Eastern Turkmenistan for centuries formed part of the Persian province of Khurasan; in medieval times Merv (today known as Mary) was one of the great cities of the Islamic world and an important stop on the Silk Road. Annexed by Russia between 1865 and 1885, Turkmenistan became a Soviet republic in 1924. It achieved independence upon the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. Extensive hydrocarbon/natural gas reserves could prove a boon to this underdeveloped country if extraction and delivery projects were to be expanded. The Turkmenistan Government is actively developing alternative petroleum transportation routes to break Russia's pipeline monopoly. President for Life Saparmurat NYYAZOW died in December 2006, and Turkmenistan held its first multi-candidate presidential electoral process in February 2007. Gurbanguly BERDIMUHAMEDOW, a vice premier under NYYAZOW, emerged as the country's new president. (CIA)



1. Persecution against Christians is on the rise - with Christian leaders getting beaten up and any foreign Christians deported forcefully. Pray that Christians would stand firm in what they believe and speak out against injustice.

2. Pray for an immediate end of all persecution of Christian Believers.

3. Pray for the eradication of poverty in Turkmenistan, where one out of every three persons lives in poverty.