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Key Economic Data 
  2002 2001 2000 Ranking(2002)
Millions of US $ 7,672 4,000 4,400 98
GNI per capita
 US $ 1,200 950 750 127
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Turkmenistan


Area ( 


ethnic groups 
Turkmens 77%
Uzbeks 9.2%
Russians 6.7%


Turkman Manat

Saparmurat Niyazov


Update No: 286 - (28/10/04)

Profile of an oddball
President Saparmurat Niyazov is a strange man, who has delusions of grandeur. He was born on February 19, 1940, into a worker's family in Ashgabat. His father died in battle in World War II and the remaining members of his family perished in Ashgabat's massive earthquake of 1948. He was raised first in an orphanage and later in the home of his distant relatives. This traumatic event may well have contributed to him becoming unhinged of late, plus of course absolute power.
Mr. Niyazov graduated from the Leningrad Polytechnic Institute in 1966 with a degree in power engineering and began work at the Bezmeinskaya Power Station near Ashgabat. 
In 1962 Mr. Niyazov became a member of the Communist Party. In 1985 he was appointed Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Turkmenistan and was subsequently elected First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Turkmenistan, the highest state and party post. On January 13, 1990, Mr. Niyazov became Chairman of the Supreme Soviet, the supreme legislative body in the republic. 
On October 27, 1990, Mr Niyazov was elected the first president of the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic. Under his leadership, on October 27 1991, Turkmenistan proclaimed its sovereignty from the Soviet Union. In a second presidential election held on June 21, 1991, which was necessitated by the adoption of the new constitution, Mr. Niyazov was elected President of the Republic of Turkmenistan. He is also Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers and Chairman of the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan. 
Following his election, one of the first resolutions to be adopted was a decree on the free use of water, gas and electricity by the people of Turkmenistan. 
As founder and president of the Association of Turkmens of the World, Mr. Niyazov holds the self-awarded official title of Turkmenbashi, Leader of all Ethnic Turkmens. This arouses the scorn of other Turkic peoples in particular Turkey, who revere the name and memory of their truly great statesman, Kemal Ataturk.
Mr. Niyazov was awarded the Magtymguly International Prize for achieving the aim of Magtymguly, the great Turkmen poet and philosopher: the establishment of an independent state of Turkmenistan. He is interested in poetry, philosophy, history and music. He has just publishes a volume of poetry, which is now obligatory reading for Turkmen school children. It is not thought to be on the level of Magtymguly, however.
He has other idiosyncrasies. He has banned beards and long hair since February, an obvious move against devout Muslims. But then he is initiating a new religion of his own, expounded in a two-volume work, also obligatory reading for the young and for that matter any adult wishing to get ahead in the regime.
It involves a cult of his long-dead mother, after whom bread, the month of April and the Ministry of Justice are now named. A new calendar has been introduced of eight 45-day months. Clearly an original thinker!

Niyazov attends mournful ceremonies marking day of remembrance
Niyazov took part in mournful ceremonies on the occasion of Day of Remembrance, the State news service (TDH) reports. 
This horrible tragedy that happened on the night from October 5 to 6, 1948, claiming lives of citizens of Ashgabat and nearby villages, became one of the most tragic events in the history of the Turkmen people, the memory of which is remembered with pain in the heart of every Turkmen citizen. On that night, at 0112 hours, a powerful natural disaster destroyed the city to the ground in no time, killing hundreds of thousand citizens of the Turkmen capital and nearby villages. 
According to the tradition originated in 1995 and a decree of the president of state the entire population of Turkmenistan marks this mournful date on October 6, remembering relatives and close friends whose innocent lives were claimed by the earthquake. State flags with a crepe flew at half-mast all over the country on that day. Mournful ceremonies in memory of those Ashgabat citizens that died in the earthquake were held at the memorials and monuments to the sons and daughters of the Turkmen nation. 
Saparmurat lost all his relatives in one moment - mother Gurbansoltan Eje and two brothers, 10 year-old Niyazmurat and 6 year-old Mukhammetmurat, were buried in the ground forever. 
Ashgabat, which has been rebuilt over the recent years and turned into a beautiful city, became the monument to the victims of the natural disaster.

