turkic peoples

A Brief History of the Pechenegs

The Pechenegs were a Turkic, possibly Oghuz, ethno-political group originating from the Central Asian steppe in what is today Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, between the end of the 2nd and the beginning of the 3rd centuries AH. Uyughur historian and linguist Mahmud al-Kashgari wrote that their name has its origins in one of the Oghuz languages, in his Diwan Lughut al-Turk, a treatise on the Turkic languages from the Syr Darya River to Uighurstan. He also asserts that the Pechenegs were one of many Oghuz groups, but it is impossible, at this time, to say for certain.

Sometime in the second half of the 3rd century AH (9th century CE), the Pechenegs were pushed from their traditional homelands by a group of Oghuz Turks, Kimaks and Cumans, though the confederation was unable to finish off their Pecheneg rivals due to infighting, quickly compounded by external conflicts with other groups in the east, towards Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia.

The Pechenegs spent possibly a decade, or more, as a people fully on the move, forced to maintain westward migration along the corridor of steppe connecting the Syr Darya and the Volga rivers by the expanding power of other Oghuz Turkic and Cuman groups. By the end of the 3rd century AH, they had found relative safety near the Don and Volga rivers, between the older and more established Turkic Bulgar groups in the north, and the waning Khazar clans in the south.

The Khazar clans, however, were still strong enough to put pressure on the newly arrived Pechenegs, and sometime between the end of the 3rd and the beginning of the 4th centuries AH, they had again moved further west, in the process driving the then-fractured and relatively weak Magyars toward the Carpathian mountains and beyond, where they would eventually found the Kingdom of Hungary. After nearly half a century on the move, the Pechenegs finally settled down to a semi-nomadic life, taking advantage of the situation in the hard-pressed Byzantine Empire to strike a protective deal with the Emperors in Constantinople. In exchange for peace, the Pechenegs would ensure that Slavs, Magyars, Khazars and other Turkic groups would be a diminished threat on the Empire’s eastern borders.

This agreement brought them into conflict with the emerging Slavic powers around Kiev very quickly. For the first half of the 4th century AH, the Pechenegs raided and harassed burgeoning Slavic settlements, earning a lasting enmity with the powerful Kievan princes. During the same period, the relationship with the Khazar clans continued to be in flux, with the two groups vying for supremacy, often in short, sometimes even seasonal, rises and falls from positions of power over one another. Finally, Islam may have established a presence, possibly as a small cult or henotheistic practice, distinct in a larger skein of traditional Turkic religion and shamanism, although again, it is impossible to be sure. At least one Russian source lists the Pechenegs as connected to the Biblical Ishmael, sent by God to punish the Slavs, but the significance of this statement, and its relationship to any real-world reality for the Pechenegs, is unknown.

In 357 AH (968 CE), tensions with the Kievan Rus finally boiled over into the last full-scale war between the Slavs and the Turkic group, and the Pechenegs besieged Kiev. Though the war initially went well for the Pechenegs, they were eventually defeated by Vladimir I “the Great” of Kiev’s Rurik dynasty, and from then on, never recovered dominance over the Rus again. In 427 AH (1036 CE), the Pechenegs were dealt another serious blow, this time by another Rurik prince, Yaroslav I. At this point, the Byzantines had forsaken the alliance, as the Pechenegs were no longer a useful tool for the Emperors, and in response, the Turkic tribe turned its attention to the Bulgarian and Roman borders, harassing and burning settlements, conducting intermittent, small-scale wars, and attempting to create a decisive advantage that would allow them to end what was becoming more than a century of conflict with the Khazars.

When Alexios I Komenons, the strongest Byzantine/Roman Emperor in centuries, took the throne in Constantinople in 473 AH (1081 CE), he marched an army of Cuman mercenaries and Greek troops into what is today Turkey’s European regions, where the majority of the Pecheneg military might had been moved during an expedition into Christian territory, and at the Battle of Levounion, routed up to 80,000 (though the number was probably much lower) Pecheneg troops, driving them back toward the Black Sea, while others fled into the Pontic steppe, toward Seljuq territory. Now divided and drastically weakened, in 487 AH (1095 CE), hostile Cuman forces finished off what remained of the scattered people. The last mention of them comes from the mid 6th century AH (12th century CE), as one Turkic group living among many others, somewhere along the coast of the Black Sea, no longer of any particular consequence in either Christian or Islamic sources. After that, all mentions of the group are solely confined to history.


