History of the Turkmen people

The history of the Turkmens, regardless of their mythical history and ancestral land, is divided into three periods:

  • The period of desert tourism that started from the beginning of the Turkmen migration,
  • The period of migration to Turkmenistan and the Turkmen Sahara,
  • The period after Official demarcation between Russia and Iran .

Accordingly, the Turkmen people are one of the tribes that migrated to the plateau and the current land of Iran. The plains and steppes of Manchuria and Mongolia in North Asia are the original places of the Turkmen. Therefore, those who lived in the northern coastal region of Lake Ishiq Gol in Mongolia, for various natural and social reasons, gradually migrated to the south and settled in the sixth century AD near the river “Sir Darya” (Seyhun). And then in the tenth century AD they came near the “Amu Darya” (Jeyhun) and the region of Merv. The Turkmen settled in Merv in the 11th century AD (ibid., 32).The Turkmen also migrated to the outskirts of large cities and towns such as Samarkand and Bukhara; A group went to the Aral Sea region and finally migrated to Ur Ganj and from there to the eastern shores of the Caspian Sea and settled in rural towns such as Dehistan and Manqshlan. The Googlan, Yamreli and Al-Ali Turkmen tribes settled in the Copt Dagh plains, and later the Sariqs, Arsari, and Salar settled around Quchan and Bojnourd in Khorasan. The Yamuts moved north to Khorasan and the Atrak River. Turkmen lived along the entire east coast of the Caspian Sea to Gorgan. Before the end of the nineteenth century, the Russian tsars conquered Tashkent, Bukhara, the Khiva and Fergana dynasties, and the Khan dynasties of Central Asia. Tsarist Russian Empire, Akhal Border Demarcation Treaty (1881).Between the two governments of Iran and Russia, the border between the two countries was determined based on geographical indications, and according to it, the Turkmens of Atrak and Gorgan were officially considered Iranians . At the same time, after the Akhal agreement, due to the pressure of the Khivans and the Russians, the flood of migration to the Atrak and Gorgan rivers increased.
Despite the above historical origin, various interpretations and studies have been made about the application of the word Turkmen to this people. The oldest study belongs to Mahmoud Kashgari. He quotes a legend that, like most Central Asian legends, relates to Alexander the Great. After the conquest of Samarkand, Skander moves to suppress the Amir of the Turks in the Bala Saghun region. Upon learning of Alexander’s intentions, Amir Turkan fled east with his army. In the meantime, twenty-two men and their families are leaving the army. When Alexander returns to these people, he sees the signs and symptoms of being a Turk and states that they are “Turk-like”, meaning that they are similar to the Turks. Kashgari believes that later the multiplicity of uses (and possibly incorrect analysis) led to the naming of these people as “Turkmen”. (Translated in: Oghlu Cage, 1379, 13)
The second narration dates back to the time when the Turks of the Amu Darya region converted to Islam. The Turks of this region, for whatever reason, avoided war and bloodshed and became Muslims at their own will. The Arabs welcomed this behavior of the Turks and called them “Turks of Faith”. Some believe that Turkmen was the title given to non-Muslim colonies by Muslim colonies.

The third narration refers to the belief that the word Turkmen is from the word “Turk min” which means “I am a Turk” .


Many, such as Wamberi Ligti and Oglu Cage, have tried to prove by numerous examples that the element “I” in the Turkmen word has a suffix nature and, in their view, refers to concepts such as “glory” or “plural noun”. All of these narrations all pursue one goal, and that is to prove that the Turkmen are “Turks”, but one of the famous orientalists named “Hirst” uses Chinese historical texts and cites the “Tung-Tin” Chinese encyclopedia. To connect the Turkmen name with the Chinese word “Toku-Mong” and to prove by geographical and historical evidence that the Turkmen are of the “Alan” generation of Iranians.

Population dispersion

Apart from Iran, the Turkmen region is inhabited by Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, China and Syria. There are about 570,000 people living in Turkmenistan and about 1,000,000 in Afghanistan. The Iraqi Turkmen living in the north of the country are about 2,000,000 people who are the remnants of the old Turkmen and due to their remoteness from the mainland, their dialect is different from the Turkmen of the eastern Caspian, mostly in Turkish Turkish and Azeri Turkish. It is close. A group of Turkmens have crossed the Caspian Sea and are currently living in Azerbaijan and Turkey. The Turkmen of Iran live mostly in the southeast of the Caspian Sea and in the Turkmen Sahara and are scattered in the provinces of Golestan, Khorasan Razavi (Torbat-e Jam) and North Khorasan. The population of Turkmen in Iran reaches 2,000,000.
According to the results of the 2002 census, there are 1531910 people living in Golestan province, which includes 305088 households. Of these, 504,381 people, including 85,778 households, belong to the Turkmen people. That is, the Turkmen population is more than 33% of the total population of the province, which along with other ethnic groups in this region such as Sistani 4.15%, Baluchis 3.4%, Kurds 5%, Cossacks 2% and the population of the Persian people live. The population density of Turkmens is mainly in the cities near the border and in Gomishan 100%, Aq Qala 98%, Bandar-e-Turkmen 85%, Gonbad 77%, Kalaleh 55% and Minoodasht 40% of the population of these cities, respectively, are Turkmen. And a small percentage live in other cities of the province, including the center of the province (Gorgan). According to the census of 1985, the population of the province reached about 087, 617, 1 person, among which, the population of Turkmens has also increased and for example, the population of the central part of Turkmen city in 1385 was equal to 63771 people .According to the description of the territorial situation, 6.37% of the area of ​​Golestan province with a relative density of 47 people per square kilometer is owned by the Turkmen people.
Turkmens living in North Khorasan Province make up approximately 10% of the province’s population of 811,000 according to the 2006 census and live in the cities of Bojnourd and Maneh and Samolghan.

