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  Transnational Issues

In general, information available as of 1 January 2002
was used in the preparation of The World Factbook 2002.

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003

Map of Turkmenistan

Legend: Definition Definition Field Listing Field Listing
   Introduction    Turkmenistan
Definition Field Listing
Annexed by Russia between 1865 and 1885, Turkmenistan became a Soviet republic in 1925. It achieved its independence upon the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. President NIYAZOV retains absolute control over the country and opposition is not tolerated. Extensive hydrocarbon/natural gas reserves could prove a boon to this underdeveloped country if extraction and delivery projects can be worked out.
   Geography    Turkmenistan
Definition Field Listing
Central Asia, bordering the Caspian Sea, between Iran and Kazakhstan
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
40 00 N, 60 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing
total: 488,100 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 488,100 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly larger than California
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 3,736 km
border countries: Afghanistan 744 km, Iran 992 km, Kazakhstan 379 km, Uzbekistan 1,621 km
Definition Field Listing
0 km; note - Turkmenistan borders the Caspian Sea (1,768 km)
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
none (landlocked)
Definition Field Listing
subtropical desert
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
petroleum, natural gas, coal, sulfur, salt
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 3.47%
permanent crops: 0.14%
other: 96.39% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
18,000 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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
Definition Field Listing
4,688,963 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 37.3% (male 895,536; female 853,301)
15-64 years: 58.6% (male 1,350,142; female 1,399,879)
65 years and over: 4.1% (male 72,784; female 117,321) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
1.84% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing
28.27 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing
8.92 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
-0.98 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.62 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing
73.21 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing
total population: 61.1 years
female: 64.8 years (2002 est.)
male: 57.57 years
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing
3.54 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.01% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing
less than 100 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing
less than 100 (1999 est.)
Definition Field Listing
noun: Turkmen(s)
adjective: Turkmen
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Turkmen 77%, Uzbek 9.2%, Russian 6.7%, Kazakh 2%, other 5.1% (1995)
Definition Field Listing
Muslim 89%, Eastern Orthodox 9%, unknown 2%
Definition Field Listing
Turkmen 72%, Russian 12%, Uzbek 9%, other 7%
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98%
male: 99%
female: 97% (1989 est.)
   Government    Turkmenistan
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Turkmenistan
local long form: none
former: Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic
local short form: Turkmenistan
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
5 provinces (welayatlar, singular - welayat): Ahal Welayaty (Ashgabat), Balkan Welayaty (Balkanabat), Dasoguz Welayaty, Labap Welayaty (Turkmenabat), Mary Welayaty
note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses)
Definition Field Listing
27 October 1991 (from the Soviet Union)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Independence Day, 27 October (1991)
Definition Field Listing
adopted 18 May 1992
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
based on civil law system
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
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: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 21 June 1992 (next to be held NA); note - President NIYAZOV was unanimously approved as president for life by the Assembly on 28 December 1999); deputy chairmen of the cabinet of ministers are appointed by the president
election results: Saparmurat NIYAZOV elected president without opposition; percent of vote - Saparmurat NIYAZOV 99.5%
note: NIYAZOV's term in office was extended indefinitely on 28 December 1999 by the Assembly (Majlis) during a session of the People's Council (Halk Maslahaty)
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
under the 1992 constitution, there are two parliamentary bodies, a unicameral People's Council or Halk Maslahaty (more than 100 seats, some of which are elected by popular vote and some of which are appointed; meets infrequently) and a unicameral Assembly or Majlis (50 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
election results: Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NA; note - all 50 elected officials preapproved by President NIYAZOV; most are from the DPT
elections: People's Council - NA; Assembly - last held 12 December 1999 (next to be held NA 2004)
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the president)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Democratic Party of Turkmenistan or DPT [Saparmurat NIYAZOV]
note: formal opposition parties are outlawed; unofficial, small opposition movements exist underground or in foreign countries
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Mered Bairamovich ORAZOV
FAX: [1] (202) 588-0697
telephone: [1] (202) 588-1500
chancery: 2207 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Laura E. KENNEDY
embassy: 9 Pushkin Street, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan 774000
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [9] (9312) 35-00-45
FAX: [9] (9312) 39-26-14
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
green field with a vertical red stripe near the hoist side, containing five carpet guls (designs used in producing rugs) stacked above two crossed olive branches similar to the olive branches on the UN flag; a white crescent moon and five white stars appear in the upper corner of the field just to the fly side of the red stripe
   Economy    Turkmenistan
