Below is the list of ancient settlements in Turkey. There are innumerable ruins of ancient settlements spread all over the country. While some ruins date back to Neolithic times, most of them were settlements of Hittites, Phrygians, Lydians, Ionians, Urartians, and so on.
List of settlements
In the table below, only the settlements which have articles in this encyclopaedia are shown, with the exception of the following:
- A few ancient settlements are still in use (Adana, Amasya, Ankara, İstanbul, Tarsus etc.) These settlements are not included in the list unless separate articles for the ancient sites exist.
- Some ancient settlements which were well documented are known by name, but so far they have not been unearthed and their exact locations are obscure.( For example; Washukanni, the capital of Mittani.)
- ^House of the Virgin Mary is believed to be near the settlement (Mt. Koressos (Turkish: Bülbüldağı))
- ^Troy of Homer
- ^There are two settlements named Yazılıkaya. The other one (also called Midas city) is in Eskişehir Province.
The countries and autonomous regions where a Turkic language has official status and/or is spoken by a majority.
|Approx. 140–160 million|
|Regions with significant populations|
|European Union||5,876,318|
The Turkic peoples are a collection of ethno-linguistic groups of Central, Eastern, Northern and Western Asia as well as parts of Europe and North Africa. They speak related languages belonging to the Turkic language family. As racial purity has never been a Turkic membership criterion, many vastly differing ethnic groups have throughout history become part of the Turkic peoples through language shift, acculturation, adoption and religious conversion in a process called Turkification. In their genetic compositions, therefore, most Turkic groups differ significantly in origins from one group to the next, lacking one single historical founder population. Despite this, many do share, to varying degrees, non-linguistic characteristics, including certain cultural traits, some ancestry from a common gene pool, and historical experiences. The most notable modern Turkic-speaking ethnic groups include Turkish people, Azerbaijanis, Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Turkmen and Kyrgyz people.
The first known mention of the term Turk (Old Turkic: 𐱅𐰇𐰼𐰰 Türük or 𐱅𐰇𐰼𐰰:𐰜𐰇𐰛 Kök TürükChinese: 突厥, Old Tibetan: duruggu/durgu (meaning "origin"),Pinyin: Tūjué, Middle Chinese (Guangyun): [tʰuot-küot]) applied to a Turkic group was in reference to the Göktürks in the 6th century. A letter by Ishbara Qaghan to Emperor Wen of Sui in 585 described him as "the Great Turk Khan." The Orhun inscriptions (735 CE) use the terms Turk and Turuk.
Previous use of similar terms are of unknown significance, although some strongly feel that they are evidence of the historical continuity of the term and the people as a linguistic unit since early times. This includes Chinese records Spring and Autumn Annals referring to a neighbouring people as Beidi. During the first century CE, Pomponius Mela refers to the "Turcae" in the forests north of the Sea of Azov, and Pliny the Elder lists the "Tyrcae" among the people of the same area. There are references to certain groups in antiquity whose names could be the original form of "Türk/Türük" such as Togarma, Turukha/Turuška, Turukku and so on. But the information gap is so substantial that we cannot firmly connect these ancient people to the modern Turks. Turkologist András Róna-Tas posits that the term Turk could be rooted in the East IranianSaka language or in Turkic. However, it is generally accepted that the term "Türk" is ultimately derived from the Old-Turkic migration-term 𐱅𐰇𐰼𐰰 Türük/Törük, which means "created", "born", or "strong", from the Old Turkic word root *türi-/töri- ("tribal root, (mythic) ancestry; take shape, to be born, be created, arise, spring up") and conjugated with Old Turkic suffix 𐰰 (-ik), perhaps from Proto-Turkic*türi-k ("lineage, ancestry"), from the Proto-Turkic word root *töŕ ("foundation, root; origin, ancestors"), possibly from a Proto-Altaic source *t`ŏ̀ŕe ("law, regulation"). This etymological concept is also related to Old Turkic word stems 'tür' ("root, ancestry, race, kind of, sort of"), 'türi-' ("to bring together, to collect"), 'törü' ("law, custom") and 'töz' ("substance").
The earliest Turkic-speaking peoples identifiable in Chinese sources are the Dingling, Gekun(Jiankun), and Xinli, located in South Siberia. The Chinese Book of Zhou (7th century) presents an etymology of the name Turk as derived from "helmet", explaining that this name comes from the shape of a mountain where they worked in the Altai Mountains. According to Persian tradition, as reported by 11th-century ethnographer Mahmud of Kashgar and various other traditional Islamic scholars and historians, the name "Turk" stems from Tur, one of the sons of Japheth (see Turan).
