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Turkmenistan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Turkmenistan
Trkmenistan ()

Flag

Emblem

Anthem:
Garasyz Bitarap Trkmenistany Dwlet Gimni
State Anthem of Independent, Neutral Turkmenistan

Capital
and largest city
Official languages
Inter-ethnic
languages

Ashgabat
3758N 5820E

Turkmen
Russian

85% Turkmen

5% Uzbek

4% Russian

6% others

Ethnic groups (2003)

Demonym
Turkmen
Government
Unitary presidential republic
- President
Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow
- Chairman of the Mejlis Akja Nuberdiyeva
Legislature
Mejlis
Independence from the Soviet Union
- Declared
27 October 1991
- Recognized
25 December 1991

- Total
- Water (%)
- 2014 estimate
- Density
GDP (PPP)
- Total
- Per capita
GDP (nominal)
- Total
- Per capita
HDI (2013)
Currency
Time zone
Drives on the
Calling code
ISO 3166 code
Internet TLD

Area
491,210 km2[1] (52nd)
188,456 sq mi
4.9
Population
5,171,943[2] (117th)
10.5/km2 (208th)
27.1/sq mi
2014 estimate
$82.151 billion[3]
$14,174[3]
2014 estimate
$47.542 billion[3]
$8,203[3]
0.698[4]
medium 103rd
Turkmen new manat (TMT)
TMT (UTC+5)
right
+993
TM
.tm

Turkmenistan ( i/trkmnstn/ or i/trkmnstn/; Turkmen: Trkmenistan


(), pronounced [tykmenitan]), formerly known as Turkmenia
(/Turkmeniya), is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Turkmenistan is bordered
by Kazakhstan to the northwest, Uzbekistan to the northeast and east, Afghanistan to the
southeast, Iran to the south and southwest, and the Caspian Sea to the west.
Present-day Turkmenistan covers territory that has been at the crossroads of civilizations for
centuries. 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, a caravan route used for trade with China
until the mid-15th century. Annexed by the Russian Empire in 1881, Turkmenistan later figured
prominently in the anti-Bolshevik movement in Central Asia. In 1924, Turkmenistan became a
constituent republic of the Soviet Union, Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic (Turkmen SSR); it
became independent upon the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.[5]
Turkmenistan's GDP growth rate of 11% in 2012 comes on the back of several years of sustained
high growth, albeit from a very basic undiversified economy powered by export of a single
commodity.[6] It possesses the world's fourth largest reserves of natural gas resources.[7] Although
it is wealthy in natural resources in certain areas, most of the country is covered by the Karakum
(Black Sand) Desert. Since 1993, citizens have received government-provided electricity, water
and natural gas free of charge on a guarantee scheduled to last until 2030.[8]
Turkmenistan was ruled by President for Life Saparmurat Niyazov (called "Trkmenbay",
"Leader of the Turkmens") until his sudden death on 21 December 2006. Gurbanguly
Berdimuhamedow was elected the new president on 11 February 2007. According to Human

Rights Watch, "Turkmenistan remains one of the worlds most repressive countries. The country
is virtually closed to independent scrutiny, media and religious freedoms are subject to draconian
restrictions, and human rights defenders and other activists face the constant threat of
government reprisal." President Berdymukhamedov promotes a personality cult in which he, his
relatives, and associates enjoy unlimited power and total control over all aspects of public life.[9]
A natural gas field in the country known as Door to Hell draws frequent media attention and
more recently, also touristic interest.

Contents

1 History

2 Politics
o 2.1 Foreign relations
o 2.2 Human rights

3 Administrative divisions

4 Climate

5 Geography

6 Economy
o 6.1 Natural gas and export routes
o 6.2 Oil
o 6.3 Energy
o 6.4 Agriculture
o 6.5 Tourism

7 Demographics
o 7.1 Largest cities

8 Language

9 Religion

10 Culture
o 10.1 Heritage
o 10.2 Mass media
o 10.3 Education
o 10.4 Architecture

11 Transportation
o 11.1 Automobile transport
o 11.2 Air transport
o 11.3 Maritime transport
o 11.4 Railway transport

12 See also

13 References

14 Further reading

15 External links

History
Main article: History of Turkmenistan
In the 8th century AD, Turkic-speaking Oghuz tribes moved from Mongolia into present-day
Central Asia. Part of a powerful confederation of tribes, these Oghuz formed the ethnic basis of
the modern Turkmen population.[10] In the 10th century, the name "Turkmen" was first applied to
Oghuz groups that accepted Islam and began to occupy present-day Turkmenistan.[10] There they
were under the dominion of the Seljuk Empire, which was composed of Oghuz groups living in
present-day Iran and Turkmenistan.[10] Turkmen soldiers in the service of the empire played an
important role in the spreading of Turkic culture when they migrated westward into present-day
Azerbaijan and eastern Turkey.[10]
In the 12th century, Turkmen and other tribes overthrew the Seljuk Empire.[10] In the next
century, the Mongols took over the more northern lands where the Turkmens had settled,
scattering the Turkmens southward and contributing to the formation of new tribal groups.[10] The

sixteenth and eighteenth centuries saw a series of splits and confederations among the nomadic
Turkmen tribes, who remained staunchly independent and inspired fear in their neighbors.[10] By
the 16th century, most of those tribes were under the nominal control of two sedentary Uzbek
khanates, Khiva and Bukhoro.[10] Turkmen soldiers were an important element of the Uzbek
militaries of this period.[10] In the 19th century, raids and rebellions by the Yomud Turkmen group
resulted in that group's dispersal by the Uzbek rulers.[10] According to Paul R. Spickard, "Prior to
the Russian conquest, the Turkmen were known and feared for their involvement in the Central
Asian slave trade."[11][12]

A Turkmen man of Central Asia in traditional clothes. Photo by Prokudin-Gorsky between 1905
and 1915.
Russian forces began occupying Turkmen territory late in the 19th century.[10] From their Caspian
Sea base at Krasnovodsk (now Turkmenbashi), the Russians eventually overcame the Uzbek
khanates.[10] In 1881 the last significant resistance in Turkmen territory was crushed at the Battle
of Geok Tepe, and shortly thereafter Turkmenistan was annexed, together with adjoining Uzbek
territory, into the Russian Empire.[10] In 1916 the Russian Empire's participation in World War I
resonated in Turkmenistan, as an anticonscription revolt swept most of Russian Central Asia.[10]
Although the Russian Revolution of 1917 had little direct impact, in the 1920s Turkmen forces
joined Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and Uzbeks in the so-called Basmachi Rebellion against the rule of the
newly formed Soviet Union.[10] In 1924 the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic was formed from
the tsarist province of Transcaspia.[10] By the late 1930s, Soviet reorganization of agriculture had
destroyed what remained of the nomadic lifestyle in Turkmenistan, and Moscow controlled
political life.[10] The Ashgabat earthquake of 1948 killed over 110,000 people,[13] amounting to
two-thirds of the city's population.
During the next half-century, Turkmenistan played its designated economic role within the
Soviet Union and remained outside the course of major world events.[10] Even the major
liberalization movement that shook Russia in the late 1980s had little impact.[10] However, in
1990 the Supreme Soviet of Turkmenistan declared sovereignty as a nationalist response to
perceived exploitation by Moscow.[10] Although Turkmenistan was ill-prepared for independence
and communist leader Saparmurad Niyazov preferred to preserve the Soviet Union, in October
1991 the fragmentation of that entity forced him to call a national referendum that approved
independence.[10]

Saparmurat Niyazov

Saparmurat Niyazov's cult of personality also shows on a Turkmenistan 10,000 Manat 1996
banknote
After independence Niyazov continued as Turkmenistan's chief of state, replacing communism
with a unique brand of independent nationalism reinforced by a pervasive cult of personality.[10]
A 1994 referendum and legislation in 1999 abolished further requirements for the president to
stand for re-election (although in 1992 he completely dominated the only presidential election in
which he ran, as he was the only candidate and no one else was allowed to run for the office),
making him effectively president for life.[10] During his tenure, Niyazov conducted frequent
purges of public officials and abolished organizations deemed threatening.[10] Throughout the
post-Soviet era, Turkmenistan has taken a neutral position on almost all international issues.[10]
Niyazov eschewed membership in regional organizations such as the Shanghai Cooperation
Organisation, and in the late 1990s he maintained relations with the Taliban and its chief
opponent in Afghanistan, the Northern Alliance.[10] He offered limited support to the military
campaign against the Taliban following the 11 September 2001 attacks.[10] In 2002 an alleged
assassination attempt against Niyazov led to a new wave of security restrictions, dismissals of
government officials, and restrictions placed on the media.[10] Niyazov accused exiled former
foreign minister Boris Shikhmuradov of having planned the attack.[10]
Between 2002 and 2004, serious tension arose between Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan because of
bilateral disputes and Niyazov's implication that Uzbekistan had a role in the 2002 assassination
attempt.[10] In 2004 a series of bilateral treaties restored friendly relations.[10] In the parliamentary

