Turkish Culture

Various Opinions Have Been Put Forward Of The Meaning Of Name Turk



  • Various opinions have been put forward regarding the meaning of the name” Turk". Some communities whose names are claimed to resemble the word “Turk” have no relation to the “Turk” nation. According to these studies, the word “Turkish” means “power, power, strong, strong, brave, derived (owner of law and order) and derived, proliferating”.

The first state called “Turk” in history was the “Gok-Turkish state”. The concept of “Turkey” as a geographical name appears in Byzantine sources for the first time in history. VI. in the Century, "Turkey" was used to refer to Central Asia. IX. and X. in centuries, the area from the Volga to Central Europe was called "Turkey" (Eastern Turkey = Caspian country; western Turkey= Hungarian country); XIII. in the century, Egypt and Syria were also called “Turkey”. Anatolia is XII. since the century it has been known as” Turkey".


  • Hun Empires
  • Asian Huns

The Hun State of Asia is the first known Turkish state in history, and it brought together the Turkish tribes living in Central Asia to achieve political unity. Although there is no exact information about its establishment, M.He. It is understood from Chinese sources that it was founded by Teoman from 220 years and that the state was turned into an empire by Mete. During the time of Mete, the Hun Empire dominated the territories between Siberia, the China Sea, The Sea of Japan and the Caspian Sea.

After Mete's death, the Asian Hun Empire maintained its power for a while, but due to the state-run succession system, namely the acceptance of the state as the common property of the monarch family and the right of each of the emperor's children to take over, and the turmoil resulting from the marriage with the Chinese princesses, the state was divided into

The Hun Empire has an economy based on horse breeding and animal husbandry in parallel with the structure of the geographical region in which it was founded. This economic structure brought about the military success of the state. In the vast steppe, which is not suitable for agriculture, the Huns, who raised horses, established a highly successful centralized state system both militarily, socially and economically at the time of Mete.

  • Göktürks

Göktürks is the first state in history to be established with a Turkish name. After the weakening and dissolution of the Hun Empire, the Göktür State was established in 552 by establishing dominance among the Turkish tribes. In 745, when the Uyghurs defeated the second Eastern Gokturk (Kutluk) Khaganate, the Gokturk state was destroyed.

Regarding the Göktürk period, information can be obtained from the Orkhun monuments erected in the Orkhun-Yenisey Valley from the same period and written using the Göktürk Alphabet.

  • Uyghurs

In 745-840, Uyghurs continued to dominate Central Asia. The Uyghur Khaganate, established after the fall of the Göktürk state, constitutes one of the most important periods in Turkish history in terms of being settled and dealing with trade. Uyghur rule ended in 840.

State Administration In Pre-Islamic Turkish States

Khan, Hakan, Khan, Yabgu, Tanhu: state rulers or emperors were called Khan, Hakan, Khan, Yabgu or Tanhu in pre-Islamic Turkic states.

Kut: in the Turkish belief and thinking system, it is accepted that the authority to govern the state is given to the Turkish Khan by God. This idea is called” Kut".

Tigin: Khan's boy is called "Tigin"

Şad: in order to gain experience in the state administration, Khan's boys were trained in various parts of the country by people called “Şad”.

Hatun: his wife, who is next to Khan in the state administration, is called “Hatun” and when Hakan goes on a campaign, the country is ruled by “Hatun” and the envoys are accepted by “Hatun”. This understanding is also important in Turkish culture in terms of showing the value given to women.

Succession system: there is no specific system in the pre-Islamic Turkish States regarding who will take the throne after the death of Khan. Since the state was considered the common property of the Khan's family, it was one of the frequent occasions when any of the Khan's boys aspired to the throne or attempted to fight with his other brothers to seize the throne. Even after the Mete, which created a certain state organization, The Empire was divided into two, East and West, among the brothers. This situation caused the Turkish states to split up in a short time and their power to weaken and collapse.

Dual system: the state was divided into two groups: east-west or right-left. In the Turkish system of belief and thought, the East is considered sacred, so the center of the state was located in the east and the head of the state was the Khan in the east. To the West, one of Khan's brothers or Khan's son was assigned, and this person was given the title “Yabgu”.

  • Assembly-Kenges: State, are considered to be the property of the Khan family, while the government “Congress” or “Kenges called” carried on through the advisory council; social, military, political and religious topics discussed in this conference, it was agreed.
  • Toygun: the people who have the right to participate in the Congress are called “Toygun”.
  • Toy: dinner meetings and entertainment organized by Khan are called “Toy”.
  • Capitals: Hun and Göktürk period "Ötüken“, Uyghur period” Karabalgasun-Ordubalık" was considered as the capital.

