A Short Preface
Yesterday night, I had a "not so good" long discussion about the Turkish people, their civilization, how they converted to Islam and more, of course, with some good Turkish friends, who are living in Turkey and are Turkish citizens, but a bit mislead and misinformed about the real facts. I was always sure that exists (intentionally) a "missing part" in their history and in their knowledge, many hidden details and other facts, by some obscure political forces in Turkey, who try their best to leave the Turkish population who lives in Turkey in darkness... So I promissed them that today I will publish all what they may not know about their own country, for several reasons, mostly political and/or religious reasons. I also promissed them that I wont use any anti-turk propaganda or any anti-turk scripts or articles, only the real facts, written by TURKS for Turks, so here it is:
The Turkic Peoples
Turkic Peoples, peoples indigenous to northern and Central Asia. The Turkic peoples constitute majority populations in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in China. Substantial Turkic populations are also found in Russia (Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, North Caucasus, Siberia), Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Iran. Many have shared histories. They speak distinct languages deriving from a common linguistic ancestor.
The ancient habitat of the earliest speakers of Turkic, c. 3000 bc, was probably in southern Siberia and north north-eastern Mongolia. They did not have a common name. Turkic tribes are first noted among the subject Xiongnu peoples in Mongolia and in neighbouring regions in the early 2nd century bc. The dispersal of the Xiongnu peoples by the mid-2nd century ad under Chinese pressure pushed Hunnic groupings, including Turkic peoples, westward to the Black Sea steppes by the latter half of the 4th century ad. The rise and expansion of the Rouran (Asian Avar) state in the early 5th century in Mongolia sent more Turkic tribes westward. These tribes spoke a distinct form of Turkic (Oghuric) that survives today only in Chuvash.
In 552, the Turk tribe in the Altai, unmentioned until the 540s, overthrew their overlords, the Rouran. Led by Bumin of the Ashina clan, who took the title of qaghan (“emperor”), the Turks quickly established their hegemony over other Turkic peoples (Uygur, Ghuzz (Oghuz), Qarluq, and Qirghiz (Kyrgyz) among others), founding an empire that reached from Manchuria to the Black Sea and gaining control of the Silk Route. The name Turk spread to their subjects as a political designation. China, under the Sui (581-617) and Tang (618-907) dynasties, exploiting the frequent succession struggles among the Ashina who had divided their empire into eastern and western halves, subjugated the eastern qaghan in 630 and the fractious western Turks in 659. In c. 630-650, the Khazar Qaghanate split off from the western Turk realm, forming a powerful state in the Volga-Ponto-Caspian region that was destroyed, c. 965-969, by the Rus’ and Ghuzz. The revival and collapse of the eastern Qaghanate (682-742) pushed more tribes westward, the building blocks of the modern Turkic peoples. The Uygurs subsequently succeeded the Turks in Mongolia and adjacent areas (744-840). The Qarluqs, who fled the Uygur takeover, supplanted the western qaghans (766), who had been weakened by the contest for dominion in Central Eurasia between China, Tibet, and the Arabian Caliphate. They and the Ghuzz, who had also migrated westward, were closest to hitherto largely Iranian and now Muslim-dominated Transoxiana or Transoxania (the region between the Oxus (now called the Amu Darya) and Jaxartes (now called the Syr Darya) rivers). Islam began to spread among them through warfare and missionary activities. Muslim authors popularized the ethnonym Turk as a common designation for Turkic-speaking Central Asian nomads. Several Turko-Islamic states emerged: the Qarakhanids (992-1212) in Western and Eastern Turkistan and the Seljuks (c. 1040-1194, of Ghuzz origin) who invaded the Near East and founded a powerful state in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Anatolia (1081-1307).
In the early 13th century, the Chinggisid Mongols subjugated the Turkic peoples. The ensuing displacements produced their present-day distribution. The Ottoman Empire (c. 1300-1922) was founded by a dynasty pushed to the Byzantine-Seljuk frontier in Anatolia. It expanded into the Balkans and took Constantinople in 1453. At its zenith in the 16th to 17th century Ottoman power extended from Hungary to Arabia and North Africa, including much of the Arab world. In Eurasia the fragmenting Chinggisid realms, following the death of Tamerlane (1405) who attempted to reunite them, emerged as regional khanates: Crimea (1443-1783), Kazan (c.1438-1552), and Astrakhan (1466-1556), as well as more ephemeral nomadic polities, for example, the Uzbek union of Abu’l-Khair Khan (d. 1468). From the latter the Uzbeks who conquered Transoxiana (in 1500, giving rise to modern Uzbekistan) and the Kazakhs emerged. The Uzbek and Kazakh khanates were brought under Russian rule in the latter half of the 19th century. The Manchus (Qing dynasty in China 1644-1911) gained control of the Turko-Muslim peoples of Eastern Turkistan (mid-18th century), which became Xinjiang. The Turks of Turkey emerged from the Turkic and Turkicized population of Ottoman Anatolia. The other Turkic peoples were shaped into their modern configurations by the ethnic policies of the Russian/Soviet and Qing/Chinese governments.
Most Turkic peoples through much of their recorded history were pastoral nomads. Those that conquered settled societies, sedentarized over time. The Turkic peoples of the Near East, Tatarstan, Uzbekistan, and Xinjiang are largely engaged in agriculture or urban occupations. Others, such as the Turkmen, Kazakhs, and Kyrgyz, still have substantial pastoral nomadic populations.
