|The Republic of Turkey, founded in 1923, has
its roots in two historical sources deep in the depths of the past. One
of these resources inherited by modern Turkey is the successful and
shining history of the Turks over a time frame of more than 4,000 years.
The other is the fact that Turks have been settled in Anatolia since the
The first Turkish tribe that is mentioned in history is the Huns.
Clear records about the Huns made their appearance in the 8th
century B.C. Chinese sources refer to the Huns as Hiung-nu and in time,
some of the Huns migrated to the West.
Founded in 552 AD by Bumin Khan, the Gokturks engaged in widespread
diplomatic activity. The famed Orhun epitaphs from this period are made
up of the tombstone inscriptions of Tonyukuk (d.720), Kültigin (d.731)
and Bilge Kagan (d.734)
The rule of the Göktürks was brought to an end in the year 745 by
the Uygurs, who were of the same ethnic stock as themselves. In this
manner all the Turks who had converged under the banner of the Göktürks
were dispersed to that of the Uygurs that the agricultural basin where
they lived became known as Turkistan. In the year 1229, the Mongols put
an end to Uygur sovereignty; the Uygurs however, became their cultural
and political mentors.
The Turks and Islam
Contacts between the Turks and Moslems commenced at the beginning of
the 8th century and some of the Turks began to favour Islam. However the
pro-Arab policies of the Omayads (661-750 A.D) restricted these
relations somewhat. Later, many Moslem Turks took office in the Abbside
government and because of this, great interest in the Islamic world
spread among the Turks beyond the River Ceyhun. Commercial caravans also
played a major role in the spread of Islam into the steppes of Central
Asia. The Turks became fully Moslem by the 10th century, and this
resulted in the achievement to political unity. Following these
developments, the first Moslem Turkish state was formed by the Karahans.
The Karahans ruled between 990-1212 in Turkistan and Maveraünnehir.
The reign of the Karahans is especially significant from the point of
view of Turkish culture and art history. It is during this period that
mosques, schools, bridges and caravansarays were constructed in the
cities. Buhara and Samarkand became centres of learning. In the period,
the Turkish language found the means to develop. Among the most
important works of the period is Kutadgu Bilik (translated as "The
Knowledge That Gives Happiness") written by Yusuf Has Hacib,
between the years 1069-1070.
The Ghaznavi state was formed in the year 963 by the Turkish ruler
Sevuktekin and is one of the first Moslem Turkish states and worked
relentlessly for the expansion of Islam in India. The Ghaznavids finally
collapsed in 1186 and were assimilated by the Oguz.
The O?uz, who destroyed the Ghaznavid state, succeeded in bringing
Anatolia, Iraq, the southern part of the Caucasus, Azerbaijan and the
north of Iran under Turkish rule. The O?uz had first formed the Göktürk
Empire in the 6th century; after the expansion of Islam among the Turks,
but among the Turks the Oguz came to be called the Turkmens.
Tu?rul Bey and Ça?ry (Çakyr) Bey were the grandsons of Seljuks
whose name the Seljuks Dynasty adopted. In their time they, and the
O?uz, known as the Seljuks in history, subdued Horasan, defeated the
Ghaznavid ruler Mesud in Dandanakan Battle and established the Great
Seljuk empire in 1040.
In 1071, Alp Arslan (1063-1072) fought the battle of Malazgirt and
having defeated the Byzantine Emperor's forces in this battle opened the
doors of Anatolia to the Moslem Turk.
The year 1071 is considered to be the beginning of the Turks and that
of Islam Anatolia. It is following this date that the Turks fully
conquered the whole of Anatolia and established the Anatolian Seljuk
state there as a part of the great Seljuk Empire.
The first schooling institutions, the Moslem theological medreses,
were formed in Anatolia during the time of Kylyç Arslan (1153-1192),
one in Konya and the other in Aksaray. Following the establishment of
these two medreses the medreses of Syrcaly in Konya (1242-1243), Karatay
(1251), Ynce Minareli (1251-1253), Atabekkiye (after 1251-1268), Gökmedrese
in Sivas (1271), Buruciye (1271-1272), Çifte Minareli (1271), and the
Cacoglu in Kirsehir (1272) were established.
The Seljuks also attributed much importance to the medical sciences
and in almost all their cities medical institutions called Darush-Shifa,
Darul-Afiye and Darus-Sihna and hospitals were set up. The main medical
treatment centres are the Gevher Nesibe in Kayseri (1205), the Izzettin
I Keykavus in Sivas (1217), the Torumtay in Amasya (1266), the Muinuddin
Pervane in Tokat (1275) and the Pervaneoglu Ali in Kastamonu (1272).
Because of the Persian influence coming from Iran among the
intellectuals, the administrators, the men of arts and the traders, the
Anatolian Seljuk state became increasingly affected by Iranian culture
The Period Principalities
Political unity in Anatolia was disrupted from the time of
the collapse of the Anatolia Seljuk State at the beginning of the 14th
century (1308), when until the beginning of the 16th century each of the
regions in the country fell under the domination of Beyliks
(Principalities). Eventually, the Ottoman Principality which destroyed all
the other Principalities and restored political unity in Anatolia, was
established in the Eski?ehir, Bilecik and Bursa areas.
On the other hand, the area in central Anatolia east of
the Ankara-Aksaray line as far as the area of Erzurum remained under the
administration of the Ilhani General Governor until 1336. The infighting
in Ilhan gave the principalities in Anatolia their complete independence.
In addition to this, new Turkish principalities were formed in the
localities previously under Ilhan occupation.
During the 14th century, the Turkomans, who made up the
western Turks, started to re-establish their previous political
sovereignty in the Islamic world.
Rapid developments in the Turkish language and culture
toot place during the time of the Anatolia Principalities. In this period,
the Turkish language began to be used in the sciences and in literature,
and became the official language of the Principalities. New medreses were
established and progress was made in the medical sciences during this
Gülsehri, Nesimi (d.1404) and ahmedi (1325-1412) are the prominent Turkish language poets of the 15th century.
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