Turkmenistan is a state in Central Asia that borders Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, and has an outlet to the Caspian Sea’s waters.

A presidential republic with a population of about 5.6 million, it is a country formed in 1991 from the breakup of the Soviet Union, like the other states in the region. Second to Kazakhstan in terms of economic standing, compared to other countries in the area, it is rich in natural gas reserves, and its agriculture is characterized by widespread cotton cultivation.

The capital is Ashgabat. The country was originally inhabited by Turkmen tribes before being conquered by numerous empires, the Arab conquest, the subsequent Islamization, and finally the country’s incorporation into the Seljuk domains. Historically located along the Silk Road, the land also became part of the Mongol and then later the Safavid empires. In the 19th century the territory that is now Turkmenistan became part of the tsarist empire and then part of the Soviet Union after 1917.

The ethnic Turkmen make up over 80% of the population, which is joined by Uzbek, Russian, and other regional minorities. The religion of the majority is Sunni Islam.

The primary sector is what characterizes the country’s economy, with a strong prevalence of cotton cultivation, complemented by other crops and animal husbandry, as well as the exploitation of mineral resources and oil and gas deposits.

The energy industry accounts for the majority of economic ties with Italy, where imports outweigh exports in the exchange. The presence of Italian companies in the heavy industry, infrastructure and communication sectors is noteworthy, with some major projects completed in the country.

Positive diplomatic relations exist between Italy and Turkmenistan. It is worth mentioning that a bilateral agreement for Investment Promotion and Protection was ratified in September 2020; the agreement has a ten-year term with room for extension.