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Turkmenistan ( or ; tk, Türkmenistan, ), also known as Turkmenia, is a
landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastlines lie on endorheic basin, endorheic basins. There are currently 44 landlocked countries and 5 list of states with limited recognition, partial ...
country in
Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located primarily in the and . It shares the continental of with the continent of and the continental landmass of with both Europe and . Asia covers an area ...

Central Asia
, bordered by
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan ( kk, Қазақстан, Qazaqstan; russian: Казахстан, Kazakhstan), officially the Republic of Kazakhstan,; russian: Республика Казахстан, Respublika Kazakhstan, link=no) is a country located mainly in ...

Kazakhstan
to the
northwest The points of the compass are an evenly spaced set of Vertical and horizontal, horizontal directions (or Azimuth#In navigation, azimuths) used in navigation and geography. A compass rose is primarily composed of four cardinal directions—north, e ...
,
Uzbekistan Uzbekistan (, ; uz, Ozbekiston, ), officially the Republic of Uzbekistan ( uz, Ozbekiston Respublikasi), is a landlocked country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land ...

Uzbekistan
to the north, east and northeast,
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto/Dari language, Dari: , Pashto: , Dari: ), officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central Asia, Central and South Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan to the ea ...

Afghanistan
to the
southeast The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibrium, rounded by its own gravity ...
,
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
to the south and southwest and the
Caspian Sea The Caspian Sea (also known as Mazandaran Sea, Hyrcanian Ocean, or Khazar Sea), tk, Hazar deňzi, az, Xəzər Dənizi, russian: Каспийское море, script=Latn, fa, دریای مازندران، دریای خزر, script=Latn, tly, ...

Caspian Sea
to the west.
Ashgabat Ashgabat ( tk, Aşgabat; Ашгабат, , fa, عشق آباد; russian: Ашхабад), formerly named Poltoratsk ( rus, Полтора́цк, p=pəltɐˈratsk) between 1919 and 1927, is the capital city, capital and the largest city of Tur ...

Ashgabat
is the capital and largest city of the country. The population of the country is about 6 million, the lowest of the Central Asian republics. Turkmenistan is one of the most sparsely populated nations in Asia. Citizens of Turkmenistan are known as Turkmenistanis (where citizenship and not ethnicity is emphasized), Turkmenians or Turkmens. The area currently known as Turkmenistan has long served as a thoroughfare for many other nations and cultures.
Merv Merv ( tk, Merw, ''Мерв'', مرو; fa, مرو, ''Marv''), also known as the Merve Oasis, formerly known as Alexandria ( el, Ἀλεξάνδρεια), Antiochia in Margiana ( el, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐν τῇ Μαργιανῇ) and ...

Merv
is one of the oldest oasis-cities in Central Asia and was once the biggest city in the world. In medieval times, Merv was also one of the great cities of the
Islamic world The terms Muslim world and Islamic world commonly refer to the Islamic Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodne ...

Islamic world
and an important stop on the
Silk Road The Silk Road () was and is a network of trade route A trade route is a logistical network identified as a series of pathways and stoppages used for the commercial transport of cargo. The term can also be used to refer to trade over bodies of ...

Silk Road
. Annexed by the
Russian Empire The Russian Empire, . commonly referred to as Imperial Russia, was a historical that extended across and from 1721, succeeding the following the that ended the . The Empire lasted until the was proclaimed by the that took power after the ...
in 1881, Turkmenistan later figured prominently in the anti-Bolshevik movement in Central Asia. In 1925, Turkmenistan became a constituent republic of the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
, the
Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic The Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic ( tk, Түркменистан Совет Социалистик Республикасы, ''Türkmenistan Sowet Sotsialistik Respublikasy''; russian: Туркменская Советская Социалис ...
(Turkmen SSR); it became independent after the
dissolution of the Soviet Union The dissolution of the Soviet Union, also negatively connoted as rus, Разва́л Сове́тского Сою́за, r=Razvál Sovétskovo Sojúza, ''Ruining of the Soviet Union''. (1988–1991) was the process of internal political, ...
in 1991. Turkmenistan possesses the world's fourth largest reserves of natural gas. Most of the country is covered by the . From 1993 to 2017, citizens received government-provided electricity, water and natural gas free of charge. The country is widely criticized for its poor human rights. Notable issues were its treatment of minorities, press freedoms, and religious freedoms. After its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the
sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social relation, social relatio ...
of Turkmenistan has been ruled by two repressive totalitarian regimes. It was ruled by President for Life
Saparmurat Niyazov Saparmurat Atayevich Niyazov ( tk, Saparmyrat Ataýewiç Nyýazow, italic=yes; Cyrillic , bg, кирилица , mk, кирилица , russian: кириллица , sr, ћирилица, uk, кирилиця , fam1 = Egyptian hieroglyp ...

Saparmurat Niyazov
(also known as ''Türkmenbaşy'' or "Head of the Turkmens") until his death in 2006.
Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow Gurbanguly Malikguliyevich Berdimuhamedov or Gurbanguly Mälikgulyýewiç Berdimuhamedow ( Turkmen Cyrillic: Гурбангулы Мәликгулиевич Бердимухамедов, ; rus, links=no, Гурбангулы Мяликгулы ...

Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow
became president in 2007 after winning a non-democratic election (he had been vice-president and then acting president previously). The use of the
death penalty Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ' ...

death penalty
was formally abolished in the 2008 constitution.Turkmenistan's Constitution of 2008
constituteproject.org


Etymology

The name of Turkmenistan ( tk, Türkmenistan) can be divided into two components: the ethnonym Türkmen and the
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated with the Iranian peoples ** Persian language, an Iranian ...
suffix
-stan The suffix -stan ( fa, ـستان, translit=stân after a vowel; estân or istân after a consonant) has the meaning of ''"a place abounding in"'' or ''"a place where anything abounds"'' in Persian language. It appears in the names of many regio ...
meaning "place of" or "country". The name "Turkmen" comes from Turk, plus the Sogdian suffix -men, meaning "almost Turk", in reference to their status outside the Turkic dynastic mythological system. However, some scholars argue the suffix is an
intensifier In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic br ...
, changing the meaning of Türkmen to "pure Turks" or "the Turkish Turks." Muslim chroniclers like
Ibn Kathir Abu al-Fiḍā ‘Imād Ad-Din Ismā‘īl ibn ‘Umar ibn Kathīr al-Qurashī Al-Damishqī (Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the ...
suggested that the etymology of Turkmenistan came from the words Türk and Iman ( ar, إيمان, "faith, belief") in reference to a massive conversion to Islam of two hundred thousand households in the year 971. Turkmenistan declared its independence from the Soviet Union after the
independence referendum An independence referendum is a type of referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a Direct democracy, direct and Universal suffrage, universal vote in which an entire Constituency, electorate is invited to vote ...
in 1991. As a result, the constitutional law was adopted on October 27 of that year and Article 1 established the new name of the state: Turkmenistan (''Türkmenistan'' / Түркменистан). A common name for the Turkmen SSR was Turkmenia (russian: Туркмения), used in some reports of the country's independence.


History

Historically inhabited by the
Indo-Iranians Indo-Iranian peoples, also known as Indo-Iranic peoples by scholars, and sometimes as Arya or Aryans from their self-designation, were a group of Indo-European peoples who brought the Indo-Iranian languagesIndo-Iranian may refer to: * Indo-Irani ...
, the written history of Turkmenistan begins with its annexation by the
Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Empire (; peo, 𐎧𐏁𐏂, translit=Xšāça, translation=The Empire), also called the First Persian Empire, was an ancient Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and offi ...

Achaemenid Empire
of Ancient Iran. Later, in the 8th century AD,
Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at least thirty-five documented languages ** Turkic alphabets (disambiguation) ** Turkish language, the most widely spoken Turkic language * T ...

Turkic
-speaking Oghuz tribes moved from
Mongolia Mongolia (, mn, Монгол Улс, Mongol Uls, Mongolian script, Traditional Mongolian: '; literal translation, lit. "Mongol Nation" or "State of Mongolia") is a landlocked country in East Asia. It is bordered by Russia Mongolia–Russia ...

Mongolia
into present-day Central Asia. Part of a powerful confederation of tribes, these Oghuz formed the ethnic basis of the modern Turkmen population. In the 10th century, the name "Turkmen" was first applied to Oghuz groups that accepted
Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection An interjection is a word or ex ...
and began to occupy present-day Turkmenistan. There they were under the dominion of the
Seljuk Empire The Great Seljuk Empire or the Seljuk Empire, was a high medieval The High Middle Ages, or High Medieval Period, was the period of European history that lasted from around AD 1000 to 1250. The High Middle Ages In the history of Eu ...

Seljuk Empire
, which was composed of Oghuz groups living in present-day
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
and Turkmenistan. Oghuz groups in the service of the empire played an important role in the spreading of Turkic culture when they migrated westward into present-day
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan (, ; az, Azərbaycan ), officially the Republic of Azerbaijan ( az, Azərbaycan Respublikası ), is a country in the Transcaucasia, Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, it is boun ...

