Country report and updates: Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan decided to create its own armed forces in early 1992. However, their first full-scale military exercises did not occur until October 1995. 
Military service lasts for two years - although according to another source the period is 18 months.  
postponement and exemption
No information available.
No information available.
2 Conscientious objection
The right to conscientious objection is not legally recognized and there are no provisions for substitute service. 
There are no known cases of conscripts openly refusing to perform military service.
3 Draft evasion and desertion
Minister of Defence Kopekov stated in 1992 that legislation was being drafted whereby deserters would face "very severe measures, including criminal responsibility". 
No further details about this are known.
Draft evasion is widespread and has increased significantly since Turkmenistan became an independent state. It is caused by the poor conditions and human rights violations within the armed forces. Crime is a serious problem in the armed forces: in 1996 even President Niyazov referred to the problem of arms sales, drug smuggling and even the 'sale' of conscripts in remote garrisons by garrison leaders to local farmers. 
Desertion too is widespread. In 1994 there was said to be a 20 percent desertion rate - which would indicate approximately 2,000 soldiers deserted from the armed forces that year. 
It is not known how far draft evasion and desertion are actually monitored and punished.
6 Annual statistics
The armed forces are 16,000 to 18,000-strong - that is, about 0.40 percent of the population. 
Every year approximately 40,000 men reach conscription age. 
 Shishlevskiy, Valentin 1994. 'The Evolution of Turkmenistan's Armed Forces', in: Asian Defence Journal, 7/1994.  Kangas, Roger D. 1996. 'With an Eye on Russia, Central Asian Militaries Practice Cooperation', in: Transition, 9 August 1996.  Amnesty International 1992. Concerns in Europe November 1991 - April 1992. AI, London.  Institute for Strategic Studies 1997. Military Balance 1997/98. ISS, London.  Amnesty International 1997. Out of the margins, the right to conscientious objections to military service in Europe. AI, London.  UN Commission on Human Rights, 1997. The question of conscientious objection to military service, report of the Secretary-General prepared pursuant to Commission resolution 1995/83. United Nations, Geneva.
Arrested in December 2020, 20-year-old conscientious objector Ruslan Artykmuradov is awaiting trial in prison for refusing compulsory military service. He offered to do an alternative civilian service, but Turkmenistan does not offer this, despite repeated United Nations calls.
A list of some of those currently in prison for their work for peace. Write to them on 1st December, Prisoners for Peace Day, help us grow our solidarity!
A Dashoguz Region court jailed Jehovah's Witness Vepa Matyakubov for two years on 17 February, his second criminal conviction for refusing military service on grounds of conscience. He had offered to do an alternative civilian service but Turkmenistan does not offer this. He is likely to join nine other jailed conscientious objectors in Seydi labour camp, known for harsh conditions and torture.