Warrant: Minister

  • Bytici: dictionary meaning “writer, printer” meaning this word, pre-Islamic Turkish States “clerks”to the people who do the correspondence of the state was given as a title.
  • Tamgaci: the person responsible for the Foreign Affairs of the state is called “Tamgaci”. Tarkan: army commanders from pre-Islamic Turkish states were referred to with the title” Tarkan".
  • Apa: civilian administrators with various duties within the state are called “Apa”.
  • Tudun: the collection and supervision of taxes from other states which the state attaches to the tax was done by the officers called “Tudun”.
  • Judge: Judges
  • Yargu: the courts presided over by Hakan. Political crimes would be looked at.
  • Aghlık: Treasury Officer
  • Religion and belief in pre-Islamic Turkish society:
  • before slamiyet, there was a religious belief in Turkish society that we could call “Sky God religion”. According to this belief system, the “sky god” lived on the seventh floor of the sky. The Earth was considered a tripartite structure, being earth, sky and underworld. It was believed that the”sky God “gave the Turkish Hakan” Kut " to rule the world.
  • Shamanism: religious ceremonies in pre-Islamic Turkish societies were conducted by “Shaman”s (Kam, Baksi).
  • Cult of ancestors: Turks believed that life continued after death. For this reason, they would not forget their deceased ancestors, they would remember them in certain periods, and they would perform various magical practices for them. These practices are referred to as the “cult of the ancestors”.
  • Belief in the forces of nature: according to the old Turkish belief, every being has a soul. This belief, called” Yer-Su " spirits, forms an important part of the old Turkish belief system.
  • Only the Uyghurs accepted Maniheism and Buddhism, the Khazars accepted Judaism, and the Bulgarians accepted Christianity after the settlement.
  • Family in ancient Turks: family was considered as the basic building block of society in pre-Islamic Turkish society and a lot of importance was given to family life. In Turks, men were considered to be the head of the family, but women were also highly valued in social life. “Monogamous” marriage is seen in Turks.


  • In the Battle of Talas between the Chinese and the Abbasids in 751, the Turkic tribes, such as Karluk, loot and Çiğil, who were on the side of the Arabs, accepted Islam and the Turks adopted it from this date. by the century they had become largely Muslim.
  • The adoption of Islam has not only affected social and cultural life, but also the government of the state. With the adoption of Islam and the adoption of the idea of” jihad“, the campaigns, which are called” the concept of Turkish domination of the world “and which are organized with the idea that the Turks were sent to order the world by” taking kut " from God, started to be organized in order to spread Islam.
  • The first Turkish-Islamic State is the”Karahanids." The rulers of Ghaznavid and Seljuq used the title “Sultan”.
  • Reigning symbols: in Turks; “Otağ, Sanjak, drum, Tuğra, Coat Of Arms, title, Hilat (clothes), throne, Asa and Çetr (umbrella of the reign)” were used as reigning symbols.
  • During the Seljuks, the administrative system was further developed than other Turkish States, and the issues related to the state administration were discussed and decided in a grand court called “Divan-ı Sultanat”.
  • Sultan: heads of State in Turkish-Islamic states are called “Sultan”.
  • Succession: the concept of “succession” seen in pre-Islamic Turkish States continued even after the adoption of Islam.
  • Melik: the children of the Sultan are referred to with the title “Melik”.
  • Hacip: regulates the relationship between the members of the court and the Sultan.
  • Atabey: they are responsible for the education and training of the Sultan's children.
  • Menshur: there are no pre-Islamic Turkish societies. The process of obtaining the approval of the caliph in relation to any event or decision is called “Menshur”.
  • Vizier: as the deputy of the Sultan, he is responsible for all state affairs.
  • Court-I Sultanat (government): the court will discuss internal and external affairs, finance, Army, Education, General Inspection and correspondence affairs.
  • Divan-ı Arz: military service is responsible for Army Affairs.
  • Divan-ı resignation: looks at Financial Affairs. He was responsible for the court.
  • Divan-ı Işraf: he would handle all kinds of auditing except military and legal affairs.
  • Divan-ı Tuğra: he handled internal and external correspondence.