During the Middle Ages, various Turkic peoples of the Eurasian steppe were subsumed under the identity of the "Scythians". Between 400 CE and the 16th century, Byzantine sources use the name Σκύθαι (Skuthai) in reference to twelve different Turkic peoples.
In the modern Turkish language as used in the Republic of Turkey, a distinction is made between "Turks" and the "Turkic peoples" in loosely speaking: the term Türk corresponds specifically to the "Turkish-speaking" people (in this context, "Turkish-speaking" is considered the same as "Turkic-speaking"), while the term Türki refers generally to the people of modern "Turkic Republics" (Türki Cumhuriyetler or Türk Cumhuriyetleri). However, the proper usage of the term is based on the linguistic classification in order to avoid any political sense. In short, the term Türki can be used for Türk or vice versa.
Origins and early expansion
Main articles: Turkic migrations, Turkic tribal confederations, and Nomadic empires
Further information: Xiongnu, Huns, and Göktürks
It is generally agreed that the first Turkic people lived in a region extending from Central Asia to Siberia, with the majority of them living in China historically. Historically they were established after the 6th century BCE. The earliest separate Turkic peoples appeared on the peripheries of the late Xiongnu confederation about 200 BCE (contemporaneous with the Chinese Han Dynasty). Turkic people may be related to the Xiongnu, Dingling and Tiele people. According to the Book of Wei, the Tiele people were the remnants of the Chidi (赤狄), the red Di people competing with the Jin in the Spring and Autumn period. Turkic tribes such as the Khazars and Pechenegs probably lived as nomads for many years before establishing the Turkic Khaganate or Göktürk Empire in the 6th century. These were herdsmen and nobles who were searching for new pastures and wealth. The first mention of Turks was in a Chinese text that mentioned trade between Turk tribes and the Sogdians along the Silk Road. The first recorded use of "Turk" as a political name appears as a 6th-century reference to the word pronounced in Modern Chinese as Tujue. The Ashina clan migrated from Li-jien (modern Zhelai Zhai) to the Juan Juan seeking inclusion in their confederacy and protection from the prevalent dynasty. The tribe were famed metalsmiths and were granted land near a mountain quarry which looked like a helmet, from which they were said to have gotten their name 突厥 (tūjué). A century later their power had increased such that they conquered the Juan Juan and established the Gök Empire.
Turkic peoples originally used their own alphabets, like Orkhon and Yenisey runiforms, and later the Uyghur alphabet. Traditional national and cultural symbols of the Turkic peoples include wolves in Turkic mythology and tradition; as well as the color blue, iron, and fire. Turquoise blue (the word turquoise comes from the French word meaning "Turkish") is the color of the stone turquoise still used in jewelry and as a protection against the evil eye.
It has often been suggested that the Xiongnu, mentioned in Han Dynasty records, were Proto-Turkic speakers. Although little is known for certain about the Xiongnu language(s), it seems likely that at least a considerable part of Xiongnu tribes spoke a Turkic language. However, some scholars see a possible connection with the Iranian-speaking Sakas. Some scholars believe they were probably a confederation of various ethnic and linguistic groups. Genetics research in 2003 on skeletons from 2000 year old Xiongnu necropolis in Mongolia found some individuals with DNA sequences also present in some modern-day Turks, suggesting that a Turkish component had emerged in the Xiongnu tribe at the end of the Xiongnu period.
In 2009, archaeologists found Turkic balbals which are 2000 years old.
According to another archeological and genetic study in 2010, the DNA found in three skeletons in 2000-year-old elite Xiongnu cemetery in Northeast Asia belonged to C3, D4 and R1a. The evidence of paternal R1a supports the Kurgan hypothesis for the Indo-European expansion from the Volga steppe region. As the R1a was found in Xiongnu people and the present-day people of Central Asia Analysis of skeletal remains from sites attributed to the Xiongnu provides an identification of dolichocephalic Mongoloid, ethnically distinct from neighboring populations in present-day Mongolia.
Xiongnu writing, older than Turkic, is agreed to have the earliest known Turkic alphabet, the Orkhon script. This has been argued recently using the only extant possibly Xiongu writings, the rock art of the Yinshan and Helan Mountains. It dates from the 9th millennium BCE to the 19th century, and consists mainly of engraved signs (petroglyphs) and few painted images. Excavations done during 1924–1925 in Noin-Ula kurgans located in the Selenga River in the northern Mongolian hills north of Ulaanbaatar produced objects with over 20 carved characters, which were either identical or very similar to the runic letters of the Turkic Orkhon script discovered in the Orkhon Valley.
