Turkmenistan 1997Turkmenistan

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Turkmenistan - Introduction 1997
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Background: 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.

Turkmenistan - Geography 1997
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Location: Central Asia, bordering the Caspian Sea, between Iran and Kazakstan

Geographic coordinates: 40 00 N, 60 00 E

Map referenceCommonwealth of Independent States

Total: 488,100 km²
Land: 488,100 km²
Water: 0 km²
Comparative: slightly larger than California

Land boundaries
Total: 3,736 km
Border countries: (4) Afghanistan 744 km; , Iran 992 km; , Kazakstan 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

Extremes lowest point: Sarygamysh Koli -110 m
Extremes highest point: Ayrybaba 3,139 m

Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, coal, sulfur, salt
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 3%
Permanent crops: 0%
Permanent pastures: 63%
Forests and woodland: 8%
Other: 26% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 13,000 km² (1993 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: NA

Note: landlocked

Turkmenistan - People 1997
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Population: 4,229,249 (July 1997 est.)
Growth rate: 1.61% (1997 est.)

Noun: Turkmen(s)
Adjective: Turkmen

Ethnic groups: Turkmen 77%, Uzbek 9.2%, Russian 6.7%, Kazak 2%, other 5.1% (1995)

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

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

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 39% (male 840,168; female 812,573)
15-64 years: 57% (male 1,182,706; female 1,217,484)
65 years and over: 4% (male 66,451; female 109,867) (July 1997 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 1.61% (1997 est.)

Birth rate: 26.61 births/1000 population (1997 est.)

Death rate: 8.65 deaths/1000 population (1997 est.)

Net migration rate: -1.82 migrant(s)/1000 population (1997 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: contamination of soil and groundwater with agricultural chemicals, pesticides; salinization, 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

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.6 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (1997 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 72.7 deaths/1000 live births (1997 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 61.51 years
Male: 57.88 years
Female: 65.31 years (1997 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.31 children born/woman (1997 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 98%
Male: 99%
Female: 97% (1989 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Turkmenistan - Government 1997
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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

Capital: Ashgabat

Administrative divisions: 5 welayatlar (singular - welayat):Ahal Welayaty (Ashgabat), Balkan Welayaty (Nebitdag), Dashhowuz Welayaty (formerly Tashauz), Lebap Welayaty (Charjew), Mary Welayaty
Note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses)

Dependent areas

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

International law organization participation


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; note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government; Deputy Chairmen of the Cabinet of Ministers Mukhamed ABALAKOV (since NA), Babamurad BAZAROV (since NA), Dadebaya ANNAGELDIYEV (since NA), Orazgeldy AYDOGDYYEV (since NA), Hudaayguly HALYKOV (since NA), Aleksandr DADONOV (since NA), Pirkuly ODEYEV (since NA), Rejep SAPAROV (since NA), Boris SHIKHMURADOV (since NA), Batyr SARJAYEV (since NA), Ilaman SHYKHYYEV (since NA)
Cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
Note: NIYAZOV has been asked by various local groups, most recently on 26 October 1995 at the annual elders meeting, to be "president for life," but he has declined, saying the status would require an amendment to the constitution
Elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 21 June 1992 (next to be held NA 2002; note - extension of President NIYAZOV's term for an additional five years overwhelmingly approved - 99.9% of total vote in favor - by national referendum held 15 January 1994); deputy chairmen of the cabinet of ministers are appointed by the president
Election results: Saparmurad NIYAZOV elected president without opposition; percent of vote - Saparmurad NIYAZOV 99.5%

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 popularly elected and some are appointed; meets infrequently) and a unicameral Assembly or Majlis (50 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
Elections: People's Council - no elections; Assembly - last held 11 December 1994 (next to be held NA 1999)
Election results: Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Democratic Party 45, other 5; note - all 50 preapproved by President NIYAZOV

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: CCC, CIS, EBRD, ECE, ECO, ESCAP, FAO, IBRD, ICAO, IDB, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITU, NACC, NAM, OIC, OSCE, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (observer)

