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Turanism, or Pan-Turanism, is a political movement for the union of all Turanian peoples. It implies not merely the unity of all Turkic peoples (as in Pan-Turkism), but also the unification of a wider Turanid race, also known as the controversial Uralo-Altaic race, believed to include all peoples speaking "Turanian languages". Like the term Aryan, Turanian is used chiefly as a linguistic term, equivalent to Ural-Altaic linguistic group.[1] Although Turanism is a political movement for the union of all Uralo-Altaic peoples, there are different opinions about inclusiveness.[2] According to widespread opinion Turanism is a political movement for the union of Turkic peoples, Tungusic peoples, Mongolic peoples, Chechens and Ingushes.[3] Although western historians' opinion that includes Finns, Koreans, Hungarians, Japanese; famous Turanist Ziya Gökalp stated Turanism isn't mix of peoples that includes Finns, Koreans, Hungarians, Japanese in his essay Principles of Turkism [4] The idea of the necessity of "Turanian brotherhood/collaboration" was borrowed from the "Slavic brotherhood/collaboration" idea of Panslavism.[5]

Turkish proponents of scientific racism claimed that this racial group embraced:

"The Ottoman Turks of Istanbul and Anatolia, the Turcomans of Central Asia and Persia, the Tatars of South Russia and Transcaucasia, the Magyars of Hungary, the Finns of Finland and the Baltic provinces, the aboriginal tribes of Siberia and even the distant Mongols, Manchus and Japanese people".[6]

The Ural-Altaic linguistic hypothesis, now discredited, inspired the emergence of Turkish, Hungarian, Japanese and Korean branches of the Turanian Society in the 1920s and 1930s.[7]

Origins of Pan-Turanianism[edit]

The idea of a Turanic family of languages and Turanic people was put forward and promoted by the German linguist Max Müller. In his lectures on the “Science of Language”, he applied the name Turanian to the "nomadic races of Asia as opposed to the agricultural or Aryan races".[8] Traditional history cites its early origins amongst Ottoman officers and intelligentsia studying and residing in 1870s Imperial Germany. The fact that many Ottoman Turkish officials were becoming aware of their sense of "Turkishness" is beyond doubt of course, and the role of subsequent nationalists, such as Ziya Gökalp is fully established historically.

…they (the Turks) could form a political entity stretching from the Altai Mountains in Eastern Asia to the Bosphorus.


Ármin Vámbéry contributed in the spreading of Turanian ideas among Turkish people. Originally the orientalist Vámbéry was in the employ of Lord Palmerston of the British Foreign office. Vámbéry’s mission was to create an anti-Slavic racialist movement among the Turks that would divert the Russians from the “Great Game” which they were playing against Britain in Persia and Central Asia.


Hungarian Turanism (Hungarian: Turanizmus) is a Hungarian nationalist ideology which stresses the alleged origins of the Hungarian people in the steppes of Central Asia ("Turan") and the affinity of the Hungarians with Asian peoples such as the Turkic people. It gained wide currency on the Hungarian political right in the years between the two world wars. In the half-century before World War I, some Hungarians sought to encourage Pan-Turanianism as a means of uniting Turks and Hungarians against the Slavs and Pan-Slavism.


The Ottoman political party of the Young Turks, the Committee of Union and Progress, espoused the notion of Turanism, a mythic glorification of Turkish ethnic identity, and was devoted to restoring the Ottoman Empire's shattered national pride.[10]

Turanism forms an important aspect of the ideology of the modern Turkish Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), whose youth movement is informally known as the Grey Wolves. Grey Wolf (the mother wolf Asena) was the main symbol of the ancient Turkic peoples.


The Japanese Turanism is based upon the theory that such Turanian peoples as Hungarians, Finnish, Estonians, Japanese were derived from the Turanid race and therefore have a common blood. It is supported by the DNA analysis as well as the linguistic relationship among their languages.

In the 1920s, Turanist movement widely spread in Hungary and in Japan. Hungarian and Japanese Turanists ciaimed that the Hungarian and the Japanese were derived from the common racial ancestry and that the forefathers of the Japanese had originated in the Euro-Asian region and resettled in the main island of Japan. In Japan, such Turanist organisations as Turanian National Alliance – Tsuran Minzoku Doumei (1921) – Turanian Society of Japan – Nippon Tsuran Kyoukaiearly (1930's) – Japanese-Hungarian Cultural Association – Nikko Bunka Kyoukai (1938) – were founded. Also in Hungary, such Turanist organisations as Turanian Society (1910) and Turanian Alliance of Hungary (around 1920) was founded. The Turanian Society in Budapest often carried in its magazine "Turan" articles about the Japanese and sent a cultural mission to Japan in 1922. In Hungary of those days, it was claimed that Hungarian Royal Household should adopt a member of the Japanese Imperial Household. Finnish language is also partly related to the Mongolic languages, and DNA analysis showed that the Finns have some genetic ancestry from eastern Mongolia. Finland as well as Hungary was a member of the Axis and was on the same side as Germany, Italy and Japan during the Second World War.

Key personalities[edit]

See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ M. Antoinette Czaplicka, The Turks of Central Asia in History and at the Present Day, Elibron, 2010, p.19
  2. ^ http://www.nihal-atsiz.com/yazi/turancilik-h-nihal-atsiz.html
  3. ^ http://www.turansam.org/turan.html
  4. ^ Türkçülüğün Esasları pg.25 (Gökalp, Ziya)
  5. ^ http://www.britannica.com/bps/search?query=turanism
  6. ^ Stoddard, T. Lothrop. “Pan-Turanism”. The American Political Science Review. Vol. 11, No. 1. (1917): 16.
  7. ^ http://www.britannica.com/bps/search?query=turanism
  8. ^ Müller, M. (1862) Lectures on The Science of Language. Delivered At The Royal Institution of Great Britain in April, May, and June, 1861. Second London Edition, Revised. New York: Charles Scribner, (p.241). Project Gutenberg eBook.
  9. ^ Paksoy, H.B., ‘Basmachi’: TurkestanNational Liberation Movement 1916-1930s - Modern Encyclopedia of Religions in Russia and the Soviet Union, Florida: Academic International Press, 1991, Vol. 4
  10. ^ Caravans to Oblivion: The Armenian Genocide, 1915 (Hardcover) by G. S. Graber

Further reading[edit]

  • Arnakis, George G.. 'Turanism: An Aspect of Turkish Nationalism'. In Balkan Studies, Vol. 1 (1960): 19-32.
  • Atabaki, Touraj (2000). Azerbaijan: Ethnicity and the Struggle for Power in Iran.
  • Farrokh, Kaveh (2005) Pan-Turanianism takes aim at Azerbaijan: A geopolitical agenda.
  • Landau, J.M. (1995). Pan-Turkism: From Irredentism to Cooperation. London: Hurst.
  • Lewis, B. (1962). The Emergence of Modern Turkey. London: Oxford University Press.
  • Lewis, B. (1998). The Multiple identities of the Middle East. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
  • Wikisource-logo.svg Macdonell, Arthur Anthony (1922). "Pan-Turanianism". Encyclopædia Britannica (12th ed.). 
  • Paksoy, H.B. (1991). ‘Basmachi’: TurkestanNational Liberation Movement 1916-1930s. In Modern Encyclopedia of Religions in Russia and the Soviet Union (Vol 4). Florida: Academic International Press. [1]
  • Poulton, H. (1997). Top Hat, Grey Wolf, and Crescent: Turkish Nationalism and the Turkish Republic. London, England: Hurst.
  • Richards, G. (1997). ‘Race’, Racism and Psychology: Towards a Reflexive History. Routledge.
  • Richards Martin, Macaulay Vincent, Hickey Eileen, Vega Emilce, Sykes Bryan, Guida Valentina, Rengo Chiara, Sellitto Daniele, Cruciani Fulvio, Kivisild Toomas, Villerns Richard, Thomas Mark, Rychkov Serge, Rychkov Oksana, Rychkov Yuri, Golge Mukaddes, Dimitrov Dimitar, Hill Emmeline, Bradley Dan, Romano Valentino, Cail Francesco, Vona Giuseppe, Demaine Andrew, Papiha Surinder, Triantaphyllides Costas, Stefanescu Gheorghe, Hatina Jiri, Belledi Michele, Di Rienzo Anna, Novelletto Andrea, Oppenheim Ariella, Norby Soren, Al-Zaheri Nadia, Santachiara-Benerecetti Silvana, Scozzari Rosaria, Torroni Antonio, & Bandelt Hans Jurgen. (2000). Tracing European founder lineages in the Near Eastern mtDNA pool. American Journal of Human Genetics, 67, p. 1251-1276.
  • Said, E. (1979). Orientalism. New York: Vintage Books.
  • Searle-White, J. (2001). The Psychology of Nationalism. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Toynbee, A.J. (1917). Report on the Pan-Turanian Movement. London: Intelligence Bureau Department of Information, Admiralty, L/MIL/17/16/23.
  • Stoddard, T. Lothrop. “Pan-Turanism”. The American Political Science Review. Vol. 11, No. 1. (1917): 12-23.
  • Zenkovsky, S. A. (1960). Pan-Turkism and Islam in Russia. Cambridge-Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
  • Zeman, Zbynek & Scharlau, Winfried (1965), The merchant of revolution. The life of Alexander Israel Helphand (Parvus). London: Oxford University Press. See especially pages 125-144. ISBN 0-19-211162-0 ISBN 978-0192111623

External links[edit]