Timeline Turkmenistan

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  The capital is Ashkhabad (Ashgabat).
 (SFC, 1/2/97, p.A10)(WSJ, 4/20/98, p.B7D)

c2300BC    A civilization later called the Bactria Margiana Archeology Complex existed in what later became Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Evidence of writing was found at the Annau ruins in 2000.
    (SSFC, 5/13/01, p.A12)

100-200BC    The Silk Road made the city of Ashgabat rich. Spice and silk merchants stopped here on their way from China to Europe.
    (WSJ, 7/11/96, p.A1)

53BCE        The Persians defeated the Romans in the Battle of Carrhae. Some 20,000 Romans under Crassus were killed by the Parthian army and 10,000 were captured. The Parthians then used the Romans as guards on their eastern frontier in what later became Turkmenistan.
    (ATC, p.33)(HC, 9/3/04)(Econ, 12/18/04, p.59)

999        Turkish dynasties became the rulers of Transoxania, and area that covered much of what later became Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan.
    (Econ, 7/26/03, p.46-4)

1730        Makhtum Kuli, one of Turkmenistan’s greatest poets, was born. He died in the 1880s.

1836        Seitnazar Seyidi (b.1775) and Kurbandurdy Zelili (b.1780), Turkmenistan poets, died. Both are considered to be successors of Makhtum Kuli.

1924        Stalin divided remnants of Turkestan into the current Central Asian republics.
    (SFC, 1/2/97, p.A10)

1940        Feb 19, Saparmurad Niyazov, later president of Turkmenistan (1992-2006), was born.
    (www.turkmenistanembassy.org/turkmen/gov/presbio.html)(WSJ, 12/29/06, p.A8)

1940        Moscow imposed the Cyrillic alphabet over the Roman alphabet.
    (SFC, 1/2/97, p.A10)

1948        Oct 6, A 7.3 earthquake hit Ashgebat, Turkeminstan, and killed an estimated 110,000 people. Stalinist media at the time claimed only 35,000 deaths.

1971        In Turkmenistan Soviet geologists started drilling a borehole to prospect for gas in the Karakum desert. The boring equipment drilled through into an underground cavern, and a deep sinkhole formed. The equipment tumbled through though no one was killed. Fearing that the crater would emit poisonous gases, the scientists took the decision to set it alight, thinking that the gas would burn out quickly and this would cause the flames to go out. As of 2014 the pit, dubbed the Door to Hell," continued to burn.
    (AFP, 6/20/14)

1974        Berdy Kerbabaev (b.1894), a Turkmenistan poet, novelist and playwright, died. He was one of the most noticeable Turkmen writers of the Soviet period.

1991        Dec 13, Five Central Asian republics of the Soviet Union (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan) agreed to join the new Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) being organized by Russian President Boris Yeltsin.
    (AP, 12/13/01)(www.therussiasite.org/legal/laws/CISagreement.html)

1991        Turkmenistan gained independence.
    (SSFC, 8/11/02, p.A14)

1992        In Turkmenistan Saparmurad Niyazov (1940-2006) was elected president. He suppressed opponents, restricted free speech and controlled all branches of government.
    (SFC, 11/8/96, p.A14)

1994        Sep, Naseerullah Baber, Pakistan’s interior minister, arranged a peace convoy to run rice, clothing and other gifts through Afghanistan to Turkmenistan.
    (SFC, 1/1/97,p.C3)

1994        In Turkmenistan a referendum was passed to extend the rule of Niyazov, who had renamed himself Turkmenbashi (Chieftain of the Turkmen), to 2002.
    (SFC, 8/13/98, p.A10)

1996        May 14, Turkmenistan and Iran opened a rail link.
    (WSJ, 5/14/96, p.A-1)

1996        Jul, Pres. Saparmurad Niyazov changed his last name to Turkmenbashy, i.e. Father of all Turkmen.   
    (WSJ, 7/11/96, p.A4)

1996        Nov, The president opened a human rights agency. Some 17 government hotels stand empty on the edge of the desert. The average wage was $16 per month and the presidents son was rumored to have lost $12.5 million in one night of gambling in Spain.
    (SFC, 11/8/96, p.A14)