Niyazov appoints new Vice Premier, envoy to Turkey
Niyazov has signed decrees appointing a new vice-premier in charge of transport issues and a new Ambassador to Turkey.
According to the document singed by the head of state, Minister of Railway Transport of Turkmenistan Orazberdi Hudayberdiyev was appointed Deputy chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan responsible for transport. 
According to another decree of Niyazov, Nurberdi Amanmyradov was appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Turkmenistan to the Turkish Republic. Nurberdi Amanmyradov was simultaneously conferred the diplomatic rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Turkmenistan. 
Nurberdi Amanmyradov has lately worked as Consul-General of Turkmenistan in Istanbul. 



Turkmenneftegazstroi opens LNG plant in Naip complex

Turkmenistan's state concern Turkmenneftegazstroi has opened a third plant to produce liquefied gas and condensate at the Naip Gas Processing Complex in eastern Turkmenistan, a company source said recently, Interfax News Agency reported.
The equipment has already been supplied, he said. Canada's Termo Design Engineering supplied the equipment and software for the automated control system was purchased from Siemens. Turkmenneftegazstroi divisions performed the work. The new plant can process up to 1.5bn cubic metres of gas a year and will increase annual LNG production at the Naip complex by 32,500 tonnes and liquefied gas condensate production by 20,000 tonnes. Natural gas produced at the Zaunguz fields Kirpichli, Naip, Beurdeshik, and Balgui will be used for the plant. The Naip Gas Processing Complex opened in 1998 is the biggest LNG producer in Central Asia. It has capacity for 112,500 tonnes of LNG a year. The liquefied condensate will be sent to the Seidi Oil Refinery to produce light petroleum products.

SOCAR announces tender for Azeri Light consignment

Azeri state oil company SOCAR has announced a tender for the sixth consignment in 2004 of Azeri Light oil from the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli fields to be exported through the Baku-Supsa pipeline, a source in the company's marketing department said, Interfax News Agency reported.
The consignment will amount to 1m barrels, as usual, to be shipped from the port of Supsa. The first consignment this year was bought by Italy's API Oil, the second and fifth - by Austria's OMV, the third - by Arcadia, and the fourth - Glencore.
This oil is produced as part of a contract for the development of the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli fields, in which SOCAR has a 10% share. Profitable oil is distributed among shareholders in proportion to their participation in the project. Participants in the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli contract currently include British Petroleum - 34.1367%, the US companies Unocal - 10.2814%, ExxonMobil - 8.0006%, Devon Energy - 5.6262%, and Amerada Hess - 2.7%, Japan's INPEX Corp - 10% and ITOCHU Oil - 3.9205%, Norway's Statoil - 8.5633%, and Turkey's TPAO - 6.75%.
Azerbaijan International Operating Company plans to produce 6.5m tonnes of oil in 2004, the same as last year, and to ship this from the port of Supsa in 8 consignments of profitable oil.

Turkmen liquefied gas production capacity soars

Turkmenistan's eight-month liquefied gas production increased 30 per cent to over 222,000 tonnes, according to data released by the National Institute of Statistics and Information, Turkmenmillikhasabat, reported.
Along with the increase in liquefied gas production, modern terminals for storage and shipment of new export oriented products are being built and commissioned in the former soviet republic. Turkmenistan plans to increase its annual production of liquefied gas up to 500,000 tonnes by 2005 and up to two million tonnes by 2020. So far, Iran and Afghanistan are two major consumers of liquefied gas. In fact, Iranian Pars Energy Company has constructed three such terminals with a combined storing capacity of up to 7.500 tonnes of liquefied gas in Sarahs, Serhetabat (former Kushka) and in the territory of a complex of oil refineries in the port town of Turkemnbashi. Apart from that, this company is building a 3,000 tonne set of storage facilities and a terminal capable of filling two ships simultaneously in the Kyyanly port on the Caspian Sea. The total shipment capacity of these terminals will be increased up to 1.2 million tonnes of liquefied gas.




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