Some Notable Turkish Scientists

  • Especially X. from the century on, some important scholars have also been brought up in the Seljuk geography.
  • Nizamülmülk: Nizamülmülk, which has a work called” Politiketname", has made a great contribution to the development of Science with the madrasas that he founded and which are referred to under his own name.
  • Farabi: he has important works in philosophy, mathematics, astronomy and Physical Sciences.
  • Ghazali: he is one of the most important philosophical scholars of his time.
  • Ibn-i Sina: he gained fame especially for his work in the field of Medicine. He also has works on biology, physics and philosophy.
  • Al-Biruni: one of the most important scientists of the period with studies in astronomy, history, geography and mathematics.



Throughout history, Turks have used the alphabets” Göktürk“,” Uyghur“,” Arab“,” Latin “and” Cyrillic". The first alphabet used by the Turks is the Gokturk Alphabet, which was formed by the influence of the Turkish way of life and culture. Cyrillic letters were used by Turkish tribes outside the Republic of Turkey.

Orhun and Yenisei monuments and writings:

During the göktürks period, the first written examples of Turkish, called Orhun-Yenisey inscriptions or Orhun monuments, were given using the Göktürk Alphabet. Orhun monuments, which are the first written examples of Turkish to date, have a great importance in terms of language history. In addition, the contents of the texts written on the stones contain important information about the Turkish state administration and Turkish culture. Among these inscriptions, the most important ones are “Ash Tigin”, “Bilge Kagan” and “Tonyukuk” inscriptions, both in terms of content and volume.

Oral Literature

Oral literature has an important place in pre-Islamic Turkish culture. During this period, “Sav”, “Sagu” and “Kosuk”are among the products of oral culture. The first examples of “claims”used as the equivalent of Proverbs are found in Orhun monuments, Divanü Lügati't-Türk and Kutadgu Bilig.

The terms” Sagu “and” Yug " are used for lamentations recited at burial ceremonies. "Kosuk “s, called” feasting", celebratory and hunting ceremonies recited in the poems about the theme.

The oral cultural products of this period include “Oguz Kagan epic”, “migration” and “Legends of derivation” and “Alper Tunga Epic”; the first examples of the Turkish epic tradition and the data on Turkish cultural life. However, it should be remembered that these were written in later periods.

Early Works Written In Islamic Period

With the acceptance of Islam by the Turks, there have been significant changes in Turkish language and cultural life. The Turks combined their ancient cultural life with Islam, and even a Turkish religious terminology called “Religion Turkish” was developed in “Divanü Lügati't-Türk”, “Kutadgu Bilig”and “atabetü'l-Hakayik”, which are considered the first examples of Turkish literature of the Islamic period.

Divanü Lügati't-Türk: written by Mahmut of Kashgar to teach Turkish to the Arabs, this work is a dictionary. However, beyond being a Classical Dictionary, it is a very important work in that it contains rich and important information about Turkish language, history, literature, culture and art.

Kutadgu Bilig: the work was written by Yusuf Has Hacib. It contains important information about the Turkish state understanding and administration, the relationship between the state and the people.

Atabetü'l-Hakayık: it was written by Burdnekli Edip Ahmet. It is a book written on the moral development of Man and the characteristics of being a good man.

Turkish Literature Of The Seljuk Period

  • Important literary figures were brought up during the Seljuk period.
  • Yunus Emre: Yunus Emre, who writes his poems in Turkish, is one of the most important names in Turkish Sufi literature.
  • Hacı Bektaş-ı Veli: Hacı Bektaş-ı Veli, who is considered to be the founder of the bektashism sect, is a great poet and a Sufi.
  • Mevlana: Mevlana, who gave one of the best examples of Turkish literature with his work” Mesnevi", wrote his works in Persian.
  • Oral literature products take an important place in Turkish literature. It would be appropriate to give some general information about these products.

Turkish Epics

"The epic is composed of events that have left a deep mark in the life of a nation or society, often in verse, sometimes in verse-mensur; the breadth that allows the transmission of more than one event; told by a master narrator, or by an apprentice who has learned from masters, in front of an audience with a musical instrument or a melody; some of the oral narratives have been written; ; it is oral or written literary creation that adopts to hold national values above personal values when listened to or read.”

Turkish epics are products created and transmitted by Epic narrators called “Bard”, “print”, “tip”, “Jirav”, “Akın”, “Olonhohut”, “Kayçı”, “Sasan”, “Çaçan”, “Destancı”, “Koşakçı” and “Aşık” in Turkish sizes.

The epic” Oguz Khan“,” Köroğlu“,” narratives in the Book of Dede Korkut“,” Manas “and” Alpamış " are the most important examples of the Turkish epic tradition.