Azerbaijan
and eastern
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia an ...

Turkey
. In the 12th century, Turkmen and other tribes overthrew the Seljuk Empire. In the next century, the
Mongols The Mongols ( mn, Монголчууд, , ''Mongolchuud'', ; russian: Монголы, ) are an East Asian people, East Asian ethnic group indigenous peoples, native to the Inner Mongolia, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China, Mongolia an ...

Mongols
took over the more northern lands where the Turkmens had settled, scattering the Turkmens southward and contributing to the formation of new tribal groups. The sixteenth and eighteenth centuries saw a series of splits and confederations among the
nomad A nomad ( frm, nomade "people without fixed habitation") is a member of a community without fixed habitation who regularly moves to and from the same areas. Such groups include hunter-gatherer A hunter-gatherer is a human Humans (''Homo ...

nomad
ic Turkmen tribes, who remained staunchly independent and inspired fear in their neighbors. By the 16th century, most of those tribes were under the nominal control of two sedentary Uzbek
khanate A khaganate or khanate was a political entity ruled by a Khan (title), khan, khagan, khatun, or khanum. This political entity was typically found on the Eurasian Steppe and could be equivalent in status to tribe, tribal chiefdom, principality, ...

khanate
s,
Khiva Khiva ( uz, Xiva/, خىۋا; fa, خیوه, ; alternative or historical names include ''Kheeva'', ''Khorasam'', ''Khoresm'', ''Khwarezm'', ''Khwarizm'', ''Khwarazm'', ''Chorezm'', ar, خوارزم and fa, خوارزم) is a city of approximatel ...
and
Bukhoro Bukhara (; Uzbek language, Uzbek: /; Tajik language, Tajik: Бухоро, ) is the List of cities in Uzbekistan, fifth-largest city in Uzbekistan, with a population of 247,644 , and the capital of Bukhara Region. People have inhabited the region ...
. Turkmen soldiers were an important element of the Uzbek militaries of this period. In the 19th century, raids and rebellions by the
Yomud The Yomut or Yomud are a Turkmen tribes, Turkmen tribe that lives from Gorgan to Türkmenbaşy, Turkmenistan, Turkmenbashi and Caspian sea, eastern Caspian shores and Khiva and Dashoguz. The Yomut carpet is a type of rug traditionally handwoven ...
Turkmen group resulted in that group's dispersal by the Uzbek rulers. In 1855 the Turkmen tribe of Teke led by Gowshut-Khan defeated the invading army of the Khan of Khiva Muhammad Amin Khan and in 1861 the invading
Persia Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Tu ...

Persia
n army of Nasreddin-Shah. In the second half of the 19th century, northern Turkmens were the main military and political power in the
Khanate of Khiva The Khanate of Khiva ( chg, ''Khivâ Khânligi'', fa, ''Khânât-e Khiveh'', uz, Xiva xonligi, tk, Hywa hanlygy) was a Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia which stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China and Mongolia ...
. According to Paul R. Spickard, "Prior to the Russian conquest, the Turkmen were known and feared for their involvement in the Central Asian
slave trade Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as their property Property is a system of rights that give ...
." Russian forces began occupying Turkmen territory late in the 19th century. From their
Caspian Sea The Caspian Sea (also known as Mazandaran Sea, Hyrcanian Ocean, or Khazar Sea), tk, Hazar deňzi, az, Xəzər Dənizi, russian: Каспийское море, script=Latn, fa, دریای مازندران، دریای خزر, script=Latn, tly, ...

Caspian Sea
base at Krasnovodsk (now Turkmenbashy), the Russians eventually overcame the Uzbek khanates. In 1879, the Russian forces were defeated by the Teke Turkmens during the first attempt to conquer the Ahal area of Turkmenistan. However, in 1881, the last significant resistance in Turkmen territory was crushed at the
Battle of Geok Tepe The Battle of Geok Tepe in 1881 was the main event in the 1880/81 Russian campaign to conquer the Teke (Turkmen tribe), Teke Turkmens, Turkomans. Its effect was to give the Russian Empire control over most of what is now Turkmenistan, thereby n ...
, and shortly thereafter Turkmenistan was annexed, together with adjoining Uzbek territory, into the
Russian Empire The Russian Empire, . commonly referred to as Imperial Russia, was a historical that extended across and from 1721, succeeding the following the that ended the . The Empire lasted until the was proclaimed by the that took power after the ...
. In 1916, the Russian Empire's participation in
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
resonated in Turkmenistan, as an anticonscription revolt swept most of Russian Central Asia. Although the
Russian Revolution The Russian Revolution was a period of political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relatio ...

Russian Revolution
of 1917 had little direct impact, in the 1920s Turkmen forces joined
Kazakhs The Kazakhs (also spelled Qazaqs; Kazakh language, Kazakh: , , , , , ; the English language, English name is transliteration, transliterated from Russian language, Russian; russian: Казахи) are a Turkic peoples, Turkic ethnic group who ...

Kazakhs
,
KyrgyzKyrgyz, Kirghiz or Kyrgyzstani may refer to: *Things related to Kyrgyzstan *Kyrgyz people *Kyrgyz language *Kyrgyz culture *Kyrgyz cuisine *Yenisei Kirghiz *The Fuyu Kyrgyz language, Fuyü Gïrgïs language in Northeastern China {{Disambig Languag ...

Kyrgyz
, and Uzbeks in the so-called Basmachi Rebellion against the rule of the newly formed
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
. In 1921 the tsarist province of Transcaspia (russian: Закаспийская область) was renamed Turkmen oblast (russian: Туркменская область), and in 1924, the
Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic The Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic ( tk, Түркменистан Совет Социалистик Республикасы, ''Türkmenistan Sowet Sotsialistik Respublikasy''; russian: Туркменская Советская Социалис ...
was formed from it. By the late 1930s, Soviet reorganization of agriculture had destroyed what remained of the nomadic lifestyle in Turkmenistan, and Moscow controlled political life. The of 1948 killed over 110,000 people, amounting to two-thirds of the city's population. During the next half-century, Turkmenistan played its designated economic role within the Soviet Union and remained outside the course of major world events. Even the major liberalization movement that shook Russia in the late 1980s had little impact. However, in 1990, the Supreme Soviet of Turkmenistan declared sovereignty as a
nationalist Nationalism is an idea and movement that promotes the interests of a particular nation (as in a in-group and out-group, group of people),Anthony D. Smith, Smith, Anthony. ''Nationalism: Theory, Ideology, History''. Polity (publisher), Polity, ...
response to perceived exploitation by
Moscow Moscow ( , American English, US chiefly ; rus, links=no, Москва, r=Moskva, p=mɐˈskva, a=Москва.ogg) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities and towns in Russia by population, largest city of Russia. The city stands on the ...

Moscow
. Although Turkmenistan was ill-prepared for independence and then-
communist Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...

communist
leader
Saparmurat Niyazov Saparmurat Atayevich Niyazov ( tk, Saparmyrat Ataýewiç Nyýazow, italic=yes; Cyrillic , bg, кирилица , mk, кирилица , russian: кириллица , sr, ћирилица, uk, кирилиця , fam1 = Egyptian hieroglyp ...

Saparmurat Niyazov
preferred to preserve the Soviet Union, in October 1991, the fragmentation of that entity forced him to call a national referendum that approved independence. On 26 December 1991, the Soviet Union ceased to exist. Niyazov continued as Turkmenistan's chief of state, replacing communism with a unique brand of independent nationalism reinforced by a pervasive
cult of personality A cult of personality, or cult of the leader, Mudde, Cas and Kaltwasser, Cristóbal Rovira (2017) ''Populism: A Very Short Introduction''. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 63. arises when a country's regime uses the techniques of mass med ...
. A 1994 referendum and legislation in 1999 abolished further requirements for the president to stand for re-election (although in 1992 he completely dominated the only
presidential election A presidential election is the election An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or multiple individuals to hold Public administration, public office.president for life. During his tenure, Niyazov conducted frequent purges of public officials and abolished organizations deemed threatening. Throughout the post-Soviet era, Turkmenistan has taken a neutral position on almost all international issues. Niyazov eschewed membership in regional organizations such as the
Shanghai Cooperation Organisation russian: Шанхайская организация сотрудничества , image = , caption = , logo = SCO logo.svg , map = SCO MAP 10 July 2015 - Including two new permanent me ...
, and in the late 1990s he maintained relations with the
Taliban The Taliban (; ps, طالبان, ṭālibān, lit=students or 'seekers'), which refers to itself as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Taliban Islamic Movement and/or Islamic Movement of Taliban is a Deobandi Deobandi ( hi, देव ...

Taliban
and its chief opponent in
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto/Dari language, Dari: , Pashto: , Dari: ), officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central Asia, Central and South Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan to the ea ...

