|a republic in central Asia: the area has been occupied by a succession of empires; a Turkmen state was established in the 15th century but suffered almost continual civil strife and was gradually conquered by Russia; in 1918 it became a Soviet republic and gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991: deserts including the Kara Kum cover most of the region; agricultural communities are concentrated around oases; there are rich mineral deposits. Official language: Turkmen. Religion: believers are mainly Muslim. Currency: manat. Capital: Ashkhabad. Pop: 4 940 000 (2004 est). Area: 488 100 sq km (186 400 sq miles)|
Republic in west-central Asia, bordered by Kazakhstan to the northwest, by Uzbekistan to the north and northwest, by Afghanistan and Iran to the south, and by the Caspian Sea to the west. Its capital and largest city is Ashkhabad.
Note: This former member of the Soviet Union declared its independence in 1991.