elections of December 2004 and January 2005, only Niyazov's party was represented, and no
international monitors participated.[10] In 2005 Niyazov exercised his dictatorial power by closing
all hospitals outside Ashgabat and all rural libraries.[10] The year 2006 saw intensification of the
trends of arbitrary policy changes, shuffling of top officials, diminishing economic output
outside the oil and gas sector, and isolation from regional and world organizations.[10] China was
among a very few nations to whom Turkmenistan made significant overtures.[10] The sudden
death of Niyazov at the end of 2006 left a complete vacuum of power, as his cult of personality,
compared to that of former president Kim Il-sung of North Korea, had precluded the naming of a
successor.[10] Deputy Prime Minister Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, who was named interim
head of government, won the special presidential election held in early February 2007.[10] He was
re-elected in 2012 with 97% of the vote.[14]

Politics
Main article: Politics of Turkmenistan

The Presidential Palace in Ashgabat


After 69 years as part of the Soviet Union (including 67 years as a union republic), Turkmenistan
declared its independence on 27 October 1991.
President for Life Saparmurat Niyazov, a former bureaucrat of the Communist Party of the
Soviet Union, ruled Turkmenistan from 1985, when he became head of the Communist Party of
the Turkmen SSR, until his death in 2006. He retained absolute control over the country after the
dissolution of the Soviet Union. On 28 December 1999, Niyazov was declared President for Life
of Turkmenistan by the Mejlis (parliament), which itself had taken office a week earlier in
elections that included only candidates hand-picked by President Niyazov. No opposition
candidates were allowed.
Since the December 2006 death of Niyazov, Turkmenistan's leadership has made tentative moves
to open up the country. His successor, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, repealed some
of Niyazov's most idiosyncratic policies, including banning opera and the circus for being
"insufficiently Turkmen". In education, Berdimuhamedow's government increased basic
education to ten years from nine years, and higher education was extended from four years to
five. It also increased contacts with the West, which is eager for access to the country's natural
gas riches.

The politics of Turkmenistan take place in the framework of a presidential republic, with the
President both head of state and head of government. Under Niyazov, Turkmenistan had a singleparty system; however, in September 2008, the People's Council unanimously passed a
resolution adopting a new Constitution. The latter resulted in the abolition of the Council and a
significant increase in the size of Parliament in December 2008 and also permits the formation of
multiple political parties.
The former Communist Party, now known as the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan, is the
dominant party. The second party, the Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs was established in
August 2012. Political gatherings are illegal unless government sanctioned.
On 2013 the first multi-party Parliamentary Elections were held in Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan
was a single-party state from 1991 to 2012.

Foreign relations

Vladimir Putin with Saparmurat Niyazov.

President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedow with the President of the United


States Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
Turkmenistan's declaration of "permanent neutrality" was formally recognized by the United
Nations in 1995.[15] Former President Saparmurat Niyazov stated that the neutrality would
prevent Turkmenistan from participating in multi-national defense organizations, but allows
military assistance. Its neutral foreign policy has an important place in the country's constitution.
Turkmenistan has diplomatic relations with 132 countries.[16]

