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Turkmenistan:
Geography

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Turkmenistan Page


Background
Definition
Eastern Turkmenistan for centuries formed part of the Persian province of Khurasan; in medieval times Merv (today known as Mary) was one of the great cities of the Islamic world and an important stop on the Silk Road. Annexed by Russia between 1865 and 1885, Turkmenistan became a Soviet republic in 1924. It achieved independence upon the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. Extensive hydrocarbon/natural gas reserves could prove a boon to this underdeveloped country if extraction and delivery projects were to be expanded. The Turkmenistan Government is actively seeking to develop alternative petroleum transportation routes to break Russia's pipeline monopoly. President for Life Saparmurat NYYAZOW died in December 2006, and Turkmenistan held its first multi-candidate presidential electoral process in February 2007. Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOW, a vice premier under NYYAZOW, emerged as the country's new president.
Location
Definition
Central Asia, bordering the Caspian Sea, between Iran and Kazakhstan
Geographic coordinates
Definition
40 00 N, 60 00 E
Map references
Definition
Asia
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 488,100 sq km
land: 488,100 sq km
water: NEGL
Area - comparative
Definition
slightly larger than California
Land boundaries
Definition
total: 3,736 km
border countries: Afghanistan 744 km, Iran 992 km, Kazakhstan 379 km, Uzbekistan 1,621 km
Coastline
Definition
0 km; note - Turkmenistan borders the Caspian Sea (1,768 km)
Maritime claims
Definition
none (landlocked)
Climate
Definition
subtropical desert
Terrain
Definition
flat-to-rolling sandy desert with dunes rising to mountains in the south; low mountains along border with Iran; borders Caspian Sea in west
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Vpadina Akchanaya -81 m; note - Sarygamysh Koli is a lake in northern Turkmenistan with a water level that fluctuates above and below the elevation of Vpadina Akchanaya (the lake has dropped as low as -110 m)
highest point: Gora Ayribaba 3,139 m
Natural resources
Definition
petroleum, natural gas, sulfur, salt
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 4.51%
permanent crops: 0.14%
other: 95.35% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
18,000 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
Definition
60.9 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Definition
total: 24.65 cu km/yr (2%/1%/98%)
per capita: 5,104 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
Definition
NA
Environment - current issues
Definition
contamination of soil and groundwater with agricultural chemicals, pesticides; salination, water logging of soil due to poor irrigation methods; Caspian Sea pollution; diversion of a large share of the flow of the Amu Darya into irrigation contributes to that river's inability to replenish the Aral Sea; desertification
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
Definition
landlocked; the western and central low-lying desolate portions of the country make up the great Garagum (Kara-Kum) desert, which occupies over 80% of the country; eastern part is plateau


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