1996        Union Oil of California has proposed building a 1,200 mile gas pipeline from Quetta to Turkmenistan. The project could cost $5 billion and would be built with Delta Oil Co., a Saudi Arabian concern with links to the Taliban in Afghanistan.
    (SFC, 1/1/97, p.C3)

1997        Mar 27, Ella Maillart (b.1903), Swiss sportswoman and travel writer, died. She chronicled the savage collectivisation of Karakalpak agriculture in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan in the 1930s.
    (Econ, 5/16/09, p.91)(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ella_Maillart)

1997        Dec 29, Turkmenistan and Iran activated a key 125 mile gas pipeline. Plans were to make it part of a network to Europe but for now the gas was only bound to northeastern Iran.
    (SFC,12/30/97, p.B2)

1998        Apr 20, Pres. Saparmurat Niyazov visited the US and planned to discuss oil and gas pipeline routes.
    (WSJ, 4/20/98, p.B7D)

1999        Mar 14, In Turkmenistan the warring factions of Afghanistan agreed in principle to a peace deal.
    (SFC, 3/15/99, p.A8)

1999        Dec 28, The parliament voted that President Niyazov (59) can serve for life. Niyazov urged the legislators to double the monthly wages to $50 and to give every citizen 2 pounds of salt.
    (WSJ, 12/29/99, p.A1)

2001        Jun 15, It was reported that Pres. Saparmurad Niyazov demanded that any foreigner wishing to marry a local citizen would have to pay the government $50,000 to serve as a "guarantee" for children in case of divorce.
    (USAT, 6/15/01, p.11A)

2001        Turkmenistan’s Pres. Niyazov published "Rukhnama" (Spiritual Revival, or Book of the Soul), a book of his historical and philosophical musings. It became required reading in schools. A 2nd volume was scheduled for 2004.
    (SSFC, 8/11/02, p.A14)(Econ, 7/24/04, p.42)

2001        Boris Shikmuradov, Turkmenistan former deputy prime minister, defected and began calling for the overthrow of Pres. Niyazov. He returned in 2002 and was jailed for life.
    (SFC, 8/28/02, p.A12)(Econ, 7/26/03, p.46-7)

2002        Jan, Leading diplomats went into exile and set up the Turkmenistan Popular Movement aimed at toppling Pres. Saparmurad Niyazov.
    (WSJ, 5/13/02, p.A13)

2002        Mar, Pres. Niyazov sacked 20 security officials on politically motivated charges of plotting a coup.
    (WSJ, 5/13/02, p.A13)

2002        Apr 24, In Turkmenistan a 5-nation Caspian Sea summit failed to reach agreement on dividing up the oil riches of the area.
    (WSJ, 4/25/02, p.A1)

2002        Apr 28, US Sec. of Defense Rumsfeld visited Pres. Niyazov in Turkmenistan and Pres. Nazarbayev in Kazakstan.
    (SFC, 4/29/02, p.A9)

2002        Aug, Pres. Niyazov (62) proposed renaming January to Turkmenbashi after himself Akbar Turkmenbashi, the Great Leader of all Turkmen.
    (SSFC, 8/11/02, p.A14)

2002        Aug 13, Turkmenistan's Pres. Saparmurat Niyazov issued a decree that extends adolescence until age 25 and postpones old age until 85. His edict divides life into 12-year cycles. Childhood lasts until age 12. Next comes adolescence which will now last to age 25. Turkmen aged between 25 and 37 are considered youthful, while those aged between 27 and 49 years are mature. The next 12-year cycles are divided into periods labeled as prophetic, inspirational and wise.
    (AP, 8/13/02)

2002        Dec 30, Turkmenistan's high court rapidly convicted and sentenced Boris Shikhmuradov, a former foreign minister, to 25 years in prison for plotting an attempt to kill Pres. Niyazov. Loyalists increased the sentence to life.
    (AP, 12/30/02)

2003          Feb 22, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkmenistan invited India to join their $3.2-billion natural gas pipeline project, indicating the plan would not be economically viable without New Delhi’s participation.
    (AP, 2/22/03)

2004        Dec 19, Polling stations were nearly empty in elections for Turkmenistan's rubber-stamp parliament, forcing officials to carry ballot boxes door-to-door in this nation ruled by a former Soviet Communist boss who has been declared president-for-life.
    (AP, 12/19/04)