Scenes from the 2016 World Nomad Games hosted in Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan. The World Nomad Games brings athletes from various countries, primarily from the Central Asian region and Russia, to participate in sports native to the Eurasian Steppe. The Eurasian Steppe was home to various nomadic peoples particularly the Iranic-speaking Scythians and Sarmatians, who were a source of fear for the ancient Greeks due to their warriorlike nature and great horse-riding skills; including their mastery of horseback archery. Both groups are believed to have originated in the Eurasian Steppes, but their settlements ranged from China to Poland, and because of this they greatly impacted the genetic pool and cultures of a number of different groups in Eastern Europe and Central Asia such as the people of the Caucasus, Slavs, Turkic people, and other modern Iranic people. The Sarmatians in particular were famed by Greek historians for their female warriors and rulers that inspired the stories of the Amazons. 

Qashqai are mixed clans of different ethnic origins, including Persian, Lori, Kurdish, Arab and Turkic. They mainly live in the Iranian provinces of Fars, Khuzestan and southern Isfahan, especially around the city of Shiraz in Fars. They are bilingual, speaking the Qashqai language - which is a member of the Turkic family of languages and which they call Turki - as well as (in formal use) the Persian language. The Qashqai were originally nomadic pastoralists and some remain so today. The traditional nomadic Qashqai travelled with their flocks each year from the summer highland pastures north of Shiraz roughly 480 km or 300 miles south to the winter pastures on lower (and warmer) lands near the Persian Gulf, to the southwest of Shiraz. The majority, however, have now become partially or wholly sedentary. The trend towards settlement has been increasing markedly since the 1960s. The Qashqai are made up of a number of tribes and sub-tribes including the Amele, Derre-Shuri, Kashkyoli, Shesh(6) Baluki, Farsimadan, Qaraja, Rahimli and Safi -Khanli.


The Qashqai are a tribal organization and a Turkic people in southern Iran. They are for the most part descendants of Turkmen nomads who once moved from Central Asia to Persia. Although intermingling with indigenous peoples took place to a lesser extent than with other Turkic tribes; Kurds, Lurs, Persians and Iranian Arabs joined the tribe over time. Of importance is their carpet production.

The language is closely related to the South Azerbaijani, which is the variant of Azerbaijani spoken in Iran. Nearly all Qashqai also speak the Persian language.

anonymous asked:

you realise st george was a turkish muslim right?

I actually didn’t realise that! Namely because none of it is true/accurate.

Islam hadn’t been thought up by that oh-so-loveable slave-owning paedophile yet (St. George lived from AD 280-303, Muhammad lived AD 570-632), so it would be quite an impressive feat for our George to time travel, convert to Islam and pop back in time to become a Christian martyr, now, wouldn’t it?

Let’s move on to your less blindingly ignorant but equally incorrect statements. Firstly, like the majority of early Christian saints, the truth of who George really was has been retold in stories and myths so many times and spun for myriad reasons over the intervening centuries that the stories we have inherited can be easily twisted to fit ones own world-view when not exclusively looking at the facts.

However, when we look at the facts we do have, your assertions begin to fall apart. Firstly, he was not ‘Turkish’, in George’s time the ethnic Turkic peoples were based to the east of Central Asia, in what is today a part of China. Now modern-day Turkey is situated in a region that was known in George’s time as Anatolia, whose population was neither Turkic or Arab and which wouldn’t become Islamic for a long time.

Furthermore, George’s parents were devout Christians, of Greek ancestry, his father Gerontius (Greek name, meaning “old man”) was a Roman army official from Cappadocia, and his mother Polychronia (Greek name, meaning she who lives many years) was a Christian and a Greek native.

To recap: He was not Muslim, not Turkish, not Arab.

I don’t really know why every year I get the same idiots spewing these seemingly deliberate misconceptions at me, does your white guilt run so deep that you can’t bear to think that our Patron Saint wasn’t secretly some anachronistic Arab Muslim?

Happy St. George’s day to everyone other than that anon.


Who are the Uyghurs?

