Where is Turkmenistan located?

What countries border Turkmenistan?

Turkmenistan Weather

What is the current weather in Turkmenistan?

Turkmenistan Facts and Culture

What is Turkmenistan famous for?

  • Cultural Attributes: Turkmens follow three codes of conduct. Adat (Turkman customary law) sherigat (Islamic law) and edep (rules of proper etiquette and... More
  • Family: Extended families are the norm. The youngest son bears the responsibility for his parent's welfare. Many families have 5 or... More
  • Personal Apperance: Telpek is the high sheepskin hat that is worn by Turkmen males. It is usually brown, black, or white and... More
  • Recreation: Fotbal (soccer) is the most popular sport among young men. Horse racing is very popular and the horse symbolizes the... More
  • Food and Recipes: Meat from camels, cows, goats, and sheep is the main source of meals. Milk from these animals is also used... More
  • Visiting: When guest visit, a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, sweets, tea, butter, and creams are spread out on dishes and... More

Turkmenistan Facts

What is the capital of Turkmenistan?

Capital Ashgabat (Ashkhabad)
Government Type presidential republic; authoritarian
Currency Manat (TMM)
Total Area 188,455 Square Miles
488,100 Square Kilometers
Location Central Asia, bordering the Caspian Sea, between Iran and Kazakhstan
Language Turkmen 72%, Russian 12%, Uzbek 9%, other 7%
GDP - real growth rate 8.5%
GDP - per capita (PPP) $15,600.00 (USD)

Turkmenistan Demographics

What is the population of Turkmenistan?

Ethnic Groups Turkmen 85%, Uzbek 5%, Russian 4%, other 6%
Nationality Noun Turkmen(s)
Population 5,528,627
Population Growth Rate 1.15%
Population in Major Urban Areas ASHGABAT (capital) 683,000
Urban Population 48.700000

Turkmenistan Government

What type of government does Turkmenistan have?

Executive Branch chief of state: President Serdar BERDIMUHAMEDOV (since 19 March 2022); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Serdar BERDIMUHAMEDOV (since 19 March 2022)

cabinet: Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president

elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 7-year term (no term limits); election last held on 12 March 2022 (next to be held in 2029); note - on 11 February 2022, President Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOV announced his intent to retire, setting up the early presidential election

election results:

2022: Serdar BERDIMUHAMEDOV elected president; percent of vote - Serdar BERDIMUHAMEDOW (DPT) 73%, Khydyr NUNNAYEV (independent) 11.1%, Agadzhan BEKMYRADOV (IAP) 7.2%, other 8.7%; note - Serdar BERDIMUHAMEDOV is the son of previous president Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOV

2017: Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOV reelected president in the first round; percent of vote - Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOW (DPT) 97.7%, other 2.3%
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
Citizenship citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Turkmenistan

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 7 years
National Holiday Independence Day, 27 October (1991)
Constitution history: several previous; latest adopted 14 September 2016

amendments: proposed by the Assembly or Mejlis; passage requires two-thirds majority vote or absolute majority approval in a referendum; amended several times, last in 2023 (changed legislature from bicameral to unicameral Assembly or Mejlis; reestablished People's Council or Halk Maslahaty and named former president Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOV as National Leader of the Turkmen people
Independence 27 October 1991 (from the Soviet Union)

Turkmenistan Video

YouTube- FTD Facts 10 Surprising Facts About Turkmenistan

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Turkmenistan Geography

What environmental issues does Turkmenistan have?

Overview Situated in central Asia, Turkmenistan lies north of the Kopet Dag Mountain Range, between the Caspian Sea and the Amu Darya River. The country has borders with Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan on the north and northeast and with Iran and Afghanistan on the south and southeast. Turkmenistan has an area of 488,100 square kilometers or 188,417 square miles.

The most significant geographic feature is the Kara Kum Desert. One of the world's largest deserts, it covers 350,000 square kilometers, or 80% of the country's total land area. The Repetek Sandy Desert Biosphere Reserve near Charjew (Turkmenabad), which was set up in 1928, monitors the unique desert flora and fauna found in the Kara Kum.

The Kopet Dag Mountain Range, to the south, forms a 2,000-meter-high natural border between Iran and Turkmenistan. The stark slopes are home to a number of endangered species, including leopards and mountain sheep. Most of the mountains are inaccessible, as they fall within restricted border areas.

Cities, towns, and farms are confined to the Amu Darya (historic Oxus) River Valley and to the narrow strip of arable land along the Iranian and Afghan borders.

The Silk Road ran from the central regions of China through Turkmenistan to the Mediterranean coast during ancient times and the Middle Ages. The caravans carried silk, tea, china, and lacquerware to the European markets. Significant ruins related to these trade routes are located outside the present-day cities of Mary (Merv) and Dashoguz.

Climate Precipitation in the inhabited regions averages 19 centimeters per year. Most of this falls between December and April. As you would expect in a desert climate, it does get very hot. In June, July, and August it is often uncomfortable to be outside during the day, as the temperatures consistently exceed 40°C (over 100°F), although with very low humidity. At times in August, the "Afghan Winds" come from the east, and the temperature can soar into the high 40s. However, by late September the temperatures cool, and pleasant, autumn-like weather prevails.

