Turkmenistan History and Politics

Turkmenistan History and Politics

Prehistory and early history

The oldest archaeological finds in Turkmenistan come from the south of the country. In Jeitun and Namazgadepe lived in the Neolithic, from the 6th millennium BC. BC, people and farming.

From 2200 BC BC the oasis culture developed in the southeast of today’s country. It is also called the Oxus culture after the ancient name of the Amu Darya river on whose southern course it lay. The oasis culture belongs to the Bronze Age.


Even in ancient times there was a lot going on in Turkmenistan. From the 6th century BC The Achaemenids ruled, who built the first Persian empire. In the 4th century BC Alexander the Great conquered the area on his way to India. In Nisa, near today’s capital Ashgabat, the Persian people of the Parthians established in the 3rd century BC Their capital. They were followed by the Sassanids in the 3rd century AD. The Silk Road ran through this region for many centuries. The city of Merw was one of their stops.

Arabs, Oghuz, Seljuks and other conquerors

In the 7th century AD, Arabs came and brought Islam with them. Turkish-speaking Oghusen came to the area from the 8th century. They are the ancestors of today’s Turkmen. They founded the Seljuk Empire. In the 12th century the area came under the control of the Mongols. More conquerors came and went. In the 16th century, two of the Uzbek khanates (see Uzbekistan history) were in power.

Russian rule and part of the Soviet Union

Central Asia attracted Russia with its natural resources and riches. At the end of the 19th century there were several campaigns of conquest and from 1881 Turkmenistan was under Russian control.

After the tsarist rule ended in the February Revolution in 1917 and the Bolsheviks came to power in October, the Soviet Union was founded in 1922. As a country located in Asia according to areacodesexplorer, Turkmenistan was incorporated, initially together with Uzbekistan as Turkestan, then from 1925 as Turkmenistan (Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic). Today’s state borders came into being.

When the Soviet Union fell apart in 1991, Turkmenistan declared its independence on October 27th.

After independence – the Niyazov era

Saparmyrat NyĆ½azow became the first president of Turkmenistan in 1991. He had previously been chairman of the Turkmenistan Communist Party.

He ruled the country authoritarian, had political opponents persecuted by a secret service and founded a strong personality cult around himself. Statues of him were put up and pictures hung up everywhere. Human rights violations were committed.

In 1999 he was appointed president for life. He stayed in office until his death in 2006.

Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow

After Niyazov’s death in 2006, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow became the new president. He announced reforms, but also that he basically wanted to keep the course. All Turkmens have free access to gas, water and electricity. Bread and gasoline are very cheap.

Politics is still ruled by the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan, the former Communist Party. It is still authoritarian, but now nationalist instead of communist. It is the only political party, although party formation has been officially allowed since 2008.

In 2017, Berdimuhamedow was re-elected. In 2018 he banned black cars in Turkmenistan because he himself preferred the color white. Black vehicles have not been allowed to be imported since 2015.

What do you eat in Turkmenistan?

Meat is arguably the most important ingredient in every Turkmen meal. It is eaten as a kebab (grilled meat) or in the form of shashlik, i.e. on skewers. Meatballs are also popular. Most of the meat comes from mutton or lamb. Meat can also be served for breakfast, for example in the form of mutton bacon. As in Uzbekistan, people like to eat plov, a meat and rice dish.

Fresh flatbread is served with almost every dish. It is traditionally baked in a tandoor oven. It is heated with charcoal and the bread is baked on its inner edge. The prices are set by the state and have risen sharply in recent years. In 2010 you only paid the equivalent of nine cents for bread, in 2015 it was 70 cents. Rice is also popular as a side dish. It is also used for stuffed grape leaves (dolma).

Salads then complete a meat dish. In the market they are piled up to form tall towers. You can also add fresh or grilled tomatoes to a meal. Delicious water melons or honeydew melons, which grow in large numbers in the country, are often served as dessert. Grapes are also tasty as a dessert or in between.

Green tea is drunk almost always and everywhere. The conductress even serves the hot drink on the train. But there are also Turkmen soft drinks such as cola. And camel milk is also popular in the desert.

Turkmenistan History