Human rights
Main article: Human rights in Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan has been widely criticised for human rights abuses and has imposed severe
restrictions on foreign travel for its citizens.[17] Discrimination against the country's ethnic
minorities remains in practice. Universities have been encouraged to reject applicants with nonTurkmen surnames, especially ethnic Russians.[18] It is forbidden to teach the customs and
language of the Baloch, an ethnic minority.[citation needed] The same happens to Uzbeks, though the
Uzbek language used to be taught in some national schools.[19]
According to Reporters Without Borders' 2014 World Press Freedom Index, Turkmenistan had
the 3rd worst press freedom conditions in the world (178/180 countries), just before North Korea
and Eritrea.[20] It is considered to be one of the "10 Most Censored Countries". Each broadcast
under Niyazov began with a pledge that the broadcaster's tongue will shrivel if he slanders the
country, flag, or president.[21]

Administrative divisions
See also: Districts of Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan is divided into five provinces or welayatlar (singular welayat) and one capital city
district. The provinces are subdivided into districts (etraplar, sing. etrap), which may be either
counties or cities. According to the Constitution of Turkmenistan (Article 16 in the 2008
Constitution, Article 47 in the 1992 Constitution), some cities may have the status of welaat
(province) or etrap (district).
Division
Ashgabat City
Ahal Province
Balkan Province
Daoguz Province
Lebap Province
Mary Province

ISO 3166-2 Capital city


Area[22]
Ashgabat
470 km2 (180 sq mi)
TM-A
Anau
97,160 km2 (37,510 sq mi)
TM-B
Balkanabat 139,270 km2 (53,770 sq mi)
TM-D
Daoguz
73,430 km2 (28,350 sq mi)
TM-L
Trkmenabat 93,730 km2 (36,190 sq mi)
TM-M
Mary
87,150 km2 (33,650 sq mi)

Climate
Main article: Climate of Turkmenistan

Pop (2005)[22]
871,500
939,700
553,500
1,370,400
1,334,500
1,480,400

Key
1
2
3
4
5

The Karakum Desert is one of the driest deserts in the world; some places have an average
annual precipitation of only 12 mm (0.47 in). The highest temperature recorded in Ashgabat is
48.0 C (118.4 F) and Kerki, an extreme inland city located on the banks of the Amu Darya
river, recorded 51.7 C (125.1 F) in July 1983, although this value is unofficial. 50.1 C
(122 F) is the highest temperature recorded at Repetek Reserve, recognized as the highest
temperature ever recorded in the whole former Soviet Union.[citation needed]

Geography
Main articles: Geography of Turkmenistan and List of mountains of Turkmenistan

Map of Turkmenistan

Dust storm over Turkmenistan


At 488,100 km2 (188,500 sq mi), Turkmenistan is the world's 52nd-largest country. It is slightly
smaller than Spain and somewhat larger than the US state of California. It lies between latitudes
35 and 43 N, and longitudes 52 and 67 E.
Over 80% of the country is covered by the Karakum Desert. The center of the country is
dominated by the Turan Depression and the Karakum Desert. The Kopet Dag Range, along the
southwestern border, reaches 2,912 meters (9,553 ft) at Kuh-e Rizeh (Mount Rizeh).[23]

The Great Balkhan Range in the west of the country (Balkan Province) and the Ktendag
Range on the southeastern border with Uzbekistan (Lebap Province) are the only other
significant elevations. The Great Balkhan Range rises to 1,880 metres (6,170 ft) at Mount
Arlan[24] and the highest summit in Turkmenistan is Ayrybaba in the Kugitangtau Range 3,137
metres (10,292 ft).[25] Rivers include the Amu Darya, the Murghab, and the Tejen.
The climate is mostly arid subtropical desert, with little rainfall. Winters are mild and dry, with
most precipitation falling between January and May. The area of the country with the heaviest
precipitation is the Kopet Dag Range.
The Turkmen shore along the Caspian Sea is 1,768 kilometres (1,099 mi) long. The Caspian Sea
is entirely landlocked, with no natural access to the ocean, although the VolgaDon Canal allows
shipping access to and from the Black Sea.[26]
The major cities include Agabat, Trkmenbay (formerly Krasnovodsk) and Daoguz.

Economy
Main articles: Economy of Turkmenistan and Agriculture in Turkmenistan

Graphical depiction of Turkmenistan's product exports in 28 color-coded categories.