 Uyghurs are an ethnic group living in central and east Asia. Their main home is Xinjiang which is located in western China. Uyghurs are a Turkic ethnic group, not to be confused with Turkish. Turkish people are a Turkic speaking ethnic group. However the Turkic language family actually originated from areas such as modern day China, Mongolia and Siberia. The most ancient Turkic people are believed to have been of Mongoloid origin with features close to the Yakut/Sakha people.

 The area now known as Xinjiang has been inhabited by many ethnic groups. One ancient group includes the Indo-European speaking Tocharians and Yuezhi who where a Caucasoid group described as white skinned and light haired who inhabited this region. These people cultivated jade and sold to other groups living in China as jade was a highly treasured from an early period.
 The Uyghur people originated from Mongolia but in the 9th century they fled to Xinjiang and Gansu after the collapse of the Uyghur Khagante. During this time the Uyghurs and the Tocharians intermixed. This resulted in their physical features, cultures and linguistics to become blended. However, the Uyghurs who settled in Gansu (now known as Yugur) did not mix with other groups on a mass scale. It is believe that the Yugurs culture is much close to the original culture of the Uyghurs of Mongolia.

 Although Uyghurs have believed in many religions in the past, Uyghurs in Xinjiang and central Asia are mostly Muslims. Unlike their cousins the Yugur in Gansu who are primarily Buddhist.
 Modern Uyghurs write using an Arabic writing system. However the original writing system they used was created by themselves, known as Uyghur. The Uyghur writing system was the first writing system used by Mongolians and was also the main writing system for Mongolians until the Russians imposed Russian Cyrillic on them.

 In recent years Xinjiang has seen an up rise in violence and extremism. The ever tightening grip of the Chinese communist government does not allow religious practices for children under the age of 18. Muslim men under 50 are not allowed to wear beards. Women, discouraged to wear hijabs. People across china, especially Uyghurs are not given the freedom to express political unrest without severe consequences. Even people’s personal phones are checked for ‘incriminating’ material. 

 Because of a few religious extremists Uyghurs have earned a reputation of being terrorists or thieves. Due to these ignorant stereotypes there has been a lot of prejudice against Uyghurs. However many Uyghurs just want peace and a normal place in society.

 However, in the last few years there has been a large up rise of Chinese ethnic minorities in media. Notably several Uyghurs making it big. Such as, Gulnazar (古力娜扎) who has starred in several major films and dramas, notably in Police Story alongside Jackie Chan. Merxat (米热) an actor who has starred in several major dramas in China recently. There are also many more models and actors who have been breaking into the Chinese mainland media industry.

Volga Tatar boys during Sabantuy festivities in Moscow, Russia. Photographed by Galya Morrell

“There are some things that do not get bigger by being talked about. One of them is Sabantuy. You can’t make Sabantuy bigger than it is. You can’t make it shine more that it shines itself. Sabantuy is a “Plough’s Wedding”. It is celebrated by Tatars, Bashkir and Turkic peoples living along the Volga. In Bashkir, it is known as Habantuy, in Chuvash — as Akatuy. Sabantuy is about kumis (mare’s milk) drinking, horse racing, pillar-climbing, egg-in-spoon-in-mouth-racing, pot smashing and Kurash - the Tatar wrestling.”

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/galyamorrell/

anonymous asked:

Cultural Appropriation is a thing here in Europe though, a lot(not all not speaking for all) of East Europeans; white and poc minorities such as Jews, Turkic people and Rroma will give you a loud earful if you dress up as any of their political figures(since ppl think it's funny dressing up as tyrants) in mockery or in cultural attire(which is in their right). Trust me, an idiot Englishman dressed up as Stalin, and this blonde white Russian girl punched him in the face.


softdarthvader  asked:

hi! sorry for bothering. my dad kinda grew up next to a desert. he tells me stories of it sometimes. he also told me how his mother, my grandma, sang him a turkish lullaby when he was a baby (he's crimean tatar, they're turkic people, so turkish culture is close to them). anyway, for some reason it reminds me of your tatooine slave culture VERY much, and the text is so much alike your ekkreth stories. it's called "dandini dandini dastana". i thought maybe you'll like it! have a great day!!

You’re definitely not bothering me, friend. This is really cool! Thank you for sharing it with me. :)


Whether you need some liquid courage for the night, something refreshing to quench your palate, or something comforting to warm your heat, Turkey has got you covered on drinks. Here’s a list of beverages you can find in Turkey. 

