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Turkmenistan (2008)

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Turkmenistan 2008 year

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

note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses)
Age structure 0-14 years: 34.7% (male 900,718/female 866,930)

15-64 years: 60.9% (male 1,537,638/female 1,567,049)

65 years and over: 4.4% (male 97,454/female 127,239) (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products cotton, grain; livestock
Airports 28 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways total: 22

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 11

1,524 to 2,437 m: 8

914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways total: 6

1,524 to 2,437 m: 2

under 914 m: 4 (2007)
Area total: 488,100 sq km

land: 488,100 sq km

water: NEGL
Area - comparative slightly larger than California
Background 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.
Birth rate 25.36 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Budget revenues: $1.641 billion

expenditures: $1.6 billion (2007 est.)
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)
Climate subtropical desert
Coastline 0 km; note - Turkmenistan borders the Caspian Sea (1,768 km)
Constitution adopted 18 May 1992
Country name conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Turkmenistan

local long form: none

local short form: Turkmenistan

former: Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic
Death rate 6.17 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Debt - external $2.4 billion to $5 billion (2001 est.)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Richard E. HOAGLAND

embassy: No. 9 1984 Street (formerly Pushkin Street), Ashgabat, Turkmenistan 744000

mailing address: 7070 Ashgabat Place, Washington, DC 20521-7070

telephone: [993] (12) 35-00-45

FAX: [993] (12) 39-26-14
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
Disputes - international cotton monoculture in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan creates water-sharing difficulties for Amu Darya river states; field demarcation of the boundaries with Kazakhstan commenced in 2005, but Caspian seabed delimitation remains stalled with Azerbaijan, Iran, and Kazakhstan due to Turkmenistan's indecision over how to allocate the sea's waters and seabed
Economic aid - recipient $28.25 million from the US (2005)
Economy - overview Turkmenistan is a largely desert country with intensive agriculture in irrigated oases and large gas and oil resources. One-half of its irrigated land is planted in cotton; formerly it was the world's 10th-largest producer. Poor harvests in recent years have led to an almost 50% decline in cotton exports. 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. From 1998-2005, 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, total exports rose by an average of roughtly 15% per year from 2003-07, largely because of higher international oil and gas prices. Overall prospects in the near future are discouraging because of widespread internal poverty, a poor educational system, government misuse of oil and gas revenues, and Ashgabat's unwillingness to adopt market-oriented reforms. Turkmenistan's economic statistics are state secrets, and GDP and other figures are subject to wide margins of error. In particular, the rate of GDP growth is uncertain. President BERDIMUHAMEDOW's election platform included plans to build a gas line to China, to complete the Amu Darya railroad bridge in Lebap province, and to create special border trade zones in southern Balkan province - a hint that the new post-NYYAZOW government will work to create a friendlier foreign investment environment.
Electricity - consumption 7.602 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports 2.918 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - production 12.05 billion kWh (2005 est.)
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
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
Ethnic groups Turkmen 85%, Uzbek 5%, Russian 4%, other 6% (2003)
Exchange rates Turkmen manat per US$ - 11,250 (2007), 11,100 (2006) official rate

note: in recent years the unofficial rate has hovered around 24,000 to 25,000 Turkmen manats to the dollar
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; election last held on 11 February 2007 (next to be held in 2012)

election results: Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOW elected president; percent of vote - Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOW 89.2%
Exports 2.918 billion kWh (2005)
Exports $6.33 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports 43.35 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Exports 117,800 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities gas, crude oil, petrochemicals, cotton fiber, textiles
Exports - partners Ukraine 47.7%, Iran 16.4%, Azerbaijan 5.3% (2006)
Fiscal year calendar year
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 similar to the olive branches on the UN flag; a white crescent moon representing Islam with five white stars representing the regions or velayats of Turkmenistan appear in the upper corner of the field just to the fly side of the red stripe
GDP - composition by sector agriculture: 16.7%

industry: 39.2%

services: 44.2% (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate IMF estimate: 7%

note: official government statistics are widely regarded as unreliable (2007 est.)
Geographic coordinates 40 00 N, 60 00 E
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
Heliports 1 (2007)
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%: 2.6%