The country possesses the world's fourth-largest reserves of natural gas and substantial oil
resources.[27] Turkmenistan has taken a cautious approach to economic reform, hoping to use gas
and cotton sales to sustain its economy. In 2004, the unemployment rate was estimated to be
60%.[28]
Between 1998 and 2002, 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, the value of total exports has risen sharply because of increases in international
oil and gas prices. Economic prospects in the near future are discouraging because of widespread
internal poverty and the burden of foreign debt.[citation needed]
President Niyazov spent much of the country's revenue on extensively renovating cities,
Ashgabat in particular. Corruption watchdogs voiced particular concern over the management of
Turkmenistan's currency reserves, most of which are held in off-budget funds such as the Foreign

Exchange Reserve Fund in the Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt, according to a report released in
April 2006 by London-based non-governmental organization Global Witness.
According to the decree of the Peoples' Council of 14 August 2003,[29] electricity, natural gas,
water and salt will be subsidized for citizens up to 2030. In addition car drivers are entitled to
120 litres of free petrol a month. Drivers of buses, lorries and tractors can get 200 litres of fuel
and motorcyclists and scooter riders 40 litres free. On 5 September 2006, after Turkmenistan
threatened to cut off supplies, Russia agreed to raise the price it pays for Turkmen natural gas
from $65 to $100 per 1,000 cubic meters. Two-thirds of Turkmen gas goes through the Russian
state-owned Gazprom.[30]

Natural gas and export routes


As of May 2011, the Galkynysh gas field has the second-largest volume of gas in the world, after
the South Pars field in the Persian Gulf. Reserves at the Galkynysh gas field are estimated at
around 21 trillion cubic metres.[31] The Turkmenistan Natural Gas Company (Trkmengaz),
under the auspices of the Ministry of Oil and Gas, controls gas extraction in the country. Gas
production is the most dynamic and promising sector of the national economy. In 2010 Ashgabat
started a policy of diversifying export routes for its raw materials.[32] China is set to become the
largest buyer of gas from Turkmenistan over the coming years as a pipeline linking the two
countries, through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, reaches full capacity.[33] In addition to supplying
Russia, China and Iran, Ashgabat took concrete measures to accelerate progress in the
construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan and India pipeline (TAPI). Turkmenistan
has previously estimated the cost of the project at $3.3 billion. On 21 May, president Gurbanguly
Berdimuhamedow unexpectedly signed a decree stating that companies from Turkmenistan will
build an internal East-West gas pipeline allowing the transfer of gas from the biggest deposits in
Turkmenistan (Dowlatabad and Yoloten) to the Caspian coast. The East-West pipeline is planned
to be around 1,000 km long and have a carrying capacity of 30 bn m annually, at a cost of
between one and one and a half billion US dollars.[32]

Oil
Most of Turkmenistan's oil is extracted by the Turkmenistan State Company (Concern)
Trkmennebit from fields at Koturdepe, Balkanabat, and Cheleken near the Caspian Sea, which
have a combined estimated reserve of 700 million tons. The oil extraction industry started with
the exploitation of the fields in Cheleken in 1909 (by Nobel brothers) and Balkanabat in the
1930s, then production leaped ahead with the discovery of the Kumdag field in 1948 and the
Koturdepe field in 1959. A big part of the oil produced in Turkmenistan is refined in
Turkmenbashy and Seidi refineries. Also, oil is exported by tankers through Caspian Sea to
Europe via canals.[34]

Energy
Turkmenistan is a net exporter of electrical power to Central Asian republics and southern
neighbors. The most important generating installations are the Hindukush Hydroelectric Station,
which has a rated capacity of 350 megawatts, and the Mary Thermoelectric Power Station, which

has a rated capacity of 1,370 megawatts. In 1992, electrical power production totaled 14.9 billion
kilowatt-hours.[35]

Agriculture
Half of the country's irrigated land is planted with cotton, making the country the world's ninthlargest cotton producer.[36]
During the 2011 season, Turkmenistan produced around 1.1 million tons of raw cotton, mainly
from Mary, Balkan, Akhal, Lebap and Dashoguz provinces. In 2012, around 7,000 tractors, 5,000
cotton cultivators, 2,200 sowing machines and other machinery, mainly procured from Belarus
and the US, are being used. The country traditionally exports raw cotton to Russia, Iran, South
Korea, Britain, China, Indonesia, Turkey, Ukraine, Singapore and the Baltic nations.[37]

