Around the middle of the 6th century BC. was the area of today’s Turkmenistan under the rule of the Persian Achaemenid Empire. In the 4th century BC the area fell into the hands of the troops of Alexander the Great, who destroyed the Achaemenid Empire. After his death in 323 BC. The country initially belongs to the Seleucid Empire, before changing in the 3rd century BC. the Parthians prevailed as the dominant people and established a great empire.
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The Parthian empire was founded in the 3rd century AD. overthrown by the Persian Sassanids. From the middle of the 7th century, the Muslim Arabs invaded Central Asia and spread Islam. From the 8th century, Turkic-speaking peoples from Central Asia immigrated to what is now Turkmenistan, including the people of the Oguses.
In the 11th century the Islamic empire of the ogusian dynasty of the Seljuks emerged, the capital of which was the city of Merw in Turkmenistan. The Seljuq Empire was conquered and devastated by the Mongol horsemen at the beginning of the 13th century. After the collapse of the various Mongol empires, the southern part of Turkmenistan came under the rule of the Persian Safavids, while the northern parts of the country were influenced by the khanates of Bukhara and Khiva (now Uzbekistan).
In the 18th century, the New Persian Empire was the dominant power for a time in all of Turkmenistan, but then lost the north again to Bukhara. In the 19th century, the Turkmen clans ruled the area. In the second half of the 19th century, the troops of the Russian Tsarist Empire advanced to Turkmenistan from what is now Kazakhstan and met with fierce resistance from the local population. In the decision-making battle in 1881 against the Russian army west of today’s capital, Ashkabad, the Turkmen people had to surrender. In 1899 the country was annexed to the General Government of Turkmenistan, which also included the areas of what is now Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. A targeted russification policy began, This included, among other things,
During the First World War, the residents of Turkmenistan, like the population of the other countries of the General Government of Turkestan, rose against Russian rule in 1916. After the October Revolution in Russia in 1917 there were new uprisings, which were bloodily suppressed. After the founding of the USSR (Soviet Union), Turkmenistan was merged with Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in 1922 to form the “Turkestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic” (ASSR). Two years later, Turkmenistan became its own “Soviet Socialist Republic” with the capital city of Ashkabad.
According to AbbreviationFinder, extensive Sovietization measures began, including the compulsory collectivization of agriculture, the introduction of a unified Soviet educational system, the re-education of the population in the sense of communism and forced relocations. The leaders of the traditionally strong clans of the Turkic peoples fell victim to the Stalinist “purges”, thousands of Turkmens disappeared in Siberian labor camps.
From 1945, construction began on the 1,440 km-long Karakum Canal, which was to connect the country’s most important river (Amudjara) with the Caspian Sea and irrigate the desert areas in between. Cotton was now grown intensively here. At the same time, production of natural gas began. The country’s political leadership was taken over by a Communist unity party loyal to Moscow and the Turkmen “Supreme Soviet”.
When the fall of the Soviet Union began at the end of the 1980s, Turkmenistan declared its sovereignty in 1990, followed by the declaration of independence a year later. After manipulated elections in 1990, the state leadership fell to Saparmurad Nijasow, who had been the leader of the Communist Party since 1985. In 1991 it renamed itself “Turkmenistan’s Democratic Party” and became the country’s new unitary party. Opposition parties were not admitted. Nijasow announced that he wanted to largely maintain the communist power structures, but to steer the economy of Turkmenistan towards a free market economy.
In the same year Turkmenistan joined the “Commonwealth of Independent States” (CIS), to which most of the former Soviet republics belonged, and which officially declared the Soviet Union dissolved in December 1992.
In 1992 a new constitution came into force in Turkmenistan, which gave the president extensive powers (presidential republic), also vis-¨¤-vis the parliament. In the first free presidential election in June 1992, the autocratic Niyazov was confirmed with 99.5% of the vote. The President sought close foreign policy ties to Russia. Turkmen citizens, for example, had the opportunity to acquire Russian citizenship in addition to their existing Turkmen nationals.
In 1994, the regular term of office of President Niyazov, which lasted until 1997, was extended until 2002 through a referendum. In reference to the founder of the Republic of Turkey (Ataturk, “father of the Turks”), the president was now called “Turkmenbaschi”, which means “leader of all Turkmens”.
In the mid-1990s, the country had to cut gas production because the traditional buyer countries of the former Eastern Bloc could no longer meet their payment obligations. In an agreement with Iran in October 1994, the decision was made to build a new gas pipeline that would transport the valuable raw material through Iranian territory to Europe. Until then, the only existing pipeline was through Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Russia to Ukraine. Another gas pipeline was notified by an agreement with Turkey in October 1998 (through the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan and Georgia).
In December 1995, the political leadership of Turkmenistan declared the country’s future neutrality. With a few exceptions, the country maintains good relations with the surrounding countries (with Azerbaijan open questions regarding the drawing of borders in the Caspian Sea). Russia continues to be the strategically most important partner of Turkmenistan, with the political leadership ensuring that the country’s neutrality is maintained. After the al Qaeda terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, the country agreed to cooperate with the United States against international terrorism and opened up airspace to US aircraft. The country’s infrastructure was only made available for humanitarian, but not for military purposes. Before the terrorist attack,
Separmurad Niyazov was the country’s undisputed political leader until his death in 2006. In October 1999, the majority of the delegates to the People’s Council and Parliament voted in favor of the President’s lifelong term. International criticism of the president’s authoritarian style of leadership or the country’s lack of democracy has rarely been voiced because the country has very large reserves of natural gas and oil.
After Nijasow’s death, the President of Parliament Öwezgeldi Ataýew should have taken over the office, but he was arrested. Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedow was elected new president in 2007 with 89% of the vote. Since all candidates belonged to the ruling party, the election was criticized by the opposition and international organizations. Berdimuhammedow’s goals during his presidency included reforms in the education, agricultural and business sectors, some of which have already been implemented. A new, modern constitution with an extensive catalog of fundamental rights came into force in September 2008. After that, among other things, party foundations are allowed, the principle of the free market economy was laid down. However, the practical implementation is still largely pending.
A 1,833 km natural gas pipeline has been in operation since December 2009, which leads from Central Asia (near the Turkmen-Uzbek border) to the PRC. Since construction, the People’s Republic of China has overtaken Russia as the largest gas buyer in Turkmenistan.