Introduction

Background
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.

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» Transnational Issues

Geography

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

Geographic Coordinates
40 00 N, 60 00 E

Area
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

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

Maritime Claims
none (landlocked)

Climate
subtropical desert

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

Elevation Extremes
lowest point: Vpadina Akchanaya -81 m; note – Sarygamysh Koli is a lake in northern Turkmenistan with a water level that fluctuates above and below the elevation of Vpadina Akchanaya (the lake has dropped as low as -110 m); 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
17,500 sq km (2003 est.)

Natural Hazards
NA

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

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

Notes
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

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People

Population
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.)

Nationality
noun: Turkmen(s); adjective: Turkmen

Ethnic Groups
Turkmen 85%, Uzbek 5%, Russian 4%, other 6% (2003)

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

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

Literacy
definition: age 15 and over can read and write; total population: 98.8%; male: 99.3%; female: 98.3% (1999 est.)

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Government

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

Capital
Ashgabat

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)

Independence
27 October 1991 (from the Soviet Union)

National Holiday
Independence Day, 27 October (1991)

Constitution
adopted 18 May 1992

Legal System
based on civil law system

Suffrage
18 years of age; universal

Executive Branch
chief of state: President and Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers Saparmurat NIYAZOV (since 27 October 1990, when the first direct presidential election occurred); note – the president is both the chief of state and head of government; head of government: President and Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers Saparmurat NIYAZOV (since 27 October 1990, when the first direct presidential election occurred); note – the president is both the chief of state and head of government; cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president; note: NIYAZOV’s term in office was extended indefinitely on 28 December 1999 during a session of the People’s Council (Halk Maslahaty); in November 2005 the People’s Council voted down NIYAZOV’s suggestion to hold presidential elections in 2009; 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
NA

International Organization Participation
AsDB, CIS (associate), EAPC, EBRD, ECO, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDB, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITU, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, OSCE, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO

Diplomatic Representation in the US
chief of mission: Ambassador Meret 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 Tracey A. JACOBSON; embassy: No. 9 1984 Street (formerly Pushkin Street), Ashgabat, Turkmenistan 774000; mailing address: 7070 Ashgabat Place, Washington, D.C. 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

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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 20% to 30% per year in 2003-2005, largely because of higher international oil and gas prices. In 2005, Ashgabat sought to raise natural gas export prices to its main customers, Russia and Ukraine, from $44 per thousand cubic meters (tcm) to $66 per tcm. Overall prospects in the near future are discouraging because of widespread internal poverty, the burden of foreign debt, the government’s irrational use of oil and gas revenues, and its 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)
$30.02 billion (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate)
$14.13 billion (2005 est.)

GDP – real growth rate
IMF estimate: 11%; note: official government statistics show 21.4% growth, but these estimates are widely regarded as unreliable (2005 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP)
$6,100 (2005 est.)

GDP – composition by sector
agriculture: 26.9%; industry: 39.5%; services: 33.6% (2005 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)
10% (2005 est.)

Investment (gross fixed)
25.6% of GDP (2005 est.)

Budget
revenues: $1.401 billion; expenditures: $1.542 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)

Agriculture – Products
cotton, grain; livestock

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

Industrial Production Growth Rate
22% (2003 est.)

Electricity – Production
11.41 billion kWh (2004 est.)

Electricity – Consumption
8.847 billion kWh (2002)

Electricity – Exports
1.136 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity – Imports
0 kWh (2002)

Oil – Production
203,400 bbl/day (2003 est.)

Oil – Consumption
80,000 bbl/day (2003 est.)

Oil – Exports
NA bbl/day

Oil – Imports
NA bbl/day

Oil – Proved Reserves
273 million bbl (1 January 2002)

Natural Gas – Production
54.6 billion cu m (2004 est.)

Natural Gas – Consumption
15.5 billion cu m (2004 est.)

Natural Gas – Exports
38.6 billion cu m (2004 est.)

Natural Gas – Imports
0 cu m (2004 est.)

Natural Gas – Proved Reserves
2.01 trillion cu m (1 January 2002)

Current Account Balance
$-204.3 million (2005 est.)

Exports
$4.7 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports – Commodities
gas, crude oil, petrochemicals, cotton fiber, textiles

Exports – Partners
Ukraine 46.6%, Iran 17.3%, Turkey 4.2%, Italy 4.1% (2004)

Imports
$4.175 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports – Commodities
machinery and equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs

Imports – Partners
US 11.8%, Russia 9.7%, UAE 9.2%, Ukraine 9%, Turkey 8.6%, Germany 8%, France 5%, Georgia 4.6%, Iran 4.5% (2004)

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold
$3.358 billion (2005 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)

Exchange Rates
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

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Communications

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)

Television Broadcast Stations
4 (government owned and programmed) (2004)

Internet Country Code
.tm

Internet Hosts
557 (2005)

Internet Users
36,000 (2005)

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Transportation

Airports
39 (2005)

Airports – With Paved Runways
total: 22; over 3,047 m: 1; 2,438 to 3,047 m: 10; 1,524 to 2,437 m: 9; 914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2005)

Airports – With Unpaved Runways
total: 17; 1,524 to 2,437 m: 2; 914 to 1,523 m: 1; under 914 m: 14 (2005)

Heliports
1 (2005)

Pipelines
gas 6,549 km; oil 1,395 km (2004)

Railways
total: 2,440 km; broad gauge: 2,440 km 1.520-m gauge (2004)

Roadways
total: 24,000 km; paved: 19,488 km; unpaved: 4,512 km (1999)

Waterways
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: barge carrier 1, cargo 4, petroleum tanker 2, refrigerated cargo 1 (2005)

Ports and Terminals
Turkmenbasy

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Military

Military Branches
Ground Forces, Air and Air Defense Forces (2004)

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 (2005 est.)

Manpower Fit for Military Service
males age 18-49: 759,978 (2005 est.)

Manpower Reaching Military Service Age Annually
males: 56,532 (2005 est.)

Military Expenditures – Dollar Figure
$90 million (FY99)

Military Expenditures – Percent of GDP
3.4% (FY99)

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Transnational Issues

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

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