Minstrel Literature

The “minstrels”who are the representatives of the Turkish epic tradition have been replaced by the “minstrels”due to the change in social life and the influence of Islam, XVI. the Turkish minstrel tradition, which we can follow through cönk and mecmualar, has been established since the century. The tradition of minstrelsy, which continues to live alive today in the north of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Iran, forms a unity with the epic tradition in the independent or autonomous Turkic republics.

Folk Tales

” Aşık " is a folk tale that is a mixed verse and mensur narrative about love or love-heroism, performed by the poet - narrators with the accompaniment of saz.

In Turkish folk literature “" Aşık Garip and Şahsenem”, “Kerem and Aslı”, “Tahir and Zuhre”, “Ferhat and Shirin”, "Arzu and Kamber" etc. there are folk stories like.


The first Turkish culture and civilization is called “steppe culture” and “steppe Civilization” due to the influence of the geography in which the Turks established a state. The way of life based on animal husbandry has led to the predominance of a style that can be called Animal Style in Turkish art. The most typical feature of Turkish art is that animal motifs are used too much.

Since the Turks lead a” nomadic “and” semi-nomadic “way of life, that is, they live in places called” Yaylak “in summer and” Kışlak “in winter, an” ornamentation “arts based on making” tents " and decorating the items used here have developed. This led to the emergence and development of the concept of “Dome” and “round Cumbet” in Turkish art.

Pre-Islamic Turkish States in the graves with the influence of religious beliefs erected “balbal” and “statues”, the stuff on the grave of the deceased, today uncovered in archaeological excavations has yielded important information about the early period of Turkish art.

In pre-Islamic Turkish society, music was performed in religious ceremonies directed by”Cam “s or”shaman “s with the rhythmic melody they formed using” shaman drum". Later, The "Bard" s performed the epics with the instruments called” Kopuz".

Especially during the Uyghur period, with the transition to settled life, there have been significant developments in terms of art. Among the Turkish tribes, the creators of “domed shrines” and “corner triangles” are the Uyghurs. In addition, Uyghurs have made the spread of miniature art to the Islamic world.

After the Turks accepted Islam, they gave great importance especially to religious architecture. The first mosques during the Karahan period were made of Adobe and covered with plaster. In later periods, various structures were constructed using brick. During the Seljuks period, there were important developments in architecture. During this period, the Turks gave important works by combining Central Asian Turkish architecture with Islamic architecture.

After the adoption of Islam, especially during the Seljuk period, there is a significant development in Turkish architecture. In this period, besides plant and animal motifs, writing and geometric shapes were also used for ornamentation. Human figures were not used with the influence of Islam.

The mosques, masjids, tombs, külliye, inns and baths, palaces and pavilions that have survived from the Seljuk period constitute the most beautiful examples of Turkish architecture. Most of these architectural works are found in Turkey.

During this period, religious architecture mosques, tombs, kumbet, madrasa, tekke and lodges; military architecture fortifications, castles and forts; commercial architecture bridges and caravanserais; civil architecture, palaces, mansions, inns and hamams were built. “Miniature, Tile, Carpet and rugs” are much developed from the arts of ornamentation.

This development during the Seljuk period reached its peak during the Ottoman period. Architectural works made by a genius like Mimar Sinan are a masterpiece. XVIII. in the century "tulip era", European influence in Turkish social and cultural life began to be seen in architecture as well.

With the announcement of the Second Constitutional Monarchy in 1908, efforts to create a national style in Turkish culture and art have gained weight in the environment of freedom and with the influence of the current of nationalism. Under the leadership of architects Kemalettin Bey and Vedat Bey, Turkish architecture has entered a new era.

Efforts to create a national style in architecture continued in the years when the Republic of Turkey was founded, and in 1927 and later works by Western architects imprinted on Turkish architecture. With the effect of the political developments before the Second World War, the effort to re-create a national architecture began. In Turkish architecture, after the 1950s, an understanding of Architecture based on Western influence can be seen. These stages of development in architecture are a valid line of development for the whole of Turkish art.


The Turks first used the”Turkish calendar with twelve animals". After “Hijri”, “Jalali” and “Rumi” calendars were used with the adoption of Islam, the “Miladi” calendar began to be used since the Republican period.


In pre-Islamic Turkish Society, Animal Husbandry is seen as the main economic activity. The Turks were raising horses and sheep during this period. The Uighurs, who came to settled life, were engaged in agriculture and traded with China.

With the acceptance of Islam by the Turks, the transition to settled life gained momentum. Accordingly, agriculture and trade also developed. During the reign of Mahmut of ghaznav, the “Silk Road” and the “Spice Road”were dominated by the Turks, thus increasing commercial revenues.

