Turkmenistan, formerly also known as Turkmenia, is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic (Turkmen SSR). Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states. It is bordered by Afghanistan to the southeast, Iran to the south and southwest, Uzbekistan to the east and northeast, Kazakhstan to the north and northwest and the Caspian Sea to the west. Turkmenistan's GDP growth rate of 11% in 2010 ranks 4th in the world, but these figures are subject to wide margins of error. It possesses the world's fourth largest reserves of natural gas resources. Although it is wealthy in natural resources in certain areas, most of the country is covered by the Karakum (Black Sand) Desert. The Turkmen government operates as a single-party system.
Contributions by Aivazovsky, Olivier, and FrancisTyers.