*** Turkey ethnicity

Turkish Etnicity

Turkish etnicity
Figure 1.-- This photograph shows a group of refugees in 1930 found at the border of Van, Turkiye. This photograph is taken in 1930 after a group of men and teenagers who were trying to cross the country border as refugees were encountered by a Turish border patrol. The Photograph has a note on it in both Ottoman Turkish and Modern Turkish which reads "27/9/930 Ercis hatıratından" English translation is "09/27/1930 Memoirs of Erci. Interestuingly the Siviet republic was Armenia. Given the the Armenian genocide was just a decade eralier, the friendly atmosphere is interesting. It is possible the came from Iran. The Iranian population across the border was Azernaijani.

The population of modern Turkey is reportedly over 70 percent ethnic Turkish. The Turks originated as one of the Central Asian people. They are best known for dominating a large extent of the Silk Road for an extended period. Turkic people first arrived in Anatolia at the beginning of the second millennium. Military victories open up the Byzantine Empire for Turkic settlement, especially the Battle of Manzikert (1071). Eastern and central Turkey is almost entirely inhabited by ethnic Turks. The Young Turks during and after World War I had dreams of creatic a vast Turkic state extending into Central Asia. Eastern Turkey is much more varied. Until the Armenian genocide, the Christian Armenians were an important part of the population. Today it is the Kurds that form an important part of the population. In he extreme northeast there are some Azerbaijanis, another Turkic people. There are also significant numbers of Zaza. (Kurds and Zaza are Iranic peoples). There are smaller numbers of Caucasians (primarily Georgians and Laz). In the southeast there are some Arabs. The Armenians, Greeks, and Jews that formerly lived in Anatolia are no longer present in any number. Given that history, the Turkish Government wants the recorded Turkish population to be as high as possible.


Turks today are over 70 percent of the Turkish population. The precise percentage is unclear because it is politically a loaded question in Turkey where the national policy is turkification of the population, a policy ghat resulted in the Armenian genocide and in more recent times, the harsh treatment of the Kurds, the country's largest minority. Turkic people are a group that originated in Central Asia. They speak speak various closely related languages. The first Great Turkish Khan Tuman (Teoman) Yabgu provides the first references to a Turkic people. (3rd century BC). The Turks first appeared in Western history in Roman writings (1st century AD. The people living in the east of Azov were recorded as Turcae/Tyrcae. The Turks in their central Asian homeland played a role dominating the Silk Road in transmitting eastern cultures westward and western cultures eastward. The Turkic people of Central Asia like the Mongols focused on animal husbandry, primarily horses. They had a nomadic lifestyle on the Steppe. As they migrated into Anatolia they began to live settled lives. The Turkish migration was driven by warlike Steppe tribes like the Huns and Mongols, as well mas drought, epidemic, and expanding population (6th-11th centuries). Turkic people migrated to the Caspian, Caucasus, and Crimean regions. It was in the later period that they began entering eastern Anatolia because of the declining power of the Byzantine Empire (11th century). The movement of the Turkic people into the area took place after military victories at the beginning of the second millennium. The victory of the Seljuk Turks at the battle of Manzikert opened Anatolia to Turkic people (1071). While the Byzantine Empire recovered some what, the military campaigns of Ozman I (late 13th century opened up a much larger intrusion of Turkic people (late-13th century). As a result, Turkic people gradually y replaced the the mostly Greek and Christian areas of Anatolia which became a largely Turkish Muslim area, the Turkic core of the Ottoman Empire. The Young Turks during and after World War I had dreams of creating a vast Turkic state extendung into Central Asia. There are today some 350 million Turkic people in the world stretching from Turkey throughout Central Asia and into western China. The Uyghurs have a mixed ethnicity, but speak a Turkic language. Turkic people dominate Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, and Turkmenistan. About a third of the Turkic people live in modern Turkey. There is also the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Turkish people have dominated the area of modern Turkey (basically Anatolia) since the creation of the modern state out of the remnants of the Ottoman Empire after World War I. This was significantly aided by the Armenian genocide during the War--the murder of some 1.0-1.5 million Armenians which has a major presence in eastern Turkey. The Turkish people were predominantly Muslim for the most part of their modern history. Modern Turkey considers all of it's citizens as ethnic Turkey and pursues a policy of turkification toward ethnic minorities, the largest of which are the Kurds in eastern Turkey.


The Turks were a minority in the Ottoman Empire. The Christians in the Balkans and the Arabs outside of Anatolia outnumbered the Turks. The Balkan Christians gradually obtained their independence during the 19th century. The Ottomans lost their Middle East provinces with Arab populations during World War I. Within Anatolia there were also minorities, including Greek Orthodox Christians, Armenian Christians, and Kurds in the east. There were also small numbers of Jews. Turkey after World War I emerged as a much more ethnically pure country. The Turks eliminated the Armenians in a holocaust during the War. Most of the Greek Christians were expelled after a war with Greece following the War. The Turks did not move as brutally toward the Kurds, perhaps because they were fellow Muslims. The Kurds in eastern Anatolia, however, have proved a continuing problem as Turkey attempts to Turkify them and the Kurds resist.


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Created: 6:20 AM 2/21/2024
Last updated: 6:20 AM 2/21/2024