16 Great Turkic Empires

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Erdoğan and Abbas with actors representing the "16 Great Turkic Empires" (2015)

The 16 Great Turkic Empires (Turkish: 16 Büyük Türk Devleti, also translated as "16 Great Turkish Empires") is a concept in Turkish ethnic nationalism, introduced in 1969 by Akib Özbek[1] and widely invoked by Turkish authorities during the 1980s, under the government of Kenan Evren.

The list

The "16 Great Turkic Empires" are the following:

Flag[2] Name Turkish name Leader[3] Dates[4]
Great Hunnic Empire Büyük Hun İmparatorluğu Teoman 220 BC-46 BC
Western Hunnic Empire flag.jpg Western Hunnic Empire Batı Hun İmparatorluğu Panu 48-216
European Hunnic Empire Avrupa Hun İmparatorluğu Attila 375-469
White Hunnic Empire Akhun İmparatorluğu Aksunvar 390-577
Gok1.png Göktürk Empire Göktürk İmparatorluğu Bumin Kağan 552-745
Avar Khaganate Avar İmparatorluğu Bayan Kağan 565-835
Khazar Khaganate Hazar İmparatorluğu Hazar Kağan 651-983
Uyghur Khaganate Uygur Devleti Kutluğ Kül Bilge Kağan 745-1369
Qaraxanlı bayrağı.jpg Kara-Khanids Karahanlılar Bilge Külkadir Han 840-1212
GhaznavidFlag attributed.svg Ghaznavids Gazneliler Alp Tekin 962-1186
Flag of Sultanate of Rum.svg Great Seljuq Empire Büyük Selçuklu İmparatorluğu Selçuk Bey 1040–1157
Flag of the Khwarezmian Empire.png Khwarazmids Harzemşahlar Muhammed Harzem Şah 1097–1231
Флаг Золотой Орды.png Golden Horde Altınordu Devleti Batu Han 1236–1502
TimuridFlag attributed.svg Timurid Empire Büyük Timur İmparatorluğu Timur 1368–1501
Gules pile sinister or.svg Mughal Empire Babür İmparatorluğu Babür Şah 1526-1858
Flag of the Ottoman Empire.svg Ottoman Empire Osmanlı İmparatorluğu Osman Bey 1299-1922


Flags of the Sixteen Great Turkish Empires displayed in the Istanbul Military Museum

Turkish nationalist writer, novelist, poet and philosopher, Hüseyin Nihâl Atsız, supporter of the pan-Turkist or Turanism ideology, had noted that while some states with questionable Turkic identity were included in the list, some ostensibly Turkic states (such as Akkoyunlu) were left out, and labeled the list a "fabrication."[5]

In spite of Atsız' criticism, the concept has was made a mainstream topos in Turkish national symbolism in the wake of the 1980 Turkish coup d'état, under the presidency of Kenan Evren, when "Turkish-Islamic synthesis" was declared the official nature of Turkish national identity. The Turkish Postal administration issued a series of stamps dedicated to the 16 Empires in 1984, showing portraits of their respective founders as well as attributed flags.[2] In 1985, Özbek's 16 Empires were invoked as a retrospective explanation of the 16 stars in the presidential seal of Turkey (introduced in 1936).[6]

Several municipal buildings and public parks in Turkey have collections of busts or statues of the supposed founders of the "16 Empires" alongside a statue of Kemal Atatürk, including the municipal buildings of Keçiören (Ankara), Mamak, Ankara, Etimesgut, Niğde, Nevşehir, Pınarbaşı, Kayseri, etc.[3]

In 2000, Türk Telekom produced a series of smart cards dedicated to the topic.[7]

In January 2015, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan received Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in the Turkish Presidential Palace with a guard of 16 "warriors", actors wearing loosely historical armour and costume, intended to symbolise the 16 empires.[8] The costumes were ridiculed in the Turkish media, and one of the costumes in particular was mocked as a "bathrobe", becoming a trend on social media under the name of Duşakabinoğul (as it were "son of the shower cabin").[9]

See also


  1. ^ H. Feridun Demokan, Contemporary Turkey: Geography, History, Economy, Art, Tourism, Demokan, 1978, p. 4. Necdet Evliyagil, Sami Güner, Basın-Yayın Genel Müdürlüğü, Ajans-Türk, Türkiye: Cumhuriyetin 50. Yıl Kitabı, Ajans-Türk Matbaacılık Sanayii, 1973.
  2. ^ a b Ivan Sache, Presentation of the Sixteen Great Turkish Empires and their alleged flags, Flags of the World, 4 July 2004; c.f. jpeg of the 1984 stamp series. The flags were designed by Özbek in 1969. They are mostly imaginary, with the exception of the 1844 Ottoman flag, and arguably the wolf's head and the bow-and-arrow used as emblems for the Göktürk and the Seljuk states, respectively. Ekrem Buğra Ekinci, 16 TÜRK DEVLETİ Cumhurbaşkanlığı forsundaki 16 yıldız neyi ifade ediyor?, 2 February 2015.
  3. ^ a b Keçiören 39°58′41″N 32°52′3″E / 39.97806°N 32.86750°E / 39.97806; 32.86750. Etimesgut Belediyesi kent meydanı için hazırlanan 16 Türk Büyüğü heykelleri. Niğde’nin simgesi Türk Büyükleri heykelleri kaldırılıyor mu? Türk devlet büyükleri Mamak'ta Türk Büyükleri Anıtları Yenilendi (Nevşehir). "Pınarbaşı Turkishness Monument" (Pınarbaşı Türklük Anıtı, opened in 2000).
  4. ^ Dates as shown in the original document[clarification needed][citation needed]
  5. ^ On line history newspaper ((in Turkish)) Nihal Atsız (in Turkish)
  6. ^ Central Eurasian Studies Review, Vol. 3, Central Eurasian Studies Society, 2004, p. 23
  7. ^ Büyük Türk Devletleri [1]
  8. ^ "Spear-carriers and chainmail warriors: Erdogan's palace welcome". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  9. ^ "'Duşakabinoğulları' istifa getirdi: O kıyafete 'bornoz' diyen dekan görevinden ayrıldı" (in Turkish). Diken. Retrieved 29 May 2016. "Duşakabinoğulları 3 ay sürmüş!" (in Turkish). Sözcü. Retrieved 29 May 2016. "Duşakabinoğullarını Dolmabahçe Sarayı'na getirdi" (in Turkish). Birgün. Retrieved 29 May 2016. The Takvim daily newspaper omitted a label for this particular costume (Western Hunnic Empire) by mistake; diken.com.tr.
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