The Hun hordes ruled by Attila, who invaded and conquered much of Europe in the 5th century, might have been Turkic and descendants of the Xiongnu. Some scholars regard the Huns as one of the earlier Turkic tribes, while others view them as Proto-Mongolian in origin.Linguistic studies by Otto Maenchen-Helfen and others have suggested that the language used by the Huns in Europe was too little documented to be classified, but may have been an Indo-European language. Nevertheless, many of the proper names used by Huns appear to be Turkic in origin. In the first half of the first millennium, mass-migrations to distant places were common, geographical borders were fluid and cultural identity was more likely to change dramatically during the lifetime of an individual, relative to the modern era. These factors also made it more likely that the Huns were, initially at least, closely related to the Turkic peoples.
In the 6th century, 400 years after the collapse of northern Xiongnu power in Inner Asia, the Göktürks assumed leadership of the Turkic peoples. Formerly in the Xiongnu nomadic confederation, the Göktürks inherited their traditions and administrative experience. From 552 to 745, Göktürk leadership united the nomadic Turkic tribes into the Göktürk Empire on Mongolia and Cental Asia. The name derives from gok, "blue" or "celestial". Unlike its Xiongnu predecessor, the Göktürk Khanate had its temporary khans from the Ashina clan who were subordinate to a sovereign authority controlled by a council of tribal chiefs. The Khanate retained elements of its original shamanistic religion, Tengriism, although it received missionaries of Buddhist monks and practiced a syncretic religion. The Göktürks were the first Turkic people to write Old Turkic in a runic script, the Orkhon script. The Khanate was also the first state known as "Turk". It eventually collapsed due to a series of dynastic conflicts, but many states and peoples later used the name "Turk".
Turkic peoples and related groups migrated west from Turkestan and present-day Mongolia towards Eastern Europe, the Iranian plateau and Anatolia (modern Turkey) in many waves. The date of the initial expansion remains unknown. After many battles, they established their own state and later constructed the Ottoman Empire. The main migration occurred in medieval times, when they spread across most of Asia and into Europe and the Middle East. They also took part in the military encounters of the Crusades.
Later Turkic peoples include the Karluks (mainly 8th century), Uyghurs, Kyrgyz, Oghuz (or Ğuz) Turks, and Turkmens. As these peoples founded states in the area between Mongolia and Transoxiana, they came into contact with Muslims, and most of them gradually adopted Islam. Small groups of Turkic people practice other religions, including Christians, Jews (Khazars), Buddhists, and Zoroastrians.
Other traditions see Togarmah (grandson of Japheth the son of Noah) as the ancestor of the Turkic peoples. For example, The FrenchBenedictine monk and scholar Calmet (1672–1757) places Togarmah in Scythia and Turcomania (in the Eurasian Steppes and Central Asia). Also in his letters, King Joseph ben Aaron, the ruler of the Khazars in the mid-10th century, writes:
- "You ask us also in your epistle: "Of what people, of what family, and of what tribe are you?" Know that we are descended from Noach's son Japhet, through his son Gomer through his son Togarmah. I have found in the genealogical books of my ancestors that Togarmah had ten sons. These are their names:
- the eldest was Ujur (Agiôr – Uyghurs),
- the second Tauris (Tirôsz – Tauri),
- the third Avar (Avôr – Pannonian Avars),
- the fourth Uauz (Ugin – Oghuz),
- the fifth Bizal (Bizel – Pecheneg),
- the sixth Tarna,
- the seventh Khazar (Khazar),
- the eighth Janur (Zagur),
- the ninth Bulgar (Balgôr – Bulgar),
- the tenth Sawir (Szavvir/Szabir – Sabir)."
Jewish sources also list Togarmah as the father of the Turkic peoples: The medieval Jewish scholar: Joseph ben Gorion lists in his Josippon (c. 10th century) the ten sons of Togarma as follows:
- Kozar (the Khazars)
- Pacinak (the Pechenegs)
- Aliqanosz (the Alans)
- Bulgar (the Bulgars)
- Ragbiga (Ragbina, Ranbona)
- Turqi (possibly the Göktürks)
- Buz (the Oghuz)
- Ungari (either the Hungarians or the Oghurs/Onogurs)
- Tilmac (Tilmic/Tirôsz – Tauri)."
