet Members General information • Turkmenistan entry at The World Factbook • Turkmenistan at UCB Libraries GovPubs • Turkmenistan at the Open Directory Project • Wikimedia Atlas of Turkmenistan • Turkmenistan travel guide from Wikitravel Other • The Turkmenistan Project - weekly news and analysis in English and Russian • Official photo gallery from Turkmenistan and Ashgabat • Largest Photo gallery of Turkmenistan and Ashgabat • Photo Gallery from Turkmenistan (in German) • Turkmenistan Oil and Gas Information • Turkmen-English Dictionary • Turkmenistan Guide • Turkmen language online transliteration

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkmenistan" Categories: Caspian Sea countries, Turkmenistan, Modern Turkic states, Iranian Plateau, Landlocked countries, Russian-speaking countries and territories, States and territories established in 1991 This page was last modified on 21 May 2009, at 01:17 (UTC). All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. (See Copyrights for details.) Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a U.S. registered 501(c)(3) tax-deductible nonprofit charity. Privacy policy About Wikipedia Disclaimers


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