CAPITAL : Ashgabat (Ashkhabad)
FLAG : Green field with claret stripe of five carpet patterns; white crescent and five white stars symbolizing five major regions of Turkmenistan to the right of the stripe. In 1997, two crossed olive branches were added beneath the carpet patterns.
ANTHEM : Independence Turkmenistan.
MONETARY UNIT : Manat ( MN ), the unit of currency, was introduced by the government in November 1993. In January 2003, $1 = MN 5,200, but exchange rates fluctuate widely.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The metric system is used.
HOLIDAYS : New Year's Day, 1 January; Flag Day, 19 February; International Women's Day, 8 March; Novruz Bairam (first day of spring), 21 March; Victory Day, 9 May; Revival and Unity Day, 18 May; Independence Day, 27 October; Neutrality Day, 12 December.
TIME : 5 PM = noon GMT.
FLORA AND FAUNA
The Kara Kum (Black Sea) desert covers most of the country, and there is little plant or animal life. Herders raise goats, camels, and sheep in the desert. Farmers use reservoirs for irrigation to grow crops not indigenous to the area.
In 2002 the total armed forces consisted of 17,500 personnel. The army numbered 14,500 with equipment including 702 main battle tanks and 930 armored infantry fighting vehicles. The 3,000-member air force operates 89 combat aircraft. There are plans to form a navy in the future. The defense budget for 1999 was $90 million or 3.4% of GDP.
Turkmenistan was admitted to the UN on 2 March 1992, and is a member of the Asian Development Bank, ESCAP, OSCE, ECO, IMF, UNESCO, WHO, and the World Bank. It is a member of the CIS, and is recognized by the United States, EU countries, and many other nations of the world. It has observer status with the WTO. The United States established formal diplomatic relations with Turkmenistan in February 1992.
The Caspian Sea provides fishing resources; fishing is an important export activity. In 2000, the total catch was 12,228 tons, primarily Azov sea sprat.
About 8% of the land is forested. Arid conditions and the expansive Kara Kum desert inhibit the development of commercial forestry.
The joint-stock insurance company "TIS" is operating direct insurance lines for aviation, cargo, fire, accident, and auto in Ashgabat.
In 1989, 27.3% of all privately owned urban housing had running water, 7.2% had sewer lines, 16% had central heating, and 1% had hot water. In 1990, Turkmenistan had 11.1 sq ft of housing space per capita and, as of 1 January 1991, 108,000 households (or 30.9%) were on waiting lists for urban housing.
Turkmenistan has no territories or colonies.
Central Asia and the World: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgystan, and Turkmenistan. Edited by Michael Mandelbaum. New York: Council on Foreign Relations Press, 1994.
Dailey, Erika. Human Rights in Turkmenistan. New York: Helsinki Watch, 1993.
History of United Turkmenistan. Ankara: Turkish Association for Friendship with Turkmenistan, 1995.
International Monetary Fund. Turkmenistan. Washington, D.C.: International Monetary Fund, 1992.
Maslow, Jonathan Evan. Sacred Horses: The Memoirs of a Turkmen Cowboy. New York: Random House, 1994.
Republic of Turkmenistan: Short Analysis of Social and Political Situation. Moscow: Gorbachev Foundation, Dept. of Commercial Publications, 1992.