Photos of Turkmenistan



Present-day Turkmenistan covers territory that has been at the crossroads of civilizations for centuries. The area was ruled in antiquity by various Persian empires, and was conquered by Alexander the Great, Muslim armies, the Mongols, Turkic warriors, and eventually the Russians. In medieval times, Merv (located in present-day Mary province) was one of the great cities of the Islamic world and an important stop on the Silk Road. Annexed by Russia in the late 1800s, Turkmen territories later figured prominently in the anti-Bolshevik resistance in Central Asia. In 1924, Turkmenistan became a Soviet republic; it achieved independence upon the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. President for Life Saparmyrat NYYAZOW died in December 2006, and Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOW, a deputy chairman under NYYAZOW, emerged as the country's new president. BERDIMUHAMEDOW won Turkmenistan's first multi-candidate presidential election in February 2007, and again in 2012 and in 2017 with over 97% of the vote in both instances, in elections widely regarded as undemocratic.  In February 2022, BERDIMUHAMEDOW announced that he would step down from the presidency and called for an election to replace him. His son, Serdar BERDIMUHAMEDOW, won the ensuing election, held in March 2022, with 73% of the vote. Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOW, although no longer head of state, maintains an influential political position as head of the Halk Maslahaty (People’s Council) and as National Leader of the Turkmen People, a title that provides additional privileges and immunity for him and his family. Since Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOW stepped down from the presidency, state-controlled media upgraded his honorific from Arkadag (protector) to Hero-Arkadag, and incorporated his son into the personality cult by referring to Serdar BERDIMUHAMEDOW as Arkadagly Serder, which can be translated as "Serder who has a protector to support him."

Turkmenistan has sought new export markets for its extensive hydrocarbon/natural gas reserves, which have yet to be fully exploited. As of early 2022, Turkmenistan exported the majority of its gas to China and smaller levels of gas to Russia. Turkmenistan's reliance on gas exports has made the economy vulnerable to fluctuations in the global energy market, and economic hardships since the drop in energy prices in 2014 have led many Turkmenistanis to emigrate, mostly to Turkey. Heavy restrictions placed by the government in 2020 on entry and exit into the country in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in a steep drop in emigration, however.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.



Central Asia, bordering the Caspian Sea, between Iran and Kazakhstan

Geographic coordinates

40 00 N, 60 00 E


total: 488,100 sq km

land: 469,930 sq km

water: 18,170 sq km

comparison ranking: total 55

Area - comparative

slightly more than three times the size of Georgia; slightly larger than California

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 4,158 km

border countries (4): Afghanistan 804 km; Iran 1,148 km; Kazakhstan 413 km; Uzbekistan 1,793 km


0 km (landlocked); note - Turkmenistan borders the Caspian Sea (1,768 km)

Maritime claims

none (landlocked)


subtropical desert


flat-to-rolling sandy desert with dunes rising to mountains in the south; low mountains along border with Iran; borders Caspian Sea in west


highest point: Gora Ayribaba 3,139 m

lowest point: Vpadina Akchanaya (Sarygamysh Koli is a lake in northern Turkmenistan with a water level that fluctuates above and below the elevation of Vpadina Akchanaya, the lake has dropped as low as -110 m) -81 m

mean elevation: 230 m

Natural resources

petroleum, natural gas, sulfur, salt

Land use

agricultural land: 72% (2018 est.)

arable land: 4.1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.1% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 67.8% (2018 est.)

forest: 8.8% (2018 est.)

other: 19.2% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

19,950 sq km (2012)

Major lakes (area sq km)

salt water lake(s): Caspian Sea (shared with Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia, and Kazakhstan) - 374,000 sq km

Major rivers (by length in km)

Amu Darya (shared with Tajikistan [s], Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan [m]) - 2,620 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Internal (endorheic basin) drainage: (Aral Sea basin) Amu Darya (534,739 sq km)

Population distribution

the most densely populated areas are the southern, eastern, and northeastern oases; approximately 50% of the population lives in and around the capital of Ashgabat

Natural hazards

earthquakes; mudslides; droughts; dust storms; floods

Geography - note

landlocked; the western and central low-lying desolate portions of the country make up the great Garagum (Kara-Kum) desert, which occupies over 80% of the country; eastern part is plateau

People and Society


5,690,818 (2023 est.)

note: some sources suggest Turkmenistan's population could be as much as 1 to 2 million people lower than available estimates because of large-scale emigration during the last 10 years

comparison ranking: 115


noun: Turkmenistani(s)

adjective: Turkmenistani

Ethnic groups

Turkmen 85%, Uzbek 5%, Russian 4%, other 6% (2003 est.)


