Turkmenistan. President Gurbanguli Berdimuchammedov and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani signed a strategic partnership agreement in February. This happened at a meeting in the capital Ashgabat. Berdimuchammedov then offered to negotiate peace with the Taliban movement in Afghanistan.
In March, Reporters Without Borders demanded that the authorities in Turkmenistan cease to harass independent journalists, such as Soltan Achilova, who, among other things, received a travel ban and was arrested several times.
In April, the first spade days were taken in the construction of a new city outside the capital Ashgabad. According to the president, the city will have 70,000 residents and will have residential buildings, public buildings, sports arenas and museums as well as an international college for horse breeding. The city has not received a name yet, but since it is in the president’s home province, it will probably be named after him.
At the end of August, the president appeared in public for the first time since early July. Persistent rumors from the opposition of his death turned out to be greatly exaggerated. Berdimuchammedov then spoke at an economic forum on the Caspian Sea in the city of Avaza, where the heads of government of the Russian Federation, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan as well as Iran’s vice president attended.
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Ashgabat, Russian Ashkhabad, capital of Turkmenistan; 1.03 million in 2012 (2012). The city was founded in 1881 as a Russian fortress city, and until 1924 it was the regional center of the autonomous Soviet Republic of Turkestan, 1919-27 under the name Poltoratsk.
Ashgabat is located in the southern edge of the Karakah desert near the Iran border in a very hot and dry climate. The Karakum Canal has provided the city with fresh water from the Amu Darja River since 1962. Ashgabat has a significant industrial sector, science academy, university and other colleges. desert research institutes and earthquake-proof building construction; after an earthquake in 1948, virtually the entire city had to be rebuilt.
Ashgabad today is characterized by monumental buildings and monuments in large park facilities. The Oguzkhan Palace (built 1997 and 2011) houses the President’s residence; the 211 m high Turkmenistan Tower and the 185 m high Constitution Tower (both erected 2008-11) are the city’s tallest buildings. The National Museum of Turkmen Rugs, opened in 1994, contains a very large collection of Turkmen rugs, including some of the world’s largest hand knotted rugs.
According to CountryAAH, the population of Turkmenistan in 2019 was 5,941,978, ranking number 113 in the world. The population growth rate was 1.560% yearly, and the population density was 12.6446 people per km2.
HUMAN AND ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY
Central-western Asian state. From an ethnic point of view, the population (4,483,251 residents at the 1995 census) is very homogeneous, as Turkmen represent 85 % of the total (2003), followed by Uzbeks, Russians and other minorities. The high rates of fertility (3.37 children per woman in 2005) and birth rates (27.6 ‰) continue to lead to sustained demographic growth, even if down compared to that recorded in the 1990s (annual average of 3.6 % in the period 1990-1998, 1.4 % in 2000-2005). According to the World Bank, between 1995 and 2004 the Turkmen economy recorded an average annual increase of 10.3 % and this positive trend continued in the following years: the basis for this development lies in the exploitation of the country’s huge energy resources. and in the substantial investments made in the sector (16 % of GDP). In particular, the production of natural gas, even if it remains below 1990 levels, is quite high (just under 60 billion m 3 in 2004) with growth prospects linked to supply contracts signed with Russia, Ukraine and Irān which provide for the export of approx130 billion m 3 per year. The more modest oil production (about 10 million tons) shows an increase, proportionally similar to that of natural gas. Overall, hydrocarbons represent approximately 80 % of total exports. In 1997-1999 the government concluded agreements with Western companies for the construction of two gas pipelines: the first connects, crossing the Afghānistān, the production center of Daulatabad to the Pakistani port of Gwādar; the second is the Turkmen fields in Baku, Azerbaijan, the starting point of the line (completed in 2005) which crosses Georgia to the Turkish port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean.
Despite the high rate of growth, the economy of Turkmenistan remains fragile, with marked economic and social disparities between the ruling class, which benefits from the profits deriving from exports of hydrocarbons, and the rest of the population, which continues to live in a condition of widespread poverty. This situation, as well as the authoritarian nature of the regime of President S. Niyazov, do not favor the influx of foreign investments, while the internal ones, as already mentioned, almost exclusively concern the energy sector to the detriment of other sectors. Agriculture, which still occupies about half of the active population, has a production structure substantially unchanged compared to the Soviet period: the major food crops are cereals (wheat, rice, barley and corn), potatoes, tomatoes and fruit; cotton is widespread, of which the country is one of the largest producers in the world (219,000 t of fiber and 1 million t of seeds in 2005).