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Best Bitcoin Card for Turkmenistan

The Republic of Turkmenistan is located in Central Asia and, with an area of 488 100 km², is about the size of Germany, Austria and Switzerland combined. In the west the country borders on the Caspian Sea, in the northwest on Kazakhstan, in the north and northeast on Uzbekistan, in the southeast on Afghanistan and in the south on Iran.

Nearly 90% of Turkmenistan’s land area is occupied by the sand and scree deserts of the Turanic Basin. The Karakum desert lies centrally in the interior of the country. With an area of around 350,000 km², it is one of the largest deserts in the world. It rises from 80 m below sea level in the northwest to a height of up to 300 m above sea level.

In the south of the Karakum is the Kopetdag mountain range, an earthquake-intensive area that reaches heights of up to 2,942 m on Turkmen territory. In the east of the country there are foothills of the Gissar mountains, in the border area with Uzbekistan lies Ayrybaba, the highest elevation of the country in the Kugitangtau chain (3 139 m). In the extreme northwest, Turkmenistan shares the southern foothills of the Ustyurt plateau, most of which is on the territory of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

The coast of the Caspian Sea is strongly indented, especially in its northern section. The large Kara-Bogaz-Gol Bay is almost dry due to the falling water level of the Caspian Sea. The salt and sand drifting into the hinterland causes severe damage to the cultivated areas.

The longest river in Turkmenistan is the Amu-Darja, which partly forms the border with neighbouring Uzbekistan. It rises in the Hindu Kush, joins other rivers and flows into the Aral Sea after a total stretch of 1,445 km in Uzbekistan. In the east of Turkmenistan at the Amu-Darja begins the 1,400 km long Karakum Canal, which runs through the desert and is used for irrigation, before it flows into the Caspian Sea near the city of Turkmenbashi. Due to the discharge of large quantities of water from the Amu-Darja, the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan is threatened with dehydration.

The capital Aschchabad lies in the south of the country in the transition area between the Karakum desert and the Kopetdag mountains.

Political System

According to the constitution of 2008, Turkmenistan is a presidential republic. The head of state is the president elected for five years by the people, who is also the head of the government (Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedow, since February 2007). A one-off re-election is possible.

The actual parliament (Mejlis) has 125 deputies who remain in office for five years. The People’s Council (Halk Maslahaty) has 2,507 delegates (partly elected, partly appointed) and has a purely advisory function.

Turkmenistan is divided into five provinces (Welayatlar) and one capital district.

Economy

As a Soviet republic, Turkmenistan’s economy was entirely focused on the export of natural gas, oil and cotton. Even today, economic policy is still characterized by socialist planned economic principles, although reforms are underway; the principle of a free market economy was incorporated into the constitution of 2008. The country’s economy is stable due to its rich reserves of raw materials, and high growth rates are forecast for the country due to the development of new markets. However, it is estimated that more than every second Turkmen is unemployed; one third of the population lives below the poverty line.

Only just under 3% of the land area can be used for agriculture, 85% of which has to be irrigated artificially. For export, cotton in particular is cultivated on large-scale plantations. These monocultures and the extensive artificial irrigation have led to considerable environmental damage. Mulberry trees are grown as the basis for breeding silkworms. The cultivation of grain, fruit and vegetables as well as fodder plants is intensified. The food needs of the population cannot be met. Livestock farming is of great importance: the noble Achal Tekkiner, thoroughbred horses, are bred for sale, the wool of the Karakul sheep provides the basis for carpets.

Turkmenistan has the fourth largest natural gas reserves in the world, mainly under the Karakum desert and on the Caspian Sea. The exact dimensions of the oil deposits are not yet known, but are highly estimated. Energy exports are the country’s most important source of foreign exchange. In addition to the oil processing industry, carpet weaving, textile industry and the production of food are traditionally important branches. The chemical industry and metal processing have lost their importance. Industry accounts for 54% of the gross domestic product.

The main imports are machinery and equipment, food and chemical products from Iran, China and Russia. Natural gas, oil and cotton are exported, mainly to Turkey, China and Russia.

The total road network is about 24,000 km, of which about 20,000 are paved. There are about 2 400 km of rail available. Shipping is possible on the Amudjara and Karakum canals. The most important port on the Caspian Sea is Turkmenbashi. In the capital Aschchabad there is an international airport. Currency is the Turkmenistan Manat (= 100 tenges; fixed to the US dollar).

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