|Republic of Turkmenistan|
|Form of government||republic|
|Government system||One -party presidential system|
|Head of state , also head of government||
|Population density||13.7 inhabitants per km²|
|Population development||+1.13% per year|
gross domestic product
|Human Development Index||0.691 ( 111th ) (2016)|
|independence||October 27, 1991
(from the Soviet Union )
Garaşsız, Bitarap, Türkmenistanıň döwlet gimni
|Time zone||UTC + 5|
|ISO 3166||TM , TKM, 795|
Turkmenistan or Turkmenia ( Turkmen Turkmenistan , officially the Republic of Turkmenistan , Turkmen Turkmenistan Respublikasy ) is a landlocked country in Central Asia on the Caspian Sea . It borders on Kazakhstan in the northwest , Uzbekistan in the northeast, Afghanistan in the southeast and Iran in the southwest .
The Islamic and authoritarian ruled country with around 5.9 million inhabitants has the fourth largest natural gas reserves in the world. The capital and largest city of Turkmenistan with around 1 million inhabitants is Ashgabat (Turkmen Ashgabat ). Other important cities are Türkmenabat , Daşoguz and Mary .
Almost 95% of the land area is taken up by the Karakum Desert , which consists of both sandy and scree desert areas. To the west, extending plateau of Turkmenbashi and the Great Balkan ( ). This falls towards the south to the Karakum Canal (Turkmen Main Canal), on the other side of which the landscape merges into the Kopet-Dag Mountains, which are mostly located in Iran, in Turkmenistan in Mount Reza and in Iran . While some foothills of the Gissar Mountains still rise towards the southeast to Afghanistan , the highest mountain in the country, the Aýrybaba ( ), is on the eastern border with Uzbekistan.
There is a continental climate everywhere with extremely hot and dry summers and cold winters.
As the southernmost region of the former Soviet Union , Turkmenistan has by far the highest temperatures in Central Asia, but since the humidity is low even in summer, the heat is more bearable. The climate in the south is a little less continental than in the north, and temperatures rarely drop below −5 ° C. The northern areas on the border with Uzbekistan can get cold down to −20 ° C in winter.
The pronounced continental climate in Turkmenistan shows large temperature differences between day and night and also from season to season.
- The average maximum temperature is between 2 ° C in January and 34 ° C in July.
- The average minimum temperature is between −4 ° C in January and 22 ° C in July.
- The average relative humidity is between 35% in July and 78% in January.
- The average amount of precipitation is often less than 5 mm all year round.
- January has the most days with precipitation with an average of 11 mm.
- The month of August has the fewest days with precipitation with an average of 2 mm.
- The average maximum temperature is between 11 ° C in January and 38 ° C in July.
- The average minimum temperature is between 0 ° C in January and 24 ° C in July.
- The average relative humidity is between 23% in August and 70% in December.
- The average amount of precipitation is often less than 3 mm all year round.
- January has the most days with precipitation with an average of 5 mm.
- The fewest days with precipitation have the months June to October with an average of 0 mm.
The central country
- The average maximum temperature is between 8 ° C in January and 37 ° C in July.
- The average minimum temperature is between 1 ° C in January and 23 ° C in July.
- The average relative humidity is between 29% in July and 79% in December.
- The average rainfall is between 1–2 mm in August and 38 mm in April.
- The month of December has the most days with precipitation with an average of 10 mm.
- The month of August has the fewest days with precipitation with an average of 2 mm.
Together with the other Central Asian countries, Turkmenistan is one of the countries that, according to the World Bank, are most affected by global climate change. In the event of a global increase in the temperature of the world climate by two degrees, an increase of 6.5 ° C is predicted in Kyrgyzstan , which will affect the water balance of the countries bordering Amu Darya as a result of glacier melting and evaporation. Although climate change has hardly been discussed by the population so far (poverty and economic hardship draw attention to specific economic concerns), the consequences have been felt at the latest since the Aral Sea dried up , whose main tributaries, Amu Darya and Syr Darya, have been deprived of 90 percent of their original water volume for irrigation purposes. which exacerbates the temperature differences, especially in summer, and additionally pollutes the remaining river water through pesticides and sewage . The cultivation of water-intensive cotton - although already declining - is still a heavy burden.
With the expansion of hydropower in the "upstream states" (ie on the upper reaches of the rivers) Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, the "downstream states", whose rivers no longer have any tributaries, threaten to lose control of the river water. Military conflicts are already emerging between upstream and downstream countries, which will intensify with increasing climate change and, according to the World Bank, will increase in the future. A lack of water also endangers the supply of food. The World Bank has announced that it will no longer finance oil and gas production for the period after 2019, but instead, according to Representative Ato Brown (Kazakhstan), will increase funding for climate protection projects and support the search for sustainable solutions in all five Central Asian countries.
Turkmenistan is largely dominated by arid regions and is still home to numerous endangered and rare animal species that are characteristic of steppes and deserts. About a third of the vertebrate species on the Red List of Threatened Species of the former USSR are found in Turkmenistan. These include half donkeys and goitered gazelles , predominantly the mountainous regions in the south are also inhabited by urials and wild goats as well as a few hundred specimens of the Persian leopard as the largest predator. The Badkhyz Nature Reserve in the south of the country is an important protected area in Turkmenistan. It was once the last refuge of the Turkmen half-ass and is also one of the most important refuges for the goitered gazelle in Turkmenistan.