2004        Turkmenistan’s Pres. Niyazov moved forward with the building of the Golden Era Lake. The massive 75 by 37 mile lake in the middle of the Krakum Desert was considered by many to be an environmental catastrophe.
    (WSJ, 7/16/04, p.A8)

2005        Jan 3, Ukraine gave in and agreed to pay Turkmenistan a third more for natural gas following a shut-off.
    (WSJ, 1/4/05, p.A1)

2005        Sep, Interpol, Int’l. Criminal Police Organization, voted unanimously to admit its 184th member, Turkmenistan. Interpol's General Secretariat in Lyon, France, provides a fast and reliable communication system that links police around the globe.
    (SSFC, 10/23/05, p.E3)(www.interpol.int/Public/Icpo/introduction.asp)

2005        Oct 3, The UN ambassadors of Britain, France and the US sent a letter emphasizing their continued opposition to a proposal to create a nuclear-weapons free zone in Central Asia. The letter, sent to the UN ambassadors of the five Central Asian nations, says that a draft treaty to create the zone still does not address their biggest concerns and that further discussions are needed. It calls for consultations "very soon." The five nations agreed to the draft text for a Central Asian nuclear-free zone in February. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan had originally put forward a proposal for a nuclear-weapon free zone in 1997, but divisions both internal and external over the text have stalled progress. Moscow claims that a 1992 treaty that Russia signed with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan could allow missiles to be deployed in the region.
    (AP, 10/4/05)

2005        Dec 12, The president of Turkmenistan ordered construction of a university to be named after his book "Rukhnama," which is held as a sacred text in this ex-Soviet republic.
    (AP, 12/13/05)

2005        Dec 29, Russia bought up gas supplies from Turkmenistan to prevent Ukraine from getting them. Russia was demanding a quadruple increase in gas prices.
    (WSJ, 12/30/05, p.A1)

2005        Turkmenistan Pres. Niyazov drew widespread criticism by closing provincial hospitals, declaring them an unnecessary extravagance. Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov served as health minister at this time. As president he reversed Niyazov’s policy and actively promoted the building of several hospitals all over the country.
    (AFP, 3/30/12)

2006        Jan, In Turkmenistan some 100,000 people had their pensions cancelled and another 250,000 pensions were severely cut back.
    (Econ, 5/27/06, p.40)

2006        Mar 20, Turkmenistan's President Saparmurat Niyazov told his nation's youth to read his book Rukhnama three times a day in order to go to heaven.
    (AP, 3/20/06)

2006        Apr 24, In Turkmenistan Gurbanbibi Atajanova, former chief state prosecutor, was charged with corruption. She begged not to be sent to prison after being accused of possessing 25 houses, 36 cars and 2,000 head of cattle.
    (Econ, 5/27/06, p.39)(http://turkmenistan.neweurasia.net/?cat=3)

2006        Apr, China and Turkmenistan signed a gas-supply deal. Operations of the pipeline was scheduled to start in 2009.
    (WSJ, 9/28/06, p.A8)

2006        May 27, Unemployment in Turkmenistan was estimated at over 70%. It was exacerbated by public sector layoffs and laws restricting job seekers to their home towns.
    (Econ, 5/27/06, p.40)

2006        Jun 18, In Turkmenistan authorities arrested Ogulsapar Muradova, a reporter affiliated with Bulgaria-based Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, funded by the US. They detained her three adult children the next day. Muradova and two other rights defenders, Amankurban Amanklychev and Sapardurdy Khajiyev, were sentenced from six to seven years. In September Muradova died while in prison.
    (AP, 6/22/06)(AP, 9/15/06)

2006        Aug 26, An international rights groups said a court in tightly controlled Turkmenistan has sentenced three rights defenders to jail terms of six to seven years.
    (AP, 8/26/06)

2006        Sep 9, Five central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan) signed a nuclear-free zone treaty, but it did not cancel out a 1992 agreement to allow Russia to transport and deploy nuclear weapons there under certain circumstances.
    (SSFC, 9/10/06, p.A18)

