Threats to his country's security and economy have compelled Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov to tighten his grip on power.
(SEAN GALLUP/Getty Images)
With a small population of roughly 5.2 million people and a geography defined mostly by desert, Turkmenistan has remained internally cohesive and for the most part spared of the disruptive internal divides of its Central Asian counterparts. Very few opposition groups exist within the country, and those that do provide de facto support for the government.
But these factors do not ensure stability for Turkmenistan indefinitely. Though the government is unlikely to face significant political competition anytime soon, it is nonetheless beginning to grapple with growing security and economic challenges that will pose a stronger test to its dominance down the line....