Turkmen people

Turkmen people

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Turkmen people'
Start a new discussion about 'Turkmen people'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
The Turkmen are a Turkic people located primarily in the Central Asian states of Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...

, Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, and northeastern Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

. They speak the Turkmen language
Turkmen language
Turkmen is the national language of Turkmenistan...

, which is classified as a part of the Western Oghuz
Oghuz languages
The Oghuz languages, a major branch of the Turkic language family, are spoken by more than 110 million people in an area spanning from the Balkans to China.-Linguistic features:...

 branch of the Turkic languages
Turkic languages
The Turkic languages constitute a language family of at least thirty five languages, spoken by Turkic peoples across a vast area from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, and are considered to be part of the proposed Altaic language family.Turkic languages are spoken...

 family together with Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

, Azerbaijani
Azerbaijani language
Azerbaijani or Azeri or Torki is a language belonging to the Turkic language family, spoken in southwestern Asia by the Azerbaijani people, primarily in Azerbaijan and northwestern Iran...

, Qashqai
Qashqai language
Qashqai is a Turkic language spoken by the Qashqai people, an ethnic group living mainly in the Fars region of Iran. Estimates of the number of Qashqai speakers vary. Ethnologue gives a figure of one and a half million...

, Gagauz
Gagauz language
The Gagauz language is a Turkic language, spoken by the Gagauz people, and the official language of Gagauzia, Moldova. There are two dialects, Bulgar Gagauzi and Maritime Gagauzi. This is a different language from Balkan Gagauz Turkish....

 and Salar
Salar language
Salar is a Turkic language spoken by the Salar people, who mainly live in the provinces of Qinghai and Gansu in China; some also live in Ghulja, Xinjiang...

.

Origins


Originally, all Turkic tribes that were not part of the Turkic dynastic mythological system (for example, Uigurs, Karluks, Kalaches and a number of other tribes) were designated "Turkmens". Only later did this word come to refer to a specific ethnonym. The etymology of the term derives from Türk plus the Sogdian affix of similarity -myn ,-men, and means "resembling a Türk" or "co-Türk". A prominent Turkic scholar, Mahmud Kashgari
Mahmud Kashgari
Mahmud ibn Hussayn ibn Muhammad al-Kashgari was an 11th century Turkic scholar and lexicographer of Turkic languages from Kashgar.His father, Hussayn, was the mayor of Barsgan and related to the Qara-Khanid ruling dynasty...

, also mentions the etymology Türk manand (like Turks). The language and ethnicity of the Turkmen were much influenced by their migration to the west. Kashgari calls the Karluks Turkmen as well, but the first time the etymology Turkmen was used was by Makdisi in the second half of the 10th-century AD. Like Kashgari, he wrote that the Karluks and Oghuz Turks were called Turkmen. Modern scholars agree that the element -man/-men acts as an intensifier, and have translated the word as "pure Turk" or "most Turk-like of the Turks". Among Muslim chroniclers such as Ibn Kathir
Ibn Kathir
Ismail ibn Kathir was a Muslim muhaddith, Faqih, historian, and commentator.-Biography:His full name was Abu Al-Fida, 'Imad Ad-Din, Isma'il bin 'Umar bin Kathir, Al-Qurashi, Al-Busrawi...

 the etymology was attributed to the mass conversion of two hundred thousand households in AH 349 (971 CE), causing them to be named Turk Iman, which is a combination of "Turk" and "Iman" إيمان (faith, belief), meaning "believing Turks", with the term later dropping the hard-to-pronounce hamza.

Historically, all of the Western or Oghuz Turks
Oghuz Turks
The Turkomen also known as Oghuz Turks were a historical Turkic tribal confederation in Central Asia during the early medieval Turkic expansion....

 have been called Türkmen or Turkoman; however, today the terms are usually restricted to two Turkic groups: the Turkmen people of Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...

 and adjacent parts of Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

, and the Turkomans of Iraq and Syria.

During the Ottoman period these nomads were known by the names of Türkmen and Yörük
Yörük
The Yorouks, also Yuruks or Yörüks are immigrants, ultimately of Thracian descent,some of whom are still nomadic, primarily inhabiting the mountains of Anatolia and partly Balkan peninsula...

 or Yürük (Türkic "Nomad", other phonetic variations include Iirk, Iyierk, Hiirk, Hirkan, Hircanae, Hyrkan, Hyrcanae, the last four known from the Greek annals). These names were generally used to describe their nomadic way of life, rather than their ethnic origin. However, these terms were often used interchangeably by foreigners. At the same time, various other exoethnonym words were used for these nomads, such as 'Konar-göçer', 'Göçebe', 'Göçer-yörük', 'Göçerler', and 'Göçer-evliler'. The most common one among these was 'Konar-göçer' - nomadic Turcoman Turks. All of these words are found in Ottoman archival documents and carry only the meaning of 'nomad'.