IV. Modern Turkic Languages and Peoples
Turkic is an Altaic language, a linguistic family that also includes Mongolian and Tungus languages, and perhaps more distantly Korean and Japanese. The nature of the Altaic relationship, genetic or resulting from centuries of borrowing and interaction, remains a matter of contention. The significant modern Turkic languages are, in the south-west: Turkish (about 50 million speakers in Turkey); North Azerbaijani (over 6 million in Azerbaijan); South Azerbaijani or Azeri (23.5 million in Iran); and Turkmen (over 3 million in Turkmenistan and 2 million in Iran). In the north-west, in the Volga-Ural zone, North Caucasus in Russia, Crimea, and Central Asia: Tatar (1.6 million in Russia, China, and Istanbul, Turkey); Kazakh (over 8.1 million, of whom 1.1 million are in China); and Kyrgyz (3.1 million). In south-eastern areas: Northern Uzbek (nearly 18.8 million in Uzbekistan and China); Southern Uzbek (1.4 million in Afghanistan); and Uygur (7.6 million, largely in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region in China). Languages in north-eastern areas are subdivided into various national groupings ranging from the Tuvinians (Tuvin; 209,400) and Khakas (64,810) to the Chulym (500) and the Karagas (25-30). Chuvash is spoken by 1.8 million in the Middle Volga zone. The Judeo-Tatar spoken by small groups of Rabbanite and Qaraite Jews (their coreligionists, the Qaraim in Lithuania, Poland, and western Ukraine, spoke a language derived from medieval Cumano-Qipchaq) is nearing linguistic extinction.
The early Turkic peoples were shamanists and worshippers of Tengri (a celestial god), Umay (a fertility goddess), Yol Tengri “Road God” (a god of fate), Earth-Water (nature spirits), and other natural phenomena. They also engaged in ancestor worship. In the 6th century and thereafter they came into contact with Buddhism, Nestorian Christianity, Manichaeism (to which the Uygurs converted in 762), Judaism (to which the Khazars converted in the late 8th or early 9th century) and Islam. The Volga Bulgars (ancestors, in part, of the modern Volga Tatars) were the first to become Muslims in the 920s. Large-scale conversions followed among the Turkic peoples of the steppe, a process that continued well into the Chinggisid era. Today, the overwhelming majority of Turkic-speaking peoples are Sunni Muslims with Shiism well represented among the Azerbaijanis. The Chuvash and some Siberian Turks adopted Orthodox Christianity spread by Russian missionaries, although shamanistic influences remain. The Tuvinians and Yellow Yogurs (Uygurs in China) are Buddhists.
The pagan Turks believed that their Ashina qaghans ruled by virtue of heavenly mandated charisma (qut). Since their blood could not be shed, dethroned qaghans were strangled with a silk cord. The investiture ceremonies of the Ashina Turks and Khazar qaghans included ritual near-strangulation. As this charisma resided in the entire royal clan, the latter exercised a collective sovereignty over their realms resulting in frequent succession struggles.
VII. Writing Systems
The earliest Turkic texts date from the early 8th-century ad runic official inscriptions of the Second Turk Empire. Some scattered specimens may be earlier. Variants of this script are found among a number of Turkic peoples across Eurasia. A slightly altered form of the Sogdian alphabet, itself derived from Aramaic-Syriac scripts, was adopted by the Uygurs (most probably after 840). This alphabet continued in use for some time after the various Turkic peoples Islamicized and was adopted by the Mongols and later the Manchus. Turkic has also been written in Indic (Brahmi) and Tibetan scripts. With Islamization, from the 10th century onwards, the Arabic alphabet became widely used. In 1928 the Turkish Republic replaced Ottoman-Arabic script with the Latin alphabet. Turkic peoples under Soviet rule switched from Arabic to Latin and eventually to Cyrillic scripts during the period 1922-1940. After the fall of the Soviet Union, some Turkic peoples, both those still under Russian rule (for example, the Tatars) and those who now have independent states (for example, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan) have adopted Latin alphabets. Turkic peoples in Iran and China continue to use Arabic script.
Turkic Peoples and Islam
How the Turks shed their blood, fighting Islam for Four Hundred (400) years, how the Muslim Persians islamized the Turks, how the Turks gave up and "embraced" Islam and how later the Turks became the tormentors themselves to carry the bloodied tradition of Jihad into Anatolia (modern Turkey) and the Balkans-Europe up to Austria.
The Turks in Pre-Islamic times
Today we read in history that the Ottoman Turks carried the Jihad into Europe. The Turks besieged and sacked Constantinople. To many of us, the Turks before Ataturk reformed Turkey into becoming the Muslim world's first secular republic, were ruthless Jihadis, whose king was the Caliph till 1924, when Ataturk abolished the Caliphate. But we know little of the bloodied struggle that the Turks waged against Islam for 'four hundred years from 650 up to 1050. The first clash of the Turks with the Islamic Jihad took place when the Muslims in their surge through Persia reached the borders of the Sassanid Empire in Khorasan, near Central Asia. In those days the Turks ruled Central Asia. They have been referred to as Turanians by the ancient Persians of Zoroaster's time.
The Turks were so to say a multi-ethnic tribal cluster who were united with the bonds of language. Since ancient times, apart from grazing cattle, the Turks also used to attack settled people in Persia and live off the booty.
Tengri is the god of the old Turkic, Mongolian and Altaic religion named Tengriism. The Mongols called him Tengri, (depicted as Blue Sky) was the highest God of Turks and Mongols. The name "Tengri" (Tana-Gra) means "Ruler, Master of the Land"; there might be some connection with the Sumerian word for god Dingir.
In the pre-islamic Turkish worship of celestial objects, lies the usage of Turkish Muslims of the crescent Moon as their symbol. Incidentally, the crescent moon, was borrowed by other non-Arab Muslims from the Turks. We may note that the Arabs never use the crescent moon as their symbol.
The Huns, Bulgars, Ughirs, Seljuks, Qarluqs were some of the different tribes that made up the vast Turkish nation. Of these the Huns and the Bulgars embraced Christianity and the rest of the Turkish clans embraced Islam. Before embracing Islam or Christianity, in the 3rd and 4th centuries the Turks (Huns, also called White Huns) had attacked the Roman empire, the Sassanid and Achaemenian empires in Persia and had also invaded India. They were a warlike race, who would not easily be subjugated and led a nomadic life. They were hardy tribal race who had strains of Caucasoid and Mongoloid ancestry.
