(Chapter XII, section 17)

The Osmanli Turks

The best known and most numerous of the living Turkish peoples, the Osmanlis, today form the principal element in the population of Asia Minor, while colonies of them, left behind by the recession of Turkish power from southeastern Europe, are to be found here and there in Yugoslavia, Albania, Greece, Bulgaria, and Rumania. Only in the present Turkish territory west of the Bosporus do they form at the present day a majority in any European area which is a political entity. Individual Turks still occupy positions of importance in some of the former Turkish provinces outside of Europe, as in the Yemen; Turkish families from the nucleus of the aristocracy in others, as in Egypt.

The first Turks to concern themselves with Asia Minor were the Seljuks, a nation of Turks or Turkomans called at that time Ghuzz, who
were converted to Islam in what is now Russian Turkestan about the year 1000 A.D. After conquering Persia, they entered Armenia in 1048 A.D. and during the rest of the eleventh century gradually took over Asia Minor, although they were more interested in the civilized Moslem centers of Syria and Iraq. Starting about 1070 A.D., tribe after tribe of Turkish nomads from central Asia and Turkestan entered Asia Minor across northern Persia, in search of fresh pastures. Many of the Christian peasants of the peninsula abandoned their farms, turned to the cities, or became nomadic themselves; this movement was further fostered by the great destruction of property consummated by the Mongols.

The Osmanli Turks, later comers than the others, did not arrive in Asia Minor until 1227 A.D., and numbered but a few thousands. About 1300 A.D., under their leader Osman, they obtained control of the Seljuk empire, and the Ottoman rule began at that time. They converted many of the Christian natives, left alone by the Seijuks, to Islam, and the name of the nation as a whole became that of the founder of the Ottoman dynasty.

It cannot be denied that the present-day Turks of Asia Minor have absorbed much of the pre-Turkish population, but that their ancestors came in great numbers from central Asia is equally true. The Turkish invasion was not a simple, connected event, but a long succession of immigrations of different kinds of Turks over a long period of time. The heterogeneity of these movements is seen by the retention in the present Turkish population of Anatolia of old distinctions; the Yürüks, for example, who still pasture their flocks on the hills of Cappadocia and Cilicia, retained their old central Asiatic manner of life with little change until the rise of the Turkish Republic, and the Kizilbashes, in eastern Anatolia, who are Shiite Turks from Persia, are recognized as a separate group.

The Christian population of Turkey, or that remnant of it which has remained unabsorbed, had until recent years always been numerous; it consists mostly of Greeks, many thousands of whom have been sent back to Greek soil, and of Armenians, a large proportion of whom have emigrated during the present century to all quarters of the earth, and in especially large numbers to America. Jews as well as Christians survive centuries of Turkish rule; throughout mediaeval and modern history Moslems have behaved with greater consistency and with less violence toward Jews than have Christians.

The modern Turks of Anatolia differ little in most or tneir metrical characters from peoples whom we have already encountered in central and southeastern Europe, as the following résumé will make clear.140 mean stature for Anatolia is 167 cm.; this varies from 169 cm. in the Smyrna district and 168 cm. in the Dardanelles-Marmora Sea region, and in Kastamuni on the Black Sea shore, to 166 cm. in the eastern provinces, on the flank of Armenia. The bodily build is often thick-set or lateral; this is shown by a relative sitting height of 54. The relative span, 104, is moderate, and varies from 103 in the west, to nearly 105 in the east. The same is true of bodily proportions in general; the lateral form is much more typical of the eastern provinces than of the Aegean and Pontine shores.

The head form of the Turks as a whole is only moderately brachycephalic; 84.2 is the mean for Anatolia, and this varies from 81.8 in Brussa, between Smyrna and the Hellespont, to 85.4 in the eastern provinces, and 86.6 in Kastamuni, on the southern shore of the Black Sea. The western and southern Turks are low brachycephals, the eastern and northern ones high. In the regions of Brussa, Smyrna, and Konia, there is, therefore, an important long-headed minority. For the most part the heads of Turks are not large; the mean length for Anatolia is 181.6 mm., the breadth 152.6 mm., while the auricular height mean is 126.1. These dimensions could easily be matched among Yugoslavs or Macedonians. In Smyrna, the longest-headed province, the mean head length rises to nearly 184 mm., in Kastamuni it falls to 180 mm. The breadth similarly varies between 150 mm. and 156 mm.; even the roundest-headed region has a relatively small head breadth. It is interesting to note that th Greeks of the north shore of Asia Minor have the same head form as the Turks, but to a more exaggerated degree; with a length mean of 180.7 mm., breadth of 157.6 mm., and cephalic index of 87.2.