Tourism

Panorama of the crater site of the Door to Hell


Main article: Tourism in Turkmenistan
The tourism industry has been growing rapidly in recent years, especially medical tourism. This
is primarily due to the creation of the tourist zone Avaza on the Caspian Sea.[38] Every traveler
must obtain a visa before entering Turkmenistan. To obtain a tourist visa, citizens of most
countries need a visa support local travel agency. For tourists visiting Turkmenistan, organized
tours with a visit to historical sites Dashoguz, Konye-Urgench, Nisa, Merv, Mary, beach tours to
Avaza and medical tours and holidays in Mollakara, Yylly suw, Archman.

Demographics
Main article: Demographics of Turkmenistan
Most of Turkmenistan's citizens are ethnic Turkmens with sizeable minorities of Uzbeks and
Russians. Smaller minorities include Kazakhs, Tatars, Ukrainians, Kurds (native to Kopet Dagh
mountains), Armenians, Azeris, Balochs and Pashtuns. The percentage of ethnic Russians in
Turkmenistan dropped from 18.6% in 1939 to 9.5% in 1989. In 2012 it was confirmed that the
population of Turkmenistan decreased due to some specific factors[which?] and is less than the
previously estimated 5 million.[39]
The CIA World Factbook gives the ethnic composition of Turkmenistan as 85% Turkmen, 5%
Uzbek, 4% Russian and 6% other (2003 estimates).[28] According to data announced in Ashgabat
in February 2001, 91% of the population are Turkmen, 3% are Uzbeks and 2% are Russians.
Between 1989 and 2001 the number of Turkmen in Turkmenistan doubled (from 2.5 to 4.9

million), while the number of Russians dropped by two-thirds (from 334,000 to slightly over
100,000).[40]

Largest cities

Largest cities or towns of Turkmenistan


http://www.geonames.org/TM/largest-cities-in-turkmenistan.html
Rank
Name
Province
Pop.
1 Ashgabat
Capital
727,700
2 Trkmenabat
Lebap
234,817
3 Daoguz
Daoguz
166,500
4 Mary
Mary
114,680
5 Balkanabat
Balkan
87,822
Ashgabat
Daoguz
6 Baramaly
Mary
75,797
7 Trkmenbay Balkan
68,292
8 Tejen
Ahal
67,294
9 Abadan
Ahal
39,481
Trkmenabat

10

Magdanly

Lebap

34,745

Mary

Language
Turkmen is the official language of Turkmenistan (per the 1992 Constitution), although Russian
still is widely spoken in cities as a "language of inter-ethnic communication". Turkmen is spoken
by 72% of the population, Russian 12%, Uzbek 9%,[28] and other languages 7%. (Russian
(349,000), Uzbek (317,000), Kazakh (88,000), Tatar (40,400), Ukrainian (37,118), Azerbaijani
(33,000), Armenian (32,000), Northern Kurdish (20,000), Lezgian (10,400), Persian (8,000),
Belarusian (5,290), Erzya (3,490), Korean (3,490), Bashkir (2,610), Karakalpak (2,540), Ossetic
(1,890), Dargwa (1,600), Lak (1,590), Romanian (1,560), Tajik (1,280), Georgian (1,050),
Lithuanian (224), Tabasaran (180), Brahui, Dungan).[41]

Religion
Further information: Religion in Turkmenistan, Islam in Turkmenistan and Bah' Faith in
Turkmenistan

The rtogrul Gazy Mosque in Ashgabat named after the father of Osman Ghazi, the founder of
the Ottoman Empire