Afghanistan
, the
Northern Alliance The Afghan Northern Alliance, officially known as the United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan ( fa, جبهه متحد اسلامی ملی برای نجات افغانستان ''Jabha-yi Muttahid-i Islāmi-yi Millī barāyi Nijāt-i ...
. He offered limited support to the military campaign against the Taliban following the 11 September 2001 attacks. In 2002 an alleged assassination attempt against Niyazov led to a new wave of security restrictions, dismissals of government officials, and restrictions placed on the media. Niyazov accused exiled former foreign minister Boris Shikhmuradov of having planned the attack. Between 2002 and 2004, serious tension arose between Turkmenistan and
Uzbekistan Uzbekistan (, ; uz, Ozbekiston, ), officially the Republic of Uzbekistan ( uz, Ozbekiston Respublikasi), is a landlocked country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land ...

Uzbekistan
because of bilateral disputes and Niyazov's implication that Uzbekistan had a role in the 2002 assassination attempt. In 2004, a series of bilateral treaties restored friendly relations. In the parliamentary elections of December 2004 and January 2005, only Niyazov's party was represented, and no international monitors participated. In 2005, Niyazov exercised his dictatorial power by closing all hospitals outside
Ashgabat Ashgabat ( tk, Aşgabat; Ашгабат, , fa, عشق آباد; russian: Ашхабад), formerly named Poltoratsk ( rus, Полтора́цк, p=pəltɐˈratsk) between 1919 and 1927, is the capital city, capital and the largest city of Tur ...

Ashgabat
and all rural libraries. The year 2006 saw intensification of the trends of arbitrary policy changes, shuffling of top officials, diminishing economic output outside the oil and gas sector, and isolation from regional and world organizations. China was among a very few nations to whom Turkmenistan made significant overtures. The sudden death of Niyazov at the end of 2006 left a complete vacuum of power, as , comparable to the
one 1 (one, also called unit, and unity) is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure, and nominal number, label. The original examples are the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and so forth. Numbers can ...
of eternal president
Kim Il-sung , relatives = Kim family , residence = Pyongyang, North Korea , profession = Politician , allegiance = , branch = Red Army The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army,) frequently short ...

Kim Il-sung
of
North Korea North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. It borders China and Russia to the north, at the Yalu River, Yalu (Amnok) and Tu ...

North Korea
, had precluded the naming of a successor. Deputy Prime Minister
Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow Gurbanguly Malikguliyevich Berdimuhamedov or Gurbanguly Mälikgulyýewiç Berdimuhamedow ( Turkmen Cyrillic: Гурбангулы Мәликгулиевич Бердимухамедов, ; rus, links=no, Гурбангулы Мяликгулы ...

Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow
, who was named interim head of government, won the special presidential election held in early February 2007. His appointment as interim president and subsequent run for president violated the constitution. Berdimuhamedow was re-elected in 2012 with 97% of the vote. In the 2017 Turkmenistan presidential election Berdimuhamedow was re-elected with 97.27% of the vote, following a tightly controlled and largely ceremonial election.


Politics

After over a century of being a part of the
Russian Empire The Russian Empire, . commonly referred to as Imperial Russia, was a historical that extended across and from 1721, succeeding the following the that ended the . The Empire lasted until the was proclaimed by the that took power after the ...
and then the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
(including 67 years as a union republic), Turkmenistan declared its independence on the 27th of October, 1991, following the
dissolution of the Soviet Union The dissolution of the Soviet Union, also negatively connoted as rus, Разва́л Сове́тского Сою́за, r=Razvál Sovétskovo Sojúza, ''Ruining of the Soviet Union''. (1988–1991) was the process of internal political, ...
.
Saparmurat Niyazov Saparmurat Atayevich Niyazov ( tk, Saparmyrat Ataýewiç Nyýazow, italic=yes; Cyrillic , bg, кирилица , mk, кирилица , russian: кириллица , sr, ћирилица, uk, кирилиця , fam1 = Egyptian hieroglyp ...

Saparmurat Niyazov
, a former official of the
Communist Party of the Soviet Union The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). Abbreviated in Russian as КПСС or ''KPSS''. was the founding and ruling political party of the Soviet Union. The CPSU was the One-party state, sole governing party of the Soviet Union until 19 ...
, ruled Turkmenistan from 1985, when he became head of the
Communist Party of the Turkmen SSR The Communist Party of the Turkmen SSR (russian: Коммунистическая партия Туркменистана; tk, Türkmenistanyň Kommunistik Partiýasy) was the ruling communist party of the Turkmen SSR, and a part of the Communi ...
, until his death in 2006. He retained absolute control over the country as
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a Chief Executive Officer, chi ...
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. Since the December 2006 death of Niyazov, Turkmenistan's leadership has made tentative moves to open up the country. His successor, President
Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow Gurbanguly Malikguliyevich Berdimuhamedov or Gurbanguly Mälikgulyýewiç Berdimuhamedow ( Turkmen Cyrillic: Гурбангулы Мәликгулиевич Бердимухамедов, ; rus, links=no, Гурбангулы Мяликгулы ...

Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow
, repealed some of Niyazov's most idiosyncratic policies, including banning operas and circuses for being ''"insufficiently Turkmen"'', though other such rules were later put into place such as the banning of non-white cars. In education, Berdimuhamedow's government increased basic education to ten years from nine years, and higher education was extended from four years to five. It also increased contacts with the West, which is eager for access to the country's natural gas riches. The politics of Turkmenistan take place in the framework of a
presidential President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) *President (education), a leader of a college or university *President (government title) President may also refer to: Automobiles * Nissan President, a 1966–2010 Japanese full- ...
republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a month ...

republic
, with the
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a Chief Executive Officer, chi ...
both
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role that one adopts, or a fictional ch ...
and
head of government The head of government is either the highest or second-highest official in the executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administrat ...
. Under Niyazov, Turkmenistan had a
one-party system A one-party state, single-party state, one-party system, or single-party system is a type of unitary state A unitary state is a State (polity), state governed as a single entity in which the central government is ultimately supreme. Unitary st ...
; however, in September 2008, the People's Council unanimously passed a resolution adopting a new
Constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it is a rule Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political ...
. The latter resulted in the abolition of the council and a significant increase in the size of Parliament in December 2008 and also permits the formation of multiple political parties. The former Communist Party, now known as the
Democratic Party of Turkmenistan ) , colours = Green Gold (color), Gold , seats1_title = Seats in the Assembly of Turkmenistan, Mejlis of Turkmenistan , seats1 = , colors = Green Gold (color), Gold , website tdp.gov.tm The Democratic Party of Turkmenistan ( tk, T ...
, is the dominant party. The second party, the Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, was established in August 2012. Political gatherings are illegal unless government sanctioned. In 2013, the first multi-party parliamentary elections Turkmenistani parliamentary election, 2013, were held in Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan was a one-party state from 1991 to 2012; however, the 2013 elections were widely seen as mere window dressing. In practice, all parties in parliament operate jointly under the direction of the DPT. There are no true opposition parties in the Turkmen parliament.


Legislature

In September 2020 the Turkmenistan Parliament adopted a constitutional amendment creating an upper chamber and thus making the Parliament bicameral. The upper chamber is named the People's Council of Turkmenistan, People's Council ( tk, Halk Maslahaty) and consists of 56 members, 48 of whom are elected and 8 of whom are appointed by the president. Together with the previous unicameral parliament, the 125-seat Assembly of Turkmenistan, Mejlis, as the lower chamber, the Parliament is now called the National Council ( tk, Milli Geňeş). 2021 Turkmen People's Council election, Elections to the upper chamber were held March 28, 2021. 2018 Turkmen parliamentary election, Elections to the Mejlis were last held March 25, 2018. Outside observers consider the Turkmen legislature to be a Rubber stamp (politics), rubber stamp parliament. The 2018 OSCE election observer mission noted,
The 25 March elections lacked important prerequisites of a genuinely democratic electoral process. The political environment is only nominally pluralist and does not offer voters political alternatives. Exercise of fundamental freedoms is severely curtailed, inhibiting free expression of the voters' will. Despite measures to demonstrate transparency, the integrity of elections was not ensured, leaving veracity of results in doubt


Corruption

Transparency International's 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index placed Turkmenistan in a tie with Congo, Guinea Bissau, Burundi, and Afghanistan for 165th place globally, between Iraq and Haiti, with a score of 19 out of 100. Opposition media and foreign human rights organizations describe Turkmenistan as suffering from rampant corruption. A non-governmental organization, Crude Accountability, has openly called the economy of Turkmenistan a kleptocracy. Opposition and domestic state-controlled media have described widespread bribery in education and law enforcement. In 2019, the national chief of police, Minister of Internal Affairs Isgender Mulikov, was convicted and imprisoned for corruption.Archived a
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In 2020 the deputy prime minister for education and science, Pürli Agamyradow, was dismissed for failure to control bribery in education. The illegal adoption of abandoned babies in Turkmenistan is blamed on rampant corruption in the agencies involved in the legal adoption process which pushes some parents to a "cheaper and faster" option. One married couple in the eastern Farap district said that they had to provide documents and letters from 40 different agencies to support their adoption application, yet three years later there was still no decision on their bid. Meanwhile, wealthier applicants in Farap received a child for legal adoption within four months after applying because they paid up to 50,000 manats (about $14,300) in bribes.