The pre-Islamic religion of the Turks was centered around their celestial god named Tengri (or Tanri)
Tengri is the god of the old Turkic, Mongolian and Altaic religion named Tengriism. The Mongols called him Tengri, (depicted as Blue Sky) was the highest God of Turks and Mongols. The name "Tengri" -(Tana-Gra) means "Ruler, Master of the Land"; there might be some connection with the Sumerian word for god Dingir.
In the pre-islamic Turkish worship of celestial objects lies the usage of Turkish Muslims of the crescent Moon as their symbol. Incidentally, the crescent moon, was borrowed by other Muslims from the Turks. We may note that the Arabs never use the crescent moon as their symbol.
The core beings in Tengriism are Sky-Father (Tengri/Tenger Etseg) and Mother Earth (Eje/Gazar Eej). In history, Chinggis Khan (Gengis Khan), the unifier of the Mongolian nation, based his power on a mandate from Tengri himself, and began all his declarations with the words "by the will of Eternal Blue Heaven."
The symbols of Tengri were a cross (betraying Christian influences), the skies and the sun. It is often confused with a sun-worshipping religion, but the sun is merely a symbol of Tengri.
Deep in history neither the Mongols nor the Turks were Muslims, but in fact had waged a bloodied struggle against Islam. The Turks and Mongols were neighbors and had mixed ancestry since antiquity. Both held Central Asia between them when the Arab Muslim invaders appeared on the scene, after over-running the Persian Sassanid Empire in the year 651. Ironically the Turks had to struggle with Islam which came to them through the medium of the Islamized Persians who had been newly converted to Islam at the point of the sword by the Arabs.
In modern Turkish, the word "Tanri" is used as the generic word for "god", and is also often used today by practicing Muslims to refer to their God in Turkish as an alternative to the word "Allah", the - originally Arabic - Islamic word for "God".
Khan is pre-Islamic title
Khan is a typical Turkish royal title and is, by default today, considered to be a Muslim name. But Genghis Khan and Hulagu Khan were not Muslims, they were in fact were inveterate enemies of the Muslims. They laid waste a large swathe of the Islamic crescent in the 13th century, till their descendants were ultimately defeated by the Muslims and were forced to convert to Islam. After this conversion, till today we have come to believe that the name Khan is a Muslim name and that the Turks and the Mughals (Mongols) have always been Muslims.
Deep in history neither the Mongols nor the Turks were Muslims, and had waged a bloodied struggle against Islam before their forcible conversion. The Turks and Mongols were neighbors and had mixed ancestry since antiquity. Both held Central Asia between them when the Arab Muslim invaders appeared on the scene, after over-running the Persian Sassanid Empire in the year 651.
The Defeat of Sassanid Persia opened up the Turkish domains of Central Asia to the Jihadis
After clearing these pockets of Persian resistance, the Arabs made the main Persian town of Merv the target of attack. Merv was the capital of Khurasan and here the last Sassanid king Yazdgard had sought refuge with his courtiers who had being fleeing before the advancing Arab Muslims, since the Arab invasion of Persia in 637 after the disastrous battle of Qadisiyyah. The Persian army was now in tatters and in no position to put up any effective resistance to the invading Arabs. On hearing of the Muslim advance, Yazdgard left for Balkh. No resistance was offered at Merv, and the Muslims occupied the capital of Khurasan without lifting their swords.
When the Arabs first invaded Turkish lands, it was reported to the Arab commander Ahnaf that the practice with the Turks was that the war commenced at dawn and before the war could start three heralds blew bugles and then the Turkish force marched to the battle. To subvert the Turks, before the night of the war, Ahnaf hid himself in a safe place outside the Turkish camp. As soon as the Turkish herald came out of the Turkish camp to blow the bugle, Ahnaf overpowered him and killed the Turk with his sword. When the second herald came he met the same fate. The third herald also met the same fate. So on that day the bugles did not blow for the Turkish army.
When the bugles did not blow the Khan of Farghana came out of the camp to see what had happened to the heralds. When he saw that all of them were dead he regarded this as a bad omen. At the spur of the moment he decided that the Turks should not involve themselves with the Muslims. He ordered his force to withdraw and march back to Farghana.
This is how the Arab Muslims deceived the Turks into retreating. The Islamic Jihad had drawn the first Turkish blood thru subterfuge.
The Arab commander Ahnaf stayed at Merv for some time to reorganize the administration and to await further reinforcements from Kufa. In the meantime the Persian forces gathered in considerable strength at Balkh. Yazdgard sought aid from the neighboring Turkish state Farghana and the Khan of Farghana personally led a Turkish contingent to Balkh.
Having received reinforcements, Ahnaf led the Muslim forces to Balkh. The Muslims had experience of battling with the Persians but they had little experience of war with the Turks. Ahnaf wanted to avoid war with the Turks, and in this connection he thought of devious ways whereby the Turks should abandon the cause of Yazdgard.
So when the Arab Muslims first invaded Turkish lands, the Muslims decided to use subterfuge. It was reported to the Arab commander Ahnaf that the practice with the Turks was that the war commenced at dawn and before the war could start three heralds blew bugles and then the Turkish force marched to the battle. To subvert the Turks, before the night of the war, Ahnaf hid himself in a safe place outside the Turkish camp. As soon as the Turkish herald came out of the Turkish camp to blow the bugle, Ahnaf overpowered him and killed the Turk with his sword. When the second herald came he met the same fate. The third herald also met the same fate. So on that day the bugles did not blow for the Turkish army.
When the bugles did not blow the Khan of Farghana came out of the camp to see what had happened to the heralds. When he saw that all of them were dead he regarded this as a bad omen. At the spur of the moment he decided that the Turks should not involve themselves with the Muslims. He ordered his force to withdraw and march back to Farghana. This is how the Arab Muslims deceived the Turks into retreating. The Islamic Jihad had drawn the first Turkish blood thru subterfuge.
