Country Listing

Turkmenistan Table of Contents


Merchant Marine

Turkmenistan has a main Caspian Sea port at Turkmenbashy and a shipping line running from that port to Astrakhan in the Russian Federation on the north shore of the Caspian. However, the majority of freight is shipped from Turkmenbashy to Baku on the western shore of the Caspian. Other ports are Alaja, Okarem, and Chekelen, all of which were slated for reconstruction in the mid-1990s. In 1993 Turkmenistan bought two ships from Slovakia to use for export from the port at Sukhumi in Georgia. They are currently stationed at Novorossiysk on the Black Sea coast.


Turkmenistan's Ministry of Communications is the sole supplier of telecommunications services in Turkmenistan; the ministry also operates the postal and special delivery services and the delivery of press publications. Because of very low state-fixed rates, the ministry's budget is inadequate to perform all these services adequately.

There are two television broadcasting centers, the Orbita satellite station in Ashgabat and a second one in Nebitdag. The State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting is responsible for both. Through Orbita and Intelsat satellite transmissions, broadcasts reach all cities and rural centers. Broadcasting centers are linked by landline or microwave to other CIS states and Iran. Since 1992, the republic has received daily transmissions from Turkey.

Turkmenistan experiences many problems concerning communications technology. The telephone network is poorly developed. Only 28 percent of households have a telephone, and 550 villages lacked telephone service entirely in 1994. More than one-third of all subscribers use telephone exchanges that are thirty to forty years old and highly depreciated. Between 1986 and 1991, the number of telephones per 1,000 outlet accesses increased from 61 to 75, which represents 140 for urban and 22 for rural citizens. In 1994 there were eight main telephone lines per 100 inhabitants.

The Turkish government, working through the private Netas company of Turkey, began upgrading Turkmenistan's phone system in the early 1990s. The first electronic exchange was installed in Ashgabat. Implementation of the Intelsat IBS earth station, which will provide international circuit capacity via Ankara, is expected to improve the operation of local, long-distance, and international networks in the republic. Two telex networks provide telex and telegraph services. Only twenty international subscribers are linked via Moscow, and a few other specialized networks exist.

Data as of March 1996