Definition of Youth

Turkmenistan’s national youth policy (2013) defines youth as citizens between 14-30 years.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 16
  • --
  • XX
  • Female
  • 16
  • --
  • XX

  • Male homosexual acts illegal.  Female homosexual acts legal. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
Children between 14-16 years are criminally liable for serious offences. Source:  UN Child Rights Periodic Report

Majority Age


Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • 99.76% Male (15-24) %
  • 99.91% Female (15-24) %

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • --Male %
  • -- Female %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: UNESCO

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • -- Male (13-15) %
  • -- Female (13-15) %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Turkmenistan has a 2013 state law on youth policy, replacing the previous 1993 version.

One of the key objectives of the national youth policy (NYP)(2013) is the “[c]reation of legal, social, economic and organizational conditions and guarantees for development and realisation of the potential of Turkmenistan's youth in personality, society and State." The NYP has 15 key policy areas including: participation; rights and freedoms; education; health; sport & healthy lifestyles; creative activity; vulnerable youth; young families; talented youth; physical & spiritual development; labour & youth employment; youth entrepreneurship; cultural entertainment; recreation; youth associations and international youth cooperation. The Law on Guarantees of the Rights of the Child (2002) details the rights of children up to 18 inline with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
According to The Youth Of Turkmenistan In Transition Period: From Risk To Opportunities And Participation (1999), the Makhtumkuli Union of Youth of Turkmenistan (MUYT) is responsible for the implementation of the national youth policy (2013) and according to Central Asia Online is a “government-financed organisation.” However, MUYT is also described as a membership organisation that includes youth organisations. It is unclear whether it is a ministry, or a youth representation structure.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
According to The Youth Of Turkmenistan In Transition Period: From Risk To Opportunities And Participation (1999), “[p]articipation of the youth in the political life of the country is realized mainly through the Youth Union [MUYT].” The MUYT consists of youth organisations, school departments and according to Central Asia Online, has over 600,000 members. However, it remains a government-financed organisation and it is unclear whether it is a ministry, or a youth representation structure. The national youth policy (2013) initiates a biannual youth consultation event and initiate the establishment of a formal National Youth Forum.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
The national youth policy (2013) details the sources of funding for implementation but gives no costing breakdown or budget of governmental entities for youth programmes. The World Bank lists no data on public spending on education in Turkmenistan since 2000.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed August 2013).

Additional Background

According to An Exploration of Movements Toward National Youth Service Policy in 15 Countries in Eastern Europe and the Balkans (2007), a national youth service policy (NYSP) is unlikely to be in development in Turkmenistan:

The respondent indicated that there is neither a NYSP nor a movement to create one in Turkmenistan. The respondent does believe that a NYSP will be created one day, as there is a need for youth service. The respondent indicated that “educational awareness, training, and a legal base” are all needed to advance the NYSP movement.

The respondent noted that national policy landscape in Turkmenistan has “changed dramatically since the fall of the USSR.” However, despite recent reforms and innovations, the government “has yet to address the private social sector of Turkmenistan with supportive policies.” The respondent noted that the political climate worsened in 2003 when the government instituted “a law on the work of NGOs” which prohibits any action (even meetings) of non-registered organizations or groups. Despite the existence of international NGOs striving for societal development in Turkmenistan, the respondent noted that “the government has withheld its support from the country’s civil society.”

The respondent identified obstacles to the NYSP movement as “the lack of an officially approved, legal basis to create a NYSP, the lack of government support, a general lack of expertise in the field of youth service, and the need for awareness of youth service and policy.”

The respondent noted that in order for a NYSP to be created in Turkmenistan, “the state must legalize the activity, the local and international bodies must support the movement, special training must be conducted to implement the policy, monitoring and evaluation from experts should ensure the success of the policy, and lastly, networking and capacity building activities must take place among key players in the field of NYSP.”

The respondent had several suggestions for policy makers who may be interested in creating a NYSP. First, “the policy should be led by a body of youth (16-25) for their own interests.” Second, “the policy should be supported by the government, but not restricted to government bodies.” Third, “the policy should receive partial funding from government and foreign agencies either in the form of an award or in the form of a grant for specific projects.” Fourth, “the policy should be directed by a Board of Directors with a term of service for 2 years. Board members could be representatives of sponsoring organizations, international agencies, embassies, the government, business sectors, and individuals committed to the movement and its progress.” Lastly, “the NYSP should be democratic, have nominations and elections, and remain open to the public.”