Distribution according to language groups and age
The main part of the population are the Turkmen with around 77%; the largest minorities are Uzbeks (9%), Russians (7%), Kazakhs (2%), Tatars (1.1%), Azerbaijanis (0.8%), Baluch (0.8%), Armenians (0, 8%), Ukrainians (0.5%), as well as Koreans and Tajiks . Since the end of the Soviet era, the proportion of Russians in the total population has declined, while that of Turkmen has increased.
In the period from 2010 to 2015, life expectancy at birth for the total population was 67.3 years (women: 70.8 years / men: 63.9 years). The median age of the population was 27.5 years and the fertility rate was 3 children per woman.
Geographical distribution and cities
The highest settlement densities are found in the oasis areas in the foreland of the Kopet-Dag, the regions on the lower reaches of Tedschen and Murgab , the valley of the Amudarja and the areas on the Karakum Canal . 46% of the residents live in cities.
The largest cities are (as of 2013): Ashgabat (860,221 inhabitants), Türkmenabat (234,765 inhabitants), Daşoguz (285,872 inhabitants), Mary (126,141 inhabitants), Serdar (93,692 inhabitants) and Baýramaly (91,713 inhabitants)
Around 90% of the population are Muslims ( Sunnis from the Hanafi school of law and Shiites with around 120,000 followers). 9% belong to the Russian Orthodox Church . The following communities are represented as other significant religious minorities: Jewish Religion , Roman Catholic Church , Baptists , Seventh-day Adventists , New Apostolic Church and Baha'i .
The Jewish religion is not recognized in Turkmenistan. The practice of religion is tolerated, however. However, there are no synagogues . About 1000 Jews live in Turkmenistan. Most of them had settled here during the Second World War , they were refugees from Ukraine . Another group are the long-established Bucharian Jews . Many Turkmen Jews emigrated to Germany or Israel in the course of the collapse of the Soviet Union .
During the Soviet era, Russian was the official language alongside Turkmen , which, as the Oghus language , is more closely related to Azerbaijani and Turkish . Russian was also spoken in the countryside and is still spoken as a mother tongue by 12% of the population, which is many times the proportion of the Russian minority in the country (only 72% of the population speak Turkmen as a mother tongue) - as the ethnic minorities learn Russian. Three languages are often spoken by ethnic minorities, especially in the cities.
However, due to the new language policy of the dictatorial regime since 1990, a strong preference for Turkmen can be observed, which is why the knowledge of Russian among younger people continues to decline and is hardly available in the country. However, learning Turkmen in schools is problematic due to limited study time, poorly developed language programs and text books. Given the presence of multinational oil and gas companies, knowledge of Malay , Turkish, French and English is important. Turkish and English are also taught as foreign languages in schools, but only a small proportion of the population can speak it. A special dialect of Turkmen is spoken in the Kopet Dag Mountains near Nokhur .
There is a ten-year general schooling requirement from the age of 7. The school system is divided into the following levels: the four-year elementary school and the six-year (grades 5-10) middle school. The higher education system comprises the Turkmen State University (founded in 1950) in Ashgabat and eight colleges and universities of applied sciences. The changes in the education system introduced under Nyýazow (nine instead of ten years of compulsory schooling, two-year internship before admission to university, restricted choice of subjects, mandatory reading of the Ruhnama in all curricula) have been largely withdrawn. However, it is still unclear how successful the reforms started by Berdimuhamedow actually are.
Paleolithic to Mesolithic
While human traces in Tajikistan go back around 800,000 to 900,000 years (Kuldara in the south of the country), the oldest finds in Turkmenistan are much more recent. But even the oldest finds in Central Asia contradict the fact that 1.6 million year old finds are known in China, because Central Asia is considered to be the corridor between Africa-West Asia and East Asia. Immigrants coming from the west would have had to pass these, especially since the climatic conditions were similar to those of their area of origin. Hand axes from the Acheuleans are at least known from western Turkmenistan, but they can hardly be classified in terms of time and are mainly found in the north and west of Kazakhstan.
In contrast to the Old Paleolithic , the Middle Paleolithic is much better represented in Central Asia - but worse in Turkmenistan. In Uzbekistan , a Neanderthal child was discovered in the Teschik-Tash Cave near the eastern border of Turkmenistan in 1938 and was dated 70,000 years ago. This find is considered to be outstanding for all of Central Asia. Ten teeth were found in Sel-Ungur in the Fergana Basin , but the association with humans has been refuted, whereas the humerus discovered there is human. The organic remains, mainly bones from the hunted prey, have been dated to 126,000 ± 5,000 years. The dominance of wild goats and sheep suggests a steppe-like landscape. In any case, the region forms the easternmost occurrence of the Neanderthal man. Genetic studies on another Neanderthal fossil from the Obi-Rachmat Cave in eastern Uzbekistan, discovered in 1962, suggest that the Neanderthals only appeared in the region around 125,000 years ago. It is possible that a distinct Neanderthal group developed in this area.
Less than the knowledge of the Middle Palaeolithic are the Upper Paleolithic , the period in which the Homo sapiens appeared in the region. Although they found artifacts in the city of Samarkand , but their interpretation is controversial. The Kulbulak site is one of the earliest in Uzbekistan ; it provides dates between 39,000 ± 4,000 and 82,000 ± 9,000 years. In the northeast of Afghanistan (Darra-i Kur) about 30,000 year old artifacts of Homo sapiens were found . The human population, which is estimated to be small anyway, probably disappeared during the last cold maximum between 21,000 and 17,000 BC. Chr. Completely.
