REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km) 
488,100 

Population 
5,054,828 

Capital 
Ashgabat 

Currency 
Turkmen Manat

President 
Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow

TURKMENISTAN

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Largely desert fringed by fertile land, this large country has a small population, many of whom live in tribal areas.  Imperial Russia took over this whole area in the later 19th century and Turkmenistan became a Soviet republic in 1925. It achieved its independence upon the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. President NIYAZOV retains absolute control over the country and opposition is not tolerated. Extensive hydrocarbon/natural gas reserves could prove a boon to this underdeveloped country if extraction and delivery projects can be worked out and gas in particular constitutes a massive potential source of natural wealth.  President NIYAZOV maintains a spectacular cult of personality and awarded. himself the title of Turkmenbashi - father of the Turks, somewhat to the amusement of the giant Turkish Republic. 

 

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