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Turkmenistan is largely desert country with intensive agriculture in irrigated oases and huge gas (fifth largest reserves in the world) and oil resources. One-half of its irrigated land is planted in cotton, making it the world's tenth largest producer. Until the end of 1993, Turkmenistan had experienced less economic disruption than other former Soviet states because its economy received a boost from higher prices for oil and gas and a sharp increase in hard currency earnings. In 1994, Russia's refusal to export Turkmen gas to hard currency markets and mounting debts of its major customers in the former USSR for gas deliveries contributed to a sharp fall in industrial production and caused the budget to shift from a surplus to a slight deficit. With an authoritarian ex-Communist regime in power and a tribally based social structure, Turkmenistan has taken a cautious approach to economic reform, hoping to use gas and cotton sales to sustain its inefficient economy. Privatization goals remain limited. In 1998-2001, Turkmenistan has suffered from the continued lack of adequate export routes for natural gas and from obligations on extensive short-term external debt. At the same time, however, total exports have risen sharply because of higher international oil and gas prices. Prospects in the near future are discouraging because of widespread internal poverty, the burden of foreign debt, and the unwillingness of the government to adopt market-oriented reforms. However, Turkmenistan's cooperation with the international community in transporting humanitarian aid to Afghanistan may foreshadow a change in the atmosphere for foreign investment, aid, and technological support. Turkmenistan's economic statistics are state secrets, and GDP and other figures are subject to wide margins of error.
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $21.5 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
10% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $4,700 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 27%
industry: 45%
services: 28% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
34% (2001 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 32% (1998) (1998)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
41 (1998)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing
10% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing
2.34 million (1996) (1996)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture 48%, industry 15%, services 37% (1998 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $588.6 million
expenditures: $658.2 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1999 est.) (1999 est.)
Definition Field Listing
natural gas, oil, petroleum products, textiles, food processing
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing
9.256 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
Definition Field Listing
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing
7.708 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
900 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
cotton, grain; livestock
Definition Field Listing
$2.7 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
gas 33%, oil 30%, cotton fiber 18%, textiles 8% (1999)
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Ukraine 27%, Iran 14%, Turkey 11%, Italy 9%, Switzerland 5% (1999)
Definition Field Listing
$2.3 billion c.i.f. (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery and equipment 60%, foodstuffs 15% (1999)
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Turkey 17%, Ukraine 12%, Russia 11%, UAE 8%, France 6% (1999)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing
$2.3 billion to $5 billion (2001 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$16 million from the US (2001)
Definition Field Listing
Turkmen manat (TMM)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Turkmen manats per US dollar - 5,200 (January 2002-January 2000), 5,350 (January 1999), 4,070 (January 1997)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Turkmenistan
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing
363,000 (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing
4,300 (1998)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: poorly developed
domestic: NA
international: linked by cable and microwave radio relay to other CIS republics and to other countries by leased connections to the Moscow international gateway switch; a new telephone link from Ashgabat to Iran has been established; a new exchange in Ashgabat switches international traffic through Turkey via Intelsat; satellite earth stations - 1 Orbita and 1 Intelsat
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 16, FM 8, shortwave 2 (1998)
Definition Field Listing
1.225 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
3 (much programming relayed from Russia and Turkey) (1997)
Definition Field Listing
820,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
Definition Field Listing
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing
2,000 (2000)
   Transportation    Turkmenistan
Definition Field Listing
total: 2,440 km
broad gauge: 2,440 km 1.520-m gauge (2001)
Definition Field Listing
total: 22,000 km
paved: 18,000 km (includes some all-weather gravel-surfaced roads)
unpaved: 4,000 km (these roads are made of unstabilized earth and are difficult to negotiate in wet weather) (1996)
Definition Field Listing
the Amu Darya is an important inland waterway for Turkmenistan
Definition Field Listing
crude oil 250 km; natural gas 4,400 km
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing
total: 1 ship (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 4,600 GRT/5,000 DWT
ships by type: petroleum tanker 1 (2002 est.)
Definition Field Listing
76 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 13
2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 63
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 10
under 914 m: 41 (2002)
   Military    Turkmenistan
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Ministry of Defense (Army, Air and Air Defense, Navy, Border Troops, and Internal Troops), National Guard
Military manpower - military age:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 1,206,920 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 979,282 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 48,292 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing
$90 million (FY99)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing
3.4% (FY99)
   Transnational Issues    Turkmenistan
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan wrestle with sharing limited water resources and regional environmental degradation caused by the shrinking of the Aral Sea; multilaterally-accepted Caspian Sea seabed and maritime boundaries have not yet been established in the Caspian - Iran insists on division of Caspian Sea into five equal sectors while Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan have generally agreed upon equidistant seabed boundaries; Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan await ICJ decision to resolve sovereignty dispute over oil fields in the Caspian Sea
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
transit country for Afghan narcotics bound for Russian and, to a lesser extent, Western European markets; limited illicit cultivation of opium poppy for domestic consumption; small-scale government-run eradication of illicit crops; transit point for heroin precursor chemicals bound for Afghanistan

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003

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