In the Epipalaeolithic , settlement is much more evident , especially at the Dam-Dam-Çešme (also Cesme) site. In the region, this epoch is often equated with the Mesolithic , making it easier to understand in western Turkmenistan. It lasted from about 9500 to 6000 BC. At Dam-Dam-Çešme there are two rock overhangs. The finds in Dam-Dam-Çešme 1 ranged from the Upper Paleolithic to the Bronze Age , while Dam-Dam-Çešme 2 only began at the border between the Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic; only there was a growing proportion of goats and sheep found. Otherwise gazelles were hunted . In addition, there were small numbers of onagers , wild cattle and cats .
Mesolithic artifacts of this hunter, gatherer and fisher culture were also found in the Kailyu Cave a little further north near the Caspian Sea on the Krasnovodsk Plateau and at the Hodscha site. The former fishermen left large quantities of sturgeon in Hodja . There were also burial places with shells. The two sites form the northern edge of the Caspian Mesolithic . The abrises were probably only visited seasonally.
Neolithic and Copper Age
The Neolithic began in southern Turkmenistan as early as the second half of the 7th millennium BC. With the Jeitun culture . This archaeological culture got its name from Jeitun , the oldest Neolithic settlement in the country; Namazgadepe , 80 km south-east of Ashgabat, is a little younger . Located in southern Turkmenistan, about 25 km north of Ashgabat in Kopet-Dag , the 0.7 hectare Tell settlement Jeitun has been excavated since the 1950s. It consisted of about 30 houses. According to David R. Harris , none of the wild forms of einkorn or barley were present in this region; the same applies to the sheep. So they must have been brought with them, possibly via the Zāgros Mountains from the Levant . The wild form of the goat ( Capra aegagrus ), on the other hand, was also widespread in Central Asia and could therefore have been domesticated there.
At the beginning of the Copper Age is the Anau IA level , which reached far beyond Turkmenistan to Iran; therefore it was assumed that groups may have migrated from Iran. Characteristic of the following societies, some of which were still dependent on hunting, were, in addition to the use of copper, specifically painted ceramics and more complex structures than in the Jeitun culture.
The South Turkmen Eneolithic , which followed the Neolithic , is divided into three stages based on the changing ceramics, namely Namazga I to III . The first stage was in the 5th millennium, Namazga II in the first half of the 4th millennium, and Namazga III finally in the late 4th millennium BC. Dated. Here, too, Iran does not form a border, as the local sites in the Atrek region and on the Gorgan plain show. The best-researched place is the Geoksjur oasis in the former Tedschen Delta, where Tell settlements arose, settlement mounds that point to generation-long continuity. The houses in the Namazga I level were made of air-dried mud bricks . The square or rectangular houses usually had one or two rooms, rarely more. The mostly free-standing houses were connected by enclosing walls to form closed homesteads. This simple type became more complex in the Namazga II stage . Thus, storage buildings (?) Were added, as well as round houses that resemble bastions. Namazga III already shows building complexes, while the individual houses, as it turned out in Kara-depe, have almost disappeared. So similar houses were lined up, inner courtyards, narrow alleys and small squares were created that spatially separated the larger complexes from one another. This type of subdivision into quarters was to intensify in the Bronze Age .
Extensive grain cultivation, especially of wheat and barley , was hardly possible in the arid area without artificial irrigation. While cattle was less important, sheep and goats dominated as domesticated species. Pigs were also kept, but their numbers were few. Wild animals such as the gazelle and wild horse, deer, wild boar and hare only covered around 10% of the meat requirement. The camel can already be detected.
In addition to Namazgadepe, an important site is the proto-urban settlement Sarasm (early 4th millennium to 2000 BC) in northwest Tajikistan, discovered in 1976 , which was founded by colonists from Namazgadepe and neighboring oases. The two oldest of the tin deposits required for the production of bronze in Central Asia were located nearby. With an area of at least 35 hectares , maybe even 100 or even 150, Sarasm was the largest settlement of an early agricultural culture in Central Asia.
Namazga IV is already from the Early Bronze Age (1st half to at least the middle of the 3rd millennium BC). At Altyndepe , one of the most prominent settlements in southern Turkmenistan, complexes of houses were built that had blocks separated by streets. They were surrounded by fortifications with gates. Urban centers later emerged from them in the Namazga IV stage . The company already had a pronounced division of labor, a significant part of the ceramics was made on the fast rotating potter's wheel . Specialists processed tin and arsenic and bronze alloys .
Outside of southern Turkmenistan, settlement types from levels Namazga III and IV only spread eastward, as seen from Sarazm on a terrace on the south bank of the Serafshan , which is located in northwestern Tajikistan. To the north of this area there were more Mesolithic cultures, such as the Hissar culture in Tajikistan. It can be shown that communication networks connected southern Turkmenistan with the Iranian highlands , eastern Mesopotamia and the northwestern Indus Valley .
Overall, the finds show that South Turkmenistan between the Caspian Sea and Margiana was a peripheral region of the Middle East from the late 7th to the early 2nd millennium , which could only expand slightly northwards. The hierarchy of society continued to grow in the Bronze Age. In the Middle Bronze Age Namazga V originated around 2000 BC. BC urban centers, public buildings and their own artisan quarters. However , there is no evidence of a public administration, as in Sumer .
From antiquity to the 19th century
Alexander the Great conquered the area in the 4th century BC. On his way to India. 150 years later, the Parthian Empire established its capital in Nisa , an area around what is now Ashgabat . In late antiquity , parts of the area were under the rule of the Sassanid Empire and the Iranian Huns .