Tribes and clans

The Turkmens are divided into several tribes and clans, some of which are: Aali Eli, Chavdar, Yemerli, Arsari, Salwar, Sariq, Teke, Yamut and Golan. In general, according to the traditional social structure of the Turkmen, each tribe is divided into several tribes, each tribe into several clans or Onliq, and each clan into several tribes. Abe is the smallest economic, social and political unit of Turkmen, which in terms of blood kinship in the male line is composed of several oys of “oy” descent But the Turkmen tribes and clans in Iran are:

1- Yamut tribe:

The name of Yamut tribe is derived from the name of Yamut, the son of Aghurjak. Yamut had two sons, Otli Temur and Qutli Tamur. Otli Tamour, the ancestor of the Yamut tribes, Khiva and Qutli Tamour are the ancestors of the people living in Iran.  Khel Yamut is composed of twelve tribes and each tribe is composed of several tribes and clans and Abe, which are Jafarbay, Atabay, Yalqi, Daz, Dohji, Badra, Slakh, small Emer, Ikdar, Qojq, Qan Yakhmz, Gorgan Yamut. Near the Caspian Sea live the Turkmen port, Gumishan, Dashli Borun and Aq Qala.

Yamuts are mainly engaged in agriculture and attach great importance to lineage. William Irons writes that the Yamuts regulate most of their social life based on lineage in the male line .

2- Googlelan tribe:

It is the second largest tribe in Iran. The Guglans live in the Goglan and Kalaleh districts near the city of Gonbad Qaboos and in Jirgalan in the northeastern Turkmen Sahara. The Googlans were divided into eight tribes: Yangal, Chakar Bigdari, Creek (Qariq), Kai (Qai), Ai Darwish, Binder, Arkak Lee, Gharib Ali Khan. Of course, all Turkmen tribes except Google are known as their common ancestor (Asgari Khaneghah and Kamali, 1374, 58). “Vamberi”, a Hungarian tourist, considers this tribe to be the most peaceful and civilized Turkmen and believes that they engaged in agriculture out of desire and consider themselves subordinate to the Iranian government (Vamberi, 1374, 388). Makhtumkuli Faraghi is a famous Turkmen poet, Golan and from the Gerker (Gaz Qar) clan.

3- Salwar tribe:

It was one of the oldest Turkmen tribes. They were probably more numerous before the wars and invasions that took place when most of the Turkmen were transferred by the Seljuks from Central Asia to the West. Salvars lived in the east of Tekeh land, between Sarakhs and Murghab river and were divided into three tribes: Yalvach, Karaman, Anabolegi (Asgari Khaneghah and Kamali, 1374, 65).

4- Turkmen of Sariq:

Another ancient tribe lived in the Fifteenth District, along the Murghab River, east of Salura. Their number was also reduced due to this. According to Galkin, the thieves were divided into the following tribes: Birash, Badann, Alacha, Barzaki, Ghezel Murad, Dovachi, Kachaali, Sakhti, Qanai Bash (Ibid: 64). The Salwar and Sariq tribes live in northeastern Khorasan.

5- Tekeh Turkmen:

The Patches are the largest and most powerful Turkmen tribe, whose influence was felt not only in neighboring countries but also among the entire Turkmen people. The growing power of the piece gave them the leadership of the Turkmen. They lived in the Akhal and Merv oases, and throughout the Wozboi desert, from near the Igdi wells to the borders of the Khiva oasis. At one time, the majority of the population of “Tekeh” had settled in the land of Akhal, but after a dam was built on Murghab, some people moved to the oasis of Merv .At present, some of the plots live in Hesarcheh Jorglan area and most of them live in North Khorasan province and a small group of them live in Golestan province in Gonbad Kavous city and some surrounding villages.

6- Holy tribes:

The tribes of “Ata”, “Khoja” and “Makhtum” consider themselves to be descended from the Rashidun caliphs. These tribes, which are relatively highly respected and respected among the Turkmen, are called “descendants” and are referred to as sacred tribes. This tribe has an important role in resolving conflicts. The Turkmens believe that whoever harms these sacred tribes will be punished by God, so that among the Turkmens there is a proverb that says, “Olading Etini’s Kashki Gormeh”, that is, do not even look at Sayyid’s dog, and this multiplication. The proverb is due to their fear of the curse of the Sayyids