Area: 188,500 sq. ml. (488,100 sq. km)
Population (1999 est.): 4,366,383 (average annual rate of natural increase: 1.71%); birth rate: 25.9/1000; slant mortality rate: 73.1/1 000; density per sq. ml: 23
Capital and largest city (1994 est.): Ashgabat, 518,000. Other large cities: Chardzhou, 166,400; Tashauz, 117,000. Monetary Unit: Manat. Languages: Turkmen, 72%; Russian, 12%; Uzbek, 9%. Ethnicity/race (1995): Turkmen 77%, Uzbek 9.2%, Russian 6.7%, Kazak 2%, other 5.1%. Religions: Muslim 89%, Eastern Orthodox 9%, unknown 2%. Literacy rate: 98%
Economic summary: GDP/PPP (1996 est.): $12.5 billion; $3,000 per capita. Real growth rate: —0.3%. Inflation: 992%. Unemployment: na. Arable land: 3%. Labor force: 2.34 million (1996); agriculture and forestry, 44%; industry and construction, 19%; other, 37% (1996). Industry: natural gas, oil, petroleum products, textiles, food processing. Agriculture: cotton, grain, livestock. Exports: $1.7 billion to outside former U.S.S.R. countries (1996): natural gas, petroleum products, electricity, chemicals, cotton, textiles, carpets. Imports: $1.5 billion from outside the former U.S.S.R. countries (1996): machinery and parts, plastics and rubber, consumer durables, textiles, grain, foodstuffs. Major trading partners: C.l.S. countries, Russia, eastern European countries, Turkey, Argentina.
Geography Turkmenistan (formerly Turkmeeia) is bounded by the Caspian Sea in the west, Kazakhstan in the north, Uzbekistan in the east, and Iran and Afghanistan in the south. About nine-tenths of Turkmenistan is desert, chiefly the Kara-Kum; this is one of the world’s largest sand deserts at approximately 138,966 sq. ml. (360,000 sq. km) in area. Many irrigation canals and reservoirs have bees built, including the Kara-Kum Canal, which runs from the Amu Darya River westward to the Caspius Sea for a distance of 870 miles (1,400 km).
History Turkmenistan was once part of the ancient Persian Empire. The Turkmen people were originally pastoral nomads and some of them continued this way of life up into the 20th century, living in transportable dome-shaped felt tents. The territory was ruled by the Seljuk Turks in the 11th century. The Mongols of Ghenghis Khan conquered the land in the 13th century and dominated the area for the next two centuries until they were deposed in the late 15th century by invading Uzbeks. Prior to the 19th century, Turkmenia was divided into two lands, one belonging to the khanate of Khiva and the other belonging to the khanate of Bukhara. In 1868, the khanate of Khiva was made part of the Russian empire and Turkmenia became known as the Transcaspia Region of Russian Turkistan. Turkmenistan was later formed out of the Turkistan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, founded in 1922, and was made an independent Soviet Socialist Republic on May 13, 1925.
Turkmenistan declared its sovereignty in Aug. 1990 and became a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States on Dec. 21, 1991, together with ten other former Soviet republics. It established a government more authoritarian than those functioning in the other newly independent central Asian republics. President Saparmurad A. Niyazov, also called the Turkmenbashy (Leader of All Turkmens), has attempted to create a cult of personality through heavy-handed self-promotion. Protests against his authoritarian rule and practices notwithstanding, the president extended his term into the eext century.
Along with Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan is one of the fortunate countries bordering the Caspian Sea, which is estimated to hold 10% of the world’s potential oil reserves. In the
1990s, Turkmenistan exported gas through a Russian pipeline, bringing in about $1 billion per year. But in 1993, Russia closed down Turkmenistan’s only pipeline because it competed with Russia’s own gas exportation. Turkmenistan was limited to exporting gas to its impoverished central Asian neighbors, who were unable to pay their bills. Turkmenistan then opened a pipeline route to Iran, generally agreed to be the most economical route for exporting Caspian oil, which ruffled the feathers of Iran’s enemy, the U.S. Thus far, the new plan has not brought in money, and the country is living off loans from Western countries such as Germany, who hope to partner up with the oil-rich, money-poor country.
Article Source: http://www.informationbible.com/article-turkmenistan-200023.html
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