2006        Oct 5, US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the EU's decision to abandon a trade pact with the reclusive Central Asian state of Turkmenistan was a "landmark move against tyranny."
    (Reuters, 10/5/06)

2006        Oct 25, Turkmenistan's President Saparmurat Niyazov announced that his energy-rich nation would provide citizens with natural gas and power free of charge through 2030.
    (AP, 10/25/06)

2006        Dec 21, President Saparmurat Niyazov (66), Turkmenistan's eccentric and iron-fisted leader, died. He had created a lavish cult of personality during two decades of rule over his isolated nation. The Turkmen constitution says the speaker of parliament assumes power on the death of the president. But just hours after Niyazov's death was reported, the national security council named Berdymukhamedov acting president and announced that speaker Overzgeldy Atayev had been charged with unspecified criminal offenses.
    (AP, 12/21/06)(AP, 12/22/06)

2006        Dec 22, In Turkmenistan acting president Gurbungali Berdymukhamedov pledged that new elections will be democratic, but only in the late dictator's interpretation of the word.
    (AP, 12/22/06)

2006        Dec 26, Turkmenistan's top legislative body rewrote the country's constitution to allow the country's acting president, in power for less than a week, to succeed its late leader.
    (AP, 12/26/06)

2007        Jan 3, Turkmenistan's acting president, in his first campaign statement for next month's election, called for wider Internet access in the country and for improving pensions that were slashed last year.
    (AP, 1/4/07)

2007        Feb 4, In Turkmenistan an eight-story building collapsed in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir killing 5 people. A 15-year-old boy was rescued 36 hours later.
    (AP, 2/6/07)

2007        Feb 11, Voters cast ballots as Turkmenistan, ruled for more than two decades by an eccentric autocrat, held its first presidential election with more than one candidate, but still only one party.
    (AP, 2/11/07)

2007        Feb 12, A state official said Turkmenistan planned to open its first public Internet cafes, signaling at least some liberalization under Interim President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov, the presumed winner of its presidential election.
    (AP, 2/12/07)

2007        Feb 14, Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov, Turkmenistan's new president, took office a few minutes after the head of the central elections commission announced he had won Sunday's election with nearly 90 percent of the vote. He pledged to follow the ways of longtime autocrat Saparmurat Niyazov, but also promised changes in a country ruled for decades in an all-encompassing cult of personality. He also promised "development of private ownership and entrepreneurship," educational reforms, and more doctors and hospitals.
    (AP, 2/14/07)

2007        May 12, The leaders of Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan reached a landmark pipeline deal that will strengthen Moscow's control over Central Asia's energy export routes.
    (AP, 5/12/07)

2007        Jun 20, Adm. William Fallon, a top US military commander, met with Turkmenistan's new President Berdymukhamedov for talks on regional security, counterterrorism operations and drug trafficking.
    (AP, 6/21/07)

2007        Dec 30, Turkmenistan turned off gas supplies to Iran, citing technical problems, after Iran balked at a price increase to $140 per thousand cubic meters, almost double the contracted rate. The move had a domino effect causing Iran to halt gas shipments to Turkey, which in turn cut off gas to Greece.
    (WSJ, 2/4/08, p.A2)(http://tinyurl.com/3xmzam)

2007        Italian Oil company ENI SpA bought Burren Energy PLC, a small independent company that operates an oil field in Turkmenistan. ENI from that point on was denied entry visas by Turkmenistan, which was annoyed at not being consulted in the deal.
    (WSJ, 4/23/08, p.B8)

2008        Jan 19, Turkmenistan Pres. Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov reversed his predecessor's 2001 ban on operas and circuses, saying that with increasing development in the Central Asian nation, it deserved to have such artistic performances.
    (AP, 1/20/08)

2008        Mar 5, Turkmenistan's state media reported that President Berdymukhamedov had approved a plan to reward women who give birth to eight or more children, a one-time bonus and lifetime perks.
    (AP, 3/5/08)

2008        Apr 14, Turkmenistan agreed to supply the EU with 10 billion cubic meters of gas beginning next year.
    (WSJ, 4/15/08, p.A14)

2008        Apr 23, In Turkmenistan Pres. Berdymukhamedov abolished the calendar introduced by his late predecessor, Saparmurat Niyazov, who named months after himself and his parents as part of an elaborate personality cult.
    (AP, 4/24/08)