Judiciary

The judiciary in Turkmenistan is not independent. Under Articles 71 and 100 of the constitution of Turkmenistan, the president appoints all judges, including the chairperson (chief justice) of the Supreme Court of Turkmenistan, Supreme Court, and may dismiss them with the consent of the Parliament. Outside observers consider the Turkmen legislature to be a Rubber stamp (politics), rubber stamp parliament, and thus despite constitutional guarantees of judicial independence under Articles 98 and 99, the judiciary is ''de facto'' firmly under presidential control. The chief justice is considered a member of the executive authority of the government and sits on the State Security Council of Turkmenistan, State Security Council. The United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State stated in its 2020-human rights report on Turkmenistan,
Although the law provides for an independent judiciary, the executive controls it, and it is subordinate to the executive. There was no legislative review of the president's judicial appointments and dismissals. The president had sole authority to dismiss any judge. The judiciary was widely reputed to be corrupt and inefficient.
Many national laws of Turkmenistan have been published online on the Ministry of Justice website.


Foreign relations

Turkmenistan's declaration of "permanent neutrality" was formally recognized by the United Nations in 1995. Former President
Saparmurat Niyazov Saparmurat Atayevich Niyazov ( tk, Saparmyrat Ataýewiç Nyýazow, italic=yes; Cyrillic , bg, кирилица , mk, кирилица , russian: кириллица , sr, ћирилица, uk, кирилиця , fam1 = Egyptian hieroglyp ...

Saparmurat Niyazov
stated that the neutrality would prevent Turkmenistan from participating in multi-national defense organizations, but allows military assistance. Its Neutral country, neutral foreign policy has an important place in the Constitution of Turkmenistan, country's constitution. Turkmenistan has diplomatic relations with 139 countries, some of the most important allies being
Afghanistan Afghanistan (; Pashto/Dari language, Dari: , Pashto: , Dari: ), officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central Asia, Central and South Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan to the ea ...

Afghanistan
, Armenia, Iran, and Russia. Turkmenistan is a member of the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Economic Cooperation Organization, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Islamic Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the International Organization of Turkic Culture.


Human rights

Turkmenistan has been widely criticised for human rights abuses and has imposed severe restrictions on foreign travel for its citizens. Discrimination against the country's ethnic minorities remains in practice. Universities have been encouraged to reject applicants with non-Turkmen surnames, especially ethnic Russians. It is forbidden to teach the customs and language of the Baloch people, Baloch, an ethnic minority. The same happens to Uzbeks, though the Uzbek language was formerly taught in some national schools. According to Human Rights Watch, "Turkmenistan remains one of the world's most repressive countries. The country is virtually closed to independent scrutiny, media and religious freedoms are subject to draconian restrictions, and human rights defenders and other activists face the constant threat of government reprisal." According to Reporters Without Borders's 2014 World Press Freedom Index, Turkmenistan had the 3rd worst press freedom conditions in the world (178/180 countries), just before
North Korea North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. It borders China and Russia to the north, at the Yalu River, Yalu (Amnok) and Tu ...

North Korea
and Eritrea. It is considered to be one of the "10 Most Censored Countries". Each broadcast under Niyazov began with a pledge that the broadcaster's tongue will shrivel if he slanders the country, flag, or president. Religious minorities are discriminated against for conscientious objection and practicing their religion by imprisonment, preventing foreign travel, confiscating copies of Christian literature or defamation. Many detainees who have been arrested for exercising their freedom of religion or belief were tortured and subsequently sentenced to imprisonment, many of them without a court decision. LGBT rights in Turkmenistan, Homosexual acts are illegal in Turkmenistan.


Restrictions on free and open communication

Despite the launch of Turkmenistan's first communication satellite, the TurkmenSat 1, in April 2015, the Government of Turkmenistan, Turkmen government banned all satellite dishes in Turkmenistan the same month. The statement issued by the government indicated that all existing satellite dishes would have to be removed or destroyed—despite the communications receiving antennas having been legally installed since 1995—in an effort by the government to fully block access of the population to many "hundreds of independent international media outlets" which are currently accessible in the country only through satellite dishes, including all leading international news channels in different languages. The main target of this campaign is Radio Azatlyk, the Turkmen-language service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (which is run by the U.S. government). Internet access is filtered and websites to which the government objects are blocked. Blocked websites include opposition news media, YouTube, many social media including Facebook, and encrypted communications applications. Use of virtual private networks to circumvent censorship is prohibited.


Geography

At , Turkmenistan is the world's 52nd-largest country. It is slightly smaller than Spain and larger than Cameroon. It lies between latitudes 35th parallel north, 35° and 43rd parallel north, 43° N, and longitudes 52nd meridian east, 52° and 67th meridian east, 67° E. 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. Topographically, Turkmenistan is bounded by the Ustyurt Plateau to the north, the Kopet Dag mountain range, Range to the south, the Paropamyz Plateau, the Koytendag Range to the east, the Amu Darya Valley, and the
Caspian Sea The Caspian Sea (also known as Mazandaran Sea, Hyrcanian Ocean, or Khazar Sea), tk, Hazar deňzi, az, Xəzər Dənizi, russian: Каспийское море, script=Latn, fa, دریای مازندران، دریای خزر, script=Latn, tly, ...

Caspian Sea
to the west. Turkmenistan includes three tectonic regions, the Epigersin platform region, the Alpine shrinkage region, and the Epiplatform orogenesis region. The Alpine tectonic region is the epicenter of earthquakes in Turkmenistan. Strong earthquakes occurred in the Kopet Dag Range in 1869, 1893, 1895, 1929, 1948, and 1994. The city of Ashgabat and surrounding villages were largely destroyed by the 1948 Ashgabat earthquake, 1948 earthquake. The Kopet Dag mountain range, Range, along the southwestern border, reaches at Kuh-e Rizeh (Mount Rizeh). The Great Balkhan Range in the west of the country (Balkan Province) and the Köýtendag Range on the southeastern border with Uzbekistan (Lebap Province) are the only other significant elevations. The Great Balkhan Range rises to at Gora Arlan, Mount Arlan and the highest summit in Turkmenistan is Ayrybaba in the Kugitangtau Range – . The Kopet Dag mountain range forms most of the border between Turkmenistan and Iran. Major rivers include the Amu Darya, the Murghab River, the Hari River, Afghanistan, Tejen River, and the Atrek, Atrek (Etrek) River. Tributaries of the Atrek include the Sumbar River and Chandyr River. The Turkmen shore along the
Caspian Sea The Caspian Sea (also known as Mazandaran Sea, Hyrcanian Ocean, or Khazar Sea), tk, Hazar deňzi, az, Xəzər Dənizi, russian: Каспийское море, script=Latn, fa, دریای مازندران، دریای خزر, script=Latn, tly, ...

Caspian Sea
is long. The Caspian Sea is entirely landlocked, with no natural access to the ocean, although the Volga–Don Canal allows shipping access to and from the Black Sea. List of cities in Turkmenistan, Major cities include Ashgabat, Aşgabat, Türkmenbaşy, Turkmenistan, Türkmenbaşy (formerly Krasnovodsk), Balkanabat, Daşoguz, Türkmenabat, and Mary, Turkmenistan, Mary.


Climate, biodiversity and environment

Turkmenistan is in a temperate desert zone with a dry continental climate. Remote from the open sea, with mountain ranges to the south and southeast, Turkmenistan's climate is characterized by low precipitation, low cloudiness, and high evaporation. Absence of mountains to the north allows cold Arctic air to penetrate southward to the southerly mountain ranges, which in turn block warm, moist air from the Indian Ocean. Limited winter and spring rains are attributable to moist air from the west, originating in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. Winters are mild and dry, with most precipitation falling between January and May. The Kopet Dag Range receives the highest level of precipitation. The Karakum Desert is one of the driest deserts in the world; some places have an average annual precipitation of only . The highest temperature recorded in
Ashgabat Ashgabat ( tk, Aşgabat; Ашгабат, , fa, عشق آباد; russian: Ашхабад), formerly named Poltoratsk ( rus, Полтора́цк, p=pəltɐˈratsk) between 1919 and 1927, is the capital city, capital and the largest city of Tur ...