Turkmen (official) 72%, Russian 12%, Uzbek 9%, other 7%

major-language sample(s):
Dünýä Faktlar Kitaby – esasy maglumatlaryň wajyp çeşmesidir (Turkmen)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.


Muslim 93%, Christian 6.4%, Buddhist <1%, folk religion <1%, Jewish <1%, other <1%, unspecified <1% (2020 est.)

Demographic profile

While Turkmenistan reputedly has a population of more than 5.6 million, the figure is most likely considerably less. Getting an accurate population estimate for the country is impossible because then President Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOW withheld the results of the last two censuses. The 2012 census results reportedly show that nearly 2 million citizens have emigrated in the last decade, which prompted BERDIMUHAMEDOW to order another census. Results of this census, covering 2008-2018, also were not released to the public but purportedly are similar. Another census was held in December 2022.

Authorities have reacted to the dramatic population decline by preventing Turkmen from leaving the country, including removing citizens from international flights and refusing to provide necessary documents. Turkmenistan’s rise in outmigration – mainly to Turkey, Russia, and Uzbekistan – coincided with the country’s 2013-2014 economic crisis. The outflow has been sustained by poor living standards, inflation, low income, and a lack of health care. At the same time, Ashbagat is encouraging people to have more children to make up for its shrinking population.

Age structure

0-14 years: 24.63% (male 710,040/female 691,487)

15-64 years: 68.82% (male 1,943,930/female 1,972,723)

65 years and over: 6.55% (2023 est.) (male 163,121/female 209,517)

2022 population pyramid:
2022 population pyramid
2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 56.6

youth dependency ratio: 48.9

elderly dependency ratio: 7.7

potential support ratio: 13 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 29.2 years

male: 28.7 years

female: 29.7 years (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 135

Population growth rate

0.95% (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 96

Birth rate

17.16 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 89

Death rate

5.96 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 158

Net migration rate

-1.69 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 164

Population distribution

the most densely populated areas are the southern, eastern, and northeastern oases; approximately 50% of the population lives in and around the capital of Ashgabat


urban population: 54% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 2.23% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

902,000 ASHGABAT (capital) (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female

total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

5 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 162

Infant mortality rate

total: 36.72 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 44.67 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 28.37 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: total 36

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 72.11 years

male: 69.1 years

female: 75.26 years (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: total population 164

Total fertility rate

2.03 children born/woman (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 101

Gross reproduction rate

0.99 (2023 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

5.7% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

2.23 physicians/1,000 population (2014)

Hospital bed density

4 beds/1,000 population (2014)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 99.8% of population

rural: 99.9% of population

total: 99.8% of population

unimproved: urban: 0.2% of population

rural: 0.1% of population

total: 0.2% of population (2020 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

18.6% (2016)

comparison ranking: 116

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 2.88 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 0.65 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 1.25 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.98 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 117

Tobacco use

total: 5.5% (2020 est.)

male: 10.6% (2020 est.)

female: 0.4% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 160

Child marriage

women married by age 15: 0.2%

women married by age 18: 6.1% (2019 est.)

Education expenditures

3.1% of GDP (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 153


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 99.7%

male: 99.8%

female: 99.6% (2015)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 13 years

male: 13 years

female: 13 years (2020)

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 11%

male: 13.4%

female: 7.6% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 146


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; soil erosion; desertification

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements


subtropical desert

Land use

agricultural land: 72% (2018 est.)

arable land: 4.1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.1% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 67.8% (2018 est.)

forest: 8.8% (2018 est.)

other: 19.2% (2018 est.)


urban population: 54% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 2.23% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 180

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 67

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 19.02 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 70.63 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 52.09 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 500,000 tons (2013 est.)

