Turkmen Sahra is a region in the northeast of Iran near the Caspian Sea, bordering Turkmenistan, the majority of whose inhabitants are ethnic Turkmen. The most important cities of Turkmen Sahra are Gonbad-e Qabus, Aqqala, Kalaleh, Maraveh Tappeh, Kumushdepe (Gomishan) and Bandar Torkaman. There were, according to Ethnologue, over 3 million Turkmens in Turkmen Sahra in 1997.
The economy is based on industry, even if agriculture still plays a great role in some Turkmens’ life, like in other places of Iran. The professions among Turkmens shows the pattern of a modern economy even if there are still some shortcomings due to lack of funding from the central authorities. The economic potential of Turkmensahra is big since a vast amount of oil was discovered early in the 1930. But since there was a deal with the Soviet Union that there would be no oil extraction from Turkmen Sahra, there is not an oil industry at the moment.Turkmens today seem to lose their traditions due to westernization and persianification of the society not excluded to Turkmens but the whole of Iran.
Due to the Great Game and famous resistance of Turkmens to great powers as czar Russia and England Turkmens lost their independence and their country was split in two lands. The first time in history Turkmens had shown resistance to central authority of Iran was in early 1920 when Reza Khan unified Iran he meet resistance of a Turkmen group and a leader called Anna-Geldi Ach, the later used to deploy sneak attacks from Turkmen Sahra and use hit and run tactis and hide into modern Turkmenistan before SSR Turkmen was formed. During that time a gurultai like the ones Gökturks held was held to elect a mullah as their leader, called Osman Akhun. It is the first democratically modern Turkmen assemblement ever hold. Turkmens are considered by outsiders who visited their area to be generous, kind-hearted thought even having the trait of being hot-headed.
National poet Magtymguly from Turkmen Sahra
Famous Turkmens from within Turkmen Sahra include the spiritual leader, national poet and unifier of Turkmen society Magtymguly Pyragy, who was born in a village outside Gonbad. The central Iranian authorities erected a mausoleum over his grave.