Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
Related to Turkmens: Turkmenistan



(Turkomans), a nation that constitutes the main population of the Turkmen SSR, where Turkmens number 1,416,700 (1970 census). There are also Turkmens in the Uzbek SSR, Tadzhik SSR, the Northern Caucasus, Astrakhan Oblast, and various cities of the RSFSR. In 1970 the total Turkmen population of the USSR was 1,525,300. Large numbers of Turkmens live abroad in Afghanistan and Iran (more than 750,000), the Arab countries of Southwest Asia (more than 150,000), and Turkey (about 80,000). The language spoken is Turkmen. The Turkmens are Europeoids with a small Mongoloid admixture. Religious Turkmens are Sunni Muslims.

The earliest Turkmens were ancient Iranian-speaking Daco-Massagetae and Sarmatian-Alani tribes of the steppes and inhabitants of the ancient states of Margiana, Parthia, and Khwarazm. Turks appeared in the steppes near the Caspian Sea in the middle of the first millennium, followed, from the ninth to 11th centuries, by the Oghuz (Seljuks), who played a major role in the eth-nogenesis of the Turkmens. The formation of the Turkmen nation was essentially completed in the 15th century, when new tribal alliances that formed after the Mongol conquest came to include Turkic tribes of non-Oghuz origins, in particular the Kipchaks.

The Turkmens retained their complex tribal divisions until the 20th century; the principal tribes were the Tekke, Yomut, Ersar, Salyr, Saryk, Goklen, and Chovdur. On the eve of Russia’s union with Turkmenistan in the 1880’s, the Turkmen social structure was patriarchal and feudal. The Turkmens had not formed their own state, and the absence of political and economic unity, combined with other factors, helped preserve archaic clan tribal social institutions that coexisted with feudalism. These tribal and clan ties were important and were used by feudal clan leaders to exploit their kinsmen. Capitalist relations developed after Turkmenistan’s inclusion in Russian economic life.

Before the revolution, the Turkmen economy was a combination of irrigation farming and cattle raising; the latter fostered a seminomadic way of life for the Turkmens. Usually the inhabitants of an aul (village) were divided into herdsmen (charva), who wandered with their cattle, and settled farmers (chomri). Certain tribes living in the oases, however, such as the Emrel, Karadashl (Yazir), and Nokhurl, were primarily farmers, raising wheat, Sorghum cernuum, cotton, and melons and gourds. Other tribes, such as the Igdir and Ata, engaged primarily in raising sheep, camels, and horses. After the October Revolution of 1917, the territory inhabited by the Turkmens became part of the Turkestan ASSR and the Khorezm and Bukhara people’s Soviet republics. In 1924, with the national-state demarcation of the Soviet Republics of Middle Asia, the Turkmen SSR was created as part of the USSR.

During the Soviet period, socialist construction radically transformed the Turkmen economy and culture. The Turkmen SSR became an industrial-agricultural republic. New industrial sectors were developed, such as the petroleum-refining, chemical, gas, cement, and glass industries. Agriculture became mechanized, with cotton and grain as the chief crops. Other sectors have also developed: the cultivation of melons and gourds, horticulture, wine growing, livestock breeding (particularly of Karakul sheep), silkworm raising, and rug weaving. A country that was economically and culturally backward now has a highly developed culture, including a national literature and art. As a result of socialist transformations, the Turkmens have become a socialist nation.

The Turkmens in Iran, Afghanistan, and Turkey are a national minority whose way of life and social structure still retain patriarchal and feudal features.


Bartol’d, V. V. “Ocherk istorii turkmenskogo naroda.” Soch., vol. 2, part 1. Moscow, 1963.
Narody Srednei Azii i Kazakhstana, vol. 2. Moscow, 1963.
Istoriia Turkmenskoi SSR, vols. 1–2. Ashkhabad, 1957.


References in periodicals archive ?
Central Command, General Lloyd Austin claimed that the Turkmen government has asked the United States for military aid to address the threats to their security on Turkmen-Afghan border in the end of March.
KRG The Kurdish Globe A delegation from the Turkmen bloc of the Kirkuk Provincial Council visited Erbil on Wednesday, May 27th, and met with Kurdistan Region's Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani.
The Turkmen MP called to achieve national reconciliation and legislate the National Guard law to include all provinces and all components, especially areas inhabited by Turkmens so as to take their role in the liberation of their lands and secure the return of the displaced to their areas.
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Turkmen People's Party in Iraq unveiled its plan to create a special regiment to fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorists, a spokesman of the party said.
An example of this type of bondage and "ethnicity" for three of Turkmen occurred that were captured by the Naser aldin Shah's troops of Baghdad Shahsavan tribe and accordingly, as captive were brought in Saveh--the dwelling place of the tribe.
NINEWA / Aswat al-Iraq: The Turkish consular in Mosul city said on Wednesday that his country seeks to help all Iraqis, but it gives priority to assisting Turkmen.
Turkmens are an ethnically Turkic group living mostly in Syria and Iraq, along with Arabs and Kurds.
The head of Qarqeen village council, Gulam Rasul Qaryadar, told RFE/RL that police fired shots on March 16 after ethnic Turkmens gathered in front of the district administration building, demanding help from the authorities to stop what they say are efforts by Turkmenistan to take land they claim as their own.
In the statement, Loy-oy-lu and KorutE-rk recalled that in the AK Party group meeting Davutoy-lu had emphasized a distinction between Iraqi Turkmens and Syrian Turkmens.
ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- Syrian Turkmens have announced they will not allow any group to take control of the areas in the northwestern part of war-torn Syria, where Turkmens have a significant population, without paying due attention to their demands.
ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- The Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament (IKP) passed a law last week that allows the use of Turkmen as an official language in parts of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) where Turkmens comprise 20 percent or more of the population, the Anadolu news agency reported on Sunday.