Greetings readers, did you hear? The Turks are coming! What are the Turks? Where do they come from? Today we will learn more about the Turkic people. The Turkic people are defined as a group of ethnicities that live in eastern, central and western Asia. There are some Turks that live in northwest China and Eastern Europe as well. The Turkic people speak languages within the Turkic language family. Which consists of Turkish, Azeri, Uzbek, Kazakh, Uyghur, Turkmen, Tatar, Kyrgyz, Qashqai, Bashkir, Chuvash, Afshar, Karakalpak, Karachay-Balkar, Sakha/Yakut and Crimean Tatar.
Etymologically the first known mention of the term Turk was in reference to the Göktürks in the 6th century. The term Turk was first mentioned in a letter between Ishbara Qaghan and Emperor Wen of Sui in 585 where the emperor described him as ”the Great Turk Khan”. However it is generally accepted that the term ”Türk” is derived from the Old-Turkic migration-term ”Türük” which means ”created”, ”born” or ”strong”.
So where do the Turkic people originate from? This part is very interesting and most people don’t even know this. Historically most Turks lived in China and some Turkic groups lived in the region stretching to Central Asia and Siberia. The Turks believed in shamanism. With their chief deity called Tengri a sky god. The Wolf is also a big part of Turkish culture and mythology. It symbolizes honour. Another animal that is also very key is the horse. Horses were in the centre of Turkic lifestyle and still are in some Central Asian Turkic tribes.
Now how did the Turks come so close to Europe? The answer is simple. The Turkic people migrated west from Mongolia towards East Europe, Iran and Anatolia. The exact size of the migration is not known but it is thought to be big. Later on Turks established their own state and later created the Ottoman Empire. Now we have to note that many other Turkic tribes stayed in Central and Eastern Asia. So the Turks that settled in Anatolia and the ones in Asia have been separated for centuries. Thus becoming increasingly distant from each other.
Currently there are approximately 150 to 200 million Turkic people living. The largest Turkish nation is Turkey with 55 million Turks and is followed by Uzbekistan with 26 million and Iran with 14 million after that Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Azerbaijan and so on. There are even 5,8 million Turks living in Europe! Germany is accommodating the biggest ethnic Turkish population in Europe.
That concludes our little trip to the history of Turkic people. Remember not all Turkish people you see are from Turkey!