Major lakes (area sq km)

salt water lake(s): Caspian Sea (shared with Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia, and Kazakhstan) - 374,000 sq km

Major rivers (by length in km)

Amu Darya (shared with Tajikistan [s], Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan [m]) - 2,620 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Internal (endorheic basin) drainage: (Aral Sea basin) Amu Darya (534,739 sq km)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 450 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 810 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 16.12 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

24.77 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Turkmenistan

local long form: none

local short form: Turkmenistan

former: Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic

etymology: the suffix "-stan" means "place of" or "country," so Turkmenistan literally means the "Land of the Turkmen [people]"

Government type

presidential republic; authoritarian


name: Ashgabat (Ashkhabad)

geographic coordinates: 37 57 N, 58 23 E

time difference: UTC+5 (10 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: derived from the Persian words eshq meaning "love" and abad meaning "inhabited place" or "city," and so loosely translates as "the city of love"

Administrative divisions

5 provinces (welayatlar, singular - welayat) and 1 independent city*: Ahal Welayaty (Anew), Ashgabat*, Balkan Welayaty (Balkanabat), Dasoguz Welayaty, Lebap Welayaty (Turkmenabat), Mary Welayaty

note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses)


27 October 1991 (from the Soviet Union)

National holiday

Independence Day, 27 October (1991)


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 BERDIMUHAMEDOW as National Leader of the Turkmen people

Legal system

civil law system with Islamic (sharia) law influences

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


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


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

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

head of government: President Serdar BERDIMUHAMEDOW (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 BERDIMUHAMEDOW announced his intent to retire setting up the early presidential election

election results:
Serdar BERDIMUHAMEDOW elected president; percent of vote - Serdar BERDIMUHAMEDOW 73%,  Khydyr NUNNAYEV 11.1%, Agadzhan BEKMYRADOV 7.2%, other 8.7%; note - Serdar BERDIMUHAMEDOW is the son of previous president Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOW

2017: Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOW reelected president in the first round; percent of vote - Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOW (DPT) 97.7%, other 2.3%

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Assembly or Mejlis (125 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by absolute majority vote in 2 rounds if needed to serve 5-year terms); formerly the Assembly was the lower house of the bicameral National Council or Milli Genes, which consisted of an upper house, the People's Council or Halk Maslahaty, and the Assembly or Mejlis

elections: Mejlis (Assembly) - last held on 26 March 2023 for the Mejlis and local councils

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - DPT 55, APT 11, PIE 11, independent 48 (individuals nominated by citizen groups); composition as of early as of April 2023 men 93, women 32, percent of women 25.6%

note: on 22 January 2023, a joint session of the then bicameral National Council or Milli Genes voted unanimously to abolish itself, re-establishing a unicameral legislature and a separate People's Council or Halk Maslahaty

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court of Turkmenistan (consists of the court president and 21 associate judges and organized into civil, criminal, and military chambers)

judge selection and term of office: judges appointed by the president for 5-year terms

subordinate courts: High Commercial Court; appellate courts; provincial, district, and city courts; military courts

Political parties and leaders

Agrarian Party of Turkmenistan or APT [Basim ANNAGURBANOW]
Democratic Party of Turkmenistan or DPT [Ata SERDAROW]
Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs or PIE [Saparmyrat OWGANOW]

note: all of these parties support President BERDIMUHAMEDOW; a law authorizing the registration of political parties went into effect in January 2012; unofficial, small opposition movements exist abroad

International organization participation

ADB, CIS (associate member, has not ratified the 1993 CIS charter although it participates in meetings and held the chairmanship of the CIS in 2012), EAPC, EBRD, ECO, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITU, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OPCW, OSCE, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Meret ORAZOV (since 14 February 2001)

chancery: 2207 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 588-1500

FAX: [1] (202) 588-1500

email address and website:

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Matthew S. KLIMOW (since 26 June 2019)

embassy: 9 1984 Street (formerly Pushkin Street), Ashgabat 744000

mailing address: 7070 Ashgabat Place, Washington, DC 20521-7070

telephone: [993] (12) 94-00-45

FAX: [993] (12) 94-26-14

email address and website:

Flag description

green field with a vertical red stripe near the hoist side, containing five tribal guls (designs used in producing carpets) stacked above two crossed olive branches; five white, five-pointed stars and a white crescent moon appear in the upper corner of the field just to the fly side of the red stripe; the green color and crescent moon represent Islam; the five stars symbolize the regions or welayats of Turkmenistan; the guls reflect the national identity of Turkmenistan where carpet-making has long been a part of traditional nomadic life

note: the flag of Turkmenistan is the most intricate of all national flags

National symbol(s)

Akhal-Teke horse; national colors: green, white

National anthem

name: "Garassyz, Bitarap Turkmenistanyn" (Independent, Neutral, Turkmenistan State Anthem)

lyrics/music: collective/Veli MUKHATOV

note: adopted 1997, lyrics revised in 2008, to eliminate references to deceased President Saparmurat NYYAZOW

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 4 (all cultural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Ancient Merv; Kunya-Urgench; Parthian Fortresses of Nisa; Silk Roads: Zarafshan-Karakum Corridor


Economic overview

upper middle-income Central Asian economy; has 10% of global natural gas reserves, exporting to Russia and China; natural resource rich; authoritarian and dominated by state-owned enterprises; major central-south Asian pipeline development

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$92.331 billion (2019 est.)
$86.859 billion (2018 est.)
$81.788 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 95

Real GDP growth rate

6.3% (2019 est.)
6.2% (2018 est.)
6.5% (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 68

Real GDP per capita

$15,000 (2019 est.) note: data are in 2017 dollars
$14,300 (2018 est.) note: data are in 2017 dollars
$13,700 (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 107

GDP (official exchange rate)

$40.819 billion (2018 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

8% (2017 est.)
3.6% (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 36

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 7.5% (2017 est.)

industry: 44.9% (2017 est.)

services: 47.7% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: agriculture 105; industry 18; services 189

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 50% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 10% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 28.2% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 26.2% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -14.3% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

milk, wheat, cotton, tomatoes, potatoes, watermelons, grapes, sugar beets, beef, rice


natural gas, oil, petroleum products, textiles, food processing

Industrial production growth rate

1% (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 150

Labor force

1.998 million (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 125

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 48.2%

industry: 14%

services: 37.8% (2004 est.)

Unemployment rate

5.08% (2021 est.)
4.95% (2020 est.)
4.27% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 148

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 11%

male: 13.4%

female: 7.6% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 146

Average household expenditures

on food: 37.5% of household expenditures (2018 est.)

on alcohol and tobacco: 2.2% of household expenditures (2018 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.6%

highest 10%: 31.7% (1998)


revenues: $5.954 billion (2019 est.)

expenditures: $6.134 billion (2019 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-2.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 123

Public debt

28.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
24.1% of GDP (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 172

Taxes and other revenues

14.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 147

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$4.359 billion (2017 est.)
-$7.207 billion (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 182


$7.458 billion (2017 est.)
$6.987 billion (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 118

Exports - partners

China 82% (2019)

Exports - commodities

natural gas, refined petroleum, crude petroleum, cotton fibers, fertilizers (2019)


$4.571 billion (2017 est.)
$5.215 billion (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 148

Imports - partners

Turkey 25%, Russia 18%, China 14%, Germany 6% (2019)

Imports - commodities

iron products, harvesting machinery, packaged medicines, broadcasting equipment, tractors (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$24.91 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$25.05 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 63

Debt - external

$539.4 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$425.3 million (31 December 2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 177

Exchange rates

Turkmenistani manat (TMM) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
4.125 (2017 est.)
3.5 (2016 est.)
3.5 (2015 est.)
3.5 (2014 est.)
2.85 (2013 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2021)


installed generating capacity: 5.205 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 15.09 billion kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 3.2 billion kWh (2019 est.)

imports: 0 kWh (2019 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 2.892 billion kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: installed generating capacity 86; consumption 81; exports 42; imports 128; transmission/distribution losses 67

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 100% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)


production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)


total petroleum production: 235,300 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 153,400 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 59,900 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 600 million barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

191,100 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 52

Refined petroleum products - exports

53,780 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 53

Refined petroleum products - imports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 213

Natural gas

production: 83.623 billion cubic meters (2019 est.)

consumption: 45.399 billion cubic meters (2019 est.)

