Turkmenistan National Symbols

National flag of Turkmenistan

National flag

Description: five stars with a white crescent moon on a dark green background and (on the leech) five carpet designs with an olive branch on a red background.

Explanation: The green color and the white crescent stand for Islam, the five stars represent the five provinces (Welayate) of the country. The five carpet patterns (so-called guls) stand for the five tribes of Turkmenistan, the olive branch stands for the country’s neutrality, officially recognized by the United Nations. The red background corresponds to the red color of traditional Turkmen carpets

Background: There is no consensus on the five tribes represented on the flag. It is only certain that the Akhal-Tekke in the vicinity of the capital and the Mary-Tekke in the east of the country are counted among these.

In addition, the Turkic tribes living in what is now Turkmenistan can be divided into the following groups:

  • Göklen and Southern Yomut (in the west of the country, especially the Balkans province)
  • Northern Yomut and Chaudir (in the north, especially Daschogus province)
  • Ersari (in the northeast, especially Lebap province)
  • Salir (in the southeast, Akhal and Mary Province)
  • Sarik (in the southeast, especially Mary province)

According to Printerhall.com, carpets have been knotted in Turkmenistan for several thousand years. The carpets, traditionally made from camel and sheep wool, are almost invariably red in color. The carpets differ in their individual tribal and clan motifs (guls), which, like a kind of early label, reveal the respective manufacturer and thus also serve as a seal of quality. The name of these carpets (Tekke carpet) comes from the fact that the Tekke tribes in the south of the country were (and are) the main producers of these carpets. The name of the carpets after one of their most important places of sale – Bukhara (Bukhara carpet) is more common, especially in western countries. In both cases it is the same type of carpet. For details on buying and exporting carpets, see the section – Buying souvenirs.

National flag of Turkmenistan

State coat of arms

All Turkmen national symbols – especially the national flag and the national coat of arms – are full of allusions to the history, the material values and the culture of the country.

Description: Horse on a blue background, surrounded by the five carpet patterns of the five tribes of Turkmenistan on a red background surrounded by a 4/5 wreath of golden ears of corn and cotton with a white crescent moon and five white stars in the wreath opening on a green background in the form of an octagonal star.

Explanation: The horse in the middle symbolizes the Turkmen horse-breeding tradition of the nomadic people and specifically stands for the Akhal-Tekkiner horses from Turkmenistan. The carpet patterns symbolize the five tribes (see above). Wheat and cotton are the main products of Turkmen agriculture. Like the green background, the moon stands for Islam (see above) and the five stars stand for the five provinces (see above). The octagonal shape is derived from the Oghusen, who, according to Turkmen historiography, had an octagonal star as a distinguishing mark and who founded the Turkmen nation state 5,000 years ago, from which all other Turkic peoples descended.

National anthem

Official translations of the current version of the Turkmen national anthem are so far only available in Russian and English. An informal translation into German has not yet been found, so that the text is not reproduced here in the interests of accessibility. A solemnly played instrumental version of the Turkmen national anthem gives an acoustic impression.

In 2008, Berdimuhamedow had the memory of his predecessor removed from the national anthem. According to the official translation, the first line of the hymn and the previous chorus read: “The great house built by Turkmenbashi”. Turkmenbaschi (in German about father (and at the same time leader) of the Turkmen) was the honorary title that President Niyazov had given himself.

National oath

An official translation of the current (since 2016) version of the Turkmen national oath is so far only available in English, which is not reproduced here in the interests of accessibility. An informal German translation reads:

Turkmenistan, best fatherland, my homeland and in my thoughts and in my heart I am always with you. My hand should be taken from me for the smallest evil that I cause you. My language is to be taken from me for the most insignificant bad word that I repeat after you. And in the hour of my high treason against the President of Turkmenistan, the sacred (Turkmen) flag, my breath should be taken.

Here, too, President Berdimuhamedov had the reference to his predecessor removed after he came to power. While Turkmens continue to swear the oath directly on the president and tie their lives to his, the earlier version did not address the president but Turkmenbashi personally. The conclusion read accordingly: “And at the moment of my betrayal of his holy banner, to President Turkmenbashi, my breath shall be taken from me”.