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Establishing the relationship of Turkish - Uralic peoples and languages through 5000 years of history and beyond


By Mehmet Kurtkaya, Published on May 17, 2019

The grammatical/typological similarity of Turkic and Uralic languages, as well as the existence of some common words was long known. The idea of a Ural-Altaic linguistic family dates back to the 19th century. By mid 20th century the association of languages within this family was challenged though some linguists adhered to this classification.

In the 21st century, especially in recent years, genetics research done on modern populations and ancient genome has shown that the genetics of Turkish and Uralic speakers are intertwined. While Turkish speakers are found to belong to many different haplogroups, speakers of Uralic languages seem to be somewhat more closely related to haplogroup N.

Modern distribution and linguistic association of haplogroup N

The birthplace of haplogroup N is estimated to be East/Northeast Asia, somewhere in Northeast China, Southeast Siberia, Lake Baikal area. Its origins date back to 40000-20000 BC.

Today it is found most frequently in Siberia, among Nganassan, Yakut, Nenets, Tuvans; and in Europe, among Finns. While Nganassan and Nenets are Samoyedic/Uralic, Yakut and Tuva are Turkic.

Hence, modern distribution of haplogroup N shows that its highest frequencies are among Uralic and Turkic speakers. Haplogroup N is also found with a lower frequency among speakers of Chukotko-Kamchatkan and some Indo-European language speakers, among others.

Ancient genome studies and Siberian origin of Uralic languages

Genetic studies in Estonia

Estonia, unlike other Baltic countries is a Uralic speaking country.

The Arrival of Siberian Ancestry Connecting the Eastern Baltic to Uralic Speakers further Eastby Saag et al. (2019) has important highlights among them:

- Genetic input from Siberia to the Eastern Baltic during the transition to Iron Age

- Arrival of Siberian ancestry coincides with proposed arrival of Uralic language

This paper adds to the evidence that already connects Uralic languages' origin to Siberia. Nganassan like ancestry mentioned in the paper is connected to haplogroup N.

Genetic studies in Hungary

Y-chromosome haplogroups from Hun, Avar and conquering Hungarian period nomadic people of the Carpathian Basin (2019).

The founders of Hungary migrated from Central Asia and the Pontic Caspian. They were Turks and Uralic people. Haplogroup N is found among the conquerors of Hungary.

Genetic Analysis of 15 Uralic Speaking Populations

Analysis of 15 Uralic speaking populations show that most Uralic speakers have ancestry from Siberia, ancestral home of the Turks. For more: Genes reveal traces of common recent demographic history for most of the Uralic-speaking populations (2018).

Also see the analysis of N-m2019 by Hunter Provyn: Uralic vs. Turkic genetic links in haplogroup N-m2019

Chuvash: Modern connection between Ugur Turkish language and Uralic

Chuvash language is the only extant Uğur (Oghur) Turkish language. Its classification history sheds light into the relationhip of Uralic and Turkish languages. Chuvash language article in Britannica states that: "Formerly, scholars considered Chuvash to be a Turkicized Finno-Ugric (Uralic) language or an intermediary branch between Turkic and Mongolian."

Chuvash is considered descendant of Volga Bulgar people. The country of Bulgaria kept the Turkish name but in time, the people and the language became Slavic. See a short overview of the Chuvash language

Chuvash language is key in understanding the relationship between Uralic and Ugur Turkish language. Why was it classified as Finno-Ugric previously, and why is it classified as Ugur Turkish now? These questions will help reveal the relationship among Uralic and Turkish.

Sumerian: Ancient connection between Ugur Turkish language and Uralic

Sumerian was classified as Uralic by Finnish scholar Parpola even though he had stated that genetic relationship with Turkish seemed likely due to highest number of word matches! See Finnish Assyriogist Simo Parpola's presentation of the results of the Sumerian Uralic word comparison results to the World Assyriology Congress in Moscow, 2007.

Greek researchers Ioannis Kenanidis, Evangelos C. Papakitsos had classified Sumerian as r-Altaic: Yet Another Suggestion about the Origins of the Sumerian Language.

See Sumerian Language Turkish comparisons and analysis through 160 years

Ugric is a term derived from Hungarian Ugor people. Ugric is part of Finno-Ugric and Uralic (and Ural-Altaic). Ugur (Oghur) which gives the name to the Oghur Turkish family and Hungarian Ugor are the same word.

(See Sumerian Hungarian relationship). Finnish language being a close contender. Hence, Turkish-Uralic connection goes at least 5000 years back.

Another paper along this line, Peter Revesz' Sumerian Contains Dravidian and Uralic Substrates Associated with the Emegir and Emesal Dialects 2019.

Turkic lexical borrowings in Samoyed

Turkic lexical borrowings in Samoyed by Peter S Piispanen. The article adds new words not discussed by previous researchers. One of the interesting research suggestions at the end of his article is the proto-Samoyedic word jetpə ̂ ‘to be hot’ compared to Turkish "ot" - fire. I have already discussed in detail, in my book English was Turkish: Sumerian roots of Indo-European Languages how Sumerian word for sun "Ut/Ud" is the same as the Turkish word for fire "ot/od" and that this word is the source of the word "hot"in English (German heis, etc) which also compares to proto-Samoyedic jetpa.

Language of Steppe Maykop and a haplogroup N-L1026 Uralic speaker from Estonia

I had established the language of Steppe Maykop as Sumerian based on its Botai ancestry. See Common origins of Languages.

Davidski from Eurogenes makes geneto-linguistic analysis of sample OLS10 from Iron Age Tarand graves in Estonia. (Sample from The Arrival of Siberian Ancestry Connecting the Eastern Baltic to Uralic Speakers further Eastby Saag et. al, 2019). The sample OLS10 belongs to Y-chromosome haplogroup N-L1026. He suggests that this sample is closest to a Proto-Uralic speaker, while one of his two models suggests RUS_Sintashta_MLBA_o1 ancestry.

User Slumbery remarks that "Sintashta_O1 is a sample similar to Steppe Maykop. A mixture of WSHG + Yamnaya + some southern ancestry. And it is indeed a big outlier in Sintashta". WSHG = West Siberian Hunter Gatherers.

This adds evidence to my analysis that the language of Steppe Maykop was Sumerian.

Spread of Languages
(Click to read the article and see full size image)

Origin and Spread of Languages on Eurasian Map based on Genetics Research and my books as of May 2019. The world's first known language Sumerian was favorably compared to many linguistic families in Eurasia and America. Comparing ancient Sumerian migration routes constructed from ancient genome studies to these languages will give the opportunity to trace back world languages to a common language spoken some 20000 years ago. read more

Uralic, Indo-European, Chukotko-Kamchatkan languages

There were studies exploring the relationship among these language families: Chukotko-Kamchatkan Indo-European affinities noticed by Gerhard Jager in Support for linguistic macrofamilies from weighted sequence alignment 2015.

On Certain Aspects of Distance-based Models of Language Relationships, with Reference to the Position of Indo-European among other Language Families by Russian scholar Alexander Kozintsev.

Further evidence on the relationship of Uralic to Indo-European, especially Hittite.

This article must be considered together with others including Turkish Ugur/Oghur/Hungarian Ugor/Ugric (Uralic) character of Sumerian, Hattic, Hurrian, and Etruscan.

Xiong-Nu / Hun , Sakhas / Yakut, and N1c-L392

On the origins of the Sakhas' