Aydın NURHAN 20.04.2009
Australian Institute
of International Affairs


Turkey in the Global Village
Aydin Nurhan
Consul General of Turkey
20 April 2009


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to thank our President The Honourable Michael Mackellar, our Executive director Ms. Peta McDermott, Margaret Papst and also your distinguished group for giving me the opportunity to share my views on international politics with you.


Original Geography

Turks seem to have originated in the geography around Baikal Lake, about 500 BC, then spread to the steppes around the crescent formed by Lakes Baikal, Balkash and Aral. Our presence in Central Asia can best be defined by “perpetual motion on horseback”.

Kazakhstan, Kyrgzia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Uighurs in Sinkiang in China plus many smaller Turkic populations in Russian Federation are our cousins who speak various dialects of Turkish which is an Altaic language, already matured during Göktürk Empire, in 6th Century.


Some historians assert that ancient Turks were a Caucasian race, but king statues in Göktürk (552 AD) monuments near Mongolian Capital Ulan Batur depict the Göktürks with Mongolian features.

Whatever the origins, a race in perpetual motion has mixed with and assimilated so many races in procession to the West, gaining dominantly Caucasian racial features in the end.

We came to Turkey from Central Asia about a millenium ago. When we entered Asia Minor in 1071 AD, we found a 10 millenia mixture of local races to be diluted with, once again.

Turks are one of the most mixed of the human races, and Turks of the 21st Century can definitely not be defined in racial terms.

and a little joke before proceeding to our next headline:

When modern Turks go to Kyrghyzia or Kazakhstan, their ancient cousins meet them joking;

“We sent you to the West
on horseback
with narrow eyes,
and a millenium later
you come back on airplane
with rounded eyes…”

First Turkish State with the name “Türk” in it, was “Göktürk” Empire, meaning “Celestial Turkish” Empire. (552 AD)

Ottomans and Seljouks

Coming West from Asian steppes, we built many states, but two are of special importance.

Seljouk Turks (1040-1250), known for their wars against Crusaders, sat on a shrunken geography of ancient Persian Empire, as seen in the comparative map below.


The following Ottoman Empire (1299-1923) sat on the shrunken map of the old Roman Empire, Fatih the Conqueror of Istanbul choosing as one of his many titles the name Kaiser-i Rum, the Caesar of (Eastern) Rome.


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