Tohçuklanı Ufuk Tavkul




It is hard to understand the ethnic and social structure of the Caucasus for the politicians, journalists and amateur researchers who approach to this region superficially which is the homeland of more than forty ethnic groups.

Caucasus is not a physical geography or a political geography but it is a cultural geography. The member nations or ethnic groups of this cultural area are Abkhasian, Adige (Circassian), Karachay-Balkar, Osset, Chechen-Ingush and Dagestan peoples.

It is fully wrong to separate the Caucasus as “North Caucasus” and “South Caucasus”. We can only divide this region into two parts as “Caucasus” and “Transcaucasus”. Transcaucasus which is formed by Georgian, Armenian and Azerbaijan people is certainly a different cultural area from Caucasus.

Caucasian Culture is the customs, practices, life styles, music, believes, dances and dressing of the Caucasian peoples which are mostly common among them.

Nowadays, to discover the historical, ethnic and sociological roots of Caucasian Culture is a problem for the researchers who are interested in Caucasus. Most of the researchers who are Caucasians in origin approach to Caucasian Culture from ethnocentric viewpoint.

Probably, ethnocentrism most strongly live among the Caucasian peoples on the world. Every nation, every tribe, every ethnic group in Caucasus puts itself to the center of Caucasian Culture and claims that all cultural values of Caucasus diffused to the other Caucasian peoples from them. According to them the most distinguished, the most noble, the most hero, the most civilized, the most cultured, the most belligerent people of Caucasus is their people or tribe. They are the creators of Caucasian Culture and civilization. The national clothes, the national dances, the national customs, the Nart Epos which is the national epos of Caucasian peoples have diffused from them to the other Caucasian peoples.

If those kind of thoughts and ideas are belong to an ordinary Caucasian they may be excused. But if those ideas are claimed by a Caucasian scholar, than it will be necessary to analyse the historical, ethnic and sociological roots of Caucasian Culture.

Culture is not connected with instinct or genetic heritage. The individual gains its culture within society. It is not possible to draw the borders of a cultural area. By diffusion and acculturation of the cultural elements the integration of different societies and communities occurs. After process of diffusion, acculturation, integration and assimilation different ethnic groups or people from different cultural areas accomplish a common culture. In this new culture every ethnic group or people have share.

Caucasian Culture Areawhich has formed by Abkhasian, Adige (Circassian), Karachay-Balkar, Osset, Chechen-Ingush and Dagestan peoples and Caucasian Culture which is the culture of those people is not a pure culture. It has been fed and supported from different sources.

As there is no pure race, there is no pure culture on the world. The Caucasus has been invaded by several peoples, nations and tribes during the hundreds of years. All of those people have carried their ethnic and cultural elements to the Caucasus and mixed by indigenous people of the Caucasus. Thus a social and cultural change has been lived among them and consequently all of the ethnic groups in Caucasus have been mixed ethnically.

There are four sources of Caucasian Culture:

1-The culture of Turkic tribes like Cimmerian-Scythian, Hun-Bulgar, Alan, Khazar, Kypchak who have come and invaded the Caucasus from North steppes.

2-The culture of Greek-Roman-Byzantine-Genoese trade colonists who travelled from the west by the Black Sea and have come to the Caucasus.

3-The culture of some Asiatic tribes who have migrated from the south of the Caucasus.

4-The culture of the indigenous tribes of Caucasus.

It is a great mistake to classify the Caucasian peoples as “autochton people” and “foreigner people” as some Caucasian scholars or researchers do. All Caucasian peoples who share an indivisible part of Caucasian Culture have been mixed ethnically and have united around Caucasian Culture.


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