Trkmenbay Ruhy Mosque the largest in Central Asia


According to the CIA World Factbook, Muslims constitute 89% of the population while 9% of
the population are followers of the Eastern Orthodox Church and the remaining 2% religion is
reported as non-religious.[28] However, according to a 2009 Pew Research Center report, 93.1%
of Turkmenistan's population is Muslim.[42]
The first migrants were sent as Missionaries and often were adopted as patriarchs of particular
clans or tribal groups, thereby becoming their "founders." Reformulation of communal identity
around such figures accounts for one of the highly localized developments of Islamic practice in
Turkmenistan.
In the Soviet era, all religious beliefs were attacked by the communist authorities as superstition
and "vestiges of the past." Most religious schooling and religious observance were banned, and
the vast majority of mosques were closed. However, since 1990, efforts have been made to
regain some of the cultural heritage lost under Soviet rule.
Former president Saparmurat Niyazov ordered that basic Islamic principles be taught in public
schools. More religious institutions, including religious schools and mosques, have appeared,
many with the support of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Turkey. Religious classes are held in both
schools and mosques, with instruction in Arabic language, the Qur'an and the hadith, and history
of Islam.[10]
President Niyazov wrote his own religious text, published in separate volumes in 2001 and 2004,
entitled the Ruhnama. The Turkmenbashi regime required that the book, which formed the basis
of the educational system in Turkmenistan, be given equal status with the Quran (mosques were
required to display the two books side by side). The book was heavily promoted as part of the
former president's personality cult, and knowledge of the Ruhnama is required even for obtaining
a driver's license.[43]

The history of Bah' Faith in Turkmenistan is as old as the religion itself, and Bah'
communities still exist today.[44] The first Bah' House of Worship was built in Ashgabat at the
beginning of the twentieth century. It was seized by the Soviets in the 1920s and converted to an
art gallery. It was heavily damaged in the earthquake of 1948 and later demolished. The site was
converted to a public park.[45]

Culture
Main article: Culture of Turkmenistan

Akhal-Teke horse

Yomut carpet

Turkmen carpet

Islam in Turkmenistan

Merv

Music of Turkmenistan

Turkmen cuisine

Heritage
Turkmenistan in the list of World Heritage Sites
Image

Name

Location

Notes

Date
added

Type

Ancient Merv

Baramaly,
Mary Province

a major oasis-city in Central


Asia, on the historical Silk
1995 Cultural[46]
Road

Knergen

Knergen

unexcavated ruins of the


12th-century capital of
Khwarezm

2005 Cultural[47]

Parthian
Fortresses of
Nisa

Bagyr, Ahal
Province

one of the first capitals of


the Parthians

2007 Cultural[48]

Mass media
Further information: Communications in Turkmenistan
There are a number of newspapers and monthly magazines published in Turkmenistan.
Turkmenistan currently broadcasts 7 national TV channels through satellite. They are Altyn asyr,
Yashlyk, Miras, Turkmenistan (in 7 languages), Turkmen owazy, Turkmen sporty and Ashgabat.
There are no commercial or private TV stations. Articles published by the state-controlled
newspapers are heavily censored and written to glorify the state and its leader.
Internet services are the least developed in Central Asia. Access to internet services are provided
by the government's ISP company "Turkmentelekom". As of 31 Dec. 2011, it was estimated that
there were 252,741 internet users in Turkmenistan or roughly 5% of total population.[49][50]

Education
Main article: Education in Turkmenistan

Turkmeni students in university uniform


Education is universal and mandatory through the secondary level, the total duration of which
was earlier reduced from 10 to 9 years; with the new President it has been decreed that from the
20072008 school year on, mandatory education will be for 10 years. From 2013 secondary
general education in Turkmenistan is a three-stage secondary schools for 12 years according to
the following steps: Elementary school (grades 13), High School the first cycle of secondary
education with duration of 5 years (48 classes), Secondary school the second cycle of
secondary education, shall be made within 4 years (912 classes).[51][52]

Architecture
Main article: Architecture of Turkmenistan
The task for modern Turkmen architecture is diverse application of modern aesthetics, the search
for an architect's own artistic style and inclusion of the existing historico-cultural environment.
Most buildings are faced with white marble. Major projects such as Turkmenistan Tower, Bagt

kgi, Alem Cultural and Entertainment Center have transformed the country's skyline and
promotes its contemporary identity.