Ashgabat
is and Kerki, an extreme inland city located on the banks of the Amu Darya river, recorded in July 1983, although this value is unofficial. is the highest temperature recorded at Repetek Biosphere State Reserve, Repetek Reserve, recognized as the highest temperature ever recorded in the whole former Soviet Union. Turkmenistan enjoys 235-240 sunny days per year. The average number of degree days ranges from 4500 to 5000 Celsius, sufficient for production of extra long staple cotton. Turkmenistan contains seven terrestrial ecoregions: Alai-Western Tian Shan steppe, Kopet Dag woodlands and forest steppe, Badghyz and Karabil semi-desert, Caspian lowland desert, Central Asian riparian woodlands, Central Asian southern desert, and Kopet Dag semi-desert. Turkmenistan's greenhouse gas emissions per person (17.5 tCO2e) are considerably higher than the OECD average: due mainly to natural gas seepage from oil and gas exploration.


Administrative divisions

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).


Economy

The country possesses the world's fourth largest reserves of natural gas and substantial oil resources. Turkmenistan has taken a cautious approach to economic reform, hoping to use gas and cotton sales to sustain its economy. In 2014, the unemployment rate was estimated to be 11%. 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 rose sharply due to increases in international oil and gas prices. The subsequent collapse of both hydrocarbon and cotton prices in 2014 cut revenues from export sales severely, causing Turkmenistan to run trade deficits from 2015 through 2017. Economic prospects in the near future are discouraging because of widespread internal poverty and the burden of foreign debt, coupled with continued low hydrocarbon prices and reduced Chinese purchases of natural gas. One reflection of economic stress is the black-market exchange rate for the Turkmen manat, which though officially set at 3.5 manat to the U.S. dollar, reportedly was trading in January 2021 at 32 manat to the dollar. 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, 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 a decree of the Peoples' Council of 14 August 2003, electricity, natural gas, water and salt were to have been subsidized for citizens until 2030. Under implementing regulations, every citizen was entitled to 35 kilowatt hours of electricity and 50 cubic meters of natural gas each month. The state also provided 250 liters (66 gallons) of water per day. As of 1 January 2019, however, all such subsidies were abolished, and payment for utilities was implemented.


Natural gas and export routes

, the Galkynysh Gas Field was estimated to possess the second-largest volume of gas in the world, after the South Pars/North Dome Gas-Condensate field, South Pars field in the Persian Gulf. Reserves at the Galkynysh Gas Field are estimated at around 21.2 trillion cubic metres. The Turkmenistan Natural Gas Company (Türkmengaz) controls gas extraction in the country. Gas production is the most dynamic and promising sector of the national economy. In 2009 the government of Turkmenistan began a policy of diversifying export routes for its raw materials. Prior to 1958 gas production was limited to Natural gas#Natural gas, associated gas from oil wells in western Turkmenistan. In 1958, the first gas wells were drilled at Serhetabat (then Kushky) and at Derweze. Oil and gas fields were discovered in the Central Karakum Desert between 1959 and 1965. In addition to Derweze, these include Takyr, Shyh, Chaljulba, Topjulba, Chemmerli, Atabay, Sakarchage, Atasary, Mydar, Goyun, and Zakli. These fields are located in Jurassic and Cretaceous sediments. The Turkmen gas industry got underway with the opening of the Ojak gas field in 1966. To put this in perspective, associated gas production in Turkmenistan was only 1.157 billion cubic meters in 1965, but by 1970 natural gas production reached 13 billion cubic meters, and by 1989, 90 billion cubic meters. The USSR exported much of this gas to western Europe. Following independence, natural gas extraction fell as Turkmenistan sought export markets but was limited to existing delivery infrastructure under Russian control: Turkmenistan-Russia in two lines (3087 km, originating at Ojak, and another of 2259 km, also originating at Ojak); the Gumdag line (2530 km); and the Shatlyk line (2644 km) to Russia, Ukraine, and the Caucasus. On 1 January 2016, Russia halted natural gas purchases from Turkmenistan after reducing them step by step for the previous years. Russia's Gazprom announced resumption of purchases in April 2019, but reported volumes remained low compared to previous delivery levels. In 1997, the Korpeje–Kordkuy pipeline, Korpeje-Gurtguy natural gas pipeline was built to
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
. It is 140 kilometers in length and was the first gas pipeline to a foreign customer constructed after independence. Turkmenistan's exports of natural gas to Iran, estimated at about 12 bcma, ended on January 1, 2017, when Turkmengaz unilaterally cut off deliveries, citing payment arrears. In December 2009 the first line, Line A, of the Central Asia–China gas pipeline, Trans-Asia pipeline to China opened, creating a second major market for Turkmen natural gas. By 2015 Turkmenistan was delivering up to 35 billion cubic meters per annum (bcma) to China. China is the largest buyer of gas from Turkmenistan, via three pipelines linking the two countries through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. In 2019, China bought over 30bcm of gas from Turkmenistan, making China Turkmenistan's main external source of revenue. The East–West pipeline was completed in December 2015, with the intent of delivering up to 30 bcm of natural gas to the Caspian shore for eventual export through a yet-to-be-built Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline, Trans-Caspian natural gas pipeline connecting the Belek-1 compressor station in Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan. The Turkmenistan government continues to pursue construction of the Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India Pipeline, or TAPI. The anticipated cost of the TAPI pipeline is currently estimated at $25 billion. Turkmenistan's section of the pipeline was started in 2015 and was completed in 2019, though the Afghanistan and Pakistan sections remain under construction.


Oil

Oil was known to exist in western Turkmenistan as early as the 18th century. General Aleksey Kuropatkin reported in 1879 that the Cheleken Peninsula had as many as three thousand oil sources. Turkmen settlers in the 19th century extracted oil near the surface and shipped it to Astrakhan by ship and to Iran by camel caravan. Commercial oil drilling began in the 1890s. The oil extraction industry grew with the exploitation of the fields in Cheleken in 1909 (by Branobel) and in Balkanabat in the 1930s. Production leaped ahead with the discovery of the Gumdag field in 1948 and the Goturdepe field in 1959. By 1940 production had reached two million tons per year, by 1960 over four million tons, and by 1970 over 14 million tons. Oil production in 2019 was 9.8 million tons. Oil wells are mainly found in the western lowlands. This area also produces associated natural gas. The main oilfields are Cheleken, Gonurdepe, Nebitdag, Gumdag, Barsagelmez, Guyujyk, Gyzylgum, Ordekli, Gogerendag, Gamyshlyja, Ekerem, Chekishler, Keymir, Ekizek, and Bugdayly. Oil is also produced from offshore wells in the Caspian Sea. Most oil is extracted by the Turkmenistan State Company (Concern) Türkmennebit from fields at Goturdepe, Balkanabat, and on the Hazar, Turkmenistan, Cheleken Peninsula near the Caspian Sea, which have a combined estimated reserve of 700 million tons. Much of the oil produced in Turkmenistan is refined in the Turkmenbashy and Seýdi, Seydi refineries. Some oil is exported by tanker vessel across the Caspian Sea en route to Europe via Baku and Makhachkala. Foreign firms involved in offshore oil extraction include Eni, Eni S.p.A. of Italy, Dragon Oil of the United Arab Emirates, and Petronas of Malaysia. On 21 January 2021, the governments of
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan (, ; az, Azərbaycan ), officially the Republic of Azerbaijan ( az, Azərbaycan Respublikası ), is a country in the Transcaucasia, Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, it is boun ...

Azerbaijan
and Turkmenistan signed a memorandum of understanding to develop jointly an oil field in the
Caspian Sea The Caspian Sea (also known as Mazandaran Sea, Hyrcanian Ocean, or Khazar Sea), tk, Hazar deňzi, az, Xəzər Dənizi, russian: Каспийское море, script=Latn, fa, دریای مازندران، دریای خزر, script=Latn, tly, ...

Caspian Sea
that straddles the nations' border. Known previously as Kyapaz in Azerbaijani language, Azeri and Serdar in Turkmen, the oil field, now called Dostluk ("friendship" in both languages), potentially has reserves of up to 60 million tons of oil as well as associated natural gas.


Energy

Turkmenistan's first electrical power plant was built in 1909 and went into full operation in 1913. As of 2019 it was still in operation. The original triple-turbine Hindukush hydroelectric plant, built by the Austro-Hungarian company Ganz Works on the Murghab River, was designed to produce 1.2 megawatts at 16.5 kilovolts. Until 1957, however, most electrical power in Turkmenistan was produced locally by small Diesel generators and Diesel-electric locomotives. In 1957 Soviet authorities created a republic-level directorate for power generation, and in 1966 Turkmenistan entered the first phase of connecting its remote regions to the regional Central Asian electrical grid. By 1979 all rural areas of Turkmenistan were brought on line. Construction of the Mary thermal power plant began in 1969, and by 1987 the eighth and final generator block was completed, bringing the plant to its design capacity of 1.686 gigawatts. In 1998 Turkmenenergo commissioned its first gas-turbine power plant, using GE turbines. As of 2010 Turkmenistan featured eight major power plants operating on natural gas, in Mary, Turkmenistan, Mary,
Ashgabat Ashgabat ( tk, Aşgabat; Ашгабат, , fa, عشق آباد; russian: Ашхабад), formerly named Poltoratsk ( rus, Полтора́цк, p=pəltɐˈratsk) between 1919 and 1927, is the capital city, capital and the largest city of Tur ...

