Turkmenistan is an independent nation in Central Asia. With the capital city of Ashgabat, Turkmenistan 2020 population is estimated at 6,031,211 according to countryaah. Turkmen are believed to have their roots in a merger between Turkish and Mongolian clans. This clan association must have settled in the area of present-day Turkmenistan around the end of the 7th century. At the beginning of the 13th century, the Mongol ruler Genghis Khan laid down the area, and in the 19th century it was colonized by Russia. In 1924, Turkmenistan was incorporated as a sub-republic in the Soviet Union.
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Archaeologists have found about 4,000 years of writing in excavations in the Turkmen capital of Ashgabat (Aşgabat). The finding suggests that Central Asia already had a high civilization at that time, comparable to Mesopotamia in an area that today belongs to Iraq. This was hundreds of years before the Chinese developed their writing. For Turkmenistan political system, please check carswers.
The Turkmen are considered to be descended from a Turkish-Mongolian clan association that settled in the area of Turkmenistan at the end of the 7th century AD. There was then a Muslim Persian population. Disputes arose between the two peoples. The term Turkmen appeared for the first time in written sources in the 9th century and was used about people who converted to Islam.
Islamic kingdom in Samarkand
In the coming centuries, power shifted between a number of dynasties and rulers. At the beginning of the 13th century, Jingi’s Khan conquered large parts of Central Asia. The next great ruler was Timur Lenk, who himself was the Turk and established a high-ranking Islamic culture centered in Samarkand. After his death, the kingdom gradually collapsed.
From the 1400s to the 1700s, the clans in southern Turkmenistan were under Persian rule, while the clans in the north belonged to the Khanate of Chiva and the emirate of Buchara. The Turkmen often revolted but never succeeded in creating their own state.
At the beginning of the 18th century, the Persians assumed dominion over the clans in the north. The nomads’ ability to support themselves deteriorated, and several Turkmen clans gradually began to move into permanent residence.
As early as the 16th century, the Russian tsarism had trade relations with Bukhara and Chiva, and in the early 1800s the Russians sought to control the Central Asian trade routes completely. One reason was that the Russian textile industry had begun to suffer from cotton shortages as a result of the American civil war. The Russians therefore searched for new cotton suppliers.
The Russians soon conquered the area that today constitutes Kazakhstan, as well as the city of Tashkent in present-day Uzbekistan. Thereafter, the kingdoms of Samarkand, Chiva and Buchara were in turn taken in order. Finally, only the Turkmen clans remained subdued. Superior Russian forces destroyed and burned all Turkmen settlements between the Caspian Sea and Chiva in 1871-1873. A great battle was fought in 1879 at the Gök Tepe fortress, where the Russians were defeated by the Turkmen.
In 1881 the Russians returned to Gök Tepe and won over the Turkmen in a bloody battle. The Russians killed everyone who sought protection in the fort, which was about 20,000 people, according to the Russian commander. Then the cities of Aşgabat and Merv (Mary) also fell. Turkmenistan could be incorporated into the new Russian colony of Turkestan.
The Russians began an extensive export of raw materials to the mother country, and railways began to be built. Great contradictions arose between the Turkmen and the Russian and Ukrainian settlers.
Turkmenistan becomes Soviet
In connection with the October Revolution of 1917 in Russia, the Bolsheviks tried to seize power in Turkestan’s capital Tashkent. They were thwarted by the locals, whose leaders proclaimed the Republic of Turkestan in November 1917.
Then Bolsheviks and Turkmen nationalists switched to power until the Bolsheviks took full control in 1920. Four years later, Turkmenistan became a sub-republic in the Soviet Union. The people repeatedly tried to revolt against the alien, communist Soviet system. There were guerrilla-like resistance groups, basmati, and the last uprising was fought in 1931 in the Karakum desert.
During the rest of the 1920s and throughout the 1930s, major changes were made to the Turkmen society – against the will of the people. In a comprehensive secularization campaign (with the aim of making society non-religious), all Muslim schools were closed down and mosques demolished. The 1929 forced collectivization of agriculture, which transferred the land into state ownership, cost thousands of lives.
At the beginning of the 1930s, Turkmen intellectuals gathered around the demand for greater self-determination. Many of them were cleared and executed by the regime, including Turkmen party officials and government members. Russian was made official language while the Turkmen neglected. The national epic works were banned.
Parliamentary elections without opposition
Parliamentary elections are held – the first since the country got a new constitution. However, no real opposition candidates are allowed to stand. The ruling Turkmenistan Democratic Party completely dominates the new parliament: 90 percent of its members belong to the ruling party, while 10 percent are formally independent, in practice regime-loyal members. According to the Election Commission, turnout is close to 94 percent. Oppositionists estimate it to be around 30 percent.
The People’s Council adopts a new constitution where the Council replaces itself with a larger and elected parliament, which is given the legislative power (see Political system). The new constitution provides for multi-party systems.
The ex-president’s golden statue is taken down
President Berdimuhamedow ordered the removal of the large, rotating and gilded statue of Nijazov in the capital Ashgabat (Aşgabat).
The ex-president’s calendar is being canceled
Turkmenistan returns to the Gregorian calendar used before the then President Nijazov introduced his own calendar, where months and weekdays are named after relatives of him.
Gas to Iran is stopped
Turkmenistan temporarily suspends gas supplies to Iran on the grounds that the neighboring country fails to pay for the gas and that technical problems have arisen. Iran is reacting angrily, claiming that Turkmenistan is trying to double the price of natural gas.