2008        May 18, Turkmenistan held a foundation-laying ceremony in Ashgabat for a new, $70 million, 607-foot monument that will rise twice as high as Turkmenistan's current record-holder, a tower topped by a golden statue of late dictator Niyazov that rotates to face the sun.
    (AP, 5/19/08)

2008        Jun, Turkmenistan’s population numbered about 5 million.
    (Econ, 6/28/08, p.49)

2008        Sep 26, Turkmenistan's highest legislative body unanimously approved a new constitution that increased the president's powers but also broadened the role of parliament.
    (AP, 9/26/08)

2008        Oct 15, A study by Gaffney Cline & Associates of a big natural gas filed in Turkmenistan confirmed the South Yolotan-Osman as the fifth largest in the world.
    (WSJ, 10/16/08, p.A9)

2008        Dec 14, Voters in Turkmenistan cast ballots in a parliamentary election hailed by the government as an exercise in democracy but dismissed by critics as a sham.
    (AP, 12/14/08)

2009        Jan 15, In Turkmenistan Pres. Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov fired almost one-third of his Cabinet and the head of the state oil company in a large-scale reshuffle reminiscent of his eccentric predecessor's frequent purges.
    (AP, 1/16/09)

2009        Jan 30, Turkmenistan's authoritarian President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov ordered members of his government to go back to school or lose their jobs. He said that officials are under qualified to implement the necessary reforms in the energy-rich Central Asian nation.
    (AP, 1/31/09)

2009        Apr 8, In Turkmenistan a blast on a Central Asian pipeline halted the supply of Turkmen gas to Russia. The explosion was later said to have resulted from Gazprom’s decision to stop importing gas due to high prices and falling demand. Gazprom blamed the explosion on poor maintenance.
    (AP, 4/9/09)(Econ, 12/12/09, p.46)

2009        Jun 6, Turkmenistan state media reported that China will lend the energy-rich country $3  billion to develop its vast South Yolotan natural gas field.
    (AP, 6/6/09)

2009        Jun 15, Turkmenistan Pres. Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov staged lavish ceremonies for foreign guests and media to launch a new $1.5 billion resort on the desert shore of the Caspian Sea in a city named after his eccentric and autocratic predecessor.
    (AP, 6/15/09)

2009        Jun 16, China’s Pres. Hu Jintao announced a $10 billion loan to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, founded in 2001. The SCO grouped China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
    (http://tinyurl.com/pr5v65j)(Econ, 1/30/10, p.51)

2009        Jul 15, In Turkmenistan President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov led a ceremony for channeling water across hundreds of miles to create Golden Age Lake in the heart of the barren Karakum Desert, in a Soviet-style engineering feat that some experts fear could unleash an environmental catastrophe.
    (AP, 7/16/09)

2009        Aug 31, Turkmenistan President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov said a base will be built at the Caspian Sea port city of Turkmenbashi to help "effectively fight smugglers, terrorists and any other forces." Turkmenistan is locked in a dispute with Azerbaijan, on the opposite shore, over several oil and gas fields.
    (AP, 8/31/09)

2009        Oct 9, The US Peace Corps’ country director in Turkmenistan said the Central Asian nation has denied entry to 47 Peace Corps volunteers. A diplomatic note from the embassy said that they would be invited next year, but not for this year.
    (AP, 10/9/09)

2009        Nov 30, Tajikistan unveiled a Chinese-built 500-kilowatt transmission line that will link the northern and central parts of the country. This would add to the poor nation's debt to China but reduce reliance on Uzbekistan, which planned to withdraw on Dec 1 from the Soviet-era power grid that unites four Central Asian countries. This prompted fears of electricity shortages that could make for a winter of hardship in impoverished Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Tajikistan, said the move will cut it off from gas-rich Turkmenistan.
    (AP, 11/30/09)

2009        Dec 9, Iran claimed that a newly built UN station to detect nuclear explosions was built in Turkmenistan near its border to give the West a post to spy on the country. The Vienna-based Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, or CTBTO, said the station has now been fully constructed and is currently undergoing testing.
    (AP, 12/9/09)

