Flat-to-rolling sandy desert with dunes rising to mountains in the south; low mountains along border with Iran; borders Caspian Sea in west
Population: 5,113,040 (July 2013 est.)
Languages: Turkmen (official) 72%, Russian 12%, Uzbek 9%, other 7%
Muslim 89%, Eastern Orthodox 9%, unknown 2%
It is largely a desert country with intensive agriculture in irrigated oases and sizeable gas and oil resources. The two largest crops are cotton, mostly produced for export, and wheat, which is domestically consumed. Agriculture accounts for only roughly 8% of GDP, but continues to employ nearly half of the country's workforce. Turkmenistan's authoritarian regime has taken a cautious approach to economic reform, hoping to use export revenues to sustain its inefficient, corrupt economy.
The traditional Turkmen dwelling is a felt tent called a gara oy (black house). It is often called a "yurt" in Western literature. The felt covering is attached to a wooden frame. The tent may be assembled or taken down within an hour. In Turkmenistan it is no longer a primary residence. Instead it is used in summer pasture areas or constructed for recreation or holidays. In rural Turkmenistan, most people live in one-story homes made from clay and straw.
Defines itself as a secular democracy and a presidential republic; in actuality displays authoritarian presidential rule, with power concentrated within the presidential administration
US Military Presence/Support