Sat, May 20, 2006 - Page 14 News List

Globe trotting 世界走透透 --- Turkmenistan 土庫曼

Once a part of the Soviet Union, Turkmenistan became an independent country with the Soviet breakup in 1991. However, over the past 15 years, Turkmenistan has been slow to move away from its authoritarian past. Take a look below and see why living under Turkmenistan's post-Soviet government can be challenging, unpredictable and sometimes just bizzare.
土庫曼曾是蘇聯的一部份,隨著一九九一年蘇聯解體而成為獨立國家。過去十五年來,土庫曼進度緩慢地擺脫昔日威權統治。讓我們來看看,土庫曼在後蘇聯政府統治下極富挑戰,詭變多端,甚至是奇異的生活。

Taipei Times 台北時報

A statue of President Niyazov stands in Ashgabat.佇立在土庫曼首都阿什哈巴特的尼亞佐夫總統雕像。照片:法新社

PHOTO: AFP

A closer look 說古論今

Turkmens have always been nomads. Each group of nomads has its own dialect, clothing and religious beliefs. They are famous for the rugs that they make, which for some people provide a large portion of the family income. Like the customs of the nomadic groups, the rugs vary depending on which group made them. Perhaps one of the few common traits among all the people of Turkmenistan is that although the official language is Turkmen, almost everyone speaks Russian, even people far removed from the cities. Russian is useful for communication between groups that speak different dialects.

Life in Turkmenistan can be difficult. The people have traditionally lived in the country's deserts, and have been reluctant to move to the cities. Turkmenistan has large natural gas and oil resources, but during the 1990s it was forced to concentrate on exporting cotton because Russia would not help export the gas. Today, 50 percent of the land that can be used for farming in Turkmenistan is planted with cotton.

Life outside the cities was made even harder in February of 2005 when Turkmenistan's president, Saparmurat Niyazov, decided to close all the hospitals in the country outside of the capital, Ashgabat. He said that if anybody became sick, he or she could just come to the capital. He also ordered that all public libraries outside of the cities be closed, saying that people in rural areas don't read. In 1999, he was named president for life.   (Taipei Times)

土庫曼人向來是遊牧民族。每一個遊牧族群都有自己的方言、衣著服飾與宗教信仰。他們的手工地毯聞名遐邇,是某些家庭收入的主要來源。如同遊牧族群的風俗各異,這些地毯的風格也依據各族群各異。土庫曼人少數共通點之一就是,雖然官方語言為土庫曼語,但幾乎所有人都講俄語,即便是遠從城市移居而來的人也如此。不同方言的各族群溝通時,俄語就派上用場。

在土庫曼生活艱難。土庫曼人傳統生活於沙漠地帶,一直不願移居到城市。土庫曼人擁有大量的天然氣與石油資源,不過一九九○年代由於俄羅斯不願協助其出口天然氣,被迫將重心放在棉花出口上。目前土庫曼有五成的農業用地種植棉花。

About Turkmenistan 國家概況

Size: 488,100km2, more than 13 times the size of Taiwan

Location: Central Asia

Border countries: Uzbekistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan

Capital: Ashgabat

Population: 5,042,920

Languages: Turkmen, Russian, Uzbek

Government: Authoritarian presidential rule

Currency: NT$1 is about 155 Turkmen manat

面積:四十八萬八千一百平方公里,約大於台灣的十三倍

位置:中亞

鄰國:烏茲別克、伊朗、阿富汗、哈薩克

首都:阿什哈巴特

人口:五百零四萬二千九百二十人

語言:土庫曼語,俄語,烏茲別克語

政府:總統集權

貨幣:新台幣一元約等於一百五十五馬納特


二○○五年二月,土庫曼總統尼亞佐夫決定關閉首都阿什哈巴特以外的所有醫院,讓城市外的生活更加困難。他表示,假如有人生病,只要到首都就醫即可。他認為鄉村地區的人民並不閱讀,下令城市以外的公立圖書館關門。一九九九年,尼亞佐夫被任命為終身職的總統。 (翻譯:賴美君)

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