The history of the "Turkic " peoples can be traced to a starting point, and it has little, if anything, to do with the modern nation state of "Turkey". (in a broad sense)
So here ,in the section when I say "Turkic", it's not in reference to the modern nation state of Turkey, or it's present day inhabitants,it is only in reference to the ethnic, and linguistic origins of the Turkic peoples.
The term Turkic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people including existing societies such as the Turkish, Azerbaijani, Chuvashes, Kazakhs, Tatars, Kyrgyzs, Turkmen, Uyghur, Uzbeks, Bashkirs, Qashqai, Gagauzs, Yakuts, Crimean Karaites, Krymchaks, Karakalpaks, Karachays, Nogais and as well as past civilizations such as the Kumans, Kipchaks, Avars, Bulgars, Turgeshes, Seljuks, Khazars, OttomanTurks, Mamluks, Timurids, and possibly the Xiongnu and Huns.
I will attempt to trace the Turkic peoples trajectory from the Russian steppe, to empire, to present day nation-state.The Turkic peoples, created many empires.Some well known and others not so well known ,produced military leaders of great renowned. Ginghis Khan,Tamerlane and were known for their contribution to the advancement of military and administrative skills, recognised still to this day.The Chinese feared the Turkic speakers to their north, to such a degree that they built a "Great wall" to provide security. At this point in time they were a war like people,who prospered by looting and pillage,not at all uncommon in the ancient world,as this was a common and widespread practice, and can not be held against them.This was a cultural practice with out a religious component.At this point in time the faith" or religions of the group of people known as Turkic was Tengriism.
It was the common language,and beliefs that united the different ethnic groups, under the encompassing term "Turkic". Hence, Mongols , such as Ginghis Khan, falls into the "Turkic" peoples descriptive . How has so much history been forgotten,it was not misplaced.
And why did such a widely diverse groupings of humans, unite in such a way as to come to dominate over much of the known world by the close of the fifteenth century.And fall to pieces,at the dawn of the twenyth century.
Just as I started in central Asia as a starting point (as origin of the Turkic peoples) I go still further, to find the cause of this. The rise and fall of the "Turkic" empire, or as it is commonly called, the Ottoman empire.
In Arabia, in the seventh century, arose a 'prophet' named Mohammad,who was quite insistent on the submission of those who believed his words, and even more so insistent, on the humans who did not submit to his personal concept of a G*d, as well . He commanded submission of all humans, to the will of G*d. Or a concept of a G*d, as explained exclusively by him.
One of the first groups of humans to encounter this forced submission, were the 'pagan' Arabs living in Mekka.They worshiped many stone idols, in a square building known as the Kaaba,the most famous of which was "allah". The black stone of the Kaaba. (a meteorite)
The 'pagan' Arabs who submitted became Muslims,those who did not, were dead pagan Arabs. It's all a rather simple method of control.
Submission,to a more powerful man, or tribe is as old as Mankind. It had never been a religion component in that particular part of the world. However,Islam is the Arabic word for submission.Islam is the religion of SUBMISSION.
Cave men had been forcing weaker cave men, to submit to their will, since the dawn of time.It was never " I found the dead woolly Mammoth,it's mine". No, you were forced to make others submit to your will, to keep possession of the dead animal. Stronger individuals or a grouping,could take possession,force you ( the discoverer of the carcase ) to submit to their will.
The American "Indians" were forced to submit to the will of newly arrived Europeans.The English and French have historically attempted to force the "other" nation to submit to their will. Germany attempted to force all the world to submit to it's unique" ideology (national socialism) in the 1940s.In central America a native tribe had submitted some weaker tribes to such a degree that human sacrifice,was the price paid to priests, wearing the freshly removed skins of the submitted. When ever, and where ever in history, such submission is called for it is always a bloody price paid to remove it.
History teaches many lessons of killing for control of land or possessions,he (Mohammad) however added a new element,thought control.
The actions were now divinely ordained ( not to be questioned), not only was robbery and enslavement a profitable enterprise,they were the will, and reward on earth for submitting to allah.(or the thoughts, and concepts,of Mohammad's will to establish Arab cultural supremacy)The language of the Bedouin Arabs as the Language of the supreme being, cultural things such as the razzia, of Arab cultural tradition became Jihad.