The modern Turkmen people descend, at least in part, from the Oghuz Turks
Oghuz Turks
The Turkomen also known as Oghuz Turks were a historical Turkic tribal confederation in Central Asia during the early medieval Turkic expansion....

 of Transoxiana
Transoxiana
Transoxiana is the ancient name used for the portion of Central Asia corresponding approximately with modern-day Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, southern Kyrgystan and southwest Kazakhstan. Geographically, it is the region between the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers...

, the western portion of Turkestan
Turkestan
Turkestan, spelled also as Turkistan, literally means "Land of the Turks".The term Turkestan is of Persian origin and has never been in use to denote a single nation. It was first used by Persian geographers to describe the place of Turkish peoples...

, a region that largely corresponds to much of Central Asia as far east as Xinjiang
Xinjiang
Xinjiang is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. It is the largest Chinese administrative division and spans over 1.6 million km2...

. Oghuz tribes had moved westward from the Altay mountains
Altay Mountains
The Altai Mountains are a mountain range in East-Central Asia, where Russia, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan come together, and where the rivers Irtysh and Ob have their sources. The Altai Mountains are known as the original locus of the speakers of Turkic as well as other members of the proposed...

 in the 7th-century CE, through the Siberian steppes, and settled in this region. They also penetrated as far west as the Volga basin and the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

. These early Turkmens are believed to have mixed with native Sogdian peoples and lived as pastoral nomads until the Russian conquest of the 19th-century.

History


Major Ethnic Groups of Iran

Signs of advanced settlements have been found throughout Turkmenistan including the Djeitun settlement where neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 buildings have been excavated and dated to the 7th millennium BCE. By 2000 BCE, various Ancient Iranian peoples
Ancient Iranian peoples
Iranian peoples first appear in Assyrian records in the 9th century BCE. In Classical Antiquity they were found primarily in Scythia and Persia...

 began to settle throughout the region as indicated by the finds at the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex
Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex
The Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex is the modern archaeological designation for a Bronze Age culture of Central Asia, dated to ca. 2300–1700 BC, located in present day Turkmenistan, northern Afghanistan and northeastern Iran, southern Uzbekistan and western Tajikistan, centered on...

. Notable early tribes included the nomadic Massagatae and Scythians. The Achaemenid Empire annexed the area by the 4th century BCE and then lost control of the region following the invasion of Alexander the Great, whose Hellenistic influence had an impact upon the area and some remnants have survived in the form of a planned city which was discovered following excavations at Antiocheia (Merv
Merv
Merv , formerly Achaemenid Satrapy of Margiana, and later Alexandria and Antiochia in Margiana , was a major oasis-city in Central Asia, on the historical Silk Road, located near today's Mary in Turkmenistan. Several cities have existed on this site, which is significant for the interchange of...

). The Parni
Parni
The Parni or Aparni were an east Iranian people of the Ochus River valley, southeast of the Caspian Sea...

 invaded the region as the Parthian Empire
Parthian Empire
The Parthian Empire , also known as the Arsacid Empire , was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Persia...

 was established until it too fractured as a result of tribal invasions stemming from the north. Ephthalites, Huns
Huns
The Huns were a group of nomadic people who, appearing from east of the Volga River, migrated into Europe c. AD 370 and established the vast Hunnic Empire there. Since de Guignes linked them with the Xiongnu, who had been northern neighbours of China 300 years prior to the emergence of the Huns,...

, and Göktürks
Göktürks
The Göktürks or Kök Türks, were a nomadic confederation of peoples in medieval Inner Asia. Known in Chinese sources as 突厥 , the Göktürks under the leadership of Bumin Qaghan The Göktürks or Kök Türks, (Old Turkic: Türük or Kök Türük or Türük; Celestial Turks) were a nomadic confederation of...

 came in a long parade of invasions. Finally, the Sassanid Empire based in Persia ruled the area prior to the coming of the Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

s during the Umayyad Caliphate by 716 CE. The majority of the inhabitants were converted to Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 as the region grew in prominence. Next came the Oghuz Turks
Oghuz Turks
The Turkomen also known as Oghuz Turks were a historical Turkic tribal confederation in Central Asia during the early medieval Turkic expansion....

