Turkmenistan. From the New Year, the ban on foreign currency trading was lifted, a step in President Gurbanguli Berdimuchammedov’s attempt to open the energy-rich Turkmenistan economically to the outside world.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER: Click to see the meanings of 2-letter acronym and abbreviation of TM in general and in geography as Turkmenistan in particular.
|Land area||488,100 km²|
|Residents per km²||11.3|
|Income per capita||$ 18,200|
|ISO 3166 code||TM|
|Time zone UTC||+5|
|Geographic coordinates||40 00 N, 60 00 O|
From the beginning of the year, Turkmenistan gas supplies to Iran citing technical pipeline failure and non-payment from Iran. According to Iran, Turkmenistan wanted to nearly double the gas price. The delivery stoppage led to severe gas shortages in the mountainous regions of northwestern Iran and the harsh winter cold took many people’s lives.
In April, Turkmenistan signed an agreement with the EU on the supply of ten billion cubic meters of gas a year from 2009. The agreement was seen as a support for the plans for the so-called Nabucco pipeline through Turkey and the Balkans to Central Europe, which is intended to reduce EU dependence. of Russian gas.
In May, President Berdimuchammedov ordered that the high rotating gold statue of Turkmenistan’s former leader Saparmurat Nijazov be moved from its seat in the center of Ashgabad and placed on the outskirts of the capital. Berdimuchammedov also sought in other ways to phase out the personal cult of Nijazov, who passed away in 2006. Among other things, he repealed Nijazov’s old decree that the weekdays and months should have names for the old leader and his family.
In September, the People’s Council, a gathering of 2,500 clan leaders and local politicians, adopted a new constitution for Turkmenistan, which according to the regime means abolishing the council, introducing political parties and recognizing the market economy. Previously, only the president’s party, the Democratic Party, was allowed. According to President Berdimuchammedov, the old constitution was outdated and did not fit the country’s “progress”. But politicians in exile and foreign judges described the changes as cosmetic because the president had the power to govern through decrees.
When Reporters Without Borders in October presented the list of press freedom in the world, Turkmenistan ended up in 171st place with only North Korea and Eritrea behind. According to Human Rights Watch, the country was still one of the most oppressive and authoritarian in the world.
In December, parliamentary elections were held to show that Turkmenistan was on its way to democracy. But about 90 percent of all candidates represented the power-bearing Democratic Party, while the others came from politically meaningless so-called initiative groups approved under the new constitution. All the candidates had stated that they supported President Gurbanguli Berdimuchammedov.
According to Countryaah reports, the population of Turkmenistan in 2008 was 5,087,102, ranking number 116 in the world. The population growth rate was 1.360% yearly, and the population density was 10.8255 people per km2.
The Turkmen presence in the country dates back to the 10th century. 9 ° -10 °, when a group of descendants of the Turkish people of the Oghuz, coming from the highlands of central Asia, emigrating to the west, settled in the region between the Syrdar′ja, the Amudar′ja and the eastern shores of the Caspian Sea, integrating with the native Iranian-speaking population, also nomadic, and assuming the ethnic name of Turkmen (or Turkmen). Successively pushed by the Turks towards the S, this group crossed the Amudar′ja, settling between the desert area of Karakumy and the Persian region of Khorasan ; only a few nuclei emigrated to the west at different times. During the 11th century. a part of the Turkmen (Seljuks) founded the kingdom of Buhara, taking possession of Persia and the Baghdad Caliphate and forming a very powerful Muslim state including Persia, Anatolia and Mesopotamia, only to be extinguished in the 14th century. During the latter a group of Turkmen headed further west, giving birth to the Ottoman Empire, while another group led to the ‘Turkization’ of Azerbaijan. The territory of the Turkmen was occupied in the 13th century. by the Mongols, it was subject to the Uzbeks in the 15th century. and to the canate of Hiva at the end of the 18th century. The Turks of the motherland, weakened, fragmented into 24 tribes, some of which in constant conflict with each other: the eastern ones submitted to the khān of Buhara, the western ones entered the orbit of Persia. But social organization and cultural life retained their autonomy. The territory became a Russian protectorate in 1868; the western and southern sections were annexed to Russia in 1884, but Russification proved difficult due to the environmental characteristics and the resistance opposed by the populations: the Turkmen thus preserved their traditional life, opposing forced collectivization and sedentarization.
Established in 1924, federated to the USSR since 1925, the republic of Turkmenistan became independent in December 1991. Political life after independence was dominated by the Democratic Party (name assumed by the Communist Party). S. Niyazov, first party secretary since 1985 and president of the Republic since 1990, after the introduction of a new constitution also assumed the position of prime minister, giving rise to an authoritarian regime. On the international level, Turkmenistan has maintained close relations with Moscow, while at the same time strengthening relations at the regional level; political and economic relations with Turkey and Iran were also increased. Niyazov continued to crack down on all forms of opposition and periodically announce pharaonic infrastructure and palace projects. In 2003 he signed a new agreement with Moscow for the exploitation of the country’s gas reserves, and in 2006 energy agreements were concluded with China and Russia. In December 2006 Niyazov died and in 2007 the presidential elections were won by G. Berdimuhammedow; for the first time more candidates were presented, although all belonging to the ruling party. Re-elected in February 2012 with 97% of the votes and, for a third term, in February 2017 with the same percentage of support, the politician showed a cautious spirit of reform and took important steps towards the liberalization of the economy and the opening to international markets.