This transformation of the nomadic razzia has wider implications than are apparent from the English translations used. The word translated "strive" is jahada, and the corresponding verbal noun is jihador "striving" which came in the course of time to have the technical meaning of "holy war." The change from the razzia to the jihad may seem to be no more than a change of name, the giving of an aura of religion to what was essentially the same activity. Yet this is not so. There was a change in the activity which came to be of the utmost importance as time went on. A razzia was the action of a tribe against another tribe. Even if two tribes were very friendly, their friendship might cool, and in a few years a razzia might be possible. Jihad, however, was the action of a religious community against non-members of the community, and the community was expanding. If members of the pagan tribes raided by the Muslims professed Islam, they at once became exempt from further Muslim raids. Consequently, as the Islamic community grew, the raiding propensities of the Muslims had to be directed ever further outwards. It was this "religious" character of the jihad which channelled the energies of the Arabs in such a way that in less than a century they had created an empire which stretched from the Atlantic and the Pyrenees in the West to the Oxus and the Punjab in the East. It seems certain that without the conception of the jihad that expansion would not have happened. (emphasis added)
The 'pagans' of the Arabian peninsula, were given a choice. Submit or die, as were the Jews of the inner parts of Arabia,the Jews of Medina.This was not the only group who were told to submit,Mohammad sent letters to the neighbouring kings or rulers expressing his personal desire that they submit to his will. One such letter can be found here. This is the justification for the conquest of the Byzantine empire.What is now ( or large parts of), the modern Nation state of Turkey.But how does this effect a group of peoples from central Asia, I will continue. Sorry,but history takes a little while to become clear.
After the death of this 'prophet' the first rightly guided caliph, Abu Bakr Siddique, following the instructions of his prophet, faught the Byzantine army at Damascus in 635 and won, but did not defeat the empire. This Empire (Byzantine) still existed for the "Turkic' peoples to conquer. Because there were many wars to be fought ,and the best General or fighter was needed for the weakened Sassanid empire.The conquest was temporarily put off.
So, Khalid ibn al-Walid (or the sword of allah) set out on a most violent mission to force the Zoroastrians of Persia to submit to this concept of a Deity. (still, and to this day, the black stone of the pagan Arabs is an object of worship in the kaaba.) in 641-42 they defeated the Sassanid army at Nahavand. On hearing of the Muslim advance, Yazdgard ( the king of Sassanid Persia) left for Balkh. Insignificant resistance was offered at Merv,and the Muslims soon occupied the Capitol of Ctesiphon (which they renamed Madain- Iraq) without the need to lift their swords.This was the fall of a humane,muti-cultural ,long standing civilization.
Yazdgerd proceeded to Nahavand after Jelola war. He called up all the commanders and the ethnic leaders to assist him and all troops gathered in Nahavand under command of Firoozan. Their number is reported as 150 thousands. On the other hand, Omar, the then caliph sent Neman-ibn-e-Abi Moghren Mazani to Nahavand.
The Islamic army is reported to have been 30,000 only. Neman-ibn-e-Abi Moghren Mazani was killed in this war which was known as Fath-ol-Fotooh (The biggest victory). His tomb is located in this very same region known as Babapireh and is today a public shrine. The Iranian (Persian)army was defeated which resulted in rupture of The Sassanides dynasty.
And it is after this conquest, that the Turkic peoples encounter Islam ( as victim), and the ethnic bigotry in the massage of Mohammad.
Allah's Apostle said, "The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Turks; people with small eyes, red faces, and flat noses. Their faces will look like shields coated with leather. The Hour will not be established till you fight with people whose shoes are made of hair."
A condensed time line can be found here to check my historical accuracy to this point
630: the eastern Turkic Khaganate is conquered by China
632: the Muslims conquer the Arabian peninsula
632: Muhammad delivers his last sermon on Mount Arafat
632: Mohammed dies
632: the Shiites, or Partisans of Ali, claim that Ali should succeed Mohammed based on blood relation, but the council of the elderly (Sunnites) choses instead Abu Bakr
632: Abu Bakr, one of Mohammed's followers and the first Muslim caliph ("prophet's successor"), quells upheavals throughout Arabia and declares war on the Roman (Byzantine) and Persian (Sassanid) empires
633: Abu Bakr conquers southern Mesopotamia
634: Abu Bakr defeats Byzantium in Palestine
634: Abu Bakr is succeeded by Umar ibn Abn Khattab
636: the Arabs capture Jerusalem
636: the Arabs capture Seleucia-Ctesiphon and the Sassanid empire
Since this is about the Turkic people, I will move my time line along, to the rise of the Persian Islamic empire.(Safavids)
Who by this time, had submitted the Arabs using the Ideology of submission (Islam), better than the Arabs who invented this ideology and codified it in the Quran and hadith.But as is most always the case,with any ideology of submission, a crueler or smarter group of individuals may turnaround this ideology, as a weapon against the group who originally introduced it.Submitting them,as was the case here.
This is when and where, the descendants of the Mongols the "turkic" hoards of the past, make a roaring comeback from the pages of time, Submitting both Persian, and Arabs at one time or another,and for centuries to come. The rise of the Ottoman Empire. (time line)
830-850, Turkish mercenaries from Central Asia found in service of Abbasid caliphs
850-905, Tulunids (Turkish generals) rule Egypt virtually independently of the Abbasids
900, Samanids rule in eastern Persia and borderlands of Turkistan; Turks are exposed to Persianate Islamic culture; preparation far incorporation of Turks into main body of Middle Eastern Islamic civilization
10thc. , term ”sultan” (Arabic abstract noun meaning ”sovereign authority”) begins to be used to designate rulers
c.1000 , Ghaznavids establish rule in Afghanistan, break Samanidpower, and expand into Persia below Oxus River; champions of Sunni Islam within a predominantly Persian cultural context
1040, Seljuks take Khorasan from Ghaznavids; soon controlmostof Persia with center at Isfahan; from there advance to defeat Buwayhids (Shi’i Persians) who had dominated Abbasid caliphs in Baghdad for a century
1055, Seljuk sultans become de facto rulers in Abbasid Baghdad; two centuries of turmoil is ended and unity restored in eastern Islamic region; Persia and Mesopotamia are reunited and northern Syria added to the ”Great Seljuk” state
1071 , Battle of Manzikert ( Malazgirt ) a decisive victory for Seljuk Sultan Alp Arslan over Byzantines; break Byzantine line of defense in Eastern Anatolia; Turkish-speaking Muslims raid and settle in area now known as ”Turkey”; much of the Greek/ Christian veneer of indigenous Anatolian population gradually replaced by a Turkish/Muslim veneer
1092 , death of Seljuk Sultan Malik Shah and his great vizier, Nizam al-Mulk; dynastic strife ensues
1118, Seljuk Empire splits into principalities ruled by princes of the family, often over- shadowed by their ”atabeys” ( tutor guardians )
12thc. , Seljuks of Rum ( Konya, Anatolia ) rule centra1 Anatolian plateau with center at Konya (Iconium) .
1204 , Byzantium fatally weakened by 4th. Crusade and Latin occupation
c.1200 , high point of Seljuks of Rum; by absorption of smaller Turkish principalities (beyliks), Seljuks extend their jurisdiction to south coast of Anatolia; Turkish nomads (”gazis”) active in western border/march region adjacent to Byzantium
1243,Mongols under Hulagu Khan move west, defeat Selcuk Sultan Kaykhusrav II, and establish overlordship in Seljuk Anatolia
1258, Mongols conquer Baghdad and bring Abbasid Caliphate to an end
Later 13thc., Turkish Anatolia fragmented as Mongol control weakens and is withdrawn; many small principalities ( beyliks ) emerge, one of them led by Osman (Turkish form of the Arabic/Muslim name, Uthmm; European corruption of Osman is Ottoman) in northwest Anatolia (around Iznik and Bursa) adjacent to Byzantine territories.
1071-1300, Anatolia witnesses swift military penetration, ragged political conquest, partialand superficial cultural/linguistic conquest by Muslim Turks who, in their upper ranks were carriers of PersianateMuslim culture. That group was small in number but powerful . Below them, Turkish-speaking Muslims mix withindigenous population. Folk culture and folk religion often at odds with high culture and Islamic orthodoxy represented by the religious and political elite in the society.
Assembled by Richard L. Chambers,
The University of Chicago
And it has taken all of this time, and reading to bring us to the time of the founding of the Nation state of Turkey,but we are not fully there yet. The "turkic" people at this time, are far removed from the encounter with the Chinese and the construction of the great wall.
It is here that the Ottoman "Turks" encounter another wall,not as long,but better constructed,and with the same goal as the the wall in China, KEEP THE KILLERS OUT. I speak of course of the walls surrounding the by now,"city" state of Constantinople.
Founded 650 years before the birth of Christ.for over 2,000 years they had a poor history of Submission.This was not going to be a walk in the park.The first serious attempt at taking the city was by Arabs in 717.
The eventual fall of the city did not happen until 1453. There was no petition to the united nations, there was no "peace now" origination, there were only men not willing to submit, and men willing to die,to force said submission.Hundreds of years it took for this game of submission to be played out.
But that's not fully accurate, I am leaving something out.The men were not really willing to die to force said submission, they preferred the "other" to do the dying.A great concept to avoid dying for your cause, is to force another human to do the dying for you, a slave or fully submitted person, without the right to object. A Janissary .A new class of less than human.
Janissary,also spelled Janizary, Turkish Yeniçeri, (New Soldier, or Troop), member of an elite corps in the standing army of the Ottoman Empirefrom the late 14th century to 1826. Highly respected for their military prowess in the 15th and 16th centuries, the Janissaries became a powerful political force within the Ottoman state. The Janissarycorpswasoriginally staffed by Christian youths from the Balkan provinces who were converted to Islām on being drafted into the Ottoman service. Subject to strict rules, including celibacy, they were organized into three unequal divisions (cemaat, bölükhalkı, segban) and commanded by an ağā.
Drafted,what a wonderful term,Americans were drafted in to the Army,yet they did not need to remain celibate, or change their faith,is there more to this ? I hate to say this, but it does sound a lot like slavery. Lets see if there is a less politically correct source for this "devshirme" system
‘The renowned king… entering into consultation with his ministers of State, the result hereof was, that for the time to come, there should be choice made, of valiant and industrious youths, out of the children of the unbelievers, fit for the service, whom they should likewise innoblize, by the faith of Islam; which being a means to make them rich and religious, might be also a way to subdue the strongholds of the unbelievers.’
Under the scheme, non-Muslim children, mainly Christian, were “culled” from Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Armenia and Albania that had come under the Ottoman rule. On a fixed date, non-Muslim fathers (mostly Christian) were to bring their children to a designated public square. The Muslim recruiting agents used to choose the healthy, strong and handsome ones of them. After Sultan Mehmet II conquered Constantinople in 1453, Dewshirme received a boost as notes Stephen O’Shea: ‘…following the conquest, Fatih (the Conqueror) expanded the heartless devshirme or ‘gathering’ system, whereby young Christians were abducted and moved to the capital… Once every few years roving Ottoman talent scouts, accompanied by soldiers, descended on the villages… and culled the most promising peasant boys from their playmates and siblings.’ The number of children collected as part of Dewshirme varies: ‘Some scholars place it as high as 12,000 a year, others at 8,000…’
These lots of the best of Christian, Jewish and Gypsy children were circumcised and converted to Islam, and were indoctrinated with the ideology of Jihad from this impressionable early age. They were meticulously trained solely for Jihadiwarfareand served in a special unit of the Ottoman army, the Janissary Regiment. Barred from marriage and confined to their barracks, the Janissary soldiers single-mindedly focused on becoming deadly soldiers for waging Jihad against the infidels, their coreligionists of the yesteryear.
The policy proved a boon for the Ottomans. Muslim rulers had remained frustrated in their repeated failures to capture Constantinople—the greatest centre of Christianity, since the time of Caliph Mu’awiyah (d. 680). In their many early attempts to capture Constantinople, they often suffered disastrous reverses
Finally, the Janissaries launched a devastating assault on Constantinople in 1453 and overran it, winning the greatest prize for Islam.
So it was slaves who won the day, for their Muslim slave masters,how Islamic of them.(video)