Turkmenistan is an independent neutral country in Central Asia, located on the Eastern shore of the Caspian Sea. It borders Iran to the south, Afghanistan to the south and east, and Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to the north.
The territory of Turkmenistan is equal to 491, 21 thousand km2. Topography is mostly flat-to-rolling sandy desert with dunes rising to mountains in the south. The Kara-Kum desert comprises 80 percent of Turkmenistan’s total area and is bound by a series of oases watered by the Amu-Darya River in the north and by the Murgab, Tejen, and Artek rivers descending from mountains in the south. The Kopetgag mountain (3139 m) is the highest point of the country, and the Akchakai gully (-81 m) is the lowest.
Society: The population of Turkmenistan is more than 6.2 million people. The majority of the people are ethnic Turkmens (85%); other sizeable minorities are Uzbeks (7%) and Russians (5%). Smaller minorities include Kazakhs, Azeris, Armenians, Ukrainians, Balochis, Koreans, and Tatars. Official language is Turkmen. Russian is also widely spoken. Turkmenistan is predominately Muslim country. An estimated 87 percent of the population practices Sunni Islam and 11 percent, Russian Orthodoxy. The literacy rate is 97%. Life expectancy is 68.3 years.
Government: According to the constitution, Turkmenistan is a secular democratic and presidential republic. The government has three branches: Executive — President and the Council of Ministers, Legislative — Mejlis (Parliament), and Judicial — Supreme Court. The legal system is based on the civil law system. Turkmenistan’s date of independence from the Soviet Union is recognized as October 27, 1991. Turkmenistan’s declaration of “permanent neutrality” was formally recognized by the United Nations in 1995. Turkmenistan has 5 administrative subdivisions: Velayats (provinces) — Akhal, Balkan, Dashoguz, Lebap, and Mary. The capital is Ashgabat.
President – Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov
Foreign Minister – Rashid Meredov
Foreign Relations: The foreign policy of Turkmenistan is characterized by active participation of the country in the international initiatives aimed at finding ways to maintain the world’s safety and promote a sustainable socio-economic well-being of all the countries and their people. Priorities of Turkmenistan in the area of international relations are defined in the document entitled “The Basic Directions for Realization of Foreign Policy Strategy of Neutral Turkmenistan for 2008-2012″ and confirmed by the President of Turkmenistan on March 20th, 2008. Among the important aspects of Turkmen diplomacy are humanitarian and legal components of the state foreign policy. Politico-diplomatic measurement is realized through establishment and development of mutual relations of Turkmenistan with other states and close interaction with the international organizations. As of January 2009, Turkmenistan has established diplomatic relations with 127 countries, and is the full member of more than 40 international organizations. In 2007, the Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy was opened in Ashgabat.
Natural Resources: Turkmenistan is rich in natural gas (estimated reserves of 20 trillion cubic meters) and oil (estimated reserves of 12 billion barrels). Other resources include coal, precious non-ferrous and rare metals, sulfur, gypsum, iodine, bromine, potassium and common salts, marble onyx, mineral waters.
Currency: 1 manat = 100 teňňesi