The Chronicles of Jerahmeel lists them as:
- Cuzar (the Khazars)
- Pasinaq (the Pechenegs)
- Alan (the Alans)
- Bulgar (the Bulgars)
- Turq (possibly the Göktürks)
- Buz (the Oghuz)
- Ugar (either the Hungarians or the Oghurs/Onogurs)
- Tulmes (Tirôsz – Tauri)
Another medieval rabbinic work, the Book of Jasher, further corrupts these same names into:
- Buzar (the Khazars)
- Parzunac (the Pechenegs)
- Balgar (the Bulgars)
- Elicanum (the Alans)
- Tarki (possibly the Göktürks)
- Bid (the Oghuz)
- Ongal (Hungarians or Oghurs/Onogurs)
- Tilmaz (Tirôsz – Tauri).
Arabic records give Togorma's tribes as:
- Khazar (the Khazars)
- Badsanag (the Pechenegs)
- Asz-alân (the Alans)
- Bulghar (the Bulgars)
- Fitrakh (Kotrakh?) (Ko-etrakh. Etrakh means "Turks" [possibly Gokturks])
- Andsar (Ajhar)
- Talmisz (Tirôsz – Tauri)
- Adzîgher (Adzhigardak?).
The Arabic account however, also adds an 11th clan: Anszuh.
Yet another tradition of the sons of Togarmah appears in Pseudo-Philo, giving their names as "Abiud, Saphath, Asapli, and Zepthir". The Chronicles of Jerahmeel, in addition to giving Sefer haYashar (midrash) the above names from Yosippon, elsewhere lists Togarmah's sons similarly as "Abihud, Shafat, and Yaftir".
Turkic soldiers in the army of the Abbasidcaliphs emerged as the de facto rulers of most of the Muslim Middle East (apart from Syria and Egypt), particularly after the 10th century. The Oghuz and other tribes captured and dominated various countries under the leadership of the Seljuk dynasty and eventually captured the territories of the Abbasid dynasty and the Byzantine Empire.
Meanwhile, the Yenisei Kyrgyz allied with China to destroy the Uyghur Khaganate in 840. The Kyrgyz people ultimately settled in the region now referred to as Kyrgyzstan. The Bulgars established themselves in between the Caspian and Black Seas in the 5th and 6th centuries, followed by their conquerors, the Khazars who converted to Judaism in the 8th or 9th century. After them came the Pechenegs who created a large confederacy, which was subsequently taken over by the Cumans and the Kipchaks. One group of Bulgars settled in the Volga region and mixed with local Volga Finns to become the Volga Bulgars in what is today Tatarstan. These Bulgars were conquered by the Mongols following their westward sweep under Genghis Khan in the 13th century. Other Bulgars settled in Southeastern Europe in the 7th and 8th centuries, and mixed with the Slavic population, adopting what eventually became the Slavic Bulgarian language. Everywhere, Turkic groups mixed with the local populations to varying degrees. In 1090–91, the Turkic Pechenegs reached the walls of Constantinople, where Emperor Alexius I with the aid of the Kipchaks annihilated their army.
Main articles: Ghaznavids, Seljuk Empire, Delhi Sultanate, Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo), Timurids, Bahri dynasty, Deccan sultanates, Safavid Empire, Ottoman Empire, Mughal Empire, and Afsharid Empire
As the Seljuk Empire declined following the Mongol invasion, the Ottoman Empire emerged as the new important Turkic state, that came to dominate not only the Middle East, but even southeastern Europe, parts of southwestern Russia, and northern Africa.
The Delhi Sultanate is a term used to cover five short-lived, Delhi-based kingdoms three of which were of Turkic origin in medieval India. These Turkic dynasties were the Mamluk dynasty (1206–90); the Khalji dynasty (1290–1320); and the Tughlaq dynasty (1320–1414). Southern India, also saw many Turkic origin dynasties like Bahmani Sultanate, Adil Shahi dynasty, Bidar Sultanate, Qutb Shahi dynasty, collectively known as Deccan sultanates.
In Eastern Europe, Volga Bulgaria became an Islamic state in 922 and influenced the region as it controlled many trade routes. In the 13th century, Mongols invaded Europe and established the Golden Horde in Eastern Europe, western & northern Central Asia, and even western Siberia. The Cuman-Kipchak Confederation and Islamic Volga Bulgaria were absorbed by the Golden Horde in the 13th century; in the 14th century, Islam became the official religion under Uzbeg Khan where the general population (Turks) as well as the aristocracy (Mongols) came to speak the Kipchak language and were collectively known as "Tatars" by Russians and Westerners. This country was also known as the Kipchak Khanate and covered most of what is today Ukraine, as well as the entirety of modern-day southern and eastern Russia (the European section). The Golden Horde disintegrated into several khanates and hordes in the 15th and 16th century including the Crimean Khanate, Khanate of Kazan, and Kazakh Khanate (among others), which were one by one conquered and annexed by the Russian Empire in the 16th through 19th centuries.