In the early 8th century AD, the Arabs took the region, bringing the population into contact with Islam and the culture of the Middle East . Around this time, the Silk Road became an important trade route between Asia and Europe. Soon, the area now known as Turkmenistan was Khorasan known as the Caliph of the Abbasid , al-Ma'mun , Merv got his capital. At all times, people have had to adapt to changing water resources. In addition to oasis cultures, there were also river cultures. From the 5th century BC to the 17th century AD, a river culture settled on the banks of the Usboi , which ran through the whole country together with the Amudarja. When the Amu Darya could no longer reach the Sarykamysh Depression, the inhabitants of the Usboi gave up their settlements. The survivors lived as nomads.
In the middle of the 11th century the Seljuks tried to invade Afghanistan via Turkmenistan. The Seljuk Empire disintegrated in the late 12th century and the Turkmens lost their independence when Genghis Khan took control of the regions east of the Caspian Sea on his way to Europe . For the next seven centuries the Turkmens lived under different rulers and waged tribal wars among themselves. Little is known about the Turkmen history before the occupation by Russia in the 19th century. As the Turkmen in the area of the Mangyshlak -Halbinsel in today's Kazakhstan to the borders of Iran and in the basin of the Amu Darya migrated, the tribal traditions strengthened and developed further, thereby forming the first approaches of today's Turkmen national consciousness.
Russian and Soviet rule
By 1894, the Russian Empire had ruled Turkmenistan. The October Revolution of 1917 in Russia created a period of instability. After a British military intervention in 1918/1919, Turkmenistan was incorporated into the Turkestan ASSR . The proclamation of the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic as one of the Republics of the Soviet Union took place in 1925. At this time, the current state borders of Turkmenistan were drawn. Active and passive women's suffrage was introduced under Soviet administration in 1927 .
During the Second World War , the Order of Hero of the Soviet Union was also awarded to several Turkmen soldiers. Two recipients of the award, Klychnijas Asalow and Tatschmamed Nijasmamedow, were murdered in the summer of 1945 by members of the anti-communist and Ukrainian-nationalist organization OUN - UPA on their way home.
In 1948 the capital Ashgabat was destroyed by a devastating earthquake .
At the first independence referendum in March 1991, 99.8% of voters voted to remain in the Soviet Union. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Turkmenistan became an independent state on October 27th. A second referendum resulted in 94% approval for self-employment. The women's suffrage was confirmed. In the 1992 presidential election in Turkmenistan , Saparmyrat Nyýazow was elected the first president of Turkmenistan.
The era of Türkmenbaşy Nyýazow from 1991 to 2006
The former leader of the Communist Party, Saparmyrat Nyýazow , led the state extremely rigorously as head of state and government with the help of the military and a very strong secret service until his death in December 2006, establishing an omnipresent personality cult . With the parliamentary elections in Turkmenistan in 1994 , parliamentary elections were held for the first time in the young state. However, these lacked any democratic competition and opposition parties were excluded from the election.
At the end of 1999 Nyýazow was appointed president for life by parliament. The opposition was increasingly suppressed, especially after a staged assassination attempt on Niyazov on November 25, 2002. In 2003 he was proclaimed a prophet by his cabinet of ministers.
Nyýazow also banned theater and opera, as well as smoking in public and the free choice of subjects. He made one of his books - the Ruhnama - official compulsory reading for his people. Statues of him, his father and his mother were placed everywhere. Luxurious representative buildings and spacious squares were built in the capital.
At the same time, the Turkmenbaşy ("leader of the Turkmen"), as Nyýazow was called, reduced the state's social spending. In 2004, 15,000 hospital workers were laid off and replaced by conscripts. Nyýazow planned to close all hospitals in the country, except one in the capital. In early 2006, pensions and disability allowances were also drastically cut. At the end of Niyazov's rule, all opposition parties were banned and most of the opposition politicians fled abroad.
The last parliamentary election under his rule took place on December 19, 2004. Only candidates from the ruling party, the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan , were admitted.
The Berdimuhamedow era since 2006
When Niyazov died on December 21, 2006, the Security Council appointed Vice Prime Minister Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow as interim president. According to the constitution, the President of Parliament Öwezgeldi Ataýew should have taken over the office. Immediately after the death of "Türkmenbaşy", however, the public prosecutor opened criminal proceedings against Ataýew in order to arrest him immediately.
In the 2007 presidential election in Turkmenistan , according to the official results, 89.23% of the votes cast went to Berdimuhamedov, with a turnout of almost 99%. In addition to Berdimuhamedow, five other candidates ran for president, all of them members of the ruling party. The opposition and international organizations therefore spoke of staged or unfair elections.
In the run-up to the elections and on the occasion of his inauguration on February 14, 2007, Berdimuhamedow announced reforms. He promised to give all citizens access to the Internet and to expand education, medical care and housing. He added, however, that he wanted to maintain the course set by Nyýazow, especially in foreign policy and in the benefits for the population (gas, water, electricity and salt are free, bread and gasoline are very cheap).
Even under the rule of Berdimuhamedow, bans that were probably unique in the world were introduced. After the color white is Berdimuhamedow's favorite color, from 2015 only white cars were allowed and vehicles of other colors were withdrawn from traffic. Furthermore, women are prohibited from driving a vehicle. The import, but not the sale, of bikinis and short swimming trunks is not permitted. Most recently, Berdimuhamedov was confirmed in office with more than 97% of the votes in the 2017 presidential election in Turkmenistan
In the 2019 Democracy Index of the British magazine The Economist, Turkmenistan ranks 162nd out of 167 countries, making it one of the most authoritarian states in the world. In the country report Freedom in the World 2017 by the US non-governmental organization Freedom House , the country's political system is rated as “not free”. According to the report, the country's political system is among the most repressive in the world.
