Browse the listing below to find government information for Turkmenistan, including flags, leaders,
and constitution information. Factrover also has complete information on Turkmenistan at its
Turkmenistan Country Page.
Independence: October 27, 1991 (from the Soviet Union).
Constitution: May 18, 1992.
Branches: Executive--president. Legislative--Parliament; People's Council. Judicial--Supreme Court.
Administrative subdivisions: 5 Velayat (provinces)--Ahal Velayat (Ashgabat), Balkan Velayat (Nebitdag), Dashowuz Velayat (formerly Tashauz), Lebap Velayat (Turkmenabat, formerly Chardjou), Mary Velayat.
Political parties: Democratic Party of Turkmenistan (opposition parties are outlawed).
Flag: Green field with a vertical red stripe near the hoist side, containing five carpet guls stacked above two crossed olive branches similar to the olive branches on the UN flag; a white crescent moon and five white stars appear in the upper corner of the field just to the fly side of the red stripe.
Government of Turkmenistan
Following the end of the Cold War and the breakup of the Soviet Union, Turkmenistan declared its independence on October 27, 1991. Saparmurat Niyazov became the first president of the new republic and still remains the supreme decisionmaker. On December 28, 1999, Niyazov's term was extended indefinitely by the Mejlis (parliament), which itself had taken office only a week earlier in severely flawed elections that included only candidates hand-picked by President Niyazov. Independent political activity is not allowed in Turkmenistan, and no opposition candidates are allowed. The Democratic Party of Turkmenistan (DPT) is the only legal political party. Political gatherings are illegal unless government sanctioned, and the citizens of Turkmenistan do not have the means to change their government democratically.
While the constitution provides for freedom of the press, there is virtually no freedom of the press or of association. The government has full control of all media and has recently moved to restrict foreign newspapers. International satellite TV is available. On November 25, 2002, an armed attack against President Niyazov's motorcade was made. The Government of Turkmenistan moved quickly against perceived sources of opposition. There were widespread reports of human rights abuses committed by officials investigating the attack, including torture and punishment of families of the accused. The Government of Turkmenistan denied the charges, but refused to allow independent observers at trials or to accept a mandatory OSCE fact-finding mission. It has instituted new measures to stifle dissent and limit contact with the outside world.
The population is 89% Sunni Muslim. The constitution provides for freedom of religion and does not establish a state religion; however, in practice, the government continues to restrict all forms of religious expression. A law on religious organizations requires that religious groups must have at least 500 members in each locality in which they wish to register in order to gain legal status with the government. The only religions that have registered successfully under the law are Sunni Islam and Russian Orthodox Christianity, which are controlled by the government. The law has prevented all other religious groups, of which there are many, from registering. The government severely limits the activities of nonregistered religious congregations by prohibiting them from gathering publicly, proselytizing, and disseminating religious materials. The government's interpretation of the law severely restricts the freedom to meet and worship in private.
A Soviet-style command economy greatly limits equality of opportunity. Industry and services are almost entirely provided by government or government-owned entities, while agriculture is dominated by a state order system. Women face particularly strong discrimination in all social aspects, and their freedom is restricted due to traditional social-religious norms. All citizens are required to carry internal passports, noting place of residence, and movement into and out of the country, as well as within its borders, is difficult.
Corruption continues to be pervasive. Power is concentrated in the president; the judiciary is wholly subservient to the regime, with all judges appointed for 5-year terms by the president without legislative review. Little has been done to prosecute corrupt officials.