In Siberia, the Siberian Khanate was established in the 1490s by fleeing Tatar aristocrats of the disintegrating Golden Horde who established Islam as the official religion in western Siberia over the partly Islamized native Siberian Tatars and indigenous Uralic peoples. It was the northern-most Islamic state in recorded history and it survived up until 1598 when it was conquered by Russia.
The Chagatai Khanate was the eastern & southern Central Asian section of the Mongol Empire in what is today part or whole of Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Xinjiang ("Uyghurstan"). Like the Moghulistan and Golden Horde, the Chagatai Khanate became a Muslim state in the 14th century.
The Timurid Empire were an Uzbek-based Turkic empire founded in the late 14th century by Timurlane, a descendant of Genghis Khan. Timur, although a self-proclaimed devout Muslim, brought great slaughter in his conquest of fellow Muslims in neighboring Islamic territory and contributed to the ultimate demise of many Muslim states, including the Golden Horde.
The Mughal Empire was a Turkic-founded Indian empire that, at its greatest territorial extent, ruled most of the South Asia, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and parts of Uzbekistan from the early 16th to the early 18th centuries. The Mughal dynasty was founded by a Chagatai Turkic prince named Babur (reigned 1526–30), who was descended from the Turkic conqueror Timur (Tamerlane) on his father's side and from Chagatai, second son of the Mongol ruler Genghis Khan, on his mother's side. A further distinction was the attempt of the Mughals to integrate Hindus and Muslims into a united Indian state.
The Safavid dynasty of Persia were of mixed ancestry (Kurdish and Azerbaijani, which included intermarriages with Georgian,Circassian, and Pontic Greek dignitaries). Through intermarriage and other political considerations, the Safavids spoke Persian and Turkish, and some of the Shahs composed poems in their native Turkish language. Concurrently, the Shahs themselves also supported Persian literature, poetry and art projects including the grand Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp. The Safavid dynasty ruled parts of Greater Iran for more than two centuries. and established the Twelver school of Shi'a Islam as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning points in Muslim history
The Afsharid dynasty was named after the Turkic Afshar tribe to which they belonged. The Afshars had migrated from Turkestan to Azerbaijan in the 13th century. The dynasty was founded in 1736 by the military commander Nader Shah who deposed the last member of the Safavid dynasty and proclaimed himself King of Iran. Nader belonged to the Qereqlu branch of the Afshars. During Nader's reign, Iran reached its greatest extent since the Sassanid Empire.
Muslim Turks and non-Muslim Turks
The Muslim Kara-Khanid Turks performed a mass conversion campaign against the Buddhist Uyghur Turks during the Islamicisation and Turkicisation of Xinjiang.
The non-Muslim Turks worship of Tengri was mocked and insulted by the Muslim Turk Mahmud al-Kashgari, who wrote a verse referring to them – The Infidels – May God destroy them!
The Basmil, Yabāḳu and Uyghur states were among the Turkic peoples who fought against the Kara-Khanid's spread of Islam, the Islamic Kara-khanids were made out of Tukhai, Yaghma, Çiğil and Karluk.
Kashgari claimed that the Prophet assisted in a miraculous event where 700,000 Yabāqu infidels were defeated by 40,000 Muslims led by Arslān Tegīn claiming that fires shot sparks from gates located on a green mountain towards the Yabāqu. The Yabaqu were a Turkic people.
The Muslim Kara-Khanid Turk Mahmud Kashgari insulted the Uyghur Buddhists as "Uighur dogs" and called them "Tats", which referred to the "Uighur infidels" according to the Tuxsi and Taghma, while other Turks called Persians "tat". While Kashgari displayed a different attitude towards the Turks diviners beliefs and "national customs", he expressed towards Buddhism a hatred in his Diwan where he wrote the verse cycle on the war against Uighur Buddhists. Buddhist origin words like toyin (a cleric or priest) and Burxān or Furxan (meaning Buddha, acquiring the generic meaning of "idol" in the Turkic language of Kashgari) had negative connotations to Muslim Turks.