Other CitiesAnau, Balkanabat, Dasoguz, Mary
AreaTotal 488,100 km2
Country Profile: Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan is a Turkic country in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic (Turkmen SSR). It is bordered by Afghanistan to the southeast, Iran to the southwest, Uzbekistan to the northeast, Kazakhstan to the northwest, and the Caspian Sea to the west. The name Turkmenistan derives from Persian, meaning "land of the Turkmen". The name of its capital, Ashgabat, means "the City of Arsaces" in Persian. It also loosely translates as "the city of love" or "the city that love built". Although it is wealthy in natural resources in certain areas, most of the country is covered by the Karakum (Black Sands) Desert.
Turkmen is the official language of Turkmenistan per the 1992 Constitution, although Russian still is widely spoken in cities as a "language of inter-ethnic communication". Turkmen is spoken by 72% of the population, Russian 12%, Uzbek 9%, and other languages 7%. The CIA World Factbook gives the ethnic composition of Turkmenistan as 85% Turkmen, 5% Uzbek, 4% Russian and 6% other.
Half of the country's irrigated land is planted with cotton, making the country the world's tenth-largest producer of it. It possesses the world's fifth-largest reserves of natural gas and substantial oil resources. In 1994, the Russian government's refusal to export Turkmen gas to hard currency markets and mounting debts of its major customers in the former Soviet Union for gas deliveries contributed to a sharp fall in industrial production and caused the budget to shift from a surplus to a slight deficit.
Turkmenistan is the world's 52nd-largest country. It is slightly smaller than Spain and somewhat larger than the US state of California. Over 80% of the country is covered by the Karakum Desert. The center of the country is dominated by the Turan Depression and the Karakum Desert. The Great Balkhan Range in the west of the country (Balkan Province) and the Kugitangtau Range on the south-eastern border with Uzbekistan (Lebap Province) are the only other significant elevations. The Great Balkhan Range rises to 1,880 metres (6,200 ft) at Mount Arlan and the highest summit in Turkmenistan is Ayrybaba in the Kugitangtau Range.
Turkmenistan will look to continue to grow based on its diverse population and unique cultural backgrounds. There is much room for improvement in their economy as well as in their infrastructure. They will also continue to be a global leader in cotton exportation as well. Also they will remain a world provider of oil and gas as well. Knowing that their fuel reserves are not unlimited, Turkmenistan has begun research into renewable forms of energy in order to assmilate into the future market that is rapidly approaching.
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