The holder of the office of state president is both head of state and government and has extensive, almost dictatorial powers. According to the constitution, he is directly elected by the people for five years. He determines the guidelines of politics, has an unrestricted right of regulation and appoints the members of the government. The office of a Deputy Prime Minister is also planned.
By virtue of his office, the president of the country is also the chairman of both chambers of parliament , but a vice-president is appointed for each chamber of parliament, who in fact exercises the chairmanship. These offices, as well as the post of Vice-Prime Minister until 2001, saw frequent changes in personnel in the years before Nyýazov's death.
The current president is Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow , who took power in December 2006 after Niyazov's death. He was elected to office in February 2007 and confirmed as president in February 2012. Constitutional amendments in 2016 lifted the age limit of 70 years for presidential candidates and extended the presidential term from five to seven years. The incumbent president was re-elected in February 2017.
The legislature consists of two chambers of parliament:
- The assembly ( Mejlis ) represents the actual parliament, whose 125 members are elected for a legislative term of five years. For the first time since the introduction of a new constitution, parliamentary elections were held on December 14, 2008. When the results were announced on December 22, 2008, nothing was known about the party membership of the elected. Meanwhile, almost all of the eligible candidates belonged to President Berdimuhamedov's ruling party.
- The People's Council ( Halk Maslahaty ) consists of 2507 members, the majority of whom were appointed on the basis of a proportional code that takes into account the regional origin of the member. A small proportion of the members were elected on April 7, 2003. Since the constitutional reform of September 26, 2008, the Halk Maslahaty has only had an advisory role.
The country has a presidential system of government with a ruling unity party , the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan . However, the new constitution from 2008 allows party formation. After a one-party system always prevailed in Turkmenistan during Niyazov's presidency , his successor Berdimuhamedow promoted the establishment of new parties and in January 2012 approved a law that confirmed and specified the constitutional possibility of establishing parties. In August 2012, the Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan was registered as a second political party in Turkmenistan. The new party was able to move into parliament with 14 members in the parliamentary elections in Turkmenistan in 2013 . This development was only possible because the Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan is loyal to the president and not a political opposition. The registration of opposition parties is still not possible in Turkmenistan, so opposition groups like the Republican Party of Turkmenistan from exile have to act.
Many human rights organizations consider the human rights situation in Turkmenistan to be unsatisfactory. Although the death penalty was abolished on January 1, 2000, individual freedoms - especially freedom of the media and freedom of religion - are often disregarded. According to Human Rights Watch, the violence against human rights defenders is so great that no human rights movement can exist in the country. Homosexuality in Turkmenistan is mostly outlawed.
All domestic media are state-controlled and subject to censorship. Critical journalists face arrest or torture.
In August 2011, possession of all satellite dishes for television reception was banned. The official reason given by the President is that the outside / facade of buildings is "disfigured" by the satellite dish. As a replacement, the population is being offered a switch to cable television. Human rights activists fear that the ban on satellite dishes will completely cut off the population from the outside world. Because subscribing to foreign newspapers and magazines is also prohibited in Turkmenistan.
Although freedom of religion is enshrined in the constitution, only Sunni Islam and the Russian Orthodox Church were officially recognized for a long time. Attempts at proselytizing by non-Muslims are often prevented. In spring 2004, due to international pressure, especially from the USA, the regulations for the admission of religious minorities were relaxed. Due to international pressure, the following other religious communities have now been approved: Baptists, Seven-Day Adventists, Bahai , Hare Krishna , Greater Christchurch , Church of Christ , Light of the East , Full Gospel Christian , New Apostolic Church and Source of Light . Freedom of religion, however, still does not meet the usual standards in Western countries. Shiite Muslims, Catholic Christians, Jews and Jehovah's Witnesses are still not registered in Turkmenistan.
The right to conscientious objection is part of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion under Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights , which Turkmenistan ratified in 1997 . This right is also found in the Human Dimension Commitments of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) , where Turkmenistan acceded on January 30, 1992. Nevertheless, the UN Human Rights Committee had to declare in the Concluding Observations of the 104th session on March 15 and 16, 2012 after a discussion on the human rights situation in Turkmenistan:
“The State party should take all necessary measures to amend legislation to provide an alternative to military service. He should also ensure that the law clearly defines that individuals have the right to conscientious objection. He should also stop all persecution of people who conscientiously refuse to perform military service and release those who are currently detained. "
This complaint is based on the committee's finding that a number of people belonging to Jehovah's Witnesses are repeatedly persecuted and imprisoned for refusing to do military service (see Discrimination and persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses )
In Turkmenistan, women are no longer allowed to drive. Since January 2018, reports have been coming from the isolated country that women at the wheel are not only confiscated their driving licenses, but also their cars. The background is unclear, but there are indications that the ban is not due to Islam, but to the preferences of the dictatorial ruling president. Allegedly, the Ministry of the Interior relies on statistics, according to which women are predominantly involved in accidents.
Turkmenistan is a member of the UN , the ECO , the OIC , the OATCT and the OSCE and is associated with the CIS . It has declared itself neutral in terms of foreign policy . Due to its form of government, among other things, Turkmenistan is politically in a relative international isolation . In a geopolitically conflict-ridden region, neutrality should on the one hand keep all options for exporting its energy resources open, on the other hand, according to Western observers, the isolation requires ongoing, sometimes serious state interventions in individual freedoms and hinders the modernization of the economy. Relations with the People's Republic of China , Russia , Iran and Turkey are particularly good . There are diplomatic relations with the Vatican , although the Roman Catholic Church in Turkmenistan is not recognized and approved. However, there are also areas of conflict with neighboring countries.
