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Turkmenistan

 

   *Country Profile [CIA, 2008]
Eastern Turkmenistan for centuries formed part of the Persian province of Khurasan; 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 between 1865 and 1885, Turkmenistan became a Soviet republic in 1924. It achieved independence upon the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. Extensive hydrocarbon/natural gas reserves could prove a boon to this underdeveloped country if extraction and delivery projects were to be expanded. The Turkmenistan Government is actively seeking to develop alternative petroleum transportation routes to break Russia's pipeline monopoly. President for Life Saparmurat NYYAZOW died in December 2006, and Turkmenistan held its first multi-candidate presidential electoral process in February 2007. Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOW, a former NYYAZOW aide, emerged as the country's new president.
 

Location

Central Asia, bordering the Caspian Sea, between Iran and Kazakhstan

Coordinates

40 0' N 60 0' E

Capital

Ashkhabad

Main Cities

Chardzhou, Mary, Turkmenbashi

Area

488100 km2

Boundaries (km)

3,736 - Afghanistan 744, Iran 992, Kazakhstan 379, Uzbekistan 1,621

Coastline (km)

0 (borders the Caspian Sea, 1,768 km)

Timezone (GMT)

3

Population

5,179,571 (July 2008 est.) (Demographics)

Public Holidays

Independence Day, 27 October (1991)

Currency

Turkmen manat (TMM)

GDP

$26.73 billion (2007 est.) (Economic data)

Main Exports

gas, crude oil, petrochemicals, textiles, cotton fiber

Climate

subtropical desert

Natural Hazards

 

Physical Features

Caspian Sea (371,000 km2), Kara Kum desert (260,000 km2), flat-to-rolling sandy desert with dunes rising to mountains in the south

Environmental 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

 

   *Population

Turkmenistan has a population of 5,179,571 (July 2008 est.) .

Capital

Ashkhabad

Main urban areas

Chardzhou, Mary, Turkmenbashi

Ethnic groups

Turkmen 85%, Uzbek 5%, Russian 4%, other 6% (2003)

Languages spoken

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

 

   *Geographic Data
Turkmenistan is located in Central Asia, bordering the Caspian Sea, between Iran and Kazakhstan, in the timezone GMT 3. The country has boundaries of 3,736 - Afghanistan 744, Iran 992, Kazakhstan 379, Uzbekistan 1,621 (km), and a coastline of 0 (borders the Caspian Sea, 1,768 km) (km). Major urban areas: Ashkhabad, Chardzhou, Mary, Turkmenbashi.

Elevations
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

Physical Features
Caspian Sea (371,000 km2), Kara Kum desert (260,000 km2), flat-to-rolling sandy desert with dunes rising to mountains in the south

Climate
Subtropical desert

Natural Resources
Petroleum, natural gas, sulfur, salt

Land Use
Arable land: 4.51% permanent crops: 0.14% other: 95.35% (2005)

Renewable Water Resources
60.9 cu km (1997)

Fresh Water Withdrawal
total: 24.65 cu km/yr (2%/1%/98%) per capita: 5,104 cu m/yr (2000)

Environmental 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