Located in the south of Central Asia, Turkmenistan is one of the most closed countries in the world. About 90 to 95% of the country is dominated by the Karakum Desert. Turkmenistan has the fourth largest gas reserves in the world, the export of which forms the economic basis of the economic system.
Official name: Turkmenistan
Area: 491,000 km²
Residents: 4.5 – 6.7 million (exact number unknown)
Growth of population: between 1.14% (CIA estimate) and 6% (official)
Seat of government: Ashgabat
Official language: Turkmenistan
Regional languages: Russian, Uzbek, Armenian, Kazakh and others
According to Smartercomputing.org, the entire Turkmenistan system of rule, including all elements of Turkmenistan foreign and domestic policy, all attempts to develop a legitimation for presidential rule and all stagings from personality cult to neo-Turkmen architecture, serves only one purpose: the self-preservation of the system.
According to the Turkmenistan constitution, Turkmenistan is a democratic presidential republic. However, only one noteworthy party is registered – the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan (the two presidential party foundations of the past few years are without any real political significance). Since independence, it has occupied 100% of the seats in the national parliament (majlis) and in regional parliaments. Formally, President Berdimuhamedow – in contrast to his predecessor – ran against competing candidates in the previous presidential elections. In fact, they supported the president in their election campaigns, even called for people to vote for Berdimuhamedow, and were nevertheless largely released from their previous duties after the elections and in some cases arrested.
The separation of powers envisaged by the constitution has also not been implemented. All judges and prosecutors, including the attorney general, are personally appointed by the president and are responsible to him. The President also appoints ministers, deputy prime ministers and regional government representatives. Laws and the constitution can be enacted or declared invalid by order of President Berdimuhamedow. He is in personal union President, Prime Minister, Commander in Chief of the Army and – by revising court judgments in the event of displeasure and imposing penalties at his own discretion – also the country’s highest judge. In addition, he is chairman of the National Unity Party,Humanitarian Society of Turkmenistan Abroad “or the” International Society of Akhal-Teke Horses. “There is no provision for civil society to actively participate in political decision-making processes and, on the contrary, it is hindered and punished.
The German-language page of the online ecyclopedia Wikipedia contains a greatly simplified, but essentially correct (as of December 2017) summary of the formal political system in Turkmenistan. The corresponding representation on the English-language page of the encyclopedia is also correct in terms of content (as of July 2013) and, moreover, very detailed. However, it should be noted that the regulations are in fact of very little importance. In fact, all power comes from the president. Presidential orders allow all existing regulations to be changed at any time. It is governed essentially by presidential decrees, which subsequently and partly retrospectively become laws.
The various domestic intelligence services and secret police units play an important role within this system. Limited in their power and their competences only by the president, they control each other and the population equally. The most important institutions are the National or State Security Service, the Presidential Guard, the Ministry of National Security (MNB: Türkmenistanyň Milli howpsuzlyk Ministrilgi) and the Ministry of the Interior, the notorious public prosecutor’s office founded by President Berdimuhamedow for its ” Vishinsky-style ” show trialsSupreme Control Chamber (in terms of its tasks comparable to the Public Prosecutor’s Office and, like it, equipped with an extensive domestic control service) and the Presidential Advisory Board under the direction of Viktor Khramov, Vladimir Umnov and Alexander Zhadan. It is difficult to get reliable information about the various groups and their formal and informal responsibilities.
The extensive surveillance and control apparatus of these facilities guarantees a very high level of public safety throughout the country.
Despite the widely expressed power of the Turkmenistan executive branch, independent observers identify a number of risks to the medium to long-term stability of the current system of rule. Currency risks are just as much a part of this as risks of the implosion of the political system or the economic structure of the country. This could be triggered by economic crises or by disasters that the government did not adequately deal with (e.g. as a result of an earthquake). In this regard, the experience of recent years shows that the Turkmenistan government is highly vulnerable, while at the same time showing very little resilience to unexpected events of various kinds.
The country report Turkmenistan of the Bertelsmann Stiftung is very detailed on the political system and also very informative with regard to the economic system.
Turkmenistan is divided into five provinces and the capital district
- Akhal Welajat (Ahal Welaýaty), capital Anau (Änew)
- Balkan Welajat (Balkan Welaýaty), capital Balkanabad (Balkanabat)
- Dashoguz Welajat (Daşoguz Welaýaty), capital Daschogus (Daşoguz)
- Lebap Welajat (Lebap Welaýaty), capital Turkmenabad (Türkmenabat)
- Mary Welajat (Mary Welaýaty), capital Mary (Mary)