In the space of 650-1050 AD a number of events of importance transpired in Central Asia. These four hundred years were the fiercest in the Turkish struggle against the Islamic Jihad. The next four hundred years were to see the gradual transformation of the pagan Turks into Muslims. The Turks shed their blood fighting the Jihad for four hundred years but finally gave up and embraced Islam, to later become Jihadis themselves to carry the bloodied tradition of aggression and forcible conversion into Anatolia (modern Turkey) and through the Balkans up to Austria and Poland.
The next three hundred years witnessed the untold story of the Turkish resistance to Islam. Ironically the Turks had to struggle with Islam which came to them through the medium of the Muslim Persians who had been newly converted to Islam at the point of the sword by the Arabs.
The Persian converts to Islam overthrow the Arab Umayyad Caliphs and replace them with the Persianized Abbasid Caliphs
In the space of 650-1050 AD a numbers of events of importance transpired in Central Asia. These four hundred years were the fiercest in the Turkish struggle against the Jihad. The next four hundred years were to see the gradual transformation of the pagan Turks into Muslims. The Turks shed their blood fighting the Jihad for four hundred years and finally gave up and embraced Islam, to later become the tormentors themselves to carry the bloodied tradition of Jihad into Anatolia (modern Turkey) and Balkans up to Austria and Poland.
In the year 750, an important event that transformed Central Asia. This event was the overthrow of the Umayyads Caliphate and its replacement by the Abbasid Caliphate. While Umayyads of Damascus were Arabs who had descended from Abu Sufyan the Chieftain of Mecca at the time of Mohammed. The newly converted Zoroastrian Persians wanted to regain their pre-eminent power in Persia. They organized themselves and marched against the Umayyad army. The two armies met at a place called Zab. Here the Persian Abbasids defeated the Arab Umayyads and established a new caliphate near Ctesiphon the site of the ancient capital of the Sassanid Persians. They named this city Baghdad which was to be the capital of the Abbasids from 750 up to its sack by the Mongols in 1258.
A leading commander of the Abbasid army was a Zoroastrian convert to Islam named Behzadan, who had assumed the name Abu Muslim. He played a leading role in the war and deposed the Umayyad caliph, and placed the Persianized Abbasids as Caliphs and as the head of the Muslim world. With this revolution the leadership of the Muslim world had passed from Arab hands into Persian hands, a leadership which they had lost a century earlier, when the Arabs had destroyed the Sassanid Persian empire.
An important change now was that the Persians who as Zoroastrians a century earlier were victims of Islam had now embraced Islam and had become the new vanguard of the bloodied creed of Islam. Their victims were to be the Turks of Central Asia.
Abu Muslim a Zoroastrian Persian convert to Islam attacked and Islamized the Turks
Shortly after victory at the battle of Zab, and the establishment of the Abbasid Caliphate at Baghdad, Abu Muslim was commissioned to conduct a Jihad in Central Asia to exterminate the Kaffirs once and for all. It was a great low point for the Western branch of the Blue Turks. Their great Khan Su'lu who was a bulwark against the Moslems and the Chinese in the wars of 720 and 723, was assassinated by the Arabs. The pagan Turkic rulers of Samarqand and Bokhara came under a heavy assault from the ghazis after the fall of Su'lu when the Arabs with 300 giant trebuchets stormed the cities and forcibly imposed Islam with the destruction of the pagan places of worship.
Defeat of the Chinese at the Battle of the Talas River with the invading Muslims sealed the fate of the Turkish resistance to Islam
Archaeological evidence shows that these Turkic cities were cosmopolitan with Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism and the Tengri cults of the Altaics were the various creeds that were practiced. The Arabs under Abu Muslim savagely crushed, the last attempt made by the populations of Samarqand and Bokhara to rid themselves of the murderous Muslim Ghazis. Abu Muslim sent his victorious commander of these wars, Ziyad ibn Salih, with a band of 40000 ghazis, to wage a Jihad on the Chinese. The Arab army marched from the south towards Talas. The Chinese general Kao (of Korean origin), decided to resist the Muslim invasion and marched towards Aulie-Ata on the Talas river with 100,000 Chinese troops in cavalry and infantry divisions.
In the Battle of the Talas river the Betrayal of the Qarluq Turks led to the defeat of the Chinese at Arab hands
On July 10th 751 AD the Arab and Chinese armies took to the field in Aulie-Ata on the backs of the Talas river. The Chinese cavalry seemed to initially overwhelm the Arab cavalry, but the Arabs had worked out a deal with one of the many Turkish contingents of the Chinese army viz., the Qarluq Turks, by promising them wealth and freedom in return for embracing Islam and betraying their Chinese masters. The Qarluqs who held a grudge against the Chinese for having reduced them to vassalage, viewed this as an opportunity to throw off the Chinese yoke by using the Arabs, and had planned to later throwing off the Arab yoke as well and regaining their freedom from both the Chinese and the Arabs. The Qarluq Turks later played the main role in converting other Turkish tribes notably the Seljuk Turks to Islam.
At the battle of the Talas river where the Arab and the Chinese armies clashed, the Qarluqs who were a part of the Chinese army, opened a breach in their own ranks and allowed the Arabs to ford the river and helped them to encircle a part of the Chinese infantry butchering it to the last man.
The Qarluq archers then surrounded their paymaster the general of the Chinese army Kao and treacherously shot him down. Now the Arabs followed their heinous practice of sticking the severed head of an enemy and parading it before the enemy army. The Chinese not being used to such grisly war tactics, fell into confusion and disarray, not knowing who had betrayed them, and their General Kao. They broke ranks and fell back into confusion, shaking the Chinese center, which was rapidly assaulted by the Arab heavy cavalry and destroyed. Thus due to Muslim subterfuge and savagery the infallible Chinese war machine gave way under combined assault of the Arabs and the traitor Qarluqs, and they faced a heavy rout. From behind, the treacherous Qarluqs fell upon the Chinese baggage trains and supplies carrying away all they could and receded back into the steppe.
