Kate Monk's Onomastikon

(Dictionary of Names)


Capital: Ashkabad

Size: 188 500 sq m Popn: 3 714 000


The Turkman or Turkoman people are descended from the Mongols who invaded in the C13th and speak variants of a Turkic language of the Altaic family. The main tribes are the Tekkes from Merva and Attok, the Ersaris, Yomuds and Gokluns. They were traditionally nomadic but are now mostly sedentary farmers and belong to the Sunni branch of the Muslim religion.

The region was conquered by Tsarist Russia in 1877-1900, became part of the Turkestan Soviet Socialist Autonomous Republic in 1921 and a constituent republic of the Soviet Union in 1925. Living standards remained low although the Soviet-built Kara-Kum canal allowed millions of acres of desert to be cultivated.

The nationalist movement was never as strong as those of the neighbouring Asian Republics but in August 1990, the Supreme Soviet of Tajikistan declared its 'sovereignty'. In the USSR constitutional referendum of March 1991, the people of Tajikistan voted to remain part of the Union and at first, President Niyazov supported the coup attempt against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. In the November referendum, after a 94% vote in favour, Tajikistan declared its independence. In December 1991, Turkmenistan joined the Commonwealth of Independent States which replaced the USSR. It joined the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe in January 1992, and the UN in March, gaining diplomatic recognition from the USA. In February, it also became part of the Economic Co-operation Organization founded by Iran, Turkey and Pakistan with the aim of forming a customs union. A new constitution was brought in in May 1992 but politics in Turkmenistan were still dominated by communists.



Mustafa Saparmyrat  


Chokayev Niyazov  

This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.

Copies may be made for personal use only.

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