The Khazars were a Turkic people who originated in Central Asia. The Khazar empire is located north of the Caucasus mountains region.
Origins. The Khazars were a Turkic people who originated in Central Asia. The early Turkic tribes were quite diverse, although it is believed that reddish hair was predominant among them prior to the Mongol conquests. In the beginning, the Khazars believed in Tengri shamanism, spoke a Turkic language, and were nomadic. Later, the Khazars adopted Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, learned Hebrew and Slavic, and became settled in cities and towns thruout the north Caucasus and Ukraine. The Khazars had a great history of ethnic independence extending approximately 800 years from the 5th to the 13th century.
In the book The Thirteenth Tribe, Ashkenazi Jew Arthur Koestler documented the history :
This book traces the history of the ancient Khazar Empire, a major but almost forgotten power in Eastern Europe, which in A.D. 740 converted to Judaism. Khazaria, a conglomerate of Aryan Turkish tribes, was finally wiped out by the forces of Genghis Han, but evidence indicates that the Khazars themselves migrated to Poland and formed the craddle of Western (Ashkenazim) Jewry…
The Khazars’ sway extended from the Black sea to the Caspian, from the Caucasus to the Volga, and they were instrumental in stopping the Muslim onslaught against Byzantium, the eastern jaw of the gigantic pincer movement that in the West swept across northern Africa and into Spain.
Thereafter the Khazars found themselves in a precarious position between the two major world powers: the Eastern Roman Empire in Byzantium and the triumphant followers of Mohammed. AsArthur Koestler points out, the Khazars were the Third World of their day, and they chose a surprising method of resisting both the Western pressure to become Christian and the Eastern to adopt Islam. Rejecting both, they converted to Judaism.
The second part of Mr. Koestler’s book deals with the Khazar migration to Polish and Lithuanian territories, caused by the Mongol onslaught, and their impact on the racial composition and social heritage of modern Jewry. He produces a large body of meticulously detailed research in support of a theory that sounds all the more convincing for the restraint with which it is advanced.
Mr. Koestler concludes: “The evidence presented in the previous chapters adds up to a strong case in favour of those modern historians – whether Austrian, Israeli or Polish – who, independently from each other, have argued that the bulk of modern Jewry is not of Palestinian, but of Caucasian origin. The mainstream of Jewish migrations did not flow from the Mediterranean across France and Germany to the east and then back again. The stream moved in a consistently westerly direction, from the Caucasus through the Ukraine into Poland and thence into Central Europe. When that unprecedented mass settlement in Poland came into being, there were simply not enough Jews around in the west to account for it, while in the east a whole nation was on the move to new frontiers” ( page 179,page 180).
“The Jews of our times fall into two main divisions: Sephardim and Ashkenazim. The Sephardim are descendants of the Jews who since antiquity had lived in Spain (in Hebrew Sepharad) until they were expelled at the end of the fifteenth century and settled in the countries bordering the Mediterranean, the Balkans, and to a lesser extent in Western Europe. They spoke a Spanish-Hebrew dialect, Ladino, and preserved their own traditions and religious rites. In the 1960s, the number of Sephardim was estimated at 500000.
The Ashkenazim, at the same period, numbered about eleven million. Thus, in common parlance, Jew is practically synonymous with Ashkenazi Jew.”
In Mr. Koestler’s own words, “The story of the Khazar Empire, as it slowly emerges from the past, begins to look like the most cruel hoax which history has ever perpetrated.”
