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CIA Seal  World Factbook Seal Turkmenistan
Flag of Turkmenistan
Map of Turkmenistan
Introduction Turkmenistan
Annexed by Russia between 1865 and 1885, Turkmenistan became a Soviet republic in 1924. It achieved its independence upon the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. President Saparmurat NIYAZOV retains absolute control over the country and opposition is not tolerated. Extensive hydrocarbon/natural gas reserves could prove a boon to this underdeveloped country if extraction and delivery projects were to be expanded. The Turkmenistan Government is actively seeking to develop alternative petroleum transportation routes in order to break Russia's pipeline monopoly.
Geography Turkmenistan
Central Asia, bordering the Caspian Sea, between Iran and Kazakhstan
Geographic coordinates:
40 00 N, 60 00 E
Map references:
total: 488,100 sq km
land: 488,100 sq km
water: NEGL
Area - comparative:
slightly larger than California
Land boundaries:
total: 3,736 km
border countries: Afghanistan 744 km, Iran 992 km, Kazakhstan 379 km, Uzbekistan 1,621 km
0 km; note - Turkmenistan borders the Caspian Sea (1,768 km)
Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)
subtropical desert
flat-to-rolling sandy desert with dunes rising to mountains in the south; low mountains along border with Iran; borders Caspian Sea in west
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Vpadina Akchanaya -81 m; note - Sarygamysh Koli is a lake in northern Turkmenistan with a water level that fluctuates above and below the elevation of Vpadina Akchanaya (the lake has dropped as low as -110 m)
highest point: Gora Ayribaba 3,139 m
Natural resources:
petroleum, natural gas, sulfur, salt
Land use:
arable land: 4.51%
permanent crops: 0.14%
other: 95.35% (2005)
Irrigated land:
18,000 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
Environment - current issues:
contamination of soil and groundwater with agricultural chemicals, pesticides; salination, water-logging of soil due to poor irrigation methods; Caspian Sea pollution; diversion of a large share of the flow of the Amu Darya into irrigation contributes to that river's inability to replenish the Aral Sea; desertification
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
landlocked; the western and central low-lying, desolate portions of the country make up the great Garagum (Kara-Kum) desert, which occupies over 80% of the country; eastern part is plateau
People Turkmenistan
5,042,920 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 35.2% (male 913,988/female 863,503)
15-64 years: 60.7% (male 1,501,486/female 1,557,155)
65 years and over: 4.1% (male 79,227/female 127,561) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 21.8 years
male: 20.9 years
female: 22.7 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.83% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
27.61 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
8.6 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
-0.75 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.62 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 72.56 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 76.9 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 68 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 61.83 years
male: 58.43 years
female: 65.41 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
3.37 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
less than 0.1% (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
less than 200 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 100 (2004 est.)
noun: Turkmen(s)
adjective: Turkmen
Ethnic groups:
Turkmen 85%, Uzbek 5%, Russian 4%, other 6% (2003)
Muslim 89%, Eastern Orthodox 9%, unknown 2%
Turkmen 72%, Russian 12%, Uzbek 9%, other 7%
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98.8%
male: 99.3%
female: 98.3% (1999 est.)