Diplomatic representation
In the us chief of mission: Ambassador Halil UGUR
In the us chancery: 2,207 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20,008
In the us telephone: [1] (202) 588-1500
In the us FAX: [1] (202) 588-0697
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador Michael W. COTTER
From the us embassy: 9 Pushkin Street, Ashgabat
From the us mailing address: use embassy street address
From the us telephone: [9] (9,312) 35-00-45, 35-00-46, 35-00-42, Tie Line [8] 962-0000
From the us FAX: [9] (9,312) 51-13-05

Flag descriptionflag of Turkmenistan: green field, including a vertical stripe on the hoist side, with a claret vertical stripe in between containing five white, black, and orange carpet guls (an asymmetrical design used in producing rugs) associated with five different tribes; a white crescent and five white stars in the upper left corner to the right of the carpet guls

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Turkmenistan - Economy 1997
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Economy overview: Turkmenistan is largely desert country with nomadic cattle raising, intensive agriculture in irrigated oases, and huge gas and oil resources. One-half of its irrigated land is planted in cotton, making it the world's tenth largest producer. It also possesses the world's fifth largest reserves of natural gas and substantial oil resources. 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. The economy recovered slightly in 1996, but high inflation continued. Furthermore, 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. In 1996, the government set in place a stabilization program aimed at a unified and market-based exchange rate, allocation of government credits by auction, and strict limits on budget deficits. Privatization goals remain limited. Turkmenistan is working hard to open new gas export channels through Iran and Turkey to Europe, but these will take many years to realize.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 0.1% (1996 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin
Agriculture: 16%
Industry: 48%
Services: 36% (1996 est.)

Agriculture products: cotton, grain; livestock

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

Industrial production growth rate: 17.9% (1996 est.)

Labor force
Total: 1.68 million (1995)
By occupation agriculture and forestry: 43%
By occupation industry and construction: 20%
By occupation other: 37% (1992)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: NA%

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $N/A
Expenditures: $N/A, including capital expenditures of $N/A

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: calendar year

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Total value: $1.8 billion to states outside the FSU (1996 est.)
Commodities: natural gas, cotton, petroleum products, electricity, textiles, carpets
Partners: FSU, Eastern Europe, Turkey, Argentina

Total value: $1.3 billion from states outside the FSU (1996 est.)
Commodities: machinery and parts, grain and food, plastics and rubber, consumer durables, textiles
Partners: FSU, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Turkey

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $400 million (of which $275 million to Russia) (1995 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: manats per US$1 - 4,070 (January 1997), 2,400 (January 1996)
Note: government established a unified rate in mid-January 1996

Turkmenistan - Energy 1997
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 9.87 billion kWh (1994)

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 1,855 kWh (1995 est.)

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Turkmenistan - Communication 1997
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system: 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

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Turkmenistan - Military 1997
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: 4.5 billion manats (1995; note - conversion of defense expenditures into US dollars using the current exchange rate could produce misleading results
Percent of gdp: 3% (1995)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Turkmenistan - Transportation 1997
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 64 (1994 est.)
With paved runways total: 22
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 13
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 8
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 1 (1994 est.)
With unpaved runways total: 42
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 7
With unpaved runways under 914 m: 35 (1994 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 22
2438 to 3047 m: 13
15-24 to 2437 m: 8
914 to 1523 m: 1 (1994 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 42
914 to 1523 m: 7
Under 914 m: 35 (1994 est.)


Pipelines: crude oil 250 km; natural gas 4,400 km

Total: 2,187 km
Broad gauge: 2,187 km 1.520-m gauge (1996 est.)


Waterways: the Amu Darya is an important inland waterway

Merchant marine: total:1 oil tanker ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,896 GRT/3,389 DWT (1996 est.)

Ports and terminals

Turkmenistan - Transnational issues 1997
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Disputes international: Caspian Sea boundaries are not yet determined among Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: limited illicit cultivator of opium poppy, mostly for domestic consumption; limited government eradication program; increasingly used as transshipment point for illicit drugs from Southwest Asia to Russia and Western Europe; also a transshipment point for acetic anhydride destined for Afghanistan

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