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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 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
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
water: 0 sq km
land: 488,100 sq km
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, coal, sulfur, salt
Land use:
arable land: 3.47%
permanent crops: 0.14%
other: 96.39% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
18,000 sq km (1998 est.)
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
4,688,963 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
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:
1.84% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
28.27 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
8.92 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
-0.98 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
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:
73.21 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 61.1 years
female: 64.8 years (2002 est.)
male: 57.57 years
Total fertility rate:
3.54 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.01% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
less than 100 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 100 (1999 est.)
noun: Turkmen(s)
adjective: Turkmen
Ethnic groups:
Turkmen 77%, Uzbek 9.2%, Russian 6.7%, Kazakh 2%, other 5.1% (1995)
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%
male: 99%
female: 97% (1989 est.)
Government Turkmenistan
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Turkmenistan
local long form: none
former: Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic
local short form: Turkmenistan
Government type:
Administrative divisions:
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)
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 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:
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:
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
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
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:
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:
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:
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.
purchasing power parity - $21.5 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
10% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $4,700 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 27%
industry: 45%
services: 28% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line:
34% (2001 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 32% (1998) (1998)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
41 (1998)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
10% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
2.34 million (1996) (1996)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 48%, industry 15%, services 37% (1998 est.)
Unemployment rate:
revenues: $588.6 million
expenditures: $658.2 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1999 est.) (1999 est.)
natural gas, oil, petroleum products, textiles, food processing
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
9.256 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
7.708 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
900 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
cotton, grain; livestock
$2.7 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
gas 33%, oil 30%, cotton fiber 18%, textiles 8% (1999)
Exports - partners:
Ukraine 27%, Iran 14%, Turkey 11%, Italy 9%, Switzerland 5% (1999)
$2.3 billion c.i.f. (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment 60%, foodstuffs 15% (1999)
Imports - partners:
Turkey 17%, Ukraine 12%, Russia 11%, UAE 8%, France 6% (1999)
Debt - external:
$2.3 billion to $5 billion (2001 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$16 million from the US (2001)
Turkmen manat (TMM)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Turkmen manats per US dollar - 5,200 (January 2002-January 2000), 5,350 (January 1999), 4,070 (January 1997)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Turkmenistan
Telephones - main lines in use:
363,000 (1997)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
4,300 (1998)
Telephone system:
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:
AM 16, FM 8, shortwave 2 (1998)
1.225 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
3 (much programming relayed from Russia and Turkey) (1997)
820,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
Internet users:
2,000 (2000)
Transportation Turkmenistan
total: 2,440 km
broad gauge: 2,440 km 1.520-m gauge (2001)
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)
the Amu Darya is an important inland waterway for Turkmenistan
crude oil 250 km; natural gas 4,400 km
Ports and harbors:
Merchant marine:
total: 1 ship (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 4,600 GRT/5,000 DWT
ships by type: petroleum tanker 1 (2002 est.)
76 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 13
2,438 to 3,047 m: 9
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
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:
Ministry of Defense (Army, Air and Air Defense, Navy, Border Troops, and Internal Troops), National Guard
Military manpower - military age:
18 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 1,206,920 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 979,282 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 48,292 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$90 million (FY99)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
3.4% (FY99)
Transnational Issues Turkmenistan
Disputes - international:
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:
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