Turkmenistan (Republic of), independent country in central Asia, bordering Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in the north, Afghanistan in the southeast, Iran in the south, and the Caspian Sea in the west.
Land and climate
The Kara Kum desert covers about 90% of the landmass in this region. The country has a desert climate with hot summers and cold winters.
Most of the population are Muslims, who speak a Turkic language: Turkmen. Russians, Uzbeks, and Kazakhs are important minorities. The majority of the population lives in the southeast, where the capital city of Ashkhabad is located.
The major products are related to their herds of Karakul sheep and Turkoman horses. In the late 19th century Turkmenistan came under Russian rule; it became part of the USSR (Soviet Union) in 1920 and a constituent republic in 1925. Turkmenistan declared its sovereignity in 1990 and became fully independent in 1991. In spite of the large gas supplies the economy developed slowly. In 1997 a connection with the Iranian gasmain was established.
See also: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.