2009        Dec 14, China’s Pres. Hu Jintao and the leaders of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan gathered at the Saman-Depe gas field in Turkmenistan and inaugurated a 1,139-mile gas pipeline running through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to China’s Xinjiang province.
    (Econ, 1/30/10, p.51)(www.wsws.org/articles/2009/dec2009/pipe-d21.shtml)

2009        The average income of Turkmenistan’s 5 million people was under $300 a month.
    (Econ, 12/12/09, p.45)

2009        Dilip Hiro authored “Inside Central Asia: A Political and Cultural History of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey and Iran."
    (Econ, 9/26/09, p.98)
2009        Daniel Metcalfe authored “Out of Steppe: The Lost Peoples of Central Asia." He describes such people as the Karakalpak in Uzbekistan, the Yaghnobi in people of Tajikistan, the Jews of Bukhara and the Germans of Kazakhstan.
    (Econ, 5/16/09, p.91)

2010        Jan 6, In Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Iranian Pres. Ahmadinejad inaugurated a new gas pipeline link to Iran from Turkmenistan, which he said would take ties to a "new level."
    (AFP, 1/6/10)

2010        Feb 18, Turkmenistan Pres. Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov said "If anyone wishes to propose creating a new political party, we can register one this year, as stipulated by the Constitution." The constitution, adopted in 1992, allows for the formation of political parties.
    (AP, 2/19/10)

2010        Mar 27, Iran used an ancient new year celebration to reach out to Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Turkey at a summit meeting that projected Iranian leadership in the strategic region straddling the Middle East and Central Asia.
    (AP, 3/27/10)

2010        Apr 2, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pushed Turkmenistan to improve its human rights record, opening a trip through ex-Soviet Central Asia where complaints of violations are extensive.
    (AP, 4/2/10)

2010        Nov 28, Iran's Pres. Ahmadinejad and Turkmen Pres. Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov inaugurated the last section of the Sarakhs-Tehran pipeline to export Turkmen gas to northeast Iran.
    (AFP, 11/28/10)

2010        Nov 28, Iran's Pres. Ahmadinejad and Turkmen Pres. Berdymukhamedov inaugurated the last section of the Sarakhs-Tehran pipeline to export Turkmen gas to northeast Iran.
    (AFP, 11/28/10)

2010        Dec 11, Turkmenistan signed broad agreements with Afghanistan, India and Pakistan at a summit in its capital Ashgabat on the 1,700-km (1,050-mile) TAPI pipeline. Afghanistan the next day said it will deploy up to 7,000 troops to secure the major transnational gas pipeline, slated to run through some of the most dangerous parts of the war-torn country.
    (AFP, 12/12/10)

2011        Apr 24, Turkmenistan culminated a weekend horse show with opening of the four new lavish race tracks. The country boasted around 3,000 Akhal-Teke horses, of which 500 are owned by the President Gurbanguli  Berdymukhamedov.
    (AP, 4/24/11)

2011        Apr 26, It was reported that education authorities in Turkmenistan have abolished the requirement for school-leavers to take an exam on the two-volume Rukhnama (Book of the Soul), a rambling spiritual guide written by the country's late Pres. Saparmurat Niyazov.
    (AP, 4/26/11)

2011        May 28, Afghan President Hamid Karzai traveled to neighboring Turkmenistan on a trip aimed at drumming up regional support for his struggling nation's economic future.
    (AP, 5/28/11)

2011        May 31, The official newspaper Neutral Turkmenistan reported that Pres. Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov has signed a decree authorizing the creation of the National Space Agency. Earlier this month, US space transportation company SpaceX vice president Christophe Bauer announced that his company would launch a satellite for the Central Asian nation in 2014.
    (AP, 5/31/11)

2011        Jul 7, In Turkmenistan a series of mysterious blasts severely damaged hundreds of houses in the town of Abadan, 12 miles (20 km) from the capital, Ashgabat. Exiled Turkmen activists said a munitions dump was the source of the blast and that many people have been killed.
    (AP, 7/8/11)

2011        Nov 23, Turkmenistan signed an agreement with China to boost natural gas deliveries. This will see the central Asian nation supply about half of China's gas needs. The gas agreement was one of 14 signed following talks in Beijing between Turkmen President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov and Chinese President Hu Jintao.
    (AP, 11/23/11)

