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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] The idea of the necessity of "Turanian brotherhood/collaboration" was borrowed from the "Slavic brotherhood/collaboration" idea of Panslavism.[2]

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 Tartars 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 and Manchus".[3]

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.[4]

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".[5] 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 political party of the Young Turks, Ittihad ve Teraki (the Turkish 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.[7]

Turanism forms an important aspect of the ideology of the Turkish Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), whose members are informally known as Grey Wolves. Grey Wolf (the mother wolf Asena) was the main symbol of the ancient Turks.


In Japan, the Pan-Turanian organization known as the National Socialist Japanese Workers and Welfare Party (NSJWWP) founded in 1982. Party's ideology is the combination of Nazism and Pan-Turanism.[8]

Key personalities[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.britannica.com/bps/search?query=turanism
  3. ^ Stoddard, T. Lothrop. “Pan-Turanism”. The American Political Science Review. Vol. 11, No. 1. (1917): 16.
  4. ^ http://www.britannica.com/bps/search?query=turanism
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ 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
  7. ^ Caravans to Oblivion: The Armenian Genocide, 1915 (Hardcover) by G. S. Graber
  8. ^ Farrokh, Dr. Kaveh. "Chapter Three: The Gray Wolves". 

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

See also[edit]

External links[edit]