Government Turkmenistan
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Turkmenistan
local long form: none
local short form: Turkmenistan
former: Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic
Government type:
republic; authoritarian presidential rule, with little power outside the executive branch
name: Ashgabat (Ashkhabad)
geographic coordinates: 37 57 N, 58 23 E
time difference: UTC+5 (10 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
5 provinces (welayatlar, singular - welayat): Ahal Welayaty (Ashgabat), Balkan Welayaty (Balkanabat), Dashoguz Welayaty, Lebap Welayaty (Turkmenabat), Mary Welayaty
note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses)
27 October 1991 (from the Soviet Union)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 27 October (1991)
adopted 18 May 1992
Legal system:
based on civil law system
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President (Acting) and Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMMEDOV; note - President Saparmurat NIYAZOV died in office 21 December 2006 and Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMMEDOV was named his temporary replacement; the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President (Acting) and Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMMEDOV
cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 21 June 1992; note - President NIYAZOV was unanimously approved as president for life by the People's Council on 28 December 1999; deputy chairmen of the Cabinet of Ministers are appointed by the president
election results: Saparmurat NIYAZOV elected president without opposition; percent of vote - Saparmurat NIYAZOV 99.5%
Legislative branch:
under the 1992 constitution, there are two parliamentary bodies, a unicameral People's Council or Halk Maslahaty (supreme legislative body of up to 2,500 delegates, some of whom are elected by popular vote and some of whom are appointed; meets at least yearly) and a unicameral Parliament or Mejlis (50 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms); membership is scheduled to be increased to 65 seats
elections: People's Council - last held in April 2003 (next to be held December 2008); Mejlis - last held 19 December 2004 (next to be held December 2008)
election results: Mejlis - DPT 100%; seats by party - DPT 50; note - all 50 elected officials are members of the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan and are preapproved by President NIYAZOV
note: in late 2003, a new law was adopted, reducing the powers of the Mejlis and making the Halk Maslahaty the supreme legislative organ; the Halk Maslahaty can now legally dissolve the Mejlis, and the president is now able to participate in the Mejlis as its supreme leader; the Mejlis can no longer adopt or amend the constitution, or announce referendums or its elections; since the president is both the "Chairman for Life" of the Halk Maslahaty and the supreme leader of the Mejlis, the 2003 law has the effect of making him the sole authority of both the executive and legislative branches of government
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the president)
Political parties and leaders:
Democratic Party of Turkmenistan or DPT [Saparmurat NIYAZOV]
note: formal opposition parties are outlawed; unofficial, small opposition movements exist underground or in foreign countries; the two most prominent opposition groups-in-exile have been National Democratic Movement of Turkmenistan (NDMT) and the United Democratic Party of Turkmenistan (UDPT); NDMT was led by former Foreign Minister Boris SHIKHMURADOV until his arrest and imprisonment in the wake of the 25 November 2002 assassination attempt on President NIYAZOV; UDPT is led by former Foreign Minister Abdy KULIEV and is based out of Moscow
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Murad Bairamovich ORAZOV
chancery: 2207 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 588-1500
FAX: [1] (202) 588-0697
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Jennifer L. BRUSH
embassy: No. 9 1984 Street (formerly Pushkin Street), Ashgabat, Turkmenistan 774000
mailing address: 7070 Ashgabat Place, Washington, DC 20521-7070
telephone: [9] (9312) 35-00-45
FAX: [9] (9312) 39-26-14
Flag description:
green field with a vertical red stripe near the hoist side, containing five tribal guls (designs used in producing carpets) stacked above two crossed olive branches similar to the olive branches on the UN flag; a white crescent moon representing Islam with five white stars representing the regions or velayats of Turkmenistan appear in the upper corner of the field just to the fly side of the red stripe
Economy Turkmenistan
Economy - overview:
Turkmenistan is a largely desert country with intensive agriculture in irrigated oases and large gas and oil resources. One-half of its irrigated land is planted in cotton; formerly it was the world's tenth-largest producer. Poor harvests in recent years have led to an almost 50% decline in cotton exports. With an authoritarian ex-Communist regime in power and a tribally based social structure, Turkmenistan has taken a cautious approach to economic reform, hoping to use gas and cotton sales to sustain its inefficient economy. Privatization goals remain limited. In 1998-2005, 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, total exports rose by an average of 15% per year in 2003-06, largely because of higher international oil and gas prices. In 2006, Ashgabat raised its natural gas export prices to its main customer, Russia, from $66 per thousand cubic meters (tcm) to $100 per tcm. Overall prospects in the near future are discouraging because of widespread internal poverty, a poor educational system, government misuse of oil and gas revenues, and Ashgabat's unwillingness to adopt market-oriented reforms. Turkmenistan's economic statistics are state secrets, and GDP and other figures are subject to wide margins of error. In particular, the rate of GDP growth is uncertain.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$45.11 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$16.16 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
IMF estimate: 13%
note: official government statistics show 21.4% growth, but these estimates are widely regarded as unreliable (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$8,900 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 24.4%
industry: 33.9%
services: 41.7% (2006 est.)