Ashgabat
, Balkanabat, Büzmeýin, Turkmenistan, Buzmeyin (suburb of Ashgabat), Daşoguz, Dashoguz, Turkmenbashy, Türkmenabat, Turkmenabat, and Seydi. As of 2013, Turkmenistan had 10 electrical power plants equipped with 32 turbines, including 14 steam-driven, 15 gas powered, and 3 hydroelectric. Power output in 2011 was 18.27 billion kWh, of which 2.5 billion kWh was exported. Major power generating installations include the Hindukush Hydroelectric Station, which has a rated capacity of 350 megawatts, and the Mary Thermoelectric Power Station, which has a rated capacity of 1,370 megawatts. In 2018, electrical power production totaled more than 21 billion kilowatt-hours. Since 2013, additional power plants have been constructed in Mary, Turkmenistan, Mary and Ahal Region, Ahal province, and Çärjew District of Lebap Region, Lebap province. The Mary-3 combined cycle power plant, built by Çalık Holding with GE turbines, commissioned in 2018, produces 1.574 gigawatts of electrical power and is specifically intended to support expanded exports of electricity to Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Zerger power plant built by Sumitomo, Mitsubishi, Hitachi, and Rönesans Holding in Çärjew District has a design capacity of 432 megawatts from three 144-megawatt gas turbines and was commissioned in September 2021. It is also primarily intended for export of electricity. The Ahal power plant, with capacity of 650 megawatts, was constructed to power the city of Ashgabat and in particular the Olympic Village. Turkmenistan is a net exporter of electrical power to Central Asian republics and southern neighbors. In 2019, total electrical energy generation in Turkmenistan reportedly totaled 22,521.6 million kilowatt-hours (22.52 terawatt-hours).


Agriculture

Following independence in 1991, Soviet-era Kolkhoz, collective- and Sovkhoz, state farms were converted to "farmers associations" ( tk, daýhan birleşigi). Virtually all field crops are irrigated due to the aridity of the climate. The top crop in terms of area planted is wheat (761 thousand hectares in 2019), followed by cotton (551 thousand hectares in 2019). Turkmenistan is the world's tenth-largest cotton producer. Turkmenistan started producing cotton in the Murghab Valley following conquest of Mary, Turkmenistan, Merv by the
Russian Empire The Russian Empire, . commonly referred to as Imperial Russia, was a historical that extended across and from 1721, succeeding the following the that ended the . The Empire lasted until the was proclaimed by the that took power after the ...
in 1884. According to human rights organizations, public sector workers, such as teachers and doctors, are required by the government to pick cotton under the threat of losing their jobs if they refuse. During the 2020 season, Turkmenistan reportedly produced roughly 1.5 million tons of raw cotton. In 2012, around 7,000 tractors, 5,000 cotton cultivators, 2,200 sowing machines and other machinery, mainly procured from Belarus and the United States, were used. Prior to imposition of a ban on export of raw cotton in October 2018, Turkmenistan exported raw cotton to Russia, Iran, South Korea, United Kingdom, China, Indonesia, Turkey, Ukraine, Singapore and the Baltic states. Beginning in 2019, the Turkmenistan government shifted focus to export of cotton yarn and finished textiles and garments.


Tourism

Turkmenistan reported arrival of 14,438 foreign tourists in 2019. Turkmenistan's international tourism has not grown significantly despite creation of the Awaza tourist zone on the
Caspian Sea The Caspian Sea (also known as Mazandaran Sea, Hyrcanian Ocean, or Khazar Sea), tk, Hazar deňzi, az, Xəzər Dənizi, russian: Каспийское море, script=Latn, fa, دریای مازندران، دریای خزر, script=Latn, tly, ...

Caspian Sea
. Every traveler must obtain a visa before entering Turkmenistan (see Visa policy of Turkmenistan). To obtain a tourist visa, citizens of most countries need visa support from a local travel agency. For tourists visiting Turkmenistan, organized tours exist providing visits to historical sites in and near Daşoguz, Konye-Urgench, Nisa, Turkmenistan, Nisa, Ancient
Merv Merv ( tk, Merw, ''Мерв'', مرو; fa, مرو, ''Marv''), also known as the Merve Oasis, formerly known as Alexandria ( el, Ἀλεξάνδρεια), Antiochia in Margiana ( el, Ἀντιόχεια ἡ ἐν τῇ Μαργιανῇ) and ...

Merv
, and Mary, Turkmenistan, Mary, as well as beach tours to Avaza and medical tours and holidays in the sanatoria in Mollagara, Bayramaly, Ýylysuw and Archman.


Transportation


Automobile transport

Prior to the 1917
Russian Revolution The Russian Revolution was a period of political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relatio ...

Russian Revolution
only three automobiles existed in Turkmenistan, all of them foreign models in Ashgabat. No automobile roads existed between settlements. After the revolution, Soviet authorities graded dirt roads to connect Mary and Kushky (Serhetabat), Tejen and Sarahs, Kyzyl-Arvat (Serdar) with Garrygala (Magtymguly) and Chekishler, i.e., with important border crossings. In 1887-1888 the Gaudan Highway (russian: Гауданское шоссе) was built between Ashgabat and the Persian border at Gaudan Pass, and Persian authorities extended it to Mashhad, allowing for easier commercial relations. Municipal bus service began in Ashgabat in 1925 with five routes, and taxicab service began in 1938 with five vehicles. The road network was extended in the 1970s with construction of republic-level highways connecting Ashgabat and Kazanjyk (Bereket), Ashgabat and Bayramaly, Nebit Dag (Balkanabat) and Krasnovodsk (Turkmenbashy), Çärjew (Turkmenabat) and Kerki, and Mary and Kushka (Serhetabat). The primary west–east motor route is the M37 highway (Turkmenistan), M37 highway linking the Turkmenbashi International Seaport, Turkmenbashy International Seaport to the Farap border crossing via Ashgabat, Mary, and Turkmenabat. The primary north–south route is the Ashgabat-Dashoguz Automobile Road ( tk, Aşgabat-Daşoguz awtomobil ýoly), built in the 2000s. Major international routes include European route E003, European route E60, European route E121, and Asian Highway (AH) routes AH5, AH70, AH75, AH77, and AH78. A new toll motorway is under construction between Ashgabat and Turkmenabat by "Turkmen Awtoban" company, which will construct the 600-km highway in three phases: Ashgabat-Tejen by December 2020, Tejen-Mary by December 2022 and Mary-Turkmenabat by December 2023. A sister project to link Turkmenbashy and Ashgabat was suspended when the Turkish contractor, Polimeks, walked away from the project, reportedly because of non-payment. As of 29 January 2019, the Turkmen Automobile Roads state concern ( tk, Türkmenawtoýollary) was subordinated by presidential decree to the Ministry of Construction and Architecture, and responsibility for road construction and maintenance was shifted to provincial and municipal governments. Operation of motor coaches (buses) and taxicabs is the responsibility of the Automobile Services Agency ( tk, Türkmenawtoulaglary Agentligi) of the Ministry of Industry and Communication.


Air transport

Air service began in 1927 with a route between Çärjew (Turkmenabat) and Tashauz (Dashoguz), flying German Junkers 13 and Soviet K-4 aircraft, each capable of carrying four passengers. In 1932 an aerodrome was built in Ashgabat on the site of the current Howdan neighborhoods, for both passenger and freight service, the latter mainly to deliver supplies to sulfur mines near Derweze in the Karakum Desert. Airports serving the major cities of
Ashgabat Ashgabat ( tk, Aşgabat; Ашгабат, , fa, عشق آباد; russian: Ашхабад), formerly named Poltoratsk ( rus, Полтора́цк, p=pəltɐˈratsk) between 1919 and 1927, is the capital city, capital and the largest city of Tur ...

Ashgabat
, Dashoguz, Mary, Turkmenistan, Mary, Turkmenabat, and Turkmenbashy, which are operated by Turkmenistan's civil aviation authority's airline, Türkmenhowaýollary, feature scheduled domestic commercial air service. Under normal circumstances international scheduled commercial air service is limited to Ashgabat. During the COVID-19 pandemic, however, international flights take off from and land at Turkmenabat, where quarantine facilities have been established. State-owned Turkmenistan Airlines is the only Turkmen air carrier. Turkmenistan Airlines' passenger fleet is composed of Boeing and Bombardier Aerospace aircraft. Air transport carries more than two thousand passengers daily in the country. Under normal conditions, international flights annually transport over half a million people into and out of Turkmenistan, and Turkmenistan Air operates regular flights to
Moscow Moscow ( , American English, US chiefly ; rus, links=no, Москва, r=Moskva, p=mɐˈskva, a=Москва.ogg) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities and towns in Russia by population, largest city of Russia. The city stands on the ...