Yeni rakı is the top rakı brand in Turkey. Turks consume an average of 1.5 litres of rakı per capita per year. 

  • Rakı: As one of the top choice alcohols in Turkey rakı can be seen everywhere. This aniseed based drink generally has a 40-45% alcohol level. Similar drinks are popular in the Balkans, and to a lesser extent Iran and other Turkic countries. Rakı is so popular in fact, it is considered the national drink in Turkey.  Rakı turns white when water is added. Due to this it has gained the colloquial title of “aslan sütü” or “lion’s milk”. In Turkish culture lions are seen as symbols of bravery and courage, hence implying it is a drink for strong men - it is popular among all types of people however. It is a popular pairing with fish and red meat dishes.  

Ayran is best served frothy. 

  • Ayran: Ayran is yogurt drink mixed with salt and cold water. It is usually paired with grilled meat dishes. Nomadic Turks have consumed ayran since before 1000 A.D. and some theorize that Göktürks had invented it when trying to improve the taste of bitter yogurt. Similar drinks are popular in Western, Central, and South Asia. 

Turkish coffee in a typical coffee cup with a side of lokum (Turkish delights). 

  • Türk Kahvesi: Sometimes confused as being a type of coffee bean, Turkish coffee is actually a method of preparing coffee. Roasted coffee is ground into a fine powder then simmered with water in a pot (cezve). The grounds are left in the coffee. A good cup of coffee should have a thick layer of foam on top. The coffee is typically served with biscuits or sweets and a glass of water. Turkish coffee is popular across the Middle East, the Balkans, and other parts of Europe. Turkish coffee has an interesting role in Turkish culture. At one point it was so popular in the Ottoman Empire that it left a mark on Turkish vocabulary. Breakfast is referred to as kahvaltı meaning under or before coffee. The colour brown is kahverengi meaning coffee colour. When a suitor visits a girl’s home with his family, the girl serves everyone Turkish coffee but puts salt in the potential groom’s drink. If he drinks it easily it is suppose to be a sign of his good temper. Kahve falı (tasseography) is also popular in Turkey. People read your fortune by interpreting the coffee grounds left at the bottom of your cup after you turn your cup upside down on a saucer. Most people do not take the fortune seriously but treat it as a fun tradition. 

A tray of black tea served in typical tulip shaped glasses on the shores of Üsküdar with Kız Kulesi (Maiden’s Tower) atop the Bosphorus in the background. 

  • Çay: Çay is by far the most popular drink in Turkey. Turks drinks tea so much and so often that they actually boast the highest average consumption of tea per capital in the world. I’ve made a previous post about tea in Turkey that goes more in-depth, you can read it by clicking here. Below are some of the more common types of tea found in Turkey.
    • Black Tea: At every corner you’ll hear people clinking their spoons against the rim of tulip shaped glasses as they mix some sugar into their black tea. Black tea is the most common type of tea in Turkey. Much of the tea is sourced from Rize, a lush green province on the eastern coast of the Black Sea. 
    • Nane Limon: A common herbal remedy, mint lemon tea is usually drunk to relieve stomach ailments, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, and to lower stress. 
    • Ada Çayı: Another popular herbal tea, sage tea is drunk to relieve upset stomachs, relax muscles, relieve sore throats and other cold/flu symptoms, and even reduce menopausal symptoms. 
    • Elma Çayı: Sometimes apple tea is thought to be the most popular Turkish tea by foreigners. This misconception stems from the fact that apple tea is typically served to guests and foreigners in tourist areas because of its sweet taste. It is not an everyday beverage for most Turks. 

A warm cup of salep garnished with cinnamon and coco. 

  • Salep: Salep is a thick warm beverage made from orchid root flour, sugar, milk, and cinnamon. It is commonly consumed in fall and winter. Salep and similar drinks can be found in many former Ottoman territories. 

Glasses of boza waiting to be served. 

  • Boza: Boza is a thick drink made from fermented wheat topped with cinnamon and roasted chickpeas. Boza was traditionally a fall/winter drink because it had to be kept cool in order to prevent spoling; however, with the invention of refrigeration it is now available year-round. The drink is believed to have originated from nomadic Turkic peoples in Central Asia as early as the 6th century B.C. 

A glass of  şalgam among a table of food at a restaurant in Istanbul.