Transportation
Main article: Transportation in Turkmenistan

Automobile transport
Construction of new and modernization of existing roads has an important role in the
development of the country. With the increase in traffic flow is adjusted already built roads, as
well as the planned construction of new highways. Construction of roads and road transport has
always paid great attention. So, in 2004, was removed from office by the Minister of road
transport and highways Turkmenistan Baimukhamet Kelov for embezzlement of public funds
and deficiencies in the work.[53]

Air transport

Turkmenistan Airlines Boeing 767-300ER


Turkmenistan's largest cities, Turkmenbashi and Ashgabat both have scheduled commercial air
service. The largest airport is Ashgabat Airport, with regular international flights. Additionally,
scheduled international flights are available to Turkmenbashi. The principal governmentmanaged airline of Turkmenistan is Turkmenistan Airlines. It is also the largest airline operating
in Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan Airlines' passenger fleet is composed only of American Boeing
aircraft.[54] Air transport carries more than two thousand passengers daily in the country.[55]
International flights annually transport over half a million people into and out of Turkmenistan.
Turkmenistan Airlines operates regular flights to Moscow, London, Frankfurt, Birmingham,
Bangkok, Delhi, Abu Dhabi, Amritsar, Kiev, Lviv, Beijing, Istanbul, Minsk, Almaty, Tashkent
and St. Petersburg.

Maritime transport

Workers in the service of Maritime and River Transport of Turkmenistan


Since 1962, the Turkmenbashi International Seaport operates a ferry to the port of Baku,
Azerbaijan. In recent years there has been increased tanker transport of oil. The port of
Turkmenbashi, associated rail ferries to the ports of the Caspian Sea (Baku, Aktau). In 2011, it
was announced that the port of Turkmenbashi will be completely renovated. The project involves
the reconstruction of the terminal disassembly of old and construction of new berths.[56][57]

Railway transport

Turkmen Diesel locomotive


Main article: Railways in Turkmenistan
Railways are one of the main modes of transport in Turkmenistan. Trains used in Turkmenistan
since 1880. Originally it was part of the Trans-Caspian railway, then the Central Asian Railway,
after the collapse of the USSR, the railway network in Turkmenistan owned and operated by
state-owned Trkmendemirollary. The total length of railways 3181 km. Noy electrified
roads. Passenger traffic railways of Turkmenistan is limited by national borders of the country,
except in the areas along which the transit trains coming from Tajikistan to Uzbekistan and
beyond. Locomotive fleet consists of a series of locomotives 2TE10L, 2TE10U, 2M62U also
have several locomotives in China. Shunting locomotives operate TEM2, TEM2U, CME3.
Currently under construction railway Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran and TurkmenistanAfghanistan-Tajikistan.

See also
Geography portal

Asia portal
Central Asia portal

Book: Turkmenistan

Outline of Turkmenistan

Index of Turkmenistan-related articles

Central Asian Union

Foreign relations of Turkmenistan

Geok Tepe

Military of Turkmenistan

Scouting in Turkmenistan

Transport in Turkmenistan

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"Country Profile: Turkmenistan" (PDF). Library of Congress Federal Research Division.


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Further reading

Brummel, Paul (2006). Bradt Travel Guide: Turkmenistan. Bradt Travel Guides.
ISBN 978-1841621449.

Abazov, Rafis (2005). Historical Dictionary of Turkmenistan. Scarecrow Press.


ISBN 978-0810853621.

Clammer, Paul; Kohn, Michael; Mayhew, Bradley (2014). Lonely Planet Guide: Central
Asia. Lonely Planet. ISBN 978-1741799538.

Hopkirk, Peter (1992). The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia.
Kodansha International. ISBN 978-1568360225.

Blackwell, Carole (2001). Tradition and Society in Turkmenistan: Gender, Oral Culture
and Song. Routledge. ISBN 978-0700713547.

Kaplan, Robert (2001). Eastward to Tartary: Travels in the Balkans, the Middle East, and
the Caucasus. Vintage. ISBN 978-0375705762.

Kropf, John (2006). Unknown Sands: Journeys Around the World's Most Isolated
Country. Dusty Spark Publishing. ISBN 978-0976356516.

Rall, Ted (2006). Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East?. NBM
Publishing. ISBN 978-1561634545.

Theroux, Paul (28 May 2007). "The Golden Man: Saparmurat Niyazovs reign of
insanity.". The New Yorker.

Vilmer, Jean-Baptiste (2009). Turkmnistan (in French). Editions Non Lieu. ISBN 9782352700685.

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"Chronicles of Turkmenistan". Publication of Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights.

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