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Turkoman, also known as Turcoman, (English: //) was a term for the people of Oghuz Turkic origin, widely used during the Middle Ages. Oghuz Turks were a western Turkic people that, in the 8th century A.D, formed a tribal confederation in an area between the Aral and Caspian seas in Central Asia, and spoke the Oghuz branch of the Turkic language family.
|Regions with significant populations|
|Central Asia, South Caucasus, Middle East|
(Azerbaijani · Turkmen · Turkish)
(Sunni · Alevi · Bektashi · Twelver Shia)
|Related ethnic groups|
|Other Turkic people|
Turkmen, originally an exonym, dates from the High Middle Ages, along with the ancient and familiar name "Turk" (türk), and tribal names such as "Bayat", "Bayandur", "Afshar", and "Kayi". By the 10th century, Islamic sources were calling Oghuz Turks as Muslim Turkmens, as opposed to Shamanist or Buddhist Turks. It entered into the usage of the Western world through the Byzantines in the 12th century, since by that time Oghuz Turks were overwhelmingly Muslim. Later, the term "Oghuz" was gradually supplanted by "Turkmen" among Oghuz Turks themselves, thus turning an exonym into an endonym, a process which was completed by the beginning of the 13th century.
In Anatolia, since the Late Middle Ages, "Turkmen" was superseded by the term "Ottoman", which came from the name of the Ottoman Empire and its ruling dynasty. It remains as an endonym of semi-nomadic tribes of the Terekeme, a sub-ethnic group of the Azerbaijani people.
Today, a significant percentage of residents of Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Turkmenistan are descendants of Oghuz Turks (Turkmens), and the languages they speak belong to the Oghuz group of the Turkic language family. As of the early 21st century, this ethnonym is still used by the Turkmens of Central Asia, the main population of Turkmenistan, who have sizeable groups in Iran, Afghanistan and Russia, as well as Iraqi and Syrian Turkmens, the other descendants of Oghuz Turks.