16 Great Turkic Empires

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File:President Erdoğan with 16 Turkish empire warriors.jpg
Erdoğan with 16 Turkic empire warriors, Turkish presidential complex

The so-called 16 Great Turkic Empires (Turkish: 16 Büyük Türk Devleti, also translated as "16 Great Turkish Empires") are a concept in Turkish ethnic nationalism, introduced in 1969 by Akib Özbek.[1] Prior to this assertion, the 16 stars had been taken as representing sixteen medieval beyliks which succeeded the Seljuk Empire.[2]

The Turkish Postal administration issued[year needed] a series of stamps dedicated to the 16 Empires, showing portraits of their respective founders as well as attributed flags.[3]

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.[4] However, the costumes have been widely criticized in media and one of the warriors costume (second from upper left) being seen as a "bathrobe" become a social trend as "Duşakabinoğulları" (a wordplay with Shower cabin).[5][6][7]

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

The list

The "16 Great Turkic Empires" are the following:

Fictitious flag[8] Name Turkish name Dates[9]
50px Great Hunnic Empire Büyük Hun İmparatorluğu 220 BC-46 BC
50px Western Hunnic Empire Batı Hun İmparatorluğu 48-216
50px European Hunnic Empire Avrupa Hun İmparatorluğu 375-469
50px White Hunnic Empire Akhun İmparatorluğu 390-577
50px Göktürk Empire Göktürk İmparatorluğu 552-745
50px Avar Khaganate Avar İmparatorluğu 565-835
50px Khazar Khaganate Hazar İmparatorluğu 651-983
50px Uyghur Khaganate Uygur Devleti 745-1369
Qaraxanlı bayrağı.jpg Kara-Khanids Karahanlılar 840-1212
Ghaznavids Gazneliler 962-1186
Flag of Sultanate of Rum.svg Great Seljuq Empire Büyük Selçuklu İmparatorluğu 1040–1157
Flag of the Khwarezmian Empire.png Khwarazmids Harzemşahlar 1097–1231
Флаг Золотой Орды.png Golden Horde Altınordu Devleti 1236–1502
Timurid Empire Büyük Timur İmparatorluğu 1368–1501
Mughal Empire Babür İmparatorluğu 1526-1858
Flag of the Ottoman Empire.svg Ottoman Empire Osmanlı İmparatorluğu 1299-1922


Further linguistic and social/historical evidence is needed in order to properly list some of these states as Turkic states. 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."[10]In spite of Atsız' criticism, the concept has since become a mainstream topos in Turkish national symbolism. In 1985, under Turkish president Turgut Özal, it was invoked as a retrospective explanation of the 16 stars in the presidential seal of Turkey.[11]

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. X. Türk Tarih Kongresi, Türk Tarih Kurumu Basımevi, 1994, p. 2947. (Turkish))
  3. 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 stamp series.
  4. "Spear-carriers and chainmail warriors: Erdogan's palace welcome". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 14 January 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "'Duşakabinoğulları' istifa getirdi: O kıyafete 'bornoz' diyen dekan görevinden ayrıldı" (in Türkçe). Diken. Retrieved 29 May 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Duşakabinoğulları 3 ay sürmüş!" (in Türkçe). Sözcü. Retrieved 29 May 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Duşakabinoğullarını Dolmabahçe Sarayı'na getirdi" (in Türkçe). Birgün. Retrieved 29 May 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. The flags were drawn in the mid 20th century, except for the much older Ottoman one, and resemble this stamp series.
  9. Dates as shown in the original document[clarification needed][citation needed]
  10. On line history newspaper ((Turkish)) Nihal Atsız (Turkish)
  11. Central Eurasian Studies Review, Vol. 3, Central Eurasian Studies Society, 2004, p. 23

External links