Рефераты. A little information about Turkmenistan

A little information about Turkmenistan

A Little information about Turkmenistan

An Essay By

Mekan Melyayev

English Composition 121

January 30, 2002

What is the first thought that comes to your mind when you hear the

word Turkmenistan? Is it "Gee, I don't even know where it is"? Or if you

know the location do you have questions? "Does your country harbor

terrorists? Does you country have roads? Are all women covered in your

country? Does your country chop off peoples' hands for robbery?"

The history of Turkmenistan indicates that the Turkmens were nomadic

people who lived on their own, never trying to conquer any land. In the 8th

century Turkmens were forced to accept Islam by the Arabs. The Muslim

influence lasted till the late 18th century. In the early 19th century

Russians invaded the Turkmen lands, and Turkmens were forced to join the

Union of Soviet Socialistic Republics. Then in 1925 Turkmens formed the

Republic of Turkmenistan.

It is bordered on the south by Afghanistan and Iran, on the north by

Kazakhstan, on the northeast by Uzbekistan, and on the West by the Caspian

Sea. At present it is an independent and neutral country. It has a

population of less than 5 million, and a land size slightly large than

California. It is oil rich country with about 100 trillion cubic meters of

oil reserves, and it's a 10th largest cotton producer in the world.

During my stay in Colorado, I've noticed that very few people know

about my country. I've witnessed quite often that about people I talk to

have misconceptions about Turkmenistan. Probably about 80% of the people

I've talked to have some kind of misconception. The most common

misconception they have is viewing Turkmenistan as a Muslim state.

Whenever I tell them about the location of Turkmenistan, they start

thinking of a Muslim ruled state; a state that doesn't allow women to dress

openly, that chops off peoples' hands for robbery. There are many

questions they might want to ask of a person representing an uncivilized

Muslim state.

But Turkmenistan is completely different from what most people think.

Even though Turkmens were forced to receive Islam as their primary

religion, they didn't fight for Islam. The respected elders of the Turkmen

community tried to inspire people to defend their country, rather than

defend their religion. In their poems they talked about Heaven as

something that no one has seen, or been inside, and that they would rather

stay on earth instead of going to Heaven.

Another example of this could be a Turkmen mythical story, almost like

of venerable Bede's "Beowulf". But unlike Bede's writing in which he

describes monster Grendel as something God has sent, the Turkmen story

called "Gorogly (son of the grave)" has no mention of a God who is in

charge of everything that is happening on earth. It does have some

creatures like dragons and monsters with one eye. The main point of the

story is not to inspire people to believe in God, but to awaken their

patriotic feelings.

On the other hand I would be wrong to say Turkmenistan doesn't

interact with its neighbors. We have 125 diplomatic missions abroad

including 2 consulates in Afghanistan. We import gas and electricity to

Iran and Afghanistan. All these relationships are based on mutual economic

benefits only. Turkmenistan receives some help in training of its military

personnel from Pakistan. The United Nations allows this type of basic

training for a neutral country. The training is meant only for defense of a

country, not an attack or spying on any country.

Another misconception, mainly held by people with a higher level of

awareness about current events in the area, is that Turkmenistan doesn't

allow the U.S. military to use its air space or territory for retaliation

against Afghanistan, even though Turkmenistan would be the second best

place to carry out U.S. attacks, after Pakistan. The rules set by United

Nations on neutrality status don't allow Turkmenistan's territory to be

used for military actions. It can only be used for humanitarian aid.

Turkmenistan is allowing humanitarian aid to pass through its territory, it

is allowing airplanes of humanitarian aid to land and take off from its


Another misconception that I have a hard time explaining is that

Turkmenistan is not Russia, even though it used to be part of the Soviet

Union for 70 years. When I tell people that Turkmenistan was part of the

Soviet Union, they still think of Turkmenistan as Russia, and therefore I

am usually asked a questions that they would ask a native Russian. "Does

your country have nuclear bombs? Why were you guys making nuclear weapons

against the United States? Were your parents Communists?"

I have to explain that Turkmenistan doesn't have any nuclear weapons

because Russia reclaimed all of its nuclear weapons after the collapse of

the Soviet Union. In answer to the question of whether my parents were

communists or not, I just say that the all people in the Soviet Union were

communist, and citizens of that country had no other choice but to be one.

People were prosecuted for having different ideas or beliefs about the

government during the Soviet era. Of course the Soviet Union made nuclear

weapons against United States, because the United States built the same

weapons against the Soviet Union. Was the United States the biggest enemy

of the Soviet Union, or was it the other way around? Or was it both ways

at once?

In the Cold War, the KGB of the Soviet Union and the CIA of the United

States both spied on each other, and unfortunately the practice is still

continuing. But this time the practice is just between Russia and the

United States. As a neutral country Turkmenistan is not involved in it.

The United Nations knows all the military power Turkmenistan has. It would

be naive to believe that neither the United States nor Russia have spies in

Turkmenistan, but it seems to me very unlikely that Turkmenistan has spies

in the United States. Of course that is only my own opinion, based largely

on the fact that I'm not a spy myself. (Only a few people have asked me

whether I am, but sometimes I think more people wonder about it.)

Turkmenistan is a country with an annual growth of 9% in the Gross

Domestic Product over the past 10 years. Economically Turkmenistan still

relies heavily on Russia because of the industry of gas exportation. The

only gas pipelines that were built during the Soviet era passed through

Russia, and Turkmenistan has to rely only on those pipelines now. But if

the war finishes in Afghanistan, a new pipeline will be built through

Afghanistan to Europe. This pipeline would be the most beneficial for


Turkmenistan is still not fully awakened from the Soviet Laws and

regulations. The country doesn't have a complete democracy, but

Turkmenistan has just starting growing, and democracy comes with time.

With the ongoing war in that region now, I hope this piece of

information helps to better understand the stance of Turkmenistan. As for

explaining what it is like to be a member of the tiny subculture of Turkmen

students in the United States, the best explanation I can give is that it

would be handy for me to carry a copy of this essay with me daily.

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