Moscow
, London, Frankfurt, Birmingham, Bangkok, Delhi, Abu Dhabi, Amritsar, Kyiv, Lviv, Beijing, Istanbul, Minsk, Almaty, Tashkent, and St. Petersburg. Small airfields serve industrial sites near other cities, but do not feature scheduled commercial passenger service. Airfields slated for modernization and expansion include those serving Garabogaz, Jebel, and Galaýmor. The new Turkmenabat International Airport was commissioned in February 2018. In June 2021, an international airport was opened in Kerki Airport, Kerki.


Maritime transport

Since 1962, the Turkmenbashi International Seaport, Turkmenbashy International Seaport has operated a passenger ferry to the port of Baku,
Azerbaijan Azerbaijan (, ; az, Azərbaycan ), officially the Republic of Azerbaijan ( az, Azərbaycan Respublikası ), is a country in the Transcaucasia, Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, it is boun ...

Azerbaijan
as well as rail ferries to other ports on the
Caspian Sea The Caspian Sea (also known as Mazandaran Sea, Hyrcanian Ocean, or Khazar Sea), tk, Hazar deňzi, az, Xəzər Dənizi, russian: Каспийское море, script=Latn, fa, دریای مازندران، دریای خزر, script=Latn, tly, ...

Caspian Sea
(Baku, Aktau). In recent years tanker transport of oil to the ports of Baku and Makhachkala has increased. In May 2018 construction was completed of a major expansion of the Turkmenbashy seaport. Cost of the project was $1.5 billion. The general contractor for the project was Gap Inşaat, a subsidiary of Çalık Holding of Turkey. The expansion added 17 million tons of annual capacity, making total throughput including previously existing facilities of over 25 million tons per year. The international ferry and passenger terminals will be able to serve 300,000 passengers and 75,000 vehicles per year, and the container terminal is designed to handle 400,000 TEU (20-foot container equivalent) per year.


Railway transport

The first rail line in Turkmenistan was built in 1880, from the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea to Mollagara. By October 1881 the line was extended to Serdar (city), Kyzyl-Arvat, by 1886 had reached Türkmenabat, Çärjew. In 1887 a wooden rail bridge was built over the Amu Darya, and the line was continued to Samarkand (1888) and Tashkent (1898). Rail service in Turkmenistan began as part of Imperial Russia's Trans-Caspian railway, Trans-Caspian Railway, then of the Central Asian Railway. After the collapse of the USSR, the railway network in Turkmenistan was transferred to and operated by the state-owned Türkmendemirýollary. The rail gauge is the same as the Russian (and former Soviet) one-1520 millimeters. The total length of railways is 3181 km. Only domestic passenger service is available, except for special trains operated by tour operators. The railway carries approximately 5.5 million passengers and moves nearly 24 million tons of freight per year. Turkmen Railways is currently constructing a rail line in Afghanistan to connect Serhetabat to Herat. Upon completion, it may connect to the proposed rail line to connect Herat to Khaf, Iran, Khaf,
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
.


Demographics

The last census to be published was held in 1995. Results of every census since then have been kept secret. Available figures indicate that most of Turkmenistan's citizens are Turkmen people, ethnic Turkmens with sizeable minorities of Uzbeks and Russians. Smaller minorities include
Kazakhs The Kazakhs (also spelled Qazaqs; Kazakh language, Kazakh: , , , , , ; the English language, English name is transliteration, transliterated from Russian language, Russian; russian: Казахи) are a Turkic peoples, Turkic ethnic group who ...

Kazakhs
, Tatars, Ukrainians, Kurds (native to the Kopet Dagh mountains), Armenians, Azerbaijani people, Azeris, Baloch people, Balochs and Pashtun people, Pashtuns. The percentage of ethnic Russians in Turkmenistan dropped from 18.6% in 1939 to 9.5% in 1989. The ''CIA World Factbook'' estimated the ethnic composition of Turkmenistan in 2003 as 85% Turkmen, 5% Uzbek, 4% Russian and 6% other. According to official data announced in Ashgabat , 91% of the population were Turkmen, 3% were Uzbeks and 2% were 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). As of 2021, the number of Russians in Turkmenistan was estimated at approximately 100 thousand. Opposition media reported that some results of the 2012 census had been surreptitiously released, including a total population number of 4,751,120. According to this source, as of 2012 85.6% of the population was ethnically Turkmen, followed by 5.8% ethnic Uzbek and 5.1% ethnic Russian. In contrast, an official Turkmen delegation reported to the UN in January 2015 some different figures on national minorities, including slightly under 9% ethnic Uzbek, 2.2% ethnic Russian, and 0.4% ethnic Kazakh. The 2012 census reportedly counted 58 different nationalities. Official population estimates of 6.2 million are likely too high, given known emigration trends. Population growth has been offset by emigration in search of permanent employment. In July 2021 opposition media reported, based on three independent anonymous sources, that the population of Turkmenistan was between 2.7 and 2.8 million. A once-in-a-decade national census will be taken in the year 2022 and will determine the size of the country's population.


Migration

Based on data from receiving countries, MeteoZhurnal estimated that at least 102,346 Turkmenistani citizens emigrated abroad in 2019, 78% of them to Turkey, and 24,206 apparently returned home, for net migration of 77,014. According to leaked results of a 2018 survey, between 2008 and 2018 1,879,413 Turkmenistani citizens emigrated permanently out of an estimated base population of 5.4 million.


Turkmen tribes

The tribal nature of Turkmen society is well documented. The major modern Turkmen tribes are Teke, Yomut, Ersari, Chowdur, Gokleng and Saryk. The most numerous are the Teke.


Languages

Turkmen language, Turkmen is the official language of Turkmenistan (per the Constitution of Turkmenistan, 1992 Constitution), although Russian language, Russian still is widely spoken in cities as a "language of inter-ethnic communication". As of 1999 Turkmen was spoken by 72% of the population, Russian language, Russian by 12% (349,000), Uzbek language, Uzbek by 9% (317,000), and other languages by 7% (Kazakh language, Kazakh (88,000), Tatar language, Tatar (40,400), Ukrainian language, Ukrainian (37,118), Azerbaijani language, Azerbaijani (33,000), Armenian language, Armenian (32,000), Northern Kurdish (20,000), Lezgian language, Lezgian (10,400),
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated with the Iranian peoples ** Persian language, an Iranian ...
(8,000), Belarusian language, Belarusian (5,290), Erzya language, Erzya (3,490), Korean language, Korean (3,490), Bashkir language, Bashkir (2,610), Karakalpak language, Karakalpak (2,540), Ossetic language, Ossetic (1,890), Dargwa language, Dargwa (1,600), Lak language, Lak (1,590), Tajik language, Tajik (1,280), Georgian language, Georgian (1,050), Lithuanian language, Lithuanian (224), Tabasaran language, Tabasaran (180), Dungan language, Dungan).


Religion

According to the The World Factbook, CIA World Factbook, Muslims constitute 93% of the population while 6% of the population are followers of the Eastern Orthodox Church and the remaining 1% religion is reported as ''non-religious.'' According to a 2009 Pew Research Center report, 93.1% of Turkmenistan's population is Muslim. The first migrants were sent as Dawah, missionaries and often were adopted as patriarchs of particular clans or tribal groups, thereby becoming their "founders." Reformulation of communal identity around such figures accounts for one of the highly localized developments of Islamic practice in Turkmenistan. In the Soviet Union, Soviet era, all religious beliefs were attacked by the communist authorities as superstition and "vestiges of the past." Most religious schooling and religious observance were banned, and the vast majority of mosques were closed. However, since 1990, efforts have been made to regain some of the cultural heritage lost under Soviet rule. Former president
Saparmurat Niyazov Saparmurat Atayevich Niyazov ( tk, Saparmyrat Ataýewiç Nyýazow, italic=yes; Cyrillic , bg, кирилица , mk, кирилица , russian: кириллица , sr, ћирилица, uk, кирилиця , fam1 = Egyptian hieroglyp ...

Saparmurat Niyazov
ordered that basic Islamic principles be taught in public schools. More religious institutions, including religious schools and mosques, have appeared, many with the support of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia an ...

Turkey
. Under Niyazov, religious classes were held in both schools and mosques, with instruction in Arabic language, the Qur'an and the hadith, and history of Islam. At present, the only educational institution teaching religion is the theological faculty of Turkmen State University. President Niyazov wrote his own religious text, published in separate volumes in 2001 and 2004, entitled the ''Ruhnama'' ("Book of the Soul"). The Turkmenbashy regime required that the book, which formed the basis of the educational system in Turkmenistan, be given equal status with the Quran (mosques were required to display the two books side by side). The book was heavily promoted as part of the former president's personality cult, and knowledge of the ''Ruhnama'' was required even for obtaining a driver's license. Quotations from the ''Ruhnama'' are inscribed on the walls of the Türkmenbaşy Ruhy Mosque, which many Muslims consider sacrilege. Most Christianity in Turkmenistan, Christians in Turkmenistan belong to Eastern Orthodoxy (about 5% of the population). There are 12 Russian Orthodox churches in Turkmenistan, four of which are in
Ashgabat Ashgabat ( tk, Aşgabat; Ашгабат, , fa, عشق آباد; russian: Ашхабад), formerly named Poltoratsk ( rus, Полтора́цк, p=pəltɐˈratsk) between 1919 and 1927, is the capital city, capital and the largest city of Tur ...