At the beginning of October 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin paid an official visit to Turkmenistan to discuss the stationing of Russian troops on the Turkmen-Afghanistan border with his Turkmen counterpart Berdimuhamedov. The background thought was the intensified and coordinated fight against Islamist terrorism. But the Turkmen head of state referred to the neutral status of his country and fundamentally opposed the presence of foreign armed forces in Turkmenistan.
Turkmenistan is the country with the lowest percentage of smokers in the world. Through various consumer protection measures, Turkmenistan was able to reduce the smoking rate from 27% in 1990 to around 8% in 2015.
Turkmenistan is divided into five provinces ( welaýatlar , singular welaýat ) with over 50 districts as well as the capital district Aşgabat şeheri .
|No.||province||ISO code||Capital||Area (km 2 )||Population (2005)|
|-||Aşgabat şeheri (Capital District )||TM-S||Ashgabat||470||871,500|
The Turkmen Armed Forces have 18,500 members and are divided into the armed forces, army , air force , air defense and navy . There is also a national guard . In 1992 a bilateral defense agreement was signed with Russia, around 12,000 Russian soldiers were stationed to secure the border with Afghanistan and Iran. As relations deteriorated, the last Russian troops left the country in 1999.
Turkmenistan works economically with numerous countries that are interested in Turkmenistan's rich natural gas and oil reserves , including Russia , Turkey and the USA . As German corporations, Deutsche Bank , Siemens and Daimler AG in particular benefit from orders from the state (e.g. telephone network, state cars, high tech). Turkmenistan is mainly used for agriculture through the cultivation of cotton, which is mainly the case in the north and south, where there is also irrigation land. The importance of melon growing is highlighted by the observance of the day of the Turkmen melon .
The country's industry consists predominantly of textile and chemical industries as well as petroleum refineries and other petrochemical plants. Due to the extremely high natural gas reserves and a limited population, gas, electricity, water and salt in Turkmenistan have been free for the population for private consumption since 1993.
The prices were lifted despite widespread political opposition. When the announcement was made on January 4, 1993, the President said "Such a measure would increase the real income of the people better than banknotes that would be canceled at the speed of light". The fear of currency devaluation existed because in January 1993 Turkmenistan had only been an independent state for 14 months and the prices for natural gas were at a very low level. Natural gas cost less in 1993 than in 1982 under the Soviet Union. A massive increase in natural gas prices did not take place until 2000.
Until then, however, the population of the Nyýazow era sank increasingly into poverty, while corruption raged and the state had a bizarre personality cult around the president. After all, Nyýazov's successor in the presidency has begun cautious political, economic and social reforms. In the Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International, Turkmenistan in 2017 was ranked 167 of 180 countries.
The unemployment rate in 2014 was 11%.
All GDP values are given in US dollars ( purchasing power parity ). In 2019, the gross domestic product (GDP) was $ 46.7 billion. Real growth was 6.3%. Thanks to its raw materials, Turkmenistan is one of the most rapidly developing successor states of the Soviet Union and now has a relatively high GDP per capita. However, official economic data from the country are subject to considerable uncertainty.
(purchasing power parity)
|11.56 billion||27.48 billion||31.44 billion||35.84 billion||41.93 billion||44.84 billion||49.55 billion||58.01 billion||65.61 billion||73.45 billion||82.50 billion||88.78 billion||95.48 billion||103.49 billion|
GDP per capita
(purchasing power parity)
(real, in percent)
|Public debt (
as a percentage of GDP)
Turkmenistan has significant oil and gas reserves. 44.5 billion tons of oil equivalent have been tested . However, estimates assume that up to 250 billion tons could be present. In 2007 and 2008, foreign companies invested $ 0.8 billion and $ 2.2 billion in the oil and gas sector. In 2009 it should be around $ 3.8 billion.
The state-owned groups TurkmenGeologiya (TG), TurkmenNeft (TN), TurkmenGas (TG) and TurkmenNefteGazStroy (TNGS) are responsible for the development, exploitation and processing. They enter into joint ventures (JVs) and production-sharing agreements (PSAs) with foreign corporations, with the Turkmen side always holding a share of more than 50%.
The first expert opinion on the Turkmen gas deposits based on an international classification system was published in October 2008 by the British agency Gaffney Cline and Associates . The representative of the British energy certification agency emphasized that Turkmenistan's gas reserves are considerably larger than previously assumed. As a result, Turkmenistan has one of the largest natural gas fields in the world. The South Yolotan-Osman Field near the Afghan border contains recoverable reserves of 4 to 14 trillion cubic meters of natural gas (the equivalent of 140 to 495 Tcf ). With 4 trillion cubic meters it would be one of the ten largest fields and with 14 trillion cubic meters the largest gas field on land in the world. At 6 trillion cubic meters, it would exceed the richest Turkmen gas deposit, Dowletabad, by a factor of five.
Turkmenistan exports the oil and gas to the world markets via Russia, Kazakhstan, Iran, Azerbaijan and Turkey. Oil is also transported to Baku (Azerbaijan) and Neka (Iran) by ship.
In 2008 oil and gas were produced from over 40 fields.