2012        Feb 12, Turkmenistan held presidential elections. The seven candidates running against President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov (54) have all made praise for his leadership a central plank of their campaigns. Berdymukhamedov won a new five-year term by capturing 97 percent of the vote. A Western expert called the vote a democratic sham.
    (AP, 2/12/12)(AP, 2/13/12)

2012        May 19, Turkmenistan unveiled in Ashgabat the world’s largest Ferris wheel in an enclosed space.
    (SSFC, 5/20/12, p.A4)

2013        Feb 13, Ukraine reached a tentative agreement with Turkmenistan to resume imports of natural gas from the energy-rich Central Asian nation. Completion of the deal would require the consent of Kazakhstan and Russia as transit nations.
    (AP, 2/13/13)

2013        Apr 28, Turkmenistan President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov (55) escaped serious injury when his horse stumbled and he pitched into the dirt track at the hippodrome on the outskirts of the capital, Ashgabat. State television's video of the race cut off just before the fall. State media reported that Berdymukhamedov won the race. The president reappeared about half an hour later to accept the winner's prize — about $11 million.
    (AP, 5/1/13)

2013        Dec 15, Turkmenistan held its first multi-party legislative elections, but with no opposition to trouble the dominance of President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. Amnesty Int’l. called it a sham.
    (AFP, 12/15/13)(SFC, 12/16/13, p.A2)

2013        Dec 19, In Turkmenistan official election results said the ruling party won the most seats in the Dec 15 legislative elections, while a new party set up to diversify politics in the ultra-controlled state won its first-ever mandates.
    (AFP, 12/19/13)

2014        Jan 18, Turkmenistan's Pres. Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedo said his government will begin installing gas meters in households, ending the unlimited supply of free gas to citizens. The nation is estimated to have the world's fourth-largest natural gas reserves, and gas, electricity and water have been supplied free to households since 1993.
    (AP, 1/18/14)

2014        Feb 1, Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov said in a resolution published in the official government newspaper that each person would still be allowed up to 50 cubic meters of gas for free, but anything over that amount would cost $7 per thousand cubic meters.
    (AP, 2/1/14)

2014        Jul 9, Turkmenistan President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov announced that a university entrance exam based on the Ruhnama, or "Book of the Soul," by former president Saparmurat Niyazov, would be abolished.
    (AP, 7/9/14)

2014        Nov 11, Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambayev, who has completed a tour seeking help from neighboring countries, said that he obtained a preliminary agreement for gas-rich Turkmenistan to supply up to 1 billion kilowatt hours annually. Kazakhstan last week agreed to provide 1.4 billion kilowatt hours per year, around one-fifth of Kyrgyzstan's average consumption.
    (AP, 11/11/14)

2014        Dec 3, In the Turkmen frontier village of Ak-Yayla the presidents of Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan attended the official opening of a railway line linking landlocked Central Asia with the Persian Gulf.
    (AP, 12/3/14)

2015        May 16, Turkmenistan state media reported the pardon of 1,202 Turkmen prisoners and 13 foreigners in an amnesty.
    (AFP, 5/16/15)

2015        Oct 23, Japan and Turkmenistan signed deals worth over $18 billion on a package of projects in the energy-rich central Asian nation, which has become an important supplier of natural gas to China.
    (Reuters, 10/23/15)

2015        Oct, Turkmenistan Pres. Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov (58) published his poem “Forward, only forward, my dear country Turkmenistan. In November a choir of 4,166 people inside a giant yurt broke a world record by singing the hymn.
    (AFP, 11/30/15)

2015        Nov 7, Turkmenistan media said President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has ordered the start of construction on a pipeline carrying gas from the former Soviet state to India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
    (AFP, 11/7/15)

2016        Jan 5, Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov slammed the country's anti-smoking strategy at a televised government meeting. Authorities soon began to force shops to stop selling cigarettes, but a ban on cigarette sales was not yet officially announced or published by the government.
    (AFP, 1/14/16)

2016        Jan 12, Banks in Turkmenistan halted hard currency sales as the economy shows signs of struggling amid falling global energy prices.
    (AP, 1/12/16)

