A country with a bright future

The country and its people

The country, which is the size of Spain (490,000 sq km) is mostly made up (90%) of stone and sandy deserts (Karakum) and lies between the Caspian Sea and the Amu Darja, the bordering river to Uzbekistan. To the north it borders with Kazakhstan and to the south with Iran and Afghanistan. The climate is continental, with long hot summers and varying but mild winters.
The six million inhabitants are mostly concentrated along the Caspian Sea, the Amu Darja, the Kopet Dag mountains and in the oases of Mary and Tedjen. More than half of the population live in the countryside. Russians (4%) and Uzbeks (5%) make up the ethnic minority groups. The  official language is Turkmen. Since gaining its independence, the language is written in latin script. In the cities and in educated circles, the Russian language still dominates as  lingua franca. The prevailing religion is  Islam, with the majority of citizens being Sunni Muslims. Tradition remains the benchmark for political, economic and social life.

Political System and Society

The political system is defined by the strong position of the President. Since taking office, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow has detached the country from the isolation the former President Sapamurat Niyazov had favoured and has begun comprehensive economic, educational and social reforms („The New Rebirth“).
Despite widespread unemployment, the standard of living in Turkmenistan is still relatively high compared with other countries in the region. The average monthly wage is around 210 USD. Drug abuse and the transit of drugs out of Afghanistan is a problem which is being tackled with great resistance by the government. Corruption, partisanship and official arbitrariness are still a part of daily life in spite of every effort to abolish it.

Foreign and Security Policies

Turkmenistan is a neutral country whose neutrality is recognized by the United Nations. The country enjoys friendly relations with the other countries in the region and actively supports the reconctruction of its neighbour Afghanistan, where almost a million ethnic Turkmens live in its northern province. Despite its proximity to Afghanistan, high unemployment, poverty and weak state institutions, Turkmenisran remains in sharp contrast to other central asian states which have been shaped by islamic extremism.
Russia is considered to be a strategic partner. Turkmenistan is an associated member of the Commonwealth of Independent States. The country’s relations to China, Iran, the EU and especially Germany are of great importance.

Outlook

Turkmenistan is increasingly becoming a stabilising factor in the region, even when its transition to democracy and a free market economy is somewhat sluggish. The Russian and Uzbek minorities as well as the unsolved matter of the division of the Caspian Sea continue to provide a risk for conflict.
What the country now needs most, said President Berdimuhammedov recently, is investment, infrastructure and innovation. Turkmenistan offers German companies a wealth of fields of activities and not only within the energy sector. The diversification and modernisation of the economy and the construction of the tourism industry on the Caspian Sea all make the country very attractive to foreign investors. Russian, Chinese, Turkish, Japanese and even Korean companies have all recognized this unique opportunity and are already successfully operating in the Turkmen market.




Caspian Way - Turkmen Business

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Turkmenistan Kulturinstitut