The Arabs rounded up tens of thousands of Chinese and their non-Qarluq Turk allies and took them to Samarqand from where Abu Muslim sent them to Baghdad and Damascus to be sold as slaves, each worth a dirham. One Chinese survivor mentions being kept as cattle in the Arab prison camps. Abu Muslim and Ziyad made huge financial gains out of this slave trade and used it to pay their armies. More importantly the Arabs forced the Turk and Chinese prisoners to teach them the art of making siege trains and catapult machines, which the Islamized Turks were to use successfully in their attacks on the Byzantine cities.
The Qarluq Turks aimed at playing the Chinese and the Muslims against each other to gain their own independence
The Qarluq Turks wanted independence from the Chinese so they made a pretence of embracing Islam to obtain Arab support to defeat the Chinese. The Qarluqs had planned to later throw off the Arab yoke as well by repudiating Islam and regaining their freedom from both the Chinese and the Arabs. But little did the Qarluqs realize that in working out a deal with the Arabs, while they would succeed in throwing off the Chinese yoke, they would have to bring themselves into the fold of Islam, from which there was no escape! The Qarluqs were forced to remain Muslim and whenever any of them reneged their Islamic faith, they were put to death while the luckier among them were enslaved by the Arabs and Persian Muslims.
The later history of the Qarluqs was as Muslims who resigned themselves to remaining as satellites of the Arabs after having thrown off the Chinese yoke and with it also the only possibility of liberating themselves from the grip of Islam. It was this devious conversion of the Quarluqs that triggered the conversion of the greater Turkish nation to Islam in the next three centuries from 750 to 1050.
The Turks who had zealously retained their freedom from their neighbors the Chinese, and the Zoroastrian Persians for more than a millennium, finally began succumbing to Islam due to a tactical pretense of the Qarluqs of embracing Islam, for securing Arabs support and throwing off Chinese suzerainty. A deal that proved costly for Turkish independence that was now permanently enslaved into the prison of Islam. The Turks henceforth would remain satellites of the Arabs, a position they sought to reverse, by themselves becoming more aggressive champions of Islam, and reducing their Arabs masters to vassalage status when they established their Seljuk and later Uthman (Ottoman) dynasties.
Turkish Resistance to Islam
But before they would finally resign to their fate to being Muslims the Turks waged a bloodied war against the Muslim incursion of their homeland in Central Asia. After the Battle of the Talas river, the Arabs captured many of the non-Qarluq Turks who were allies of the Chinese and deported them as salves to Baghdad. They are reported to have totaled up to seventy thousand. Not only were these enslaved Turks were forced to become Muslims, but enslavement was the tactic used by the Islamized Turks to convert the non-Muslim Turks to Islam.
The Conversion of the Seljuk Turks to Islam
The next Turkish clan to be converted to Islam was the Seljuks. They were a proud imperial clan among the Turks, and after the conversion of the Qarluqs to Islam, it was the Seljuks who held the banner of Turkish resistance to Islam. The Seljuks remained unsubdued for another century and half. But the Arabs, Persian and Islamized Turks mounted many bloodied campaigns against them and other non-Muslim Turks who were allied to the Seljuks. In this series of battles the fortunes fluctuated from one side to the other, at times the Muslims were victorious and at others the Turks emerged victorious.
Tactics used by the Muslims to convert the Turks to Islam
In this unwritten chapter of the Turkish resistance to Islam, the Muslims (who in this case were mainly the Zoroastrian Persian converts to Islam), devised new tactics and subterfuge to enslave a proud and fiercely independent people which characterized the Turkish clan. In this battle the Turks did not lack in bravery, as they were born warriors and spent a large part of their lives on horseback. But whenever the non-Muslim Turks were victorious, they destroyed the Muslim camps, slaughtered their armies, destroyed their cities, and torched their fields, but it did not cross their minds, to enforce any religion on the defeated Muslims. Those of the Muslims that the Turks set free, either went back to the Muslim controlled cities, or stayed on in the Turkish areas and attempted to spread Islam. A mindset that was totally absent among the non-Muslim Turks. (It was only when the Christians of Europe liberated Muslim lands, did they attempt to re-convert the Muslims to Christianity.) But the pre-Islamic Turks knew of no such tactic and they made no attempt to roll back the tide of Islam when they were victorious over the Muslims.
So while the Christians of Europe succeeded in turning back the tide of Islam in the middle ages, the Turks failed to resist Islam. Herein lies an important factor in defeating Islam, by forcing the reconversion of the defeated Muslims out of Islam. If the defeated Muslims are allowed to retain their faith (which is nothing but a cult of death and murder), the venom of Islam will become powerful once again to overwhelm the non-Muslim victors to ultimately defeat them. So whenever the Muslims are defeated and subjugated they need to be made to give up Islam, at the pain of death if necessary. But Islam has to be wiped out of peoples’ minds if the victory over Islam has to be consolidated and made permanent. As long as a person remains a Muslim, he/she remains an ever present danger to any non-Islamic (civilized) way of life. This is true as much today as it was in the past, and shall remain as true, as long as Islam infests this planet!
Muslims held Turkish princes as captives to be brought up as Muslims
In their struggle with the pre-Islamic Turks the tactic of the Muslims was to use every victory to press Islam on the defeated Turks. At every negotiation with the Turks, when the Turks faced a defeat, the Muslims would ask for custody of the princes and princesses of the Turkish royal family on the excuse of holding them as a guarantee that the Turks would keep their word given during the negotiations. These royal captives would be brought up in the Islamic tradition and their minds jaundiced in favor of Islam. In many cases when their Muslim captors were satisfied that the royal captives had mentally accepted Islam, the Shahada (declaration of the acceptance of Islam) was pronounced to them, and they were released to return to their kingdoms, whenever they had to ascend the throne in their clans and tribes.
