Known for its autocratic government and large gas reserves, Turkmenistan also has a reputation as an island of stability in restive Central Asia.
Despite its gas wealth, much of Turkmenistan’s population is still impoverished. After independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 the country entered a period of isolation that has only recently begun to end.
Turkmenistan produces roughly 70 billion cubic metres of natural gas each year and about two-thirds of its exports go to Russia’s Gazprom gas monopoly.
The government has sought out gas deals with several other countries, including China and neighbouring Iran, however, to reduce its dependency on Russia.
- Capital: Ashgabat
- Population 5.2 million
- Area 488,100 sq km (188,456 sq miles)
- Major language Turkmen, Russian
- Major religion Islam
- Life expectancy 61 years (men), 69 years (women)
- Currency Turkmen manat