Turkmenistan has sought to maintain the system of social
benefits inherited from the Soviet era: pensions are paid to
men at the age of 60, to women at 55. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of TKM and acronym for Turkmenistan. Health care, as well
as child care, is subsidized by the state and employers.
There are 24 doctors per 10,000 residents (2010). Child
mortality is relatively high; About 5 percent of children
die before they turn five (2015). Substantial subsidies
exist, as well as electricity, gas and water up to a certain
level, and minimum wages have been introduced. In the
country there is a rising unemployment rate, which is mainly
due to the rapid expansion of the working-age population.
Benefits are paid to the unemployed. Agricultural
underemployment is considerable, with low incomes in this
sector as a result.
According to reports from Freedom House and Committee to
Protect Journalists are Turkmenistan one of the countries in
the world where freedom of the press is least respected. The
role of the press is limited to act as a spokesman for the
government and the public's access to other media such as
the Internet is controlled.
At the end of May 2006, Niyázov ordered the construction
of a seismic measuring station near the Iran border with the
aim of detecting possible nuclear test blasts in the
neighboring country. The building took place within the
framework of the IAEA, which works for the non-proliferation
of nuclear weapons.
On December 21, Niyázov died of a heart attack after
ruling the country for 21 years. The Security Council
appointed Deputy Prime Minister Gurbanguly Berdymujammedov
to serve as provisional president until elections could be
held. They were printed by Berdymujammedov himself for
holding in February 2007. He got 89% of the vote and
continued on the presidential post. The opposition stated
that the election had been marked by extensive scams.
Following the constitution, the chairman of the People's
Council, Ovezgeldi Atayev, should have been appointed
president at Niyázov's death, but Atayev was charged with
crime and removed from his post.
After his accession, the new president repealed a number
of his predecessors' eccentric policies. He abrogated the
president's right to arbitrarily name places, cities and
institutions, and reintroduced the traditional names of the
months and days. Niyázov had changed the names with
references to himself and his mother. At the same time, he
allowed the opening of Internet cafes, expanded schooling
from 9 to 10 years and allowed the teaching of foreign
languages. Despite the reforms, however, he did not change
the basic authoritarian character of the regime.
In December 2009, the first gas pipeline opened to China.
It happened in Turkmenistan in the presence of China's
President Hu Jintao. Gas exports to China grew rapidly in
the following years, so that in 2013 it accounted for 40% of
Turkmenistan's production. Exports to China compensated for
a corresponding decrease in exports to Russia. Two more
pipelines were under construction - among other things. a
pipeline to the Caspian Sea. The country has the world's
second largest gas field, Galkynysh.
Berdymujammedov was «re-elected» as president in February
2012 with 97% of the vote. Reporters Without Borders
reported in their World Press Freedom Index from the same
year that Turkmenistan is in second place globally in terms
of lack of press freedom.
In January 2012, the government passed a new law
legalizing political parties - in addition to the government
party. In August, the country's first opposition party was
created: the Party of the Industrial Owners and the
Self-employed. In February, President Berdimuhamedow was
re-elected with 97% of the votes cast.
Despite some Turkmen responsiveness to international
human rights organizations, torture continues to be
widespread. Torture was formally criminalized in 2012, but
authorities still do not intervene in its use. Local human
rights work is only tolerated to a very limited extent and
takes place with life as an effort.
In August 2013, President Berdimuhamedow abandoned his
membership of the TDP. This was done to strengthen his
position as country father by standing over politics.