Geographic and Governmental Profile of Turkmenistan

Background
Present-day Turkmenistan covers territory that has been at the crossroads of civilizations for centuries. The area was ruled in antiquity by various Persian empires, and was conquered by Alexander the Great, Muslim crusaders, the Mongols, Turkic warriors, and eventually the Russians. In medieval times Merv (today known as Mary) was one of the great cities of the Islamic world and an important stop on the Silk Road. Annexed by Russia in the late 1800s, Turkmenistan later figured prominently in the anti-Bolshevik movement in Central Asia. In 1924, Turkmenistan became a Soviet republic; it achieved independence upon the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. Extensive hydrocarbon/natural gas reserves, which have yet to be fully exploited, have begun to transform the country. Turkmenistan is moving to expand its extraction and delivery projects. The Turkmen Government is actively working to diversify its gas export routes beyond the still important Russian pipeline network. In 2010, new gas export pipelines that carry Turkmen gas to China and to northern Iran began operating, effectively ending the Russian monopoly on Turkmen gas exports. President for Life Saparmurat NYYAZOW died in December 2006, and Turkmenistan held its first multi-candidate presidential election in February 2007. Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOW, a deputy cabinet chairman under NYYAZOW, emerged as the country's new president; he was reelected in February 2012.
Location
Central Asia, bordering the Caspian Sea, between Iran and Kazakhstan
Geographic coordinates
40 00 N, 60 00 E
Continent / Subcontinent
Asia
Area
total:
488,100 sq km
rank:
53
land:
469,930 sq km
water:
18,170 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
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
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)
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Irrigated land
18,000 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
60.9 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
24.65 cu km/yr (2%/1%/98%)
per capita:
5,104 cu m/yr (2000)
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
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
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
defines itself as a secular democracy and a presidential republic; in actuality displays authoritarian presidential rule, with power concentrated within the presidential administration
Capital
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) and 1 independent city*: Ahal Welayaty (Anew), Ashgabat*, Balkan Welayaty (Balkanabat), Dashoguz Welayaty, Lebap Welayaty (Turkmenabat), Mary Welayaty
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)
Constitution
adopted 26 September 2008
Legal system
civil law system with Islamic law influences
International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
President Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOW (since 14 February 2007); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government:
President Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOW (since 14 February 2007)
cabinet:
Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president
elections:
president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term; election last held on 12 February 2012 (next to be held February 2017)
election results:
Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOW reelected president; percent of vote - Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOW 97.1%, Annageldi YAZMYRADOW 1.1%, other candidates 1.8%
Legislative branch
unicameral parliament known as the National Assembly (Mejlis) (125 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections:
last held on 14 December 2008 (next to be held in December 2013)
election results:
100% of elected officials are members of the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan and are preapproved by the president
in 26 September 2008, a new constitution of Turkmenistan abolished a second, 2,507-member legislative body known as the People's Council and expanded the number of deputies in the National Assembly from 65 to 125; the powers formerly held by the People's Council were divided up between the president and the National Assembly
Judicial branch
Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the president); High Commercial Court
Political parties and leaders
Democratic Party of Turkmenistan or DPT [Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOW is chairman; Kasymguly BABAYEW is DPT Political Council First Secretary]
a law authorizing the registration of political parties went into effect in January 2012, however, no parties have registered; unofficial, small opposition movements exist abroad; the three most prominent opposition groups-in-exile are the National Democratic Movement of Turkmenistan (NDMT), the Republican Party of Turkmenistan, and the Watan (Fatherland) Party; the NDMT was led by former Foreign Minister Boris SHIKHMURADOV until his arrest and imprisonment in the wake of the 25 November 2002 attack on President NYYAZOW's motorcade
Political pressure groups and leaders
none
International organization participation
ADB, CIS (associate member, has not ratified the 1993 CIS charter although it participates in meetings and will hold the chairmanship of the CIS in 2012), EAPC, EBRD, ECO, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITU, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, OSCE, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Meret Bairamovich ORAZOW
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 Robert E. PATTERSON
embassy:
No. 9 1984 Street (formerly Pushkin Street), Ashgabat, Turkmenistan 744000
mailing address:
7070 Ashgabat Place, Washington, DC 20521-7070
telephone:
[993] (12) 94-00-45
FAX:
[993] (12) 94-26-14
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; five white stars and a white crescent moon appear in the upper corner of the field just to the fly side of the red stripe; the green color and crescent moon represent Islam; the five stars symbolize the regions or welayats of Turkmenistan; the guls reflect the national identity of Turkmenistan where carpet-making has long been a part of traditional nomadic life
the flag of Turkmenistan is the most intricate of all national flags
National symbol(s)
Akhal-Teke horse
National anthem
name:
"Garassyz, Bitarap Turkmenistanyn" (Independent, Neutral, Turkmenistan State Anthem)
lyrics/music:
collective/Veli MUKHATOV
adopted 1997, lyrics revised 2008; following the death of the President Saparmurat NYYAZOW, the lyrics were altered to eliminate references to the former president
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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