As expected, The Thirteenth Tribe caused a stir when published in 1976, since it demolishes ancient racial and ethnic dogmas…At the height of the controversy in 1983, the lifeless bodies of Arthur Koestler and his wife were found in their London home. Despite significant inconsistencies, the police ruled their death a suicide…
Origins of the Türük People
Armored riders, detail from petraglyphs in Char-Chad, Altai Mountains, Mongolia
The Gök Türks (aka Türük, Kök Türük, Tourkh, Turk, Tujue, Tr'wk) were one of the many nomadic Turkic peoples that lived in Mongolia in the early Middle Ages. Their origins are not clear because 6th-7th century Chinese sources describe different myths. They might have been a part of the Xiongnu, they might have been Turkified Xianbei who fled massacre from the Tuoba Wei or they might have Turkified Indo-Europeans. Whoever their origins were, they were the first Turkic group to use the name Turk. The ruling family of Türük came from the Ashina tribe which was believed to have descended from a child and the Kök Böri (Blue Wolf). Until 552, the Türük people lived in the Southern Altais but in 552 they moved into the Orkhon Valley in Central Mongolia.
The Türüks were living under Rouran (aka Ruanruan) rule during the early-6th century. They were employed as blacksmiths for the Rouran ruler, because Turkic peoples were well known from their iron working. Under the leadership of their leader Bumïn (Tumen), they overthrew the Rouran yoke in 552, with the help of their allies, the Western Tuoba Wei Dynasty. Bumïn declared his independence in Ötüken (the sacred forest-mountain which later became the center of the Eastern Gök Türük Qaghanate), and earned the title Il-Qaghan. He appointed Istemi (Shedianmi), his brother, as the Yabghu of the Western territories of the newly-founded Gök Türk Qaghanate, but died within a year.
Golden Age of the Eastern Qaghanate
Bumïn Il-Qaghan was succeded by Qara Qaghan, but he also died soon and was replaced with Buqan (Mugan) Qaghan. During his reign, the Gök Türk Empire lived it's Golden Age, when the Rouran were finally defeated and with the help of Western Tuoba, totally massacred in 555. He then marched on the Khitans and the Qïrghïz and eventually brought them under Gök Türk rule. He also forced the Chinese Zhou and Qi Dynasties to pay tribute to him, while expanded the empire in a short time. With his brother Istemi Yabghu, he organized a campaign against the Hephtalites (White Huns) and destroyed them with the help of the Sâssânid Empire of Irân. He was also the first Turkic ruler to enter Transoxiana (after Zhizhi Chanyu of Western Xiongnu), and soon, Turkic rulers settled on the Soghdian-inhabited towns of Transoxiana, like Samarkand and Bukhara. When he died in 572, the Gök Türk borders had reached Manchuria to the East and Irân to the West.
Istemi Yabghu became a semi-independent ruler in the Western territories of the Gök Türk Empire, and stayed as the Yabgu until his death in 576. He had some famous campaigns like his Hephtalite Campaign, which resulted in the partition of the White Hunnic Empire between the Western Gök Türks and the Sâssânids. He later allied with the Roman Emperor Iustinus II, and fought against his former ally, the Sâssânids fort he control of the Silk Road. He was victorious, and captured many Transoxianian towns like Samarkand, Bukhara and Tashkend. When the campaign had ended, his armies were marching in Azerbaijan. In 571, the Western Türküt armies crossed the Caucasian Mountains and entered Roman territories, because the Romans had supported the Avars in their struggle with the Gök Türks (Avars were chased westwards by Istemi Yabghu). Istemi also invaded Crimea with the help of Oghur Turks. But, this did not result in a major Gök Türk-Roman war, and Istemi Yabghu died in 576, five years after Buqan Qaghan's death.
Engravings resembling the Jewish Star of David were unearthed at two Khazar sites, one along the Donets River in eastern Ukraine and the other along the Don River in southern Russia. This one is a circular metal disc, interpreted by Professor Bozena Werbart of Umea University as Jewish but seen by others as shamanistic or pagan. The circular nature of the disc may represent the sun, and the 6 points may represent rays of the sun. Scholars lean towards assigning the disc to Tengri shamanism due to the fact that there are also known examples of Khazarian sun discs with 5 or 7 points, rather than consistently 6. Some of the Jewish-Turkic graves at Chelarevo in what used to be Hungary contain engravings of the Star of David and are believed to belong to Khazar Kabar migrants. However, the claim that the Star of David first became a symbol of Jewish nationalism in Khazaria is by no means certain.