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Are American Indians Turkish?

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  • Robert Schmidt
    http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=94894 Are American Indians Turkish? Tuesday, January 29, 2008 ELI.F ÖZMENEK NEW YORK – Turkish Daily
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 30, 2008
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      http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=94894

      Are American Indians Turkish?

      Tuesday, January 29, 2008

      ELI.F ÖZMENEK
      NEW YORK – Turkish Daily News

      On a quest to determine whether kinship exists between Turks and Native
      Americans, a New York-based Turkish group organized a conference last
      weekend searching for similarities between the two peoples.

      The main question at the conference last weekend titled "Commonalities
      between Turks and Native Americans" dealt with the possibility of American
      Indians coming from a Turkish bloodline.

      The Istanbul University Alumni Association (IUMEZUSA) organized the
      conference.Although the question might seem absurd to many, participation
      in the conference was very high.

      Over 400 people, including the director of the Eastern Region Bureau of
      Indian Affairs of the U.S. Department of the Interior attended the
      conference. The panelists were Brian Paterson, United South and Eastern
      Tribes & Bear Clan representative to the Oneida Indian Nation's Men's
      Council and Clan Mothers, Professor Timur Kocaog(lu, visiting scholar at
      Michigan State University, Professor Türker Özdog(an, George Washington
      University, Professor Marjorie Mandelstam Balzer, Georgetown University's
      Anthropology and Archeology of Eurasia Department and Associate Professor
      Carol Chiago Lujan, Arizona State University's founding director of the
      American Indian Studies Program.

      "This conference was an attempt both to strengthen our relations (as
      Turkish Americans) with the American Indians and also to call for
      furthering serious academic studies in the related area," said Ali Ç?nar,
      the president of IUMEZUSA.

      For many years, there were occasional stories related to the commonalities
      between Turks and Native Americans in the Turkish media. For example
      language similarities were always portrayed as the strongest link between
      the two groups' association.It is widely known in Turkey that French
      linguist Dumesnil found more than 300 Turkish words in native Indian
      languages: Türe and Töre (Tradition), Yanunda and Yan?nda (Near), At?s, and
      Ates, (Fire) to name a few.

      For some groups, the commonalities of Native Indian languages and Turkish
      are normal because some regard all human languages as descendants of one
      Central Asian primal language. One group supporting the Sun Language Theory
      are the ultranationalists. The theory further proposes that the only
      language remaining more or less the same as this primal language is
      Turkish. For others, the connection between Native Americans and Turks is
      far-fetched and they argue that these kinds of stories are stretching the
      imagination.

      Although many Turks know these kinds of stories, they were quite surprising
      to many American Indians attending the conference. The Native American
      academics at the panel claimed that although there are several cultural and
      linguistic similarities between Turks and Native Americans it is not
      scientifically possible yet to say that Native Americans are of Turkish
      descent. The panelists also drew attention to a study that was undertaken
      by a leading Russian geneticist, Ilya Zakharov, who in his 1998 study
      claimed that he had taken a giant step toward identifying the precise
      origin of Native Americans, based on his genetic studies of the Tuvan
      people in Siberia.Zakharov, deputy director of Moscow's Vavilov Institute
      of General Genetics, said he found a DNA link between American Indians and
      the Tuvan people. He also pointed out that the Tuvans are mainly Turkic
      speaking nomadic farmers who herd camels, yak, sheep, goats, and reindeer.
      Academics said more work is needed in this area.

      Paterson, on the other hand, claimed that maybe Turks are of Native Indian
      descent.

      "This conference did not intend to make a statement. We are not suggesting
      that all Native Americans are of Turkish descent," said Ç?nar. "However
      what came out of the conference is that the link between the groups needs
      to be studied in a more serious way."

      Ç?nar also mentioned the main purpose of the conference was to strengthen
      relations between Turkish Americans and Native Americans. "In the U.S.
      Senate there are 15 Native American senators. Therefore I see this
      conference also as an important element in strengthening the Turkish lobby
      and increasing its supporters in the U.S. Senate."
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