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Mongolians & Turks
September 5, 2008 6:29 AM   Subscribe

What is the relationship between the turkish people and the mongolian people? This is a bit of an open-ended question, as I'm not sure I have enough information about this to more effectively ask the question.

I notice a strong resemblance in facial features and language sounds between my turkish friends and my mongolian friends. I am aware that the Khan invasions reached turkey. I'm interested in every and all information that shows some type of linguistic or ethnic relationship between the turks and the mongolians.

Is there actually such a relationship? Or have the years between the invasions and now wiped it all out?

Thanks!
posted by ChabonJabon to Human Relations (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Have you hit up Wikipedia on this subject? You will go nuts with the maps and demographic data provided there.
posted by Science! at 7:05 AM on September 5, 2008


I think you mean Tatars.
posted by three blind mice at 7:08 AM on September 5, 2008


Mongolian is a Turkic language.
posted by k8t at 7:19 AM on September 5, 2008


I hit wikipedia, but a lot of the information is just generic general purpose information. I'm looking for expert and detailed information on this. Ethnology is a bit of my hobby, and this particular relationship is quite interesting.

Mongolian is a turkic language? Source?
posted by ChabonJabon at 7:26 AM on September 5, 2008


I am aware that the Khan invasions reached turkey

Also, the Turks in Turkey first coalesced as a nation in Central Asia, possibly from Mongolia itself.
posted by troy at 7:40 AM on September 5, 2008


Lots of different peoples across Eurasia originated on the Eurasian steppe. They include the Mongols, the Turks, the Huns and the Pechenegs.

Dan Carlin has a podcast on this called Steppe Stories.

Re the language question, Mongolian and Turkish are both Altaic languages. Mongolian is a separate branch of the family than Turkic.
posted by charlesv at 7:58 AM on September 5, 2008


I don't think there is a close connection between the Turks and the Mongolians.

There are close ties between the Turks and the 'stans of Central Asia (Khazak, Uzbek, Kyrgyz and of course Turkmen in particular, as well as the Azeris, Tajik, Afghan less so). Turkish politicians have talked about them as their "ancestral homeland" and their "little brothers" and developing ties to Central Asia was a major (and largely unsuccessful) push in the 1990s. The languages are Turkic and close enough that there are words in common and some limited mutual intelligibilty. Mongolian is not a Turkic language. Also, Turks and their relatives are all Muslims; Mongolians are Buddhist or animist, I think. The long-forgotten and much oppressed Uighyurs of Western China are in the same category. This is all the product of ancient ethnic migrations several centuries before Genghis Khan. In fact, I'm not sure Genghis ever had a deep presence in Turkey.

And now that I think about it, Mongolians don't look anything like Turks. Turks are dark-skinned but essentially "caucasian" and, for example, kind of hairy. Mongolians have asiatic features, with folded eyelids, and don't have much body hair. (Apologies for the generalizations and crude anthropology.) Are you sure your friends are ethnically Mongolian? Because Tajiks, for example, would look much more like Turks.
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 8:15 AM on September 5, 2008


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkic_migration
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkic_languages

The Mongols and Turks are genetically, culturally, and linguistically related, source wikipedia.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:20 AM on September 5, 2008


I think there are three big historic factors:

Turkic and Mongolian groups were nomadic across Central Asia and Siberia with a huge range.

Turks were a central part of the Mongolian Empire, and many modern Turks claim Genghis as an important unifying leader.

The silk road was one of the most important trade routes in history, ensuring almost continual cultural exchange across Central Asia.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:21 AM on September 5, 2008


In fact, I'm not sure Genghis ever had a deep presence in Turkey.

No, but Tamerlane cruised through in the early 15th century, sacked Ankara, and by-the-by, gave the Byzantines a 20-odd year stay of execution in what was left of their empire.
posted by troy at 8:54 AM on September 5, 2008


Turks were a central part of the Mongolian Empire, and many modern Turks claim Genghis as an important unifying leader.

This is the crucial fact here. There were relatively few actual Mongolians and an awful lot of Turks in the "Mongolian" Empire, and a lot of intermingling, intermarriage, and linguistic borrowing went on.
posted by languagehat at 10:14 AM on September 5, 2008


I was hoping languagehat jump in here.
posted by charlesv at 10:29 AM on September 5, 2008


*would
posted by charlesv at 10:29 AM on September 5, 2008


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