highest 10%: 31.7% (1998)
Illicit drugs transit country for Afghan narcotics bound for Russian and Western European markets; transit point for heroin precursor chemicals bound for Afghanistan
Imports 0 kWh (2005)
Imports $4.51 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports 0 cu m (2005)
Imports 2,536 bbl/day (2004)
Imports - commodities machinery and equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs
Imports - partners UAE 15.5%, Turkey 11.1%, Ukraine 9.1%, Russia 9%, Germany 7.8%, Iran 7.6%, China 6.4%, US 4.5% (2006)
Independence 27 October 1991 (from the Soviet Union)
Industrial production growth rate 7% (2007 est.)
Industries natural gas, oil, petroleum products, textiles, food processing
Infant mortality rate total: 53.49 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 57.84 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 48.91 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 11.3% (2007 est.)
International organization participation ABEDA, ADB, CIS, 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, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO
Irrigated land 18,000 sq km (2003)
Judicial branch Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the president)
Labor force 2.32 million (2003 est.)
Labor force - by occupation agriculture: 48.2%

industry: 13.8%

services: 37% (2003 est.)
Land boundaries total: 3,736 km

border countries: Afghanistan 744 km, Iran 992 km, Kazakhstan 379 km, Uzbekistan 1,621 km
Land use arable land: 4.51%

permanent crops: 0.14%

other: 95.35% (2005)
Languages Turkmen 72%, Russian 12%, Uzbek 9%, other 7%
Legal system based on civil law system and Islamic law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Legislative branch two parliamentary bodies, a People's Council or Halk Maslahaty (supreme legislative body of up to 2,500 delegates, some elected by popular vote and some appointed; meets at least yearly) and a National Assembly or Mejlis (50 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)

elections: People's Council - last held in April 2003 (next to be held in December 2008); Mejlis - last held 19 December 2004 (next to be held in December 2008)

election results: Mejlis - DPT 100%; seats by party - DPT 50; note - all 50 elected officials are members of the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan and are preapproved by the president

note: in late 2003, a law was adopted reducing the powers of the Mejlis and making the Halk Maslahaty the supreme legislative organ; the Halk Maslahaty can now legally dissolve the Mejlis, and the president is now able to participate in the Mejlis as its supreme leader; the Mejlis can no longer adopt or amend the constitution or announce referendums or its elections; since the president is both the "Chairman for Life" of the Halk Maslahaty and the supreme leader of the Mejlis, the 2003 law has the effect of making him the sole authority of both the executive and legislative branches of government
Life expectancy at birth total population: 68.3 years

male: 65.23 years

female: 71.54 years (2007 est.)
Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 98.8%

male: 99.3%

female: 98.3% (1999 est.)
Location Central Asia, bordering the Caspian Sea, between Iran and Kazakhstan
Map references Asia
Maritime claims none (landlocked)
Merchant marine total: 8 ships (1000 GRT or over) 22,870 GRT/25,801 DWT

by type: cargo 4, combination ore/oil 1, petroleum tanker 2, refrigerated cargo 1 (2007)
Military branches Ground Forces, Navy, Air and Air Defense Forces (2007)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 3.4% (2005 est.)
National holiday Independence Day, 27 October (1991)
Nationality noun: Turkmen(s)

adjective: Turkmenistani
Natural hazards NA
Natural resources petroleum, natural gas, sulfur, salt
Net migration rate -3.01 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Pipelines gas 6,441 km; oil 1,361 km (2007)
Political parties and leaders Democratic Party of Turkmenistan or DPT

note: formal opposition parties are outlawed; unofficial, small opposition movements exist underground or in foreign countries; the two most prominent opposition groups-in-exile have been National Democratic Movement of Turkmenistan (NDMT) and the United Democratic Party of Turkmenistan (UDPT); NDMT was led by former Foreign Minister Boris SHIKHMURADOV until his arrest and imprisonment in the wake of the 25 November 2002 assassination attempt on President NYYAZOW
Political pressure groups and leaders NA
Population 5,097,028 (July 2007 est.)
Population below poverty line 27% (2002)
Population growth rate 1.617% (2007 est.)
Radio broadcast stations AM 16, FM 8, shortwave 2 (1998)
Railways total: 2,440 km

broad gauge: 2,440 km 1.520-m gauge (2006)
Religions Muslim 89%, Eastern Orthodox 9%, unknown 2%
Sex ratio at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.039 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.981 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.766 male(s)/female

total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
Telephone system general assessment: poorly developed

domestic: Turkmenistan's telecommunications network remains woefully underdeveloped; Turkmentelekom, in cooperation with foreign investors, is planning to upgrade the country's telephone exchanges and install a new digital switching system

international: country code - 993; 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 (2006)
Telephones - main lines in use 495,000 (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular 105,000 (2005)
Television broadcast stations 4 (government-owned and programmed) (2004)
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
Total fertility rate 3.13 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Unemployment rate 60% (2004 est.)
Waterways 1,300 km (Amu Darya and Kara Kum canal important inland waterways) (2006)
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