2016        Jan, Russia called off all purchases of gas from Turkmenistan.
    (Econ, 12/17/16, p.36)

2016        Feb 6, Turkmenistan state television said Pres. Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has sacked his administration chief, complaining of corruption and mismanagement.
    (AFP, 2/6/16)

2016        Mar 16, Turkmenistan's president arrived in Pakistan on a two-day visit that is likely to focus on a proposed gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan, Pakistan and on to India.
    (AP, 3/16/16)

2016        Jul 12, Human Rights Watch urged an end to "forced anal examinations" with a report documenting them in eight countries, mostly in Africa, saying the practice is based on flawed ideas about supposedly proving homosexual conduct. The report drew on interviews with 32 men and transgender women subjected to the exams in eight countries that ban same-sex conduct: Cameroon, Egypt, Kenya, Lebanon, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda and Zambia.
    (AP, 7/12/16)

2016        Sep, Turkmenistan opened a new falcon-shaped airport in Ashgabat.
    (Econ, 12/17/16, p.36)

2016        Nov 28, The presidents of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan officially opened a new railroad at the Imamnazar station on the Turkmen side of the border that will link the oil-rich former Soviet republic with Afghanistan.
    (AP, 11/28/16)

2016        Dec, Foreign analysts estimated that as many as 60% of workers in Turkmenistan are in effect unemployed.
    (Econ, 12/17/16, p.36)

2017        Jan 3, Turkmenistan said that it has restricted natural gas deliveries to Iran over unpaid debts. Iranian state media have put the figure demanded by Turkmenistan at around $2 billion.
    (AP, 1/3/17)

2017        Feb 12, Turkmenistan voted with a massive announced turnout in a presidential vote expected to tighten strongman Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov's hold over the gas-rich Central Asian country. Berdymukhamedov won with 98% of the vote.
    (AFP, 2/12/17)(Econ, 2/18/17, p.33)

2017        Mar 31, Leaders of Turkmenistan and Belarus attended the launch of a huge potash fertilizer plant worth more than $1 billion. The plant in Garlyk, built near huge potash deposits, was built by Belarus.
    (AP, 3/31/17)

2017        Aug 19, In Turkmenistan merchants at several stores said that authorities had ordered alcohol sales be halted until October, after the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games conclude. The competition in Ashgabat, the capital, takes place Sept. 17-27.
    (AP, 8/19/17)

2017        Oct 2, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with the president of Turkmenistan on a rare visit to the gas-rich Central Asian nation.
    (AP, 10/2/17)

2017        Dec 22, The US State Department re-designated China, Eritrea, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan as "countries of particular concern" under the International Religious Freedom Act for having engaged in or tolerated egregious violations of religious freedom.
    (AP, 1/4/18)

2018        Jan 29, Iran oil ministry said it said it is ready to file a case with the International Court of Arbitration (ICA) over the quality and price of gas it receives from Turkmenistan, as a dispute between the two nations over payments escalates.
    (Reuters, 1/29/18)

2018        Feb 23, Afghanistan's Pres. Ashraf Ghani and Pakistan's PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi launched a 1,814 km (1,130 mile) gas pipeline that will feed Turkmenistan gas to Afghanistan, as well as Pakistan and eventually to India.
    (AP, 2/23/18)

2018        Mar 25, Turkmenistan held parliamentary elections that included candidates from three parties and some independents, but no real opposition to President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov (60). Serdar Berdymukhamedov (36), the son of the authoritarian president, scored a huge victory in the tightly controlled parliamentary elections. Turkmenistan has no tradition of competitive elections or political opposition.
    (AP, 3/25/18)(AFP, 3/30/18)

2018        Aug 12, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan agreed in principle how to divide up the potentially huge oil and gas resources of the Caspian Sea.
    (Reuters, 8/12/18)

2019        Jan 1, In Turkmenistan a law took effect forbidding the sale of alcoholic drinks including beer on trains, airplanes and ferries and at sports facilities. It also banned the sale of alcohol on holidays when workers get the day off. The law called for alcohol sales to be banned on Saturdays and Sundays beginning in 2021, except at bars and restaurants.
    (AP, 1/1/19)

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