Turkmenistan. At the New Year, Turkmenistan signed a new agreement with Ukraine on gas deliveries, which meant significantly increased revenue for Turkmenistan. The deal came after a price dispute that threatened Ukraine’s economy since Turkmenistan closed in mid-winter by deliveries to the heavily gas-dependent country. Turkmenistan is the world’s second largest gas producer.
According to countryaah, Ashgabat is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Turkmenistan. President Saparmurat Nijazov declared in January that he intended to ban child labor in Turkmenistan. According to the US State Department, more than half a million children were estimated to be working in Turkmenistan in 2000.
- Also see abbreviationfinder.org for how the acronym TM stands for the country of Turkmenistan and other meanings of this two-letter abbreviation.
The dictatorial and self-indulgent Nijazov, who was appointed president for life, surprisingly announced in April that it could become presidential election in 2009. The statement came a few weeks after Kyrgyzstan’s president was forced to resign as a result of popular protests. However, because of the censorship in Turkmenistan, few residents knew about what had happened in Kyrgyzstan. In the fall, Nijazov withdrew his proposal for presidential elections after the Turkmen People’s Council declared that he was “interchangeable”.
Turkmenistan, one of the most isolated countries in the world, cut additional channels in April by stopping operations for international courier companies such as DHL. Many companies and embassies had been dependent on these companies for the postal service. No motive was given for the government’s decision.
A British study presented in June showed that Turkmenistan had the lowest life expectancy in Europe and Central Asia, 62 years. The British experts who examined the health situation in Turkmenistan said that the country’s health care system has deteriorated systematically over the past five years. President Nijazov had closed almost all colleges and stopped, among other things. the training of doctors and nurses. He had also made sure to close all hospitals outside the capital Ashgabat, abolished the free health care and dismissed about 15,000 health care workers who were replaced by conscripts. According to the British survey, in contrast to official statistics, there is a high proportion of tuberculosis cases and HIV-infected, as well as growing drug abuse, increasing numbers of suicides and increasing prostitution.
In August, President Nijazov issued another one of his notorious bans. It meant stopping for recorded music at all public events, on TV and at weddings. The reason, according to the president, was the need to protect the Turkmenist culture from “negative influences”.
Nijazov also decided to send his own writing, “The Book of the Soul,” into space with Japanese research satellites. Along with the book was placed the Turkmenistan flag and the presidential standard. The book that has now conquered space is already mandatory reading for all Turkmenists.
History. – From the beginning of his mandate, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow – who interim succeeded Saparmurat Niyazov, who died in December 2006, and then confirmed his post in the presidential elections of February 2007 – started a process of ‘deniyazovization’ aimed at replacing the old summits and eliminate the personality cult of its eccentric predecessor. In April 2008 the Turkmenistan returned to using the Gregorian calendar and the traditional days of the week; from January 2009 references to Niyazov, his family and his Ruhnama moral code were eliminated (Book of the soul); finally, in the summer of 2010, the monument to neutrality, famous for being surmounted by a gold-plated statue of Niyazov and symbol of the previous regime, was removed from the center of Ashgabat.
In September 2008, a new constitution abolished the People’s Council and established an elective unicameral parliament – the Mejlis, whose members increased from 65 to 125 – with a view to introducing a multi-party system to replace the one-party system of the Türkmenistanyň demokratik partiýasy (TDP, Democratic Party of Turkmenistan). This opening was rejected in the December 2008 elections, once again monopolized by the TDP and some pro-government candidates. The media, the press and civil and religious organizations remained totally controlled by the authorities, who continued to repress civil rights and fundamental freedoms, while the regime took on paternalistic tones even under Berdimuhamedow, who in October 2011 awarded himself the title of Arkadag (protector) and hero of the nation.
In January 2012, a law on multi-partyism was passed and on February 12 Berdimuhamedow obtained a second presidential term with 97.14% of the votes in an election where the other seven contestants declared their support for the president. On January 3, 2013, a media law went into effect to formally ban censorship and decentralize its control, but there were no substantial changes in the regime. On 10 June 2013 Ovezmammed Mammedov – leader of the Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan (TSWTP, Türkmenistanyň Senagatçylar We Telekeçiler Partiýasy) formed in August 2012 – was the first non-TDP candidate to be elected in the Mejlis to replace a vacant seat. On 15 December 2013, the first parliamentary elections were held in a formally multi-party system: 47 members of the TDP, 33 of the union ranks, 14 of the TSWTP, 16 of the women’s union, 8 of the Magtymguly youth organization, 7 from civic lists were elected. The apparent opening did not involve substantial changes compared to the past, as all the lists were co-opted by the presidential power.
The international relations of the Turkmenistan, by statute ‘neutral’, remained centered on the exports of hydrocarbons and were conceived by Berdimuhamedow in a less isolationist way than his predecessor. To cope with the substantial decrease in exports to Russia, starting from 2008 the Turkmenistan began to diversify export routes by opening new pipelines to China (2009) and Irān (2010), and by promoting projects to reach western markets (TCP, Trans-Caspian Pipeline) or South Asian (TAPI, Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline).