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Visa information on Turkmenistan:

Background information on Turkmenistan:

Annexed by Russia between 1865 and 1885, 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.

The Lonely Planet reports:

The most curious of the Central Asian republics, Turkmenistan resembles an Arab Gulf state without the money. It's the second largest Central Asian country, but four-fifths of it consists of an inhospitable lunar-like desert called the Karakum which conceals unexploited oil and gas deposits.

The country is sparsely populated and its people, the Turkmen, are only a generation or two removed from being nomads. Turkmenistan is as much a culture as a country since the Turkmen have never formed a real nation and have allowed their cities to become predominantly populated by other peoples.

Factsheet Turkmenistan:

Full country name: Turkmenistan
Area: 488,100 sq km
Population: 4.5 million
People: 77% Turkmen, 9.2% Uzbek, 6.7% Russian, 2% Kazakh
Language: street, Russian, Uzbek
Religion: 89% Muslim, 9% Eastern Orthodox
Government: Republic
Head of State: President Saparmurad Niyazov

GDP: US$7 billion
GDP per capita: US$1,630
Annual Growth: 5%
Inflation: 19.8%
Major Industries: Natural gas, oil, petroleum products, textiles, food processing, cotton, grain, livestock
Major Trading Partners: CIS, Hong Kong , Switzerland , US, Germany , Turkey , Cyprus

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