The faces of the Osmanli Turks of Anatolia, as well as their head vaults, have dimensions reminiscent of southeastern Europe. The total face height mean for the whole is 122 mm., and this varies little throughout the region. The bizygomatic mean, 140 mm., is also relatively constant, but narrowest in the Smyrna district. The minimum frontal, about 105 mm., is not excessive, nor is the bigonial, 108 mm. In these dimension the Turks resemble Balkan Mediterraneans and Alpines; their faces are not long enough for exaggerated Dinarics. Like the Greeks and the peoples to the west of the Black Sea, they preserve a forehead-jaw ratio which emphasizes the width of the mandible. The nose, with a mean height of 57 mm. and a breadth of 35.3 mm., is, however, fully Dinaric. It is largest (59 mm. by 36 mm.) in the eastern provinces, smallest (56 mm. by 35 mm.) in Smyrna. The nasal index of 62.4 is leptorrhine, but not as much so as that of Albanians.

The unexposed skin color of the Turks is mostly brunet-white or swarthy (von Luschan #11—16), the head hair color, in 90 per cent of cases, dark brown. Black hair, however, is found in less than 5 per cent, and blondism is rare. The ratio of dark brown hair is constant, except in the eastern provinces, where it is nearly 100 per cent. The beard hair is often lighter than the head hair; only 70 per cent are black or dark brown, while reddish shades are found among nearly 10 per cent. Reddish and blondish beards are by far commoner in the western and northern provinces than elsewhere, and are in these places found in one-third of the group observed.

Pure dark eyes are found in about 40 per cent of the total, while another 40 per cent possesses dark-mixed eyes, many of which would appear brunet upon casual observation. The remaining 20 per cent is almost entirely composed of men who possess evenly mixed or light-mixed irises, with but less than 2 per cent of pure lights. On the whole, the Anatolian Turks are prevailingly brunet in pigmentation, but brunet in a condition in which the skin is brunet-white, the hair dark brown, and the eyes brown or dark-mixed. There are several shades of brown in the eye color, and it is apparent that more than one brunet strain is present. The virtual absence of black hair, however, the presence of rufosity, and the, high ratio of mixed eyes, when combined with the metrical data, indicate that the principal brunet strain is some form of Alpine.

Fifty-four per cent of the Turks have some occipital flattening, and this ratio rises to 80 per cent in the province of Kastamuni. In the west, it falls to 38 per cent, and in the eastern provinces is only 42 per cent. The associated Dinaric character of a convex nasal profile is found among 58 per cent of the total; the ratio is slightly higher in the north and east than in the west. The nasal wings are usually compressed to medium; flaring forms, such as one associates with mongoloids, are very rare, as are concave nasal profiles. An excessive development of the malars is uncommon, but more frequent in the east than in the west. The epicanthic eye-fold, typical of Mongols, is almost unknown in Turkey. The beard is often heavy, and the body hair on the heavy side of medium.

On the basis of the metrical and morphological data outlined above, we may dismiss the theory that the Anatolian Turks are in any sense mongoloid. It may be possible to find individuals with some recognizable mongoloid features, but no more frequently than in most countries of Europe. The Anatolian Turks are for the most part Cappadocian Mediterraneans, with a mixture of Alpines in sufficient quantity to produce the Dinaric transformation. Only in Kastamuni, on the shore of the Black Sea, and in the provinces which contain large populations of Armenians and other non-Turks, does the brachycephaly of the Osmanlis reach full Dinaric proportions. In the west and south, there are enough unassimilated dolichocephalic factors left to form a considerable minority.

If the Turks are for the most part Cappadocians Dinaricized through Alpine mixture, this simply means that the zone of reduced Upper Palaeolithic survivors extends into Anatolia; the skeletal types found among the meager remains from Alishar Hüyük have mingled, with a result parallel to that experienced throughout the entire Alpine racial zone in Europe. This conclusion would mean that the Turks are not Turks at all, except in speech and tradition, except for one thing: the remnants of the pre-Turkish population are more brachycephalic, more typical members of this Near Eastern Dinaric race than are the Turks themselves. We have already seen that the Asia Minor Greeks are even rounder-headed than the Turks of Kastamuni; they are also 2 cm. shorter in stature. As we shall presently see, the Armenians themselves likewise exceed the Turks in their Dinaric or Armenoid character. Furthermore, the Takhtadshy and Bektashi, members of heretical sects in Asia Minor who are supposed to have little Turkish blood, are rounder and shorter-headed, and more Alpine and Armenoid in every way, than the Turks as a whole.141 The Turks, therefore, while to a large extent descended from the pre-Turkish population, are perceptibly different as a group from its most fully authentic survivors.