During the Seljuk period, I. The first money in the time of Massoud, II. The first silver coin in the time of Kılıçaraslan and I. The first gold coin was minted during Alaattin Keykubat.

Ghaznaeans made advances in agricultural activities and increased production by using irrigation canals.

The commercial center of the Great Seljuk State IS “Khorasan”. The Seljuks were successful in their commercial activities, and they built many bazaars and caravanserais for this purpose.

Ahi organization: it is accepted that this organization was founded by Ahi Evran, also called Ahi Baba. It is a professional association of Horosan origin which is the commercial center of the Seljuks. During the Seljuks period, the ahiq organization, which was established to regulate and supervise the economic activities of the tradesmen, also supported the military activities of the state. The Turkish Arabic word” Ahi “means brother” Ahi “or” AKI " means open hand, generous, valiant, lad is accepted to come from the word.

During the Ottoman period, the main economic activities consisted of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, trade and various taxes. In the Ottoman Empire, tradesmen gathered around the union called the” Guild". In addition, “Silk” was made in Bursa and “leather” was made in Kayseri, Manisa and Tokat.

War tools were also manufactured in the Ottoman Empire. The first large ottoman shipyard was built at Gallipoli by Yildirim Bayezit. In later periods, shipyards were built in cities such as Istanbul, Sinop and Izmit. Ball foundries were established in Edirne and Bursa before the conquest of Istanbul and in Istanbul after the conquest. The first baruthane was also established at Gallipoli.



The history of the Ottoman Empire is divided into specific periods and examined and evaluated. These periods are referred to as the Principality period (1299 and before), the establishment period (1299-1453), The Ascension period (1453-1579), the pause period (1579-1699), the decline period (1699-1792) and the dissolution period (1792-1922).

Beylik period: the Ottoman Beylik is a beylik belonging to the Kayı height. During the Seljuks period, Ertuğrul Gazi came and settled in Söğüt and its vicinity. Upon the death of Ertuğrul Gazi, Osman Bey was the head of the beylik.

Foundation period (1299-1453): Osman Bey, with his conquests, was elevated to the position of heir of the Anadolu Selcuklu State which was about to fall. It is accepted that the Ottoman Empire was founded after the conquest of Bilecik, Yarhisar and Inegöl, and the year 1299 is accepted as the date of establishment in historical researches.

After Osman Bey, the conquests gained momentum during Orhan Bey's time and Bursa and Iznik were conquered. Orhan Bey, by printing money, declared independence and the Ottoman Beylik, became an Ottoman State.

During the founding period, Ottoman progress spread towards the Balkans. Edirne was conquered and Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia were captured in the Balkans. At the same time, the principalities established after the Seljuk in Anatolia began to come under the rule of the Ottoman State.

Osman Bey, Orhan Bey, I. Murad, Yildirim Beyazid, I.Mehmed and II. Murat became the head of the Ottoman Empire. The founding period ends with the conquest of Istanbul.

Rising period (1453-1579): after conquering important lands in the East and west and expanding the borders of the state, it is assumed that the Ottoman Empire, which became an “empire” by conquering Istanbul by Sultan Mehmet The Conqueror, entered the rising period from this date. II. Sultan Mehmet The Conqueror, who took the throne after Murad, conquered Istanbul in 1453 and Istanbul was declared the new capital of the Empire.

During the rising period, Mehmet The Conqueror, II. Bayezid, Yavuz Sultan Selim, Kanuni Sultan Süleyman and II. Selim took the throne. Especially during the reign of Sultan Süleyman the magnificent (1520-1566), The Empire experienced its most resplendent period.

Period of pause (1579-1699): the period of pause of the Ottoman Empire began with the death of Sokulu Mehmet Pasha. Sokulu Mehmet Pasha; Kanuni Sultan Süleyman II. Selim and III. He was grand vizier during the Murad periods. Sokulu Mehmet Pasha was an important statesman who worked for the political and military success of the state during his 14 years as Grand Vizier, and his death is regarded as the beginning of the Ottoman Empire's period of stagnation.

With the accession of inexperienced persons to the throne and the weakening of the central government, internal revolts broke out, especially with the Janissaries rebelling against the authority, the unrest increased thoroughly. The deterioration of the grooming system and the economic troubles brought about by Iranian and Austrian Expeditions also played a major role in the pause.

During the pause period, respectively, III. Murad, III. Mehmet, I. John, I. Mustafa II. Osman, IV. Murad, I. Abraham, IV. Mehmet, II. Solomon II. Ahmet and II. Mustafa took the throne.

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