  • Şalgam: This sour drink is made from turnips (şalgam), pickled red carrots, salt, spices, and fermented wheat. It is commonly served along side rakı. Şalgam is sometimes used as a hangover cure. Adana touts itself as the home of şalgam. 

A chef pours gravy on top of a plate of iskender kebap served with a bottle of Şıra (top left corner) at a restaurant in Kadıköy.

  • Şıra: Şıra is a highly sweet non-alchoholic fermented grape drink. It is usually served with iskender kebap, a specialty of Bursa.  

After an advertising ban on alcohol in 2013, Efes put out these ads as a way around the law.  The picture on the left reads “Görmesek de biliriz.” meaning “Even if we don’t see, we know.” The one of the right reads “Ne bu şişe?” meaning “What is this bottle?”. The company wanted to show that they could still generate sales because of how iconic the Efes beer brand and its bottle shape is in Turkey. 

  • Bira: You can’t talk about drinks in Turkey without talking about beer. Beer is the most consumed alcohol in Turkey, accounting for 63% of all alcohol consumption. The largest beer company in Turkey is Efes Pilsen, dominating over 80% of the market. Since the AKP took to office, the government has attempted to lower alcohol consumption by levying heavier taxes, restricting sales, censoring advertisement, and imposing partial drinking bans (by area). However, consumption hasn’t been affected much by the policies and is generally on a slow trend upward. 

Red wine is poured into a glass looking out at the hot air balloons and beautiful rock formation in Cappedocia. The area is one of the largest wine producing regions in the country and historically had some wine production when Christians used to live in Central Anatolia.

  • Şarap: Anatolia has a long history of wine production and is thought to be one of the oldest wine producing regions of the world dating back 7000 years. Even when Islam was introduced into Anatolia, the tradition continued not just among the Christian communities (for whom it was permitted) but among Muslims despite attempted bans. At one point even the Hanafi school of thought, the leading basis for Islamic law in the Ottoman Empire, allowed for the consumption of alcohol. Hanafis later changed their position on this subject disapproving it. Red wine is the most common wine in Turkey. Alcohol consumption varies in Turkey. The Marmara and Aegean region boast the highest percentage with 20% and 18.8% of people consuming it respectively, with South Eastern Anatolia having the lowest at 4.7%. Overall consumption across the country stand at about 17%. 

Some of the most popular brands of sparkling mineral water in Turkey. 

  • Soda: The word soda in Turkish is often used to describe sparkling water. This might seem like a mundane beverage to put on this list, but it is commonly ordered off of menus at restaurants and bought from grocery stores as it is thought to help digestion. Though we have Perrier and San Pellegrino in North America, these are marketed as luxury sparkling waters and are not as widely consumed compared to Turkey’s demand for sparkling water.  

A man gets ready to eat balık ekmek (fish sandwich) with a side of turşu suyu.

  • Turşu suyu: Similar to şalgam, turşu suyu (pickled vegetable juice) is a sour beverage made from pickled vegetables ranging from beets, carrots, cabbage, cucumbers, onion, peppers, garlic, etc. all placed in chunks in a glass of pickle brine. Also like şalgam, it is sometimes considered a hangover cure. Turşu suyu is typically drunk with fish. 

A cold glass of cherry juice ready to drink on a hot summer day. 

  • Vişne Nektarı: It may seem odd to feature a fruit juice but I wanted to put this one of the list because it’s rarely found in North America, cherry juice. Vişne is sour cherry, and this juice is particularly popular in the west coast of Turkey and in Afyon which is known in the country for its cherry production. 

Glasses of lohusa Şerbeti being prepared to serve up at a baby shower welcoming a new born a few weeks after birth. 

  • Lohusa Şerbeti: Lohusa Şerbeti is as sweet spiced drink. Traditionally it is drunk by new mothers before birth in order to increase milk production. It is also served to guests at baby showers which, in Turkey, take place after the baby is born. 
The longer I studied the Turkic peoples, the harder it was to account for the fact that they had been overlooked for so long. Together, they constitute one of the world’s ten largest linguistic families, numbering more than 140 million people  scattered through more than 20 modern states in a great crescent across the Eurasian continets, starting at the Great Wall of China, through Central Asia, the Caucasus, Iran, Turkey, the Balkans,  Europe, and even a fledgling community in the United States.
—  Hugh Pope,  Sons of the Conquerors: The Rise of the Turkic World