, who imparted their language upon the local population. A tribe of the Oghuz, the Seljuks, established a Turko-Iranian
Turko-Iranian
Turko-Iranian can refer to:* The various Turkic and Iranian hybrid traits pertaining to culture, dynasties as well population genetics of various peoples in Central Asia, as well as parts of West Asia and South Asia...

 culture that culminated in the Khwarezmid Empire by the 12th century. Mongol hordes led by Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan , born Temujin and occasionally known by his temple name Taizu , was the founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death....

 conquered the area between 1219 to 1221 and devastated many of the cities which led to a rapid decline of the remaining Iranian urban population.

The Turkmen largely survived the Mongol period due to their semi-nomadic life-style and became traders along the Caspian
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

, which led to contacts with Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

. Following the decline of the Mongols, Tamerlane conquered the area and his Timurid Empire would rule, until it too fractured, as the Safavids, Uzbeks
Uzbeks
The Uzbeks are a Turkic ethnic group in Central Asia. They comprise the majority population of Uzbekistan, and large populations can also be found in Afghanistan, Tajikstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Pakistan, Mongolia and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China...

, and Khanate of Khiva
Khanate of Khiva
The Khanate of Khiva was the name of a Uzbek state that existed in the historical region of Khwarezm from 1511 to 1920, except for a period of Persian occupation by Nadir Shah between 1740–1746. It was the patrilineal descendants of Shayban , the fifth son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan...

 all contested the area. The expanding Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 took notice of Turkmenistan's extensive cotton industry
Economy of Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan is largely desert country with nomadic cattle raising, intensive agriculture in irrigated oases, and huge gas and oil resources. One-half of its irrigated land is planted in cotton, placing the country in the top 10-15 producers. It also possesses the world's fourth largest reserves of...

, during the reign of Peter the Great, and invaded the area. Following the decisive Battle of Geok-Tepe in January 1881, Turkmenistan became a part of the Russian Empire. After the Russian Revolution
Russian Revolution of 1917
The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

, Soviet control was established by 1921 as Turkmenistan was transformed from a medieval Islamic region to a largely secularized republic within a totalitarian state. By 1991, with the fall of the Soviet Union
History of the Soviet Union (1985-1991)
The history of the Soviet Union from 1982 through 1991, spans the period from Leonid Brezhnev's death and funeral until the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Due to the years of Soviet military buildup at the expense of domestic development, economic growth stagnated...

, Turkmenistan achieved independence as well, but remained dominated by a one-party system of government led by the authoritarian regime of President Saparmurat Niyazov
Saparmurat Niyazov
Saparmurat Atayevich Niyazov; , was a Turkmen politician who served as President of Turkmenistan from 2 November 1990 until his death in 2006...

 until his death in December 2006.

Language



Turkmen (Latin: Türkmençe, Cyrillic: Түркменче) is the name of the language of the titular nation of Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...

. It is spoken by over 5,200,000 people in Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...

, and by roughly 3,000,000 people in other countries, including Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, and Russia. Up to 50% of native speakers in Turkmenistan also claim a good knowledge of Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

, a legacy of the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 and Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

.

Turkmen is not a literary language in Iran and Afghanistan, where many Turkmen tend towards bilingualism, usually conversant in the local dialects of Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

. Variations of the Persian alphabet are, however, used in Iran.

Genetic evidence



Genetic studies on mitochondrial DNA
Mitochondrial DNA
Mitochondrial DNA is the DNA located in organelles called mitochondria, structures within eukaryotic cells that convert the chemical energy from food into a form that cells can use, adenosine triphosphate...

 (mtDNA) restriction polymorphism confirmed that Turkmen were characterized by the presence of local Iranian mtDNA lineages, similar to the Eastern Iranian populations, but high male Mongoloid genetic component observed in Turkmens and Eastern Iranian populations with the frequencies of about 20%. Phenotype diversity can be discerned amongst the Turkmen, who exhibit full continuum between northern Mongoloid and Mediterranean Caucasoid physical types. This most likely indicates an ancestral combination of Iranian
Iranian peoples
The Iranian peoples are an Indo-European ethnic-linguistic group, consisting of the speakers of Iranian languages, a major branch of the Indo-European language family, as such forming a branch of Indo-European-speaking peoples...

 groups and Mongol that the modern Turkmen have inherited and which appears to correspond to the historical record which indicates that various Iranian tribes existed in the region prior to the migration of Turkic tribes who are believed to have merged with the local population and imparted their language and created something of a hybrid Turko-Iranian
Turko-Iranian
Turko-Iranian can refer to:* The various Turkic and Iranian hybrid traits pertaining to culture, dynasties as well population genetics of various peoples in Central Asia, as well as parts of West Asia and South Asia...

 culture.