Most important of all, Ataturk visualized that in future there could be folks like Abdullah Gul and Erdogan who might want to undo the revolutionary secular reforms initiated by Ataturk and roll back Turkey into the Islamic age. To prevent this, he made the Turkish military the custodian of secular traditions. The Turkish military has intervened to upset any Islamist take of Turkey on many occasions during the last ninety years. It is quite possible the military will be called upon to take the reins of power once again, especially with the impending partition of Iraq and the coming of Kurdistan as an independent country with its destabilizing effects on Turkey's Kurds and Erdogan taking advantage of this scenario to sideline the military to seize more power for himself and his Islamist party.
With a Muslim at the helm in a non-Muslim Turkish clan, the conversion of the rest of the clan to Islam was only a matter of time. This was one of the tactics used by the Muslims to infiltrate Islam into the Turkish nation. By the middle of the eleventh century, most of the Turks had embraced Islam, and thenceforth it was they who became the vanguard of the Jihad to carry the bloodied trial of Islam into Anatolia and the Balkans. It was these Islamized Seljuk Turks who kept up a constant pressure on the Byzantine Empire inflicting on the Byzantines a string of defeats starting from the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 in Eastern Anantolia. It was these steady attacks and migration of the Seljuk Turks into Anatolia which gave the present Turkish character to Anatolia making it the Turkey of today.
The Seljuk (and later the Ottoman) Turks also carried with them the tradition of taking child hostages and bringing them up as Muslims, a tactic of which they had earlier been victims at the hands of the Arab and Persian Muslims. This led to the institution of the Turkish Jannisaries The Jannisaries (Mercenaries from Jan = Life and Nisar = given away. The Muslims will have you believe that Janisarry comes from Yeni = new and Chery = soldier, but this is an eyewash meant to hide Muslim atrocities on non-Muslims) were Christian children taken captive by the Turks when they invaded Anatolia and the Balkans. The Jannisaries is a practice derived by the Turks from the Arab and Persian Muslims tactics used against them (the Turks) during their pre-Islamic days.
But the irony of history is that the Islamization of the Turks and the Mongols also started their migration from the traditional homelands in the Steppes of Central Asia into Anatolia and onwards in the Balkans. Today the word Turk is not mainly identified with the Turkic peoples of Central Asia who make up the Kazakh, Uzbek, Khirgiz and Tajik people (all of whom were called the Turanians in ancient times). Today the word Turk implies an inhabitant of Anatolia which is called Turkey. But in ancient times the inhabitants of Anatolia were not the Turks, they were Hittites (and Indo-European people) who later mingled with the Greek speaking inhabitants who built the Hellenized kingdoms of Sardis and Troy.
The Turko-Mongol attack on Muslim Iran and Middle East was similar to the Crusades in that it was a Non-Muslim Counterattack on Islam
Returning to pre-Islamic Central Asia, we need to bring attention to another curious fact that today not many historians have pointed out that the subterfuge, savage cruelty and other foul tactics which the Muslims used to convert the Turks to Islam, had led to a gradual accumulation of bitterness and a desire for revenge against the Muslims in the Turks and their related clans the Mongols.
Over the centuries many Persian Zoroastrians, the Persian Nestorian Christians, the Turks, Chinese and the Mongols had nursed within themselves a grievance against the Muslims expansion into Persia and Central Asia. It is this accumulation of grievances that led to the burst of the Mongol attack on Islamdom from 1200 that culminated in the sack and slaughter of Baghdad in 1258 under Hulagu Khan who was egged on to this path by his Nestorian Persian Christian wife.
Historians have failed to interpret the attack of the Mongols on Muslim Persia, and the Middle East as the Turko-Mongol counterattack on Islam; as were the Crusades, a Christian counterattack against Islam in the 11th century, We shall examine this in detail in the chapter on the Mongol resistance to Islam. Suffice it to note here that Hulagu's attack on Islamdom was a collective expression of resistance to Islam from the pre-Islamic Persians who had settled in China and Mongolia, and the Turks who had been waging a struggle against Islam in the 8th to the 10th centuries. It was a result of historical wrongs committed by the Arab Muslims on the Zoroastrian Persians, and by the Arab Muslims along with the Islamized Persians on the Turks, and in turn, by the Arabs with the Islamized Persians and the Islamized Turks on non-Islamic Turks and Mongols and Chinese.
Ottoman Turks Period (1299-1923)
- 1299 Establishment of the Ottoman Principality by Osman Bey in Sogut and Domanic (east of Bursa)
- 1326-1362 Orhan Bey period. Accepted as the real founder of the Ottoman State by his military and administrative organization and forming the divan. The first ruler to use the title of sultan.
- 1326 Ottomans under Sultan Orhan take Bursa and establish their first capital there
- 1364 Turks under Sultan Murat I capture Adrianople (Edirne) and establish Ottoman capital there
- 1389 Murat I wins the Kosova I Battle; He establishes the Janissary Corps
- 1396 Ottoman force led by Bayezit I defeats Crusader army at Nicopolis (Nigbolu)
- 1397 First Ottoman siege of Constantinople
- 1402 Tamerlane defeats Ottomans under Bayezit I at Ankara; the Sultan is captured and eventually commits suicide. Mongols overrun Anatolia, and Ottoman power in the subcontinent is temporarily crushed
- 1413-1421 Reign of Mehmet I; revival of Ottoman power in Anatolia
- 1421-1451 Reign of Murat II; Ottoman armies sweep through the Balkans and also regain lost territory in Anatolia
- 1451-1481 Reign of Mehmet II, the Conqueror
- 1452 He builds the Rumeli Fortress on the Bosphorus
- 1453 (May 29) Turks under Mehmet II conquer Constantinople, which becomes the fourth and last Ottoman capital under the name of Istanbul; he is entitled as the conqueror
- 1453-1579 Rise in the Ottoman Empire
- 1481-1512 Reign of Bayezit II
- 1512-1520 Reign of Selim I; Battles of Caldiran, Mercidabik, Ridaniye
- 1517 Selim I captures Cairo and adds the title of caliph to that of sultan
- 1520-1566 Reign of Suleyman the Magnificent (the longest in the Ottoman Empire; 46 years); zenith of Ottoman power; because he organizes the state by making new laws, he is called Kanuni meaning law-giver; the Mediterranean Sea becomes a Turkish lake with many captures.