- Dragon Oil (Ireland; 51% of the shares are held by the Emirate of Dubai )
- Eni (Italy)
- Petronas (Malaysia)
- Maersk Oil (Denmark) + Wintershall (Germany) + ONGC (India)
After the country initially opened up to international tourism at the beginning of the 1990s, the country is now rather hostile to foreigners. Although there is a comparatively good infrastructure in parts of transport, hotels and restaurants for tourists, there are hardly any visitors. Turkmens themselves do not travel very much and mainly visit their own relatives. Turkmenistan is a country rich in ancient sites, especially the deserted oases Merw and Nisa and the city of Köneürgenç (with the highest minaret in Central Asia). But the bizarre desert landscape also offers tourists unique experiences. Natural wonders are the burning gas craters near Derweze , the thermal cave lake Kow-Ata near Baharly (formerly Bakharden / Bähden) and the world's largest salt waterfall on the tributary of Garabogazköl Bay . Germans, Swiss and Austrians can apply for a tourist visa with a stay of up to 30 days at the relevant Turkmen consulate. Before applying for a visa, however, it is necessary to book services with a Turkmen tour operator ( voucher ). A transit visa with a stay of up to seven days is simpler and more flexible.
The state budget in 2016 comprised expenditure of the equivalent of 4.7 billion US dollars , which was offset by income of the equivalent of 3.7 billion US dollars. This results in a budget deficit of 0.9% of GDP .
The national debt in 2016 was 23.8% of GDP.
In 2006, the share of government expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) was as follows:
In 2015, an import ban on black cars came into force. There have been reports of dark vehicles being stopped and taken out of service by the police. Black as well as dark blue and red cars would be stopped at the borders. The government officially states that the decision is not based on the president's personal preferences, but that dark colors have devastating effects on the subtropical desert climate that prevails in Turkmenistan.
Since December 2017 there has been a driving ban for women in Turkmenistan. After the lifting of the women's driving ban in Saudi Arabia, it is the only country where women are not allowed to drive.
The rail traffic in Turkmenistan is operated by the state railway company Türkmendemirýollary on a 4980 km long rail network with a gauge of 1520 mm ( Russian broad gauge , 4 feet 11 27 ⁄ 32 inches ).
The remaining four airports are only served nationally by Turkmenistan Airlines with Boeing 737s . These are the following airports:
- Dasoguz Airport (TAZ)
- Mary International Airport (MYP) - there are flights between Mary and the capital, Ashgabat , up to four times a day .
- Turkmenbashi International Airport (KRW) - there are flights between Turkmenbaşy and the capital, Ashgabat , up to four times a day .
- Balkanabat Airport (BKN)
The Turkmen government began building an artificial lake , the “ Lake of the Golden Age ”, in the Ustyurt steppe in 2000 . The completion of the one billion US dollar project is expected in 2020. Where seasonal rainwater collects in the depression in Lake Karakum, the first water from the Usboi flowed into it in July 2009. The major project in the 120-kilometer Karaschor -sink that will serve the desalination of the acreage is environmentally and geopolitically disputed.
Since the 11th century, Turkmen poets have been writing mainly in Farsi , but also in Turkish, from which a separate Turkmen written language was only gradually emerging. The oldest literary monuments in the Turkmen language (14th to 15th centuries) have a religious and didactic character and are committed to the Sufi tradition. Various poets such as Azadi (1700–1760) also wrote in Chagatan .
- Classical Turkmen poetry
In the 18th century, extensive epic works of the romantic Destan poetry were created in a verse form that is similar to the Turkish Koşma . It deals with stories of lovers, heroic deeds and sad events, which in the second half of the 18th century received an increasingly patriotic appearance and came closer to the vernacular. From Kurbanali Magrupi (ca. 1735-1805) widespread in Central Asia heroic tale come Iusup i Akhmed (Russian edition in 1944; dt "Yusup and Achmed.") And poems. The combination of folk and art poetry was made by the most important classical poet of the Turkmen, Mahtumkulu Firaki (Turkmen Magtymguly Pyragy , 1733-1813?). This tradition was further developed by the teacher and jeweler Mollanepes (* around 1810, † 1862), who wrote not only love poetry but also critical writings. He wrote the popular epic Zochre and Tachir .
- Soviet era
The modern written Turkmen language emerged in the 1920s. It was first written in Arabic, 1928–1940 in Latin, then in Cyrillic and, since 1993, gradually again in Latin. One of the founders of Turkmen Soviet literature was Berdy Kerbabayev with his novel about the civil war in Turkmenistan after 1917 ( The decisive step , Berlin 1952) and other works, albeit steeped in socialist clichés. Important authors of the Soviet period include: a. the poet Aman Kekilow (1912–1974) and the prose writer Agakhan Durdyýew (1904–1947) ( Beauty in the Dragon's Claws and other short stories) and Beki Seitäkow (* 1914). Durdy Gylytsch (1886–1950) was one of the traditional folk singers who continue the tradition of epic singing (see below under music ).
Due to the lack of new publications, books from the Soviet period are still available in bookshops (as of the 2010s).
- Since 1991
After independence in 1991, some classical works were initially published in Latin script, but the content of the books available in Turkmenistan was increasingly oriented towards ideological guidelines. The government controls the printing of all books. The import of foreign books is subject to strict rules. Rachim Ėsenov (* 1927) was banned from writing in 1997 and sentenced to prison for the alleged historical inaccuracy of his novel Ventsenosny Skitalets ("The Crowned Wanderer"), which is set in the Mughal era . He had brought the main character of his novel trilogy, the politician, general and poet Bayram Khan , in connection with the Shia , although he is officially considered a Sunni .