Religion


The Nestorian Christians entered Turkmenistan in the fourth century A.D.; by the beginning of the fourteenth century, though, any lingering trace of Christianity had been totally replaced by Islam. This transition gradually came to influence the political, civil, and economic lives of the people. In 1928, the Soviet authorities launched an anti-religious campaign aimed at the complete destruction of Islam among the Turkmen. The campaign was the harshest and most violent of all anti-Islamic attacks in Central Asia. Today, despite the outward conformity to Islam, mysticism and other past religious traditions are still prevalent.

Nomadic heritage



The Turkmen were mainly a nomadic people for most of their history and most of them were not settled in cities and towns until the advent of the Soviet system of government, which severely restricted freedom of movement and collectivized nomadic herdsmen by the 1930s. Many pre-Soviet cultural traits have survived in Turkmen society however and have recently undergone a kind of revival.

Turkmen lifestyle was heavily invested in horsemanship and as a prominent horse culture, Turkmen horse-breeding was an ages old tradition. In spite of changes prompted by the Soviet period, a tribe in southern Turkmenistan has remained very well known for their horses, the Akhal-Teke
Akhal-Teke
The Akhal-Teke is a horse breed from Turkmenistan, where they are a national emblem. They are noted for their speed and for endurance on long marches. These "golden-horses" are adapted to severe climatic conditions and are thought to be one of the oldest surviving horse breeds...

 desert horse - and the horse breeding tradition has returned to its previous prominence in recent years.

Many tribal customs still survive among modern Turkmen. Unique to Turkmen culture is kalim which is a groom's "dowry
Dowry
A dowry is the money, goods, or estate that a woman brings forth to the marriage. It contrasts with bride price, which is paid to the bride's parents, and dower, which is property settled on the bride herself by the groom at the time of marriage. The same culture may simultaneously practice both...

", that can be quite expensive and often results in the widely practiced tradition of bridal kidnapping
Bride kidnapping
Bride kidnapping, also known as marriage by abduction or marriage by capture, is a practice throughout history and around the world in which a man abducts the woman he wishes to marry...

. In something of a modern parallel, President Saparmurat Niyazov introduced a state enforced "kalim", wherein all foreigners are required to pay a sum of no less than $50,000 to marry a Turkmen woman.

Other customs include the consultation of tribal elders, whose advice is often eagerly sought and respected. Many Turkmen still live in extended families where various generations can be found under the same roof, especially in rural areas.

The music of the nomadic and rural Turkmen people reflects rich oral traditions, where epics such as Koroglu
Koroglu
A dance tune in a five-beat rhythm that was well-known to the farming populations of Asia Minor and the Aydın area in particular. In Turkish, “köroğlu”means “the son of the blind man” and the reference is to a famous troubadour whosereputation spread from Asia Minor as far as the Caucasus, Persia,...

 are usually sung by itinerant bards. These itinerant singers are called bakshy
Bakshy
The bakshy are traditional Turkmen musicians. Historically they have been traveling singers and shamans, acting as healers and spiritual figures, and also providing the music for celebrations of weddings, births and other important life events...

; they also act as healers and magicians and sing either a cappella or with instruments such as the two-stringed lute
Lute
Lute can refer generally to any plucked string instrument with a neck and a deep round back, or more specifically to an instrument from the family of European lutes....

 called dutar
Dutar
The dutar is a traditional long-necked two-stringed lute found in Iran, Central Asia and South Asia...

.

Society today


Since Turkmenistan's independence in 1991, a cultural revival has taken place with the return of a moderate form of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 and celebration of Novruz (an Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

ian tradition) or New Year's Day.

Turkmen can be divided into various social classes including the urban intelligentsia and workers whose role in society is different from that of the rural peasantry. Secularism and atheism
Atheism
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...

 remain prominent for many Turkmen intellectuals who favor moderate social changes and often view extreme religiousity and cultural revival with some measure of distrust.