- 1526 Battle of Mohacs (Mohac) and the conquest of Buda and Pest (Peste)
- 1529 First and unsuccessful Siege of Vienna
- 1534-1535 Suleyman the Magnificient's expedition into Iran and Iraq
- 1538 Preveze naval battle, Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa (Barbarossa) becomes Kaptan-i Derya (Commander in chief of the fleet)
- 1566-1574 Reign of Selim II
- 1569 The great fire of Istanbul
- 1571 At Lepanto naval battle allied fleet defeat the Ottomans except one squadron of Kilic Ali Pasa.
- 1588 Death of Sinan
- 1579-1699 The rule of women. Ineffectual sultans give up control of Ottoman Empire to their women and grand viziers; Reforms and Renaissance in Europe
- 1607 Celali uprisings, rebellions against the land tenure system of the provincial fief-holding cavalry
- 1638 Murat IV captures Baghdad
- 1648 Great earthquake of Istanbul
- 1661 Another great fire in Istanbul
- 1666-1812 Period of intermittent wars between Turks and European powers; Ottoman Empire loses much power in southern Europe
- 1683 Second and unsuccessful Siege of Vienna by Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa Pasa of Merzifon
- 1686 Ottomans are forced to evacuate Hungary
- 1699 Treaty of Karlowitz (Karlofca); the first loss of territory by the Ottoman Empires
- 1699-1792 Decline of the Ottoman Empire
- 1711 Grand Vizier Baltaci Mehmet Pasa's battle of Pruth against Russians. According to a spicy tradition, Pasa surrounded Peter the Great's army but then let him avoid humiliation because he was persuaded by a secret nocturnal visit to his tent by the czar's mistress (later empress) Catherine
- 1718-1774 Treaties of Passarowitz (Pasarofca) and Belgrade with Austrians, Kucuk Kaynarca with Russians
- 1718-1730 Tulip period; Istanbul is decorated with beautiful palaces and gardens; the first printing house in Istanbul and the first paper factory in Yalova are set up
- 1750 Another great fire in Istanbul
- 1754 Major earthquake in Istanbul
- 1782 Fire in Istanbul
- 1789-1807 Recovery period; Selim III; education becomes obligatory, reform in the army; Nizam-i Cedit (organized army)
- 1790 Ottoman-Prussian alliance against Austria and Russia
- 1808-1839 Mahmut II period
- 1826 Mahmut II abolishes the Janissary Corps; Medical and military schools are opened; General Post Office is set up; Ministries are established instead of the Divan; Government officers obliged to wear trousers
- 1839-76 The Tanzimat Period; Mahmut II puts the westernizing Imperial Reform Decree of the Tanzimat into operation; Abdulmecit and Mustafa Resit Pasa prepare a new program of reform: laws are made instead of sultan's orders; equal rights for everybody; equal taxes according to incomes; no punishment without trials
- 1856 Paris Treaty: Ottoman Empire to be accepted as a European state
- 1876-1909 Reign of Abdulhamit II
- 1876-1877 Short-lived first Constitutional Regime
- 1876 First Constitution is prepared by Young Turks and the first Turkish Parliament is established
- 1877 Parliament is dissolved by Abdulhamit II
- 1877-1908 Autocracy of Abdulhamit II
- 1881 Birth of Mustafa Kemal in Thessaloniki (Greece)
- 1908 Constitutional Regime II
- 1908 Abdulhamit is forced to accept constitutional rule; parliament restored
- 1909 Abdulhamit deposed; Young Turks take power
- 1912-13 Balkan Wars; Turks lose Macedonia and part of Thrace
- 1914 Ottoman Empire enters World War I as an ally of Germany
- 1915 Turks, led by Mustafa Kemal, repel Allied landings on Gallipoli Peninsula
- 1918 Turks surrender to Allies; Istanbul occupied by Anglo-French Army
- 1919-1922 War of Independence
- 1919 Sivas Congress; Ataturk leads Turkish Nationalists to start the struggle for national sovereignty; Greek army lands at Smyrna
- 1920 Treaty of Sévres; Ottoman Empire dissolved
- 1920 Establishment of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey with Ataturk as the president
- 1922 Turks defeat Greeks and drive them out of Asia Minor; sultanate abolished
- 1923 Treaty of Lausanne establishes sovereignty of modern Turkey, defines its frontiers and arranges for exchange of minorities between Greece and Turkey; Turkish Republic is proclaimed; Mustafa Kemal is elected president; Ankara replaces Istanbul as the capital
Ataturk - The Visionary
It Mustapha Kemal Pasha (fondly called Ataturk 'father of the Turks) who saw beyond Islam and wanted to build for the Turks a future bereft of Islam. He based his vision on three precepts:
1. Modernization of Turkey by abolishing the Caliphate
2. Westernizing by de-islamizing Turkey
3. Retuning to Turkish roots by taking on ethnic Turkish names in place of Arabic Islamic names
Ataturk's first and revolutionary measure was to abolish the Caliphate. Thus with one stroke he dealt two blows to Islamic orthodoxy. With the Caliphate abolished by a Turkish nationalist military commander, Turkey was no longer the focus of the Islamic world. He severed Turkey's most critical link with the Islamic world. Atatirk supplemented this with the abolition of the Arabic script and replaced it with the Latin script. He abolished the Chador (for ladies ) and Fez for men (Islamic cap with a tuft), and replaced it with Western dress. Women were to don Western skirts, while men were to be in Western three piece suits.
Ataturk banned the growing of beards by men and the wearing of even scarves by women. He outlawed the issuing of the Muezzins call for prayer and made this a private affair, with even the Muslim prayer leaders, priests and preachers having to be beardless and don Western dress!. He encouraged the next generation of Turks to take on ethnic pre-Islamic Turkish names like Bulent Ecevit, Turgut Ozal, Mesut Yilmaz, Necmettin Erbakan and Tansu Ciller, etc.