exports: 38.224 billion cubic meters (2019 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 11.327 trillion cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

109.037 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 19.977 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 89.06 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 39

Energy consumption per capita

330.507 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 9


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 800,000 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 13 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 75

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 6.3 million (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 99 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 113

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: the nation of Turkmenistan, which rivals only North Korea for its isolationism, continues to keep its telecom sector along with the broader populace under tight control; the country inched up just one point off the bottom of the world rankings for press and internet freedom in the most recent report from Reporters Without Borders; most social networks in the country are blocked, although locals do have access to the government-developed platform released in 2019; all internet users, however, need to identify themselves before logging on, and strict censorship over what can be viewed is in force; the end result is that Turkmenistan has one of the lowest penetration rates for internet access in the world (2022)

domestic: fixed-line is 13 per 100 and mobile-cellular teledensity is 99 per 100 persons (2021)

international: country code - 993; linked by fiber-optic cable and microwave radio relay to other CIS republics and to other countries by leased connections to the Moscow international gateway switch; an exchange in Ashgabat switches international traffic through Turkey via Intelsat; satellite earth stations - 1 Orbita and 1 Intelsat (2018)

Broadcast media

broadcast media is government controlled and censored; 7 state-owned TV and 4 state-owned radio networks; satellite dishes and programming provide an alternative to the state-run media; officials sometimes limit access to satellite TV by removing satellite dishes

Internet users

total: 1,563,023 (2022 est.)

percent of population: 25.3% (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total 143

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 10,000 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 0.2 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 180


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 27

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 2,457,474 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 16.92 million (2018) mt-km


26 (2021)

comparison ranking: total 125

Airports - with paved runways


note: paved runways have a concrete or asphalt surface but not all have facilities for refueling, maintenance, or air traffic control; the length of a runway required for aircraft to safely operate depends on a number of factors including the type of aircraft, the takeoff weight (including passengers, cargo, and fuel), engine types, flap settings, landing speed, elevation of the airport, and average maximum daily air temperature; paved runways can reach a length of 5,000 m (16,000 ft.), but the “typical” length of a commercial airline runway is between 2,500-4,000 m (8,000-13,000 ft.)

Airports - with unpaved runways


note: unpaved runways have a surface composition such as grass or packed earth and are most suited to the operation of light aircraft; unpaved runways are usually short, often less than 1,000 m (3,280 ft.) in length; airports with unpaved runways often lack facilities for refueling, maintenance, or air traffic control


1 (2021)


7,500 km gas, 1501 km oil (2013)


total: 5,113 km (2017)

broad gauge: 5,113 km (2017) 1.520-m gauge

comparison ranking: total 37


total: 58,592 km (2002)

paved: 47,577 km (2002)

unpaved: 11,015 km (2002)

comparison ranking: total 77


1,300 km (2011) (Amu Darya River and Kara Kum Canal are important inland waterways)

comparison ranking: 59

Merchant marine

total: 72

by type: general cargo 6, oil tanker 8, other 58 (2022)

comparison ranking: total 105

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Caspian Sea - Turkmenbasy

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Armed Forces of Turkmenistan (aka Turkmen National Army): Land Forces, Navy, Air and Air Defense Forces

Ministry of Internal Affairs: Internal Troops, national police, Federal/State Border Guard Service (2023)

Military expenditures

1.9% of GDP (2019 est.)
1.8% of GDP (2018 est.)
1.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
1.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
1.5% of GDP (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 70

Military and security service personnel strengths

information varies; estimated 35,000 active-duty troops (30,000 Army; 1,000 Navy; 4,000 Air and Air Defense Forces) (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the inventory for Turkmenistan's military is comprised largely of older Russian and Soviet-era weapons systems; in recent years however, it has attempted to diversify and purchased equipment from more than a dozen countries, with China, Italy, and Turkey as the top suppliers (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18-27 years of age for compulsory military service for men; 24-month conscript service obligation (30 months for the Navy); 20 years of age for voluntary service for men and women; men may enroll in military schools from age 15 (2023)