Ashgabat
. An archpriest resident in Ashgabat leads the Orthodox Church within the country. Until 2007 Turkmenistan fell under the religious jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox archbishop in Tashkent,
Uzbekistan Uzbekistan (, ; uz, Ozbekiston, ), officially the Republic of Uzbekistan ( uz, Ozbekiston Respublikasi), is a landlocked country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land ...

Uzbekistan
, but since then has been subordinate to the Archbishop of Pyatigorsk and Cherkessia. There are no Russian Orthodox seminaries in Turkmenistan. There are also small communities of the following denominations: the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Roman Catholic Church, Pentecostal Christians, the Kale Heywet Word of Life Church, Protestant Word of Life Church, the Greater Grace World Outreach Church, the New Apostolic Church, Jehovah's Witnesses, Judaism, Jews, and several unaffiliated, nondenominational evangelical Christian groups. In addition, there are small communities of Baháʼí Faith, Baháʼís, Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and Hare Krishnas. The history of Baháʼí Faith in Turkmenistan is as old as the religion itself, and Baháʼí communities still exist today. The first Baháʼí House of Worship was built in Ashgabat at the beginning of the twentieth century. It was seized by the Soviets in the 1920s and converted to an art gallery. It was heavily damaged in the earthquake of 1948 and later demolished. The site was converted to a public park. The Russian Academy of Sciences has identified many instances of Syncretism#Religious syncretism, syncretic influence of pre-Islamic Turkic peoples, Turkic belief systems on practice of Islam among Turkmen.


Culture

The Turkmens, Turkmen people have traditionally been
nomad A nomad ( frm, nomade "people without fixed habitation") is a member of a community without fixed habitation who regularly moves to and from the same areas. Such groups include hunter-gatherer A hunter-gatherer is a human Humans (''Homo ...

nomad
s and equestrianism, equestrians, and even today after the fall of the USSR attempts to urbanize the Turkmens have not been very successful. They never really formed a coherent nation or ethnic group until they were forged into one by Joseph Stalin in the 1930s. Rather they are divided into clans, and each clan has its own dialect and style of dress. Turkmens are famous for making ''Turkmen rug, knotted Turkmen carpets'', often mistakenly called ''Bukhara rugs'' in the West. These are elaborate and colorful hand-knotted carpets, and these too help indicate the distinctions among the various Turkmens, Turkmen clans. Ethnic groups throughout the region build yurts, a circular houses with dome roofs, made of a wooden frame covered in felt from the hides of sheep or other livestock. Horses are an essential ingredient of recreational activities in most of the region, in such games as horseback fighting, in which riders grapple to topple each other from their horses; horse racing. A Turkmen man wear traditional "telpek" hats, which are large black or white Sheepskin (material), sheepskin hats that resemble afros. Traditional dress for men consists of high, shaggy sheepskin hats and red robes over white shirts. Women wear long sack-dresses over narrow trousers (the pants are trimmed with a band of embroidery at the ankle). Female headdresses usually consist of silver jewelry. Bracelets and brooches are set with semi-precious stones.


Mass media

Newspapers and monthly magazines are published by state-controlled media outlets, primarily in Turkmen language, Turkmen. The daily official newspaper is published in both Turkmen (''Türkmenistan'') and Russian Neytralny Turkmenistan, (''Нейтральный Туркменистан''). Two online news portals repeat official content, Turkmenportal and Parahat.info, in addition to the official "Golden Age" ( tk, Altyn Asyr, russian: Золотой век) news website, which is available in Turkmen, Russian, and English. Two Ashgabat-based private news organizations, Infoabad and Arzuw, offer online content. Articles published by the state-controlled newspapers are heavily censored and written to glorify the state and its leader. Uncensored press coverage specific to Turkmenistan is provided only by news organizations located outside Turkmenistan: Azatlyk Radiosy, the Turkmen service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty based in Prague; Chronicles of Turkmenistan, the Vienna-based outlet of the Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights; Turkmen.news, previously known as Alternative News of Turkmenistan, based in the Netherlands; and Gündogar. In addition, Mediazona Central Asia, Eurasianet and Central Asia News provide some reporting on events in Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan currently broadcasts 7 national TV channels via satellite. They are Altyn Asyr (TV channel), Altyn Asyr, Ýaşlyk, Miras (TV channel), Miras, Turkmenistan (TV channel), Turkmenistan (in 7 languages), Türkmen Owazy (music), Aşgabat and Sport (Turkmen TV channel), Turkmenistan Sport. There are no commercial or private TV stations. The nightly official news broadcast, ''Watan'' (Homeland), is available on YouTube. Although officially banned, widespread use of satellite dish receivers allows access to foreign programming, particularly outside Ashgabat. Due to the high mutual intelligibility of the Turkmen and Turkish languages, Turkish-language programs have grown in popularity despite official efforts to discourage viewership. Internet services are the least developed in Central Asia. Access to Internet services is provided by the government's Internet service provider, ISP company, Turkmentelekom. As of 27 January 2021, Turkmenistan reported an estimated 1,265,794 internet users or roughly 21% of the total population.


Holidays

Holidays in Turkmenistan are laid out in the Constitution of Turkmenistan, Holidays in Turkmenistan practiced internationally include New Year's Day, Nowruz, Eid al-Fitr, and Eid al-Adha. Turkmenistan exclusive holidays include Melon Day, International Women's Day, Turkmen Woman's Day, and the Day of Remembrance for Saparmurat Niyazov.


Education

Education is universal and mandatory through the secondary level. Under former President Niyazov, the total duration of primary and secondary education was reduced from 10 to 9 years. President Berdimuhamedov restored 10-year education as of the 2007–2008 school year. Effective 2013, secondary general education in Turkmenistan was expanded to three-stages lasting 12 years: elementary school (grades 1–3), high school – the first cycle of secondary education with duration of 5 years (grades 4–8), and secondary school (grades 9–12). At the end of the 2019–20 academic year, nearly 80,000 Turkmen pupils graduated from high school. As of the 2019–20 academic year, 12,242 of these students were admitted to institutions of higher education in Turkmenistan. An additional 9,063 were admitted to the country's 42 vocational colleges. An estimated 95 thousand Turkmen students were enrolled in institutions of higher education abroad as of Autumn 2019.


Architecture

The tasks for modern Turkmen architecture are diverse application of modern aesthetics, the search for an architect's own artistic style, and inclusion of the existing historico-cultural environment. Most major new buildings, especially those in
Ashgabat Ashgabat ( tk, Aşgabat; Ашгабат, , fa, عشق آباد; russian: Ашхабад), formerly named Poltoratsk ( rus, Полтора́цк, p=pəltɐˈratsk) between 1919 and 1927, is the capital city, capital and the largest city of Tur ...

Ashgabat
, are faced with white marble. Major projects such as Turkmenistan Tower, Wedding Palace (Ashgabat), Bagt köşgi, Alem Cultural and Entertainment Center, Ashgabat Flagpole have transformed the country's skyline and promote its identity as a modern, contemporary city.


Sports

The most popular sport in Turkmenistan is soccer. The Turkmenistan national football team, national team has never qualified for the FIFA World Cup but has appeared twice at the AFC Asian Cup, in 2004 AFC Asian Cup, 2004 and 2019 AFC Asian Cup, 2019, failing to advance past the group stage at both editions. Another popular sport is archery, Turkmenistan holds league and local competitions for archery. International sports events hosted in Turkmenistan include; the 2021 UCI Track Cycling World Championships, the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, and the 2018 World Weightlifting Championships.


See also

* Outline of Turkmenistan * Index of Turkmenistan-related articles


References


Further reading

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links


"Turkmenistan"
''The World Factbook''. Central Intelligence Agency.
Modern Turkmenistan photos


at ''UCB Libraries GovPubs'' *
Turkmenistan profile
from the BBC News *
OpenStreetMap online atlas of Turkmenistan

OpenStreetMap wiki article on Turkmenistan
*
Key Development Forecasts for Turkmenistan
from International Futures ; Government
Turkmenistan government information portal



Tourism Committee of Turkmenistan
; Other
"Chronicles of Turkmenistan". Publication of Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights.

Official photo gallery from Turkmenistan and Ashgabat

daily news and analysis in Turkish English and Turkmen
{{Authority control Turkmenistan Central Asian countries Iranian Plateau Member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Member states of the United Nations Russian-speaking countries and territories States and territories established in 1991 Totalitarian states 1991 establishments in Asia Observer states of the Turkic Council Members of the International Organization of Turkic Culture