Self-proclaimed President for Life Saparmurat Niyazov
Saparmurat Niyazov
Saparmurat Atayevich Niyazov; , was a Turkmen politician who served as President of Turkmenistan from 2 November 1990 until his death in 2006...

 was largely responsible for many of the changes that have taken place in modern Turkmen society. Mimicking the Turkish reformist policies of Atatürk in Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, Niyazov made nationalism an important element in Turkmenistan, while contacts with Turkmen in neighboring Iran and Afghanistan have increased. Significant changes to the names of the cities as well as calendar reform were introduced by President Niyazov as well. The calendar reform
Renaming of Turkmen months and days of week, 2002
On August 10, 2002, the government of Turkmenistan adopted a law to rename all the months and most of the days of week. The names were chosen according to Turkmen national symbols, as described in Ruhnama, a book written by Saparmurat Niyazov, Turkmenistan's first president for life...

 resulted in renaming months and days of the week from Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 or Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an-derived words into purely Turkmen ones, some of them eponymously related to the president or his family
Family
In human context, a family is a group of people affiliated by consanguinity, affinity, or co-residence. In most societies it is the principal institution for the socialization of children...

. The policy was reversed in 2008.

The five traditional carpet designs that form motifs in the country's state emblem
Coat of arms of Turkmenistan
The State Emblem of Turkmenistan was created after Turkmenistan gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The eight-point green starburst with golden edges features in its center a red circular disc which carries sheaves of wheat, five carpet guls, and centered upon that a smaller blue...

 and flag
Flag of Turkmenistan
The flag of Turkmenistan was adopted on January 24, 2001.It features a green field with a vertical red stripe near the hoist side, containing five carpet guls stacked above two crossed olive branches similar to those on the flag of the United Nations; a white waxing crescent moon, typical of...

 represent the five major Turkmen tribes
Turkmen tribes
The major Turkmen tribes are Teke , Yomut , Arsary , Chowdur , and Saryk .The five traditional carpet designs that form motifs in the coat of arms of Turkmenistan and its flag belong to these tribes .Other tribes of Turkmen people include Salyr , a tribe that declined as a result of...

.

Turkmen in Iran and Afghanistan


Turkmen in Iran and Afghanistan remain very conservative in comparison to their brethren in Turkmenistan. Islam plays a much more prominent role in Iran and Afghanistan where Turkmen follow many traditional Islamic practices that many Turkmen in Turkmenistan have abandoned as a result of decades of Soviet rule. In addition, many Turkmen in Iran and Afghanistan have remained at least semi-nomadic and traditionally work in agriculture/animal husbandry and the production of carpets.

Demographics and population distribution



The Turkmen people of Central Asia live in:
  • Turkmenistan
    Turkmenistan
    Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...

    , where some 85% of the population of 5,042,920 people (July 2006 est.), are ethnic Turkmen. In addition, an estimated 1,200 Turkmen refugees from northern Afghanistan currently reside in Turkmenistan due to the ravages of the Soviet war in Afghanistan
    Soviet war in Afghanistan
    The Soviet war in Afghanistan was a nine-year conflict involving the Soviet Union, supporting the Marxist-Leninist government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan against the Afghan Mujahideen and foreign "Arab–Afghan" volunteers...

     and factional fighting in Afghanistan which saw the rise and fall of the Taliban.



  • Iran
    Iran
    Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

    , where over 1 million Turkmen are primarily concentrated in the provinces
    Provinces of Iran
    Iran is subdivided into thirty one provinces , each governed from a local center, usually the largest local city, which is called the capital of that province...

     of Golestān
    Golestan Province
    Golestan Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran, located in the north-east of the country, south of the Caspian Sea. Its capital is Gorgan....

     and North Khorasan
    North Khorasan Province
    North Khorasan Province is a province located in northeastern Iran. Bojnord is the centre of the province.Other counties are Shirvan, Esfarayen, Maneh-o-Samalqan, Jajarm, Faroj and Germeh....

    .

  • Afghanistan
    Afghanistan
    Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

    , where, as of 2006, over 900,000 are ethnic Turkmen and are largely concentrated primarily along the Turkmen-Afghan border in the provinces of Faryab
    Faryab Province
    Fāryāb is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the north of the country. Its capital is Maymana. The majority of the population is Uzbek.-History:...