The music of Turkmenistan is essentially the music of the Turkmen, which is also cultivated by the Turkmen minorities in the neighboring countries of Afghanistan and Iran. The peculiarities of their melody formation are based on Iranian traditions that go back to pre-Islamic times , which have mixed with the singing techniques of the Turkic peoples who immigrated from the 10th to the 13th centuries. Until the beginning of the 20th century, Turkmen society was devoid of central authority and was divided into tribes with cultural characteristics. The radical political and social changes brought about by the Soviet leadership in the early 1920s affected the other Central Asian states, whose feudal rulers had to crush the Bolsheviks , but hardly affected the territory of Turkmenistan. Here, folk music was able to retain its old character and was not converted into a concert system based on the western pattern under state management.
Turkmen music is initially vocal and is divided into the range of folk songs sung by amateurs (music lovers) and the extensive songs of professional musicians ( bachschi, bachšy ), the singers of epic songs. Altogether there are only a few Turkmen musical instruments: the most widespread are the plucked long-necked lute dutar and then the three-string spike violin ghichak . Though less often, the longitudinally blown reed flute tüidük is also one of the three most valued instruments used by professional musicians. In the field of amateur music, there is also the small single- reed instrument dilli tüýdük , played by shepherds, and the yaw harp , kopys , which is part of the music of women and children. Before the introduction of the two-string dutar , the earlier epic singers ( ozan , corresponding to the Turkish aşık ) accompanied each other on the bowed bowl-neck lute kobys or on the long-necked lute komuz, also called kobys . In the music of the Turkmen there are no drums such as the daira frame drum, which is common in Central Asia . Drums are only found in the east of the country in areas where Uzbeks live.
The professional epic singer bachschi is still held in high esteem today because he took over the cultural heritage of the Central Asian shaman and is considered to be the custodian of cultural memory. Few professional female singers have moved in the male domain of bachschi since the end of the 20th century , who succeeds a master from whom he learned his art. The center of the epic tradition is the northern province of Daşoguz welaýaty (Taschaus). The epics there are about the hero Görogly, under whose leadership the Turkmen tribes united. The bachschi accompanies his singing alone on the dutar , occasionally he is supported by a second dutar and a ghichak . The tüidük bachschi sing alternately with the flute. One or more bachschi appear at family celebrations (wedding, birth, circumcision) or at dinner invitations ( saz söchbet ), which can last until early in the morning, in private homes. Family celebrations ( töj ) are the main occasions for the performance of music in Turkmenistan. The repertoire is structured according to certain rules musically and in terms of content over the entire duration of the performance. In this concept, the bachschi moves musically on the “right” journey ( jol , “path”, means “order”, “rule”) up to a highly anticipated expressive climax. The course of the melody is based on the mukam used , a melodic basic structure that is related in name to the oriental maqam , but only slightly in structure . A bachschi knows some of these mukam compositions and uses them to improvise the other melodies. The rhythm is based on complex meters , the text is performed in stanzas. The epic lecture is associated with corresponding forms of singing in Uzbek and Tajik music .
The folk songs that are accompanied on the tüidük but not on the dutar include work songs , lullabies ( läle chüvdi ) and wedding songs ( jar jar ). Instead of the bachschi , a popular light music band is often invited to wedding celebrations today. Women dance at family celebrations, but rarely otherwise.
The melody of the national anthem of Turkmenistan, composed by Veli Muhadow , dates from the Soviet period . Muhadow was one of the composers trained at the Moscow Conservatory who stood in the service of the state for a pathos-influenced, western classical music style. The first Turkmen national opera with the title Sudba Bachschi ("The fate of Bachschi ") was performed in 1941 in the newly opened Opera and Ballet Theater. Symphonic music and the other western art forms fell victim to nationalism after independence in 1991, they have not been promoted since then and were banned in 2001.
Ashkhabad is a band that is well known in the world music scene beyond the country's borders and performs at weddings as well as public events . The singer and dutar player Atabay Tsharykuliev is accompanied - typical of a new popular style - by fellow musicians who play traditional melodies with a clarinet instead of the tüidük and a violin instead of the ghichak , complemented by accordion and synthesizer .
There are three nationally distributed daily newspapers in Turkmenistan . Turkmenistan (Turkmen- speaking) and Nejtralnyj Turkmenistan (Russian) are widespread . As a state broadcaster , the Turkmen Radio is directly subordinate to the Turkmen government. Four out of seven radio stations are broadcast via satellite. The state operates five national television programs, one foreign television program in seven languages and one regional television station for the capital region of Ashgabat . All television programs are available unencrypted via satellite and as a live stream.
The sport is being used by the authoritarian ruling President Berdimuhamedow to put his country in a more positive light. Important sports in Turkmenistan are wrestling and horse riding. In wrestling, Turkmen athletes are also successful in international competitions. Equestrian sport looks back on a long tradition in Turkmenistan, in particular the Akhal-Teke horse breed is an important part of Turkmen equestrian culture. Numerous horse races are held as part of the Turkmen Horse Day , which takes place particularly in the Azgabat Hippodrome . in which the President also participates.
The largest sporting event in Turkmenistan to date was the Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games 2017 , which took place in Asgabat in September 2017. The Games were intended to portray Turkmenistan as a sport-loving country and good host, but observers said they were accompanied by increased surveillance of the population. Free reporting was not possible.
The Turkmen national soccer team has hardly been able to make an appearance internationally. The team has not yet managed to qualify for a soccer world championship , in 2004 and 2019 the team took part in the Asian championships.
Ice hockey is becoming increasingly important, the development of which is supported by the state through the construction of numerous ice rinks.
On the occasion of World Bicycle Day, large bicycle parades are held in Turkmenistan, and it was also ordered that all Turkmen citizens must purchase a bicycle. Former President Nyýazow had several paths built into the Kopet Dag Mountains near the capital, Ashgabat, which are known as the health trail. This measure served the athletic training of the Turkmen population.
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