General information: Annexed by Russia in 1865-85, Turkmenistan became a Soviet republic in 1925. It gained independence after the collapse of the USSR in 1991. The President of NIYA-ZOV retains absolute control over the country and does not tolerate opposition. Large reserves of hydrocarbons could ensure the prosperity of this underdeveloped country if projects were implemented for their extraction and transportation.
Location: Central Asia, coast of the Caspian Sea between Iran and Kazakhstan.
Geographical coordinates: 40° 00′ N. latitude, 60° 00′ E
Reference map: Commonwealth of Independent States.
Area: total: 488,100 square kilometers; land surface area: 488,100 square kilometers; water surface area: 0 km2
Comparative area: slightly larger than the state of California
Land boundaries: total: 3,736 km; with neighboring states: with Afghanistan 744 km, with Iran 992 km, with Kazakhstan 379 km, with Uzbekistan 1,621 km.
Coastline: 0 km; note: Turkmenistan has access to the Caspian Sea (the length of the coast is 1,768 km).
Maritime claims: no (landlocked).
Climate: subtropical desert.
Terrain: flat or hilly sandy desert with dunes, turning into mountains in the south; low mountains along the border with Iran; Caspian Sea in the west.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Akchanai depression -81 m (note: Sarakamysh is a lake in the north-east of Turkmenistan, the water level in it varies greatly; at the lowest level it drops to -110 m; at the moment -60 m, 20 m above the bottom of the Akchanai depression); highest point: Mount Airibaba 3,139 m.
Natural resources: oil, natural gas, coal, sulfur, salt.
Land use: arable land: 3%; cultivated land: 0%; pastures: 63%; forests and plantations: 8%; others: 26% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 13,000 km2 (1993 est.).
Natural hazards: no data available.
Actual environmental problems: pollution of soil and groundwater with agricultural chemicals, pesticides; salinization, waterlogging due to improper irrigation practices; pollution of the Caspian Sea; the diversion of a significant part of the waters of the Amudarya River for irrigation leads to the inability of the river to fill the Aral Sea; desertification.
International agreements on environmental protection: participant: Biodiversity, Climate change, Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous waste, Ozone layer protection; signed but not ratified: no. Note to the section “Geography”: has no access to the sea.
Note to the section “Geography”:
Population: 4,603,244 (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 37.88% (male 891,758; female 852,104); 15 to 64 years old: 58.09% (male 1,313,303; female 1,360,690); over 65: 4.03% (male 70,800; female 114,589) (2001 est.).
Population growth: 1.85% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 28.55 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 8.98 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: -1.04 people /1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male/female; under 15: 1.05 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 0.97 male/female; over 65: 0.62 male/female; for the general population: 0.98 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 73.25 deaths/1000 live births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 61 years; men: 57.43 years; women: 64.76 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 3.58 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adults infected with HIV: 0.01% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: less than 100 (1999 est.).
AIDS deaths: less than 100 (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: Turkmen; adjective: Turkmen.
Ethnic groups: Turkmen 77%, Uzbeks 9.2%, Russians 6.7%, Kazakhs 2%, other 5.1% (1995).
Believers: Muslim 89%, Orthodox 9%, unknown 2%.
Languages): Turkmen 72%, Russian 12%, Uzbek 9%, Other 7%.
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 98%; men: 99%; women: 97% (1989 est.).
Common long form: no;
conventional short form: Turkmenistan; local long form: no; local short form: Turkmenistan former: Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic
State structure: republic. See politicsezine.com to know more about Turkmenistan Political System.
Administrative division: 5 velayats: Akhal (Ashgabat), Balkan (Nebit-Dag), Dashkhovuz (former Tashauz), Lebap (Chardzhou), Mary (Mary); note: in parentheses are the names of administrative centers.
Independence: from October 27, 1991 (until 1991 – as part of the USSR).
National holiday: Independence Day, October 27 (1991).
Constitution: adopted May 18, 1992
Legal system: based on the civil law system.
Suffrage: 18 years; universal.
chief of state: President and Prime Minister Saparmurat NIYAZOV (since 27 October 1990, when the first direct presidential elections were held); note – the president is both head of state and head of government;
head of government: President and Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers Saparmurat NIYAZOV (since 27 October 1990, when the first direct presidential elections were held); note – the president is both head of state and head of government;
government: the council of ministers is appointed by the president; note: NIYAZOV’s term of office was extended indefinitely on 28 December 1999 by the Mejlis during a session of the People’s Council (Halk Maslahaty); elections: the president is elected by popular vote for a 5-year term; elections were last held on June 21, 1992 (nothing is known about the date of the next); note – President NIYAZOV was proclaimed president for life by an overwhelming majority of votes in the Mejlis on 28 December 1999; vice-presidents of the cabinet of ministers are appointed by the president; election results: Saparmurat NIYAZOV elected president with no opponents; percentage of votes received: Saparmurat NIYAZOV 99.5%.
Legislature: under the 1992 constitution, there are two parliamentary institutions: a unicameral People’s Council (Halk Maslahaty) (more than 100 seats, some members are elected by popular vote, others are appointed; rarely meets) and a unicameral Mejlis (50 seats; members are elected by popular vote for 5 years); elections: People’s Council – no data; Majlis – last held 12 December 1999 (next to be held in 2004); election results: Majlis, distribution of votes by party: NA; distribution of seats among parties: no data; note – all 50 elected officially pre-approved by President NIYAZOV; most of them are members of the president’s party.
Judiciary: Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the president.
Political parties and leaders: Democratic Party of Turkmenistan (DPT) (Saparmurat NIYAZOV); note: formally opposition parties are outlawed; small opposition movements operate underground or abroad unofficially.
Political influence groups and their leaders:
Participation in international organizations: AsDB, ССС, CIS, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, ECO, ESCAP, FAO, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDB, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat ( nonsignatory user), IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OIC, OPCW, OSCE, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO ( observer).
US Diplomatic Mission: Head of Mission: Ambassador Mered ORA-ZOV; office: 2207 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008; phone:  (202) 588-1500; fax:  (202) 588-0697.
US Mission: Chief of Mission: Ambassador Steven R. MANN; embassy: 9 Pushkin Street, Ashgabat; postal address: the address of the embassy is used; phone:  (9312) 35-00-45; fax:  (9312) 51-13-05.
Description of the flag: a green field with a vertical red stripe very close to the hoist, on the stripe are two crossed olive branches, similar to the olive branches on the UN flag, and five ornaments above them (traditionally used in the manufacture of carpets); a white crescent and five white stars are near the top of the red band on the right.