    , Jowzjan
    Jowzjan Province
    Jowzjān or Jōzjān or Jawzjan is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the north of the country. Its capital is Sheberghan.- Demographics :...

    , and Baghlan. There are smaller communities in Balkh
    Balkh Province
    Balkh is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the north of the country and its name derives from the ancient city of Balkh, near the modern town...

     and Kunduz Provinces.

  • China
    China
    Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

    , where around 100,000 Salar Turkmens live in Qinghai
    Qinghai
    Qinghai ; Oirat Mongolian: ; ; Salar:) is a province of the People's Republic of China, named after Qinghai Lake...

    , Gansu
    Gansu
    ' is a province located in the northwest of the People's Republic of China.It lies between the Tibetan and Huangtu plateaus, and borders Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, and Ningxia to the north, Xinjiang and Qinghai to the west, Sichuan to the south, and Shaanxi to the east...

    , and Xinjiang
    Xinjiang
    Xinjiang is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. It is the largest Chinese administrative division and spans over 1.6 million km2...

    , particularly concentrated in Xunhua Salar Autonomous County
    Xunhua Salar Autonomous County
    Xunhua Salar Autonomous County is an autonomous Salar county in the southeast of Haidong Prefecture of Qinghai province, People's Republic of China. The county has an area of around and approximately 110,000 inhabitants...

    . PRC
    People's Republic of China
    China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

     government considers them as distinct from their Turkmen kin and classifies among 56 officially recognised ethnic groups.


  • Pakistan
    Pakistan
    Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

    As of 2005, as per official Pakistani census and UN estimates, there remain approximately 60,000 Turkmen refugees in Pakistan
    Pakistan
    Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

    , largely in the North-West Frontier Province
    North-West Frontier Province
    Khyber Pakhtunkhwa , formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province and various other names, is one of the four provinces of Pakistan, located in the north-west of the country...

    , Balochistan
    Balochistan (Pakistan)
    Balochistan is one of the four provinces or federating units of Pakistan. With an area of 134,051 mi2 or , it is the largest province of Pakistan, constituting approximately 44% of the total land mass of Pakistan. According to the 1998 population census, Balochistan had a population of...

     and in the country's urban centres of Lahore
    Lahore
    Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the second largest city in the country. With a rich and fabulous history dating back to over a thousand years ago, Lahore is no doubt Pakistan's cultural capital. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains a...

    , Islamabad
    Islamabad
    Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan and the tenth largest city in the country. Located within the Islamabad Capital Territory , the population of the city has grown from 100,000 in 1951 to 1.7 million in 2011...

     and Karachi
    Karachi
    Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

    . The actual numbers could be up to 250,000 as many have avoided being counted for fear of being deported and have intermixed into Pakistan's cosmopolitan social dynamic. A few hundred Turkmen and Kyrgyz refugee families living in Pakistan were given asylum in Turkey in the 1980s.


There are also scattered communities of Turkmens in Russian province of Stavropol
Stavropol
-International relations:-Twin towns/sister cities:Stavropol is twinned with: Des Moines, United States Béziers, France Pazardzhik, Bulgaria-External links:* **...

 and elsewhere in the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

, descending from the tribes who emigrated from Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...

 in 18th century and call themselves "Trukhmens".

See also

  • Turkmen language
    Turkmen language
    Turkmen is the national language of Turkmenistan...

  • Oghuz Turks
    Oghuz Turks
    The Turkomen also known as Oghuz Turks were a historical Turkic tribal confederation in Central Asia during the early medieval Turkic expansion....

  • Yörük
    Yörük
    The Yorouks, also Yuruks or Yörüks are immigrants, ultimately of Thracian descent,some of whom are still nomadic, primarily inhabiting the mountains of Anatolia and partly Balkan peninsula...

  • Ak Koyunlu
    Ak Koyunlu
    The Aq Qoyunlu or Ak Koyunlu, also called the White Sheep Turkomans , was an Sunni Oghuz Turkic tribal federation that ruled parts of present-day Eastern Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, northern Iraq, and Iran from 1378 to 1508.-History:According to chronicles from the Byzantine Empire, the Aq Qoyunlu...

  • Turkmen Sahra
    Turkmen Sahra
    Turkmen Sahra that means Plain of Turkmens, is a region in the northeast of Iran near the Caspian Sea, bordering Turkmenistan, the majority of whose inhabitants are ethnic Turkmen. The biggest city is Gorgan which is dominated by Persian inhabitants though in recent years there has been...