Turkmenistan. In April, local elections and elections were held for the People’s Council. The latter includes the 50 members of the country’s legislative assembly and another 50 elected and 10 elected members. The Council is chaired by the President.
According to Countryaah, the capital of Turkmenistan is Ashgabat. President Saparmurat Nijazov agreed in April to release a number of political prisoners. This happened after an appeal from the OSCE President (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe), the Polish Foreign Minister who visited Turkmenistan. But when opposition leader Abdy Kulijev returned from Moscow shortly afterwards, he was arrested. However, he was later released and sent back to Moscow.
In April, President Nijazov made his first official visit to the United States. received criticism for violations of human rights. But it turned out that the US’s main reason for the visit was that it wanted to influence Turkmen gas exports in a different direction than across Iranian territory. Turkmenistan has close relations with Iran, and a gas pipeline opened there in 1997. But in July, the Turkmen signed an agreement with the large US oil company Mobil, one of the largest energy contracts the country has so far concluded. Mobil is to exploit the Garasizizlik field for $ 100 million on land along the Caspian Sea coast.
One month later, the US company Unocal indefinitely postponed a planned giant project with a gas pipeline from eastern Turkmenistan to Pakistan through Afghan territory. The decision came after the United States bombed suspected terrorists in southern Afghanistan.
In December, the central bank imposed severe restrictions on trade with the Turkmen currency, manat. At that time, it had been sold illegally at half its official value. The background to the currency crisis was lower income from gas exports. For a year, Turkmenistan had failed to sell gas reserves as a result of a price conflict with Russia, which controls the main pipeline from Turkmenistan.
In December, it was stated that President Nijazov granted one of Russia’s largest oil companies, LUKoil, permission to operate in Turkmenistan.
- Abbreviationfinder: What does TKM stand for in geography? Here, this 3 letter acronym refers to the country of Turkmenistan.
Turkmenistan has extensive reserves of natural gas and oil , especially in the Caspian and Amudarja Basins. The largest natural gas production area is in Dauletabad-Donmes in the Mary area. Most of the oil is extracted from the fields near Koturtepe and Tscheleken, mostly offshore. Additional oil and gas fields are being developed with the participation of foreign companies. Most of the natural gas and oil are exported via pipelines, which are largely controlled by Russia and which can only be used from Turkmenistan on payment of high transit fees. Sodium sulfate is also extracted in Kara-Bogas-Gol and sulfur near Gaurdak in East Turkmenistan.
The energy generation is based on the extensive own energy sources and takes place almost 100% in natural gas power plants. Part of the electricity generated is exported, mainly to Iran. Turkmenistan is also the largest supplier of natural gas to the People’s Republic of China.
In the industry, raw material processing and energy generation dominate. Two oil refineries in Turkmenbaschi and Turkmenabad process their own crude oil as well as oil imports. Other industrial locations are Aschchabad, Mary and Daschchowus (including textile and food production, mechanical engineering, light industry). Mechanical engineering is geared towards the manufacture of systems for the natural gas and oil industries. The relatively well-developed chemical industry produces fertilizers and is involved in the processing of other raw materials such as bromine, iodine and sulphates (in Turkmenbaschi). Carpet weaving is of great traditional importance.
Tourism is still underdeveloped. The State Society for Tourism is expanding the hotel and catering sector. Restrictive entry regulations and the strong isolation of the country make travel difficult. The ruins of Merw and the hot spring area of Bacharden at the foot of the Kopet-Dag are of particular tourist interest.
The economy of the Turkmenistan is characterized by a still scarcely productive agriculture, by a limited industrial development, but also by a wide availability of natural resources. The presence of an authoritarian post-communist government and a tribal social organization have, in fact, strongly slowed the adoption of reforms and privatization policies, necessary for the transition to a market economy. However, the enormous reserves of natural gas and oil allowed Turkmenistan to experience the collapse of the Soviet empire in a less traumatic way than in other Central Asian republics and to support the growth of the economy. Not by chance, the independent government immediately undertook to sign agreements with international consortia of companies for the exploitation and marketing of energy raw materials. In this regard, the agreement signed in 1999 with Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey for the construction of a gas pipeline to the Turkish terminal of Ceyhan.
Agriculture, according to 2009 estimates, contributes 10% to the formation of the GDP, but still occupies almost 50% of the assets. The main crop is cotton (10th world producer), whose export represents, excluding hydrocarbons, the most important asset in the trade balance. There is no shortage of food crops (wheat, corn, barley, potatoes, tomatoes, fruit), but production is insufficient to cover internal needs.
In the more arid regions and less suitable for agriculture, breeding is widespread, especially sheep, for the production of astrakhan wool obtained from the karakul breed of sheep, but there is no shortage of camels and horses of the precious achal tekin breed.
The industrial apparatus, which occupies 30% of the assets and participates for almost 40% in the formation of the GDP, is relatively modest. There are some refineries, chemical plants, cement factories, metalworking and textile factories. A leading role must be recognized in the artisan workshops for the production of carpets, famous throughout the world for their refined and precious textures. The trade balance is constantly active thanks to the export of natural energy resources and cotton. The main trading partners remain the CIS countries, even if relations are growing with the states of Western Europe, France and Italy above all.