The winter, which begins in late November, can be chilly, wet, and muddy, with temperatures between 0°C and 15°C in the daytime, with occasional light snow.

Turkmenistan is in one of the world's high seismic regions. During the past 100 years, there have been four disastrous earthquakes with intensities of 6+ on the Richter scale, each one resulting in great loss of life and property. In 1948, Ashgabat suffered a quake of tremendous strength. All but six buildings were destroyed, and the entire city shifted 2 meters to the north. More than 30,000 of the 130,000 residents died, and an additional 85,000 were injured.

Border Countries Afghanistan 744 km, Iran 992 km, Kazakhstan 379 km, Uzbekistan 1,621 km
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
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

Turkmenistan Economy

How big is the Turkmenistan economy?

Economic Overview The Turkmenistan economy has undergone significant changes in recent years, with the government implementing various policies aimed at diversifying the economy and reducing dependence on gas exports.

The country's economy has traditionally been dominated by the gas sector, which accounted for more than 80% of export earnings in 2019. However, the government has recognized the need to diversify the economy and promote other sectors, such as agriculture, tourism, and industry. To this end, the government has implemented various policies and programs aimed at supporting these sectors and attracting foreign investment.

In recent years, Turkmenistan has made significant investments in the agriculture sector, with the aim of achieving self-sufficiency in food production. The government has provided subsidies to farmers, and there have been efforts to modernize the sector by introducing new technologies and improving irrigation systems. The tourism sector has also been identified as a potential growth area, with the government investing in infrastructure and promoting the country's historical and cultural heritage.

The industrial sector has also been targeted for growth, with the government investing in infrastructure and providing incentives for foreign investors. The government has established free economic zones and industrial parks to attract foreign investment, and there have been efforts to promote the development of small and medium-sized enterprises.

Despite these efforts, Turkmenistan's economy faces some challenges. The country's dependence on gas exports makes it vulnerable to fluctuations in global energy prices, and there have been concerns about the lack of diversification. The business environment has also been criticized for being opaque and not conducive to foreign investment.
Industries natural gas, oil, petroleum products, textiles, food processing
Currency Name and Code Manat (TMM)
Export Partners Ukraine 49.7%, Italy 18%, Iran 13.1%, Turkey 6.2%
Import Partners Russia 19.8%, Turkey 12.9%, Ukraine 11.7%, UAE 10%, US 7.5%, China 6%, Germany 5.7%, Iran 4.5%

Turkmenistan News and Current Events

What current events are happening in Turkmenistan?
Source: Google News

Turkmenistan Travel Information

What makes Turkmenistan a unique country to travel to?

Country Description

Turkmenistan is a Central Asian nation roughly the size of California. It shares borders with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Iran. Turkmenistan gained its independence in 1991 during the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Primarily a desert country, it has a population of around six million people. Tourist facilities, especially outside of the capital city of Ashgabat, are not highly developed. Many of the goods and services taken for granted in North American and Western European countries are not yet available. Travel within the country can be difficult due to limited infrastructure and government-imposed internal travel restrictions.


Although the government's official policy is to report that there is no violent crime, there are incidents of assault, rape, and murder sometimes directed at foreigners. Prostitution, heroin use, and economic conditions are all factors contributing to the incidence of violent crimes. Petty theft is common in crowded public places such as the local bazaars. Take appropriate measures to safeguard passports and valuables in such areas. Do not leave valuables in plain view within a parked vehicle.

Foreign visitors, including U.S. citizens, present an attractive target for criminals. Travelers should exercise the same common sense, good judgment, and caution as they would in any major U.S. city. For instance, avoid carrying large sums of money in public. Avoid walking alone after dark, and women specifically should avoid being alone in isolated areas. Most taxis are not regulated by any government licensing agency and drivers are usually private citizens looking to make money. The majority of cars will not have seat belts or other safety devices, and drivers may not have had any formal driver training. For safety reasons, visitors should strongly consider hiring a private car and driver through their travel agency or hotel. There is one government-owned and regulated taxi company, operating in Ashgabat, which charges a flat fee of 8 Denominated Turkmen Manat (about $ 2.80 at the March, 2011 exchange rate) for a one-way trip within Ashgabat city limits. Its telephone number is: (993 12) 32-97-75. If using local unregulated taxis, always negotiate fares with taxi drivers in advance, and use extreme caution when using taxis after dark, especially when there are other passengers in the vehicle.

Prostitution is illegal, and prostitutes have been known to accompany men to their residences or hotel rooms in order to steal from them, sometimes with the help of an accomplice. The authorities will generally consider any woman leaving a discotheque with a foreign man late at night to be a prostitute, and on that basis, the foreigner may be detained. Recently, at least one foreigner was kept in jail for fifteen days on charges of soliciting prostitution. Travelers should be aware that U.S. law provides for criminal prosecution in U.S. federal courts of U.S. citizens who have solicited a prostitute under the age of 18 while traveling abroad.

Police can ask anyone to present identity papers at any time, but authorities are especially aggressive late at night. Even if valid papers are presented, the police may ask for a bribe. For this reason, those going from place to place late at night should consider using a trusted driver.

Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.

Criminal Penalties

While you are traveling in Turkmenistan, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. In some places you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you. In some places, it is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. In some places driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. These criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States. For instance, you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Turkmenistan, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.

While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country, that might not always be the case. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Medical care in Turkmenistan is limited and well below North American and Western European standards. If you travel to Turkmenistan, you should make sure that you have medical evacuation insurance. Such travel can be expensive if undertaken under emergency conditions, and absent this insurance, medical evacuation travel may be logistically impossible. If you have a medical condition, you should consult with your regular physician to determine whether travel to Turkmenistan is advisable in light of the level of available health care. Resident U.S. citizens travel to Western Europe or North America for treatment of any serious medical condition, and for many routine procedures. The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of public hospitals and English-speaking physicians in the country, however the standard of care at these hospitals cannot be considered comparable to Western standards. Basic medical supplies, including disposable needles, anesthetics, and antibiotics are often in short supply. Two private clinics have foreign medical practitioners (generally Turkish) who may be available for consultations and treatment; these clinics, however, have refused in some cases to admit patients with serious conditions, regardless of the patient’s ability to pay for treatment. Even at these hospitals, the standard of care is low compared to Western standards. If you need prescription medications, you should bring sufficient supplies with you and appropriate documentation to ensure no problems with customs officials upon arrival.

Safety and Security

Those considering travel to Turkmenistan should take the country's proximity to regions of past and current instability into account. The Government of Turkmenistan has designated many areas throughout the country as “restricted zones,” particularly the border areas next to Iran, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan, the entire region of Dashoguz (including Dashoguz city), and areas of the Caspian coast. Travel to these areas by foreigners is forbidden without special permission from the Government of Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan Airlines, the national airline, will not sell a ticket to any traveler who intends to travel to a “restricted zone” without proof of permission from the government. Travelers who wish to visit a “restricted zone” must have a valid passport and visa and must apply to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a special permit. There is a minimum processing time of 10 working days for these permits.

Visible police and military presence in Turkmenistan is common. Both uniformed and plainclothes officials frequently ask to see passports, visas, migration cards, and SMS registrations. Ask to see identification if you are not certain that the person requesting the information is an official. Documentation checks, and residence and vehicle searches, are common. Security personnel maintain checkpoints on major roads.

Security personnel may at times place foreign visitors under surveillance. Hotel rooms, telephones, and fax machines may be monitored, and personal possessions in hotel rooms may be searched. Taking photographs of anything that could be perceived as being of military or security interest, such as government buildings, may result in problems with authorities. Visitors should ask whether buildings may be photographed.

Supporters of extremist groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, al-Qaida, and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement remain active in Central Asia. These groups have expressed anti-U.S. sentiments and may attempt to target U.S. Government or private interests in the region, including in Turkmenistan. Terrorists do not distinguish between official and civilian targets. Because of increased security at official U.S. facilities, terrorists are seeking softer civilian targets such as residential areas, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, hotels, schools, outdoor recreation events, resorts, beaches, maritime facilities, and commercial aircraft.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions

Road conditions in Turkmenistan make driving difficult and sometimes dangerous. Most roads outside of major cities are narrow, riddled with potholes, unlit at night, and without proper road signs. Frequent construction projects, dilapidated roads, unlighted highways, and camel crossings all present particularly unique challenges to drivers used to U.S. or European roadways. Driving at night on these roads should be avoided. City roads are better in comparison to rural routes but may be hazardous due to potholes, uncovered manholes, poor lighting, and heavy pedestrian traffic. Pedestrians frequently cross against traffic and create dangerous conditions. Traffic accidents involving serious injury to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians are common.

If you drive in Turkmenistan, you will need to drive defensively and use an abundance of caution. Drivers pay little attention to lanes and other road markings, with weaving and sudden lane changes a common occurrence (usually without use of a turn signal). Drivers will often encounter cars going the wrong way on one-way streets or divided highways. Cars also frequently make left-turns from the right lane and vice-versa. Pedestrians regularly walk or stand in the middle of busy streets during the day and night, often without paying attention to oncoming traffic.

Roadside assistance does not exist in Turkmenistan, where vast stretches of highway are often unmarked. Police checkpoints (where cars are required to stop and register) are a common feature on major routes between cities. The U.S. Embassy in Ashgabat has received reports that police stationed at checkpoints may arbitrarily fine motorists. Local law requires that traffic fines be paid within 12 hours. If a fine is not paid within that period, the amount may double every 12 hours up to 72 hours, after which time the vehicle in question may be seized. Driving while intoxicated is illegal in Turkmenistan and will result in the driver having their license revoked, a fine, and possible jail time. Driving while operating a cell phone is illegal and perpetrators will be fined.

If you plan to drive in Turkmenistan, you must have a valid international driving permit. Foreigners who plan to reside in Turkmenistan must apply for a local driver's license with the Road Police Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Turkmenistan. For more specific information about driving in Turkmenistan, contact the Embassy of Turkmenistan at 2207 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington DC 20008, telephone (202) 588-1500.

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