Most important of all, Ataturk visualized that in future there could be folks like Abdullah Gul and Erdogan who might want to undo the revolutionary secular reforms initiated by Ataturk and roll back Turkey into the Islamic age. To prevent this, he made the Turkish military the custodian of secular traditions. During the last ninety years the Turkish military has intervened to upset any Islamist take of Turkey on many occasions. It is quite possible the military will be called upon to take the reins of power once again, especially with the impending partition of Iraq and the formation of Iraqi Kurdistan as an independent country with its destabilizing effects on Turkey's Kurds and Erdogan taking advantage of this scenario to sideline the military to seize more power for himself and his Islamist party.
He was born in Thessaloniki (Greece) in 1881 and named Mustafa. Kemal was a nickname meaning "perfection" given by a tutor. He was a good student and did well at the military academy.
He was one of the early members of the Young Turks movement and a front-runner in the revolution which demanded a constitutional government for the Ottoman Empire.
During the First World War, he fought on many fronts. In 1915, then a Lieutenant Colonel, Mustafa Kemal was commanding a division of troops on the Gallipoli Peninsula. His actions in the Dardanelles as a soldier of determination, bravery and brilliance gave him great standing amongst the soldiers. His successes against the Allies were well received by the civilian population and he was acclaimed as the "Hero of Gallipoli".
This man, a military genius, soon showed himself as a great statesman too. After calling national congresses, he was elected President of the Turkish Grand National Assembly in April 1920. From then until his death in 1938, he remained in power in Turkey.
In 1934 everyone had to take a surname and Mustafa Kemal received the surname ATATURK which means "Father of the Turks".
Reforms in Turkey:
- 1924 - Abolition of the Caliphate
- 1925 - Abolition of the fez; suppression of religious brotherhoods; closing of sacred tombs as places of worship
- 1926 - Adoption of new Civil Law code
- 1928 - Introduction of Latin alphabet
- 1934 - Kemal takes name of Ataturk when a new law required Turks to adopt surnames; women made eligible to vote in elections and to become members of Parliament
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's reforms can be summarized as follows:
- Abolition of the Sultanate and Caliphate; establishment of the Republic.Implementation of secularism nationwide.
- Abolition of the religious courts.
- Suppression of religious brotherhoods; closing of sacred tombs as places of worship.
- Replacement of traditional clothing by Western styles; abolition of the fez.
- Abolition of Medreses, unification of education, renovations of school programs according to contemporary and national needs, opening of new universities.
- Adoption of new Civil Law code.
- Adoption of the solar calendar and changing of the Moslem holy day of the week, Friday, into a weekday with Sunday becoming the official day of rest.
- Introduction of Latin alphabet.
- Purification of Turkish language from foreign words.
- Implementation of "Peace at home, Peace in the world" as Turkish foreign policy.
The statesman and career military officer Ismet Inonu, (1884-1973), became the principal lieutenant of Kemal Ataturk in the post-World War I struggle for Turkish independence. Inonu was the Turkish representative at the Lausanne Conference which overturned the wartime settlement and established the Turkish Republic in 1923.
He was twice prime minister during Ataturk's presidency. As the second president (1938-50), Inonu kept Turkey neutral during World War II and prepared the country for democratic elections, which resulted in the removal of his Republican People's party from power (1950). He then led the opposition to the Democratic party's regime until its overthrow by a coup in 1960.
The military coup of 1960 in Turkey
Relatively neglected from 1923 to 1939, the army during the war had undergone a rapid expansion and a considerable modernization subsequently with the aid of US advisers. Many officers feared that the Democratic Peak (DP) threatened the principles of the secular, progressive Kemalist state. Some younger officers saw the army as the direct instrument of unity and reform. On May 3, 1960, the commander of the land forces, General Cemal Gursel, demanded political reforms and resigned when they were refused. On May 27 the army acted; an almost bloodless coup was carried out by officers and cadets from the Istanbul and Ankara War colleges. The leaders established a 38-man "National Unity Committee" with Gursel as chairman. The Democrat Party leaders were imprisoned. Most of the senior officers wanted to withdraw the army from politics as soon as possible and in November 1960 the decision was taken. The main work of the National Unity Committee was to destroy the DP and to prepare a new constitution. The DP was abolished and many Democrats were brought to trial on charges of corruption, unconstitutional rule and high treason. Three former ministers, including Menderes, were executed; 12 others, including Bayar, had their death sentences commuted to life imprisonment. The new constitution was completed and approved by 61% of the votes at a referendum. The first elections were held in October 1961. The army then withdrew from direct political involvement.
The military coup of 1980 in Turkey
In 1980 the military, which had watched the growing violence and the government's ineffectiveness with alarm, intervened, precipitating a bloodless coup on September 12. A National Security Council composed of the military high command took over governmental duties, naming General Kenan Evren head of state, quickly dissolved the Assembly, political parties and the trade unions. The constitution was suspended and martial law imposed. In November 1982 a new constitution won overwhelming approval in a national referendum. In April 1983 the National Security Council lifted its ban on political parties and the following November it transferred power to an elected unicameral parliament.
In 1989 Turgut Ozal was chosen by parliament to succeed Evren. In 1993, Suleyman Demirel succeeded Ozal after his death. Since then coalition governments have been effective in the Turkish Grand National Assembly. For more history about modern Turkey visit: http://www.washington.emb.mfa.gov.tr
Sertan Akinci - Math
Murat Serdar Ozbek - Economics
Sen Kocer - Business
Halil Erkin Aksit - Computer Science
Veysel Cetiner - Computer Science
Katie Murray - Journalism
Dost Boray - Afro American Studies
Summer Vanselow - Cell Biology/Gvpt
Catherine Butterworth - Government, Politics, Business
Saule K Kassengaliyeva - Public Communication, Womens Studies
Jennifer Leung - Economics, Chinese
Oguzhan Ozcoban - Journalism
For the HISTORY
Nikos Deja Vu