Labor force:
2.32 million (2003 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 48.2%
industry: 13.8%
services: 37% (2003 est.)
Unemployment rate:
60% (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line:
58% (2003 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 31.7% (1998)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
40.8 (1998)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
11% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
28.8% of GDP (2006 est.)
revenues: $1.803 billion
expenditures: $2.063 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:
cotton, grain; livestock
natural gas, oil, petroleum products, textiles, food processing
Industrial production growth rate:
22% (2003 est.)
Electricity - production:
10.79 billion kWh (2004 est.)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 99.9%
hydro: 0.1%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
9.03 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
1 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
213,700 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:
95,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA bbl/day (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA bbl/day (2001)
Oil - proved reserves:
273 million bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production:
58.57 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
16.57 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
42 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
2.01 trillion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)
Current account balance:
$321.2 million (2006 est.)
$5.421 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:
gas, crude oil, petrochemicals, cotton fiber, textiles
Exports - partners:
Ukraine 42.8%, Iran 14.8%, Hungary 5.3% (2005)
$3.936 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs
Imports - partners:
UAE 12.7%, Azerbaijan 11.1%, US 9.6%, Russia 9.1%, Ukraine 7.6%, Turkey 7.3%, Iran 6.2%, Germany 5.4% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$3.518 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:
$2.4 billion to $5 billion (2001 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$16 million from the US (2001)
Currency (code):
Turkmen manat (TMM)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
11,100 (2006), in recent years the unofficial rate has hovered around 24,000 to 25,000 Turkmen manats to the dollar; the official rate has consistently been 5,200 manat to the dollar
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Turkmenistan
Telephones - main lines in use:
376,100 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
52,000 (2004)
Telephone system:
general assessment: poorly developed
domestic: NA
international: country code - 993; linked by cable and microwave radio relay to other CIS republics and to other countries by leased connections to the Moscow international gateway switch; a new telephone link from Ashgabat to Iran has been established; a new exchange in Ashgabat switches international traffic through Turkey via Intelsat; satellite earth stations - 1 Orbita and 1 Intelsat
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 16, FM 8, shortwave 2 (1998)
1.225 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
4 (government owned and programmed) (2004)
820,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
585 (2006)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
Internet users:
36,000 (2005)
Transportation Turkmenistan
29 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 22
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 11
1,524 to 2,437 m: 8
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 4 (2006)
1 (2006)
gas 6,441 km; oil 1,361 km (2006)
total: 2,440 km
broad gauge: 2,440 km 1.520-m gauge (2005)
total: 24,000 km
paved: 19,488 km
unpaved: 4,512 km (1999)
1,300 km (Amu Darya and Kara Kum canal important inland waterways) (2006)
Merchant marine:
total: 8 ships (1000 GRT or over) 22,870 GRT/25,801 DWT
by type: cargo 4, combination ore/oil 1, petroleum tanker 2, refrigerated cargo 1 (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Military Turkmenistan
Military branches:
Ground Forces, Artillery and Rocket Forces, Navy, Air and Air Defense Forces (2006)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - two years (2004)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 1,132,833
females age 18-49: 1,162,569 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 759,978
females age 18-49: 940,179 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males age 18-49: 56,532
females age 18-49: 55,413 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$90 million (FY99)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
3.4% (FY99)
Transnational Issues Turkmenistan
Disputes - international:
cotton monoculture in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan creates water-sharing difficulties for Amu Darya river states; bilateral talks continue with Azerbaijan on dividing the seabed and contested oilfields in the middle of the Caspian; demarcation of land boundary with Kazakhstan has started but Caspian seabed delimitation remains stalled
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin): 12,085 (Tajikistan) (2005)
Illicit drugs:
transit country for Afghan narcotics bound for Russian and Western European markets; transit point for heroin precursor chemicals bound for Afghanistan

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007