With this directional lead, we may proceed to examine the most fully Turkish people in Turkey, the Yürüks, pastoral nomads of Cappadocia and Cilicia, who are supposed to have mixed little with non-Turks or other kinds of Turks since their arrival. A small but apparently representative series142 shows them to be tall, with a mean stature of 169 cm., mesocephalic, with a mean cephalic index of 79, and largely brunet. Their faces are moderately long (124.6 mm.) and moderately wide (144 mm.). In facial features they are not at all mongoloid. If the early Turkish invaders of Asia Minor belonged largely to this type, then the racial position of the modern Osmanlis in reference to that of the previous Anatolians is easily comprehended.

In the early history of the Turkish invasions, there was some question as to whether the ancestors of the Seljuks and Osmanlis were to be considered Turks in the sense of Kirghiz and Uzbegs, or Turkomans, a general name meaning Turk-like people. In view of the present evidence, it is likely that they were actually Turkomans, or at any rate Turks similar to living Turkomans and Azerbaijanis (see Chapter XI, section 5), and were thus non-mongoloid whites of a tall, long-faced, high-headed, brunet Mediterranean variety. The Turks who invaded eastern Russia, on the other hand, belonged rather to the Kirghiz type, which is a Mongol-Turkoman-Nordic mixture, and the Tatars of eastern Europe and of the Caucasus are for that reason primarily brachycephalic and partially mongoloid.

The determination of the physical type of the Osmanli and Seljuk Turks, through directional leads and the study of the Yürüks, furnish a reasonable explanation of the racial characters of the modern Anatolian Turks. If one places the contribution of the Turkish ancestors in Anatolia at about 25 per cent, and that of the previous inhabitants at about 75 per cent, the racial situation in that peninsula assumes a position in accordance with history. The indigenous 75 per cent is composed of a Cappadocian-Alpine blend, in which the latter element must have reëmerged in a manner similar to that which can be chronologically established in central Europe.

Data on the Turkish inhabitants of the present southeastern European states are very conflicting. A series of 200 from Macedonia143 is hyper-Anatolian, with a mean cephalic index of 87, and pigmentation comparable to that of Turks in Asia Minor; another series, presumably from a different part of Macedonia,144 is dolichocephalic, with a mean index of 77.7. Turks in Rumelia,145 that is southern Bulgaria, and Turks in the Dobruja,146 have cephalic indices of 82—83, and metrical and morphological features which relate them to the body of Turks in general. Owing to the fact that the Osmanli Turks of the Balkans have preferred emigration rather than assimilation since the disappearance of their European empire, it is unlikely that they have contributed much in a racial sense to populations which are now Christian, or to Moslem groups which are not Turkish in speech.



140 The principal work on the physical anthropology of modern Turkey is Wagenseil, F., ZFMA, vol. 29, 1931, pp. 193—260.

Other references consulted are:

Crowfoot, J. W., JRAI, vol. 30, 1900, pp. 305—320.
Ehsiev, A., IILE, vol. 68, 1890, col. 219 if.; 1891, vol. 71, col. 62 if. Résumé in Anth, vol. 3, 1892, pp. 477—481.
Kansu, Ş. A., TAM, vol. 7, 1931, pp. 3—15, 17—19.
Luschan, F. von, JRAI, vol. 41, 1911, pp. 221—244; AFA, vol. 19, 1890, pp. 31—54.
Luschan, F. von, and Petersen, E., Reisen in Lykien, Milyas, und Kibyratis.
Županič, N., Etnolog, 1927, pp. 87—130. Résumé in AnthPr, vol. 6, 1928, pp. 95—96.

141 Crowfoot, JRAI, 1900.
Luschan F. von, AFA, 1890.

142 Luschan, F. von, in Petersen and von Luschan.

143 Hasluck, M., and Morant, G. M., Biometrika, vol. 21, 1929, pp. 322—336.

144 Lebzelter, V., MAGW, vol. 63, 1933, pp. 233—251.

145 Kansu, Ş. A., TAM, vol. 7, 1931, pp. 13—15, 17—19.

146 Pittard, E., Les Peuples des Balkans.