Military - note

the military is responsible for external defense and works closely with the Border Service on protecting the country’s borders; it is conscript-based and equipped with Soviet-era arms; while Turkmenistan has a policy of permanent and "positive" neutrality and has declined to participate in post-Soviet military groupings such as the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, it has participated in multinational exercises and bilateral training with neighboring countries, including Russia and Uzbekistan; Turkmenistan joined NATO's Partnership for Peace program in 1994, but it does not offer any military forces to NATO-led operations

information on the structure of the military is limited and varied; the primary Land Force combat units are reportedly up to 4 “motorized rifle” divisions (MRD) inherited from the former Soviet Army after the USSR’s collapse in 1991; MRDs are typically comprised of one or more mechanized infantry regiments, plus a tank and an artillery regiment; there are reportedly also some separate motorized rifle (mechanized infantry), artillery, and surface-to-surface missile brigades; in recent years, Turkmenistan has made efforts to strengthen its naval capabilities on the Caspian Sea, including expanding ship building capabilities and adding larger vessels to the Navy’s inventory; in 2018, Turkmenistan opened its first naval shipyard, and in 2021 the Navy commissioned its largest warship, a corvette that was jointly constructed with Turkey, to complement a small existing force of coastal patrol craft; the Border Service also has a force of patrol boats; the Air Force has approximately 50 operational Soviet-era fighter and ground attack aircraft, as well as a few combat helicopters (2023)


Space agency/agencies

Turkmenistan National Space Agency (established 2011; in 2019, was transferred to the Space Directorate of Turkmenaragatnashik Agency) (2023)

Space program overview

has a small space program focused on acquiring satellites and developing the infrastructure to build and operate satellites; particularly interested in remote sensing satellites for such purposes as monitoring its agricultural and transportation sectors, the oil and natural gas industry, and the ecology of the Caspian Sea; has cooperated with the space agencies and/or space industries of France, Italy, Russia, and the US (2023)

note: further details about the key activities, programs, and milestones of the country’s space program, as well as government spending estimates on the space sector, appear in Appendix S

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan: in January 2021, the two countries reached a preliminary agreement on the joint exploration of an undersea hydrocarbon field containing oil and natural gas in the Caspian Sea

Turkmenistan-Iran: none identified

Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan: Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan signed a treaty on the delimitation and demarcation process in 2001; field demarcation of the boundaries with Kazakhstan commenced in 2005; Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan agreed to their border in the Caspian Sea in 2014

Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan-Uzbekistan: in 2017, the three countries signed an agreement of the junction of their borders

Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan: cotton monoculture in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan creates water-sharing difficulties for Amu Darya river states; in 2021, the two countries reached an agreement to create a joint intergovernmental commission to oversee water management

Refugees and internally displaced persons

stateless persons: 4,463 (2022)

Trafficking in persons

tier rating: Tier 3 — Turkmenistan does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so, therefore, Turkmenistan remained on Tier 3; the government took some steps to address trafficking, including participating in anti-trafficking awareness campaigns; however, there was a government policy or pattern of forced labor, including mobilization of adults and children for forced labor in annual harvest, public works, and other sectors; officials denied access to independent monitors seeking to observe the cotton harvest; the government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions, nor hold any officials accountable for complicity in forced labor crimes; authorities did not identify victims nor fund victim assistance programs (2022)

trafficking profile: human traffickers exploit domestic victims in Turkmenistan, and Turkmen men and women are exploited abroad; state policies continue to perpetuate government-compelled forced labor in the cotton sector, as well as in public works and community cleaning and beautification projects; officials reportedly force the homeless into agricultural work or domestic servitude in the homes of law enforcement families; children are reportedly forced to work in cotton and potato fields during summer educational camps; residents of rural areas are at highest risk for trafficking both in country and abroad; LGBTQI+ communities are vulnerable to police abuse, extortion, and coercion, as well as sex trafficking or forced labor; Turkmen men and women are subjected to forced labor after migrating abroad; some migrant men are forced into criminal drug trafficking, and some migrant women are exploited by sex traffickers; most Turkmen migrant victims are in Turkey, Russia, and India, as well as other countries in the Middle East, South and Central Asia, and Europe (2022)

Illicit drugs

transit country for Afghan opiates to Turkish, Russian, and European markets, either directly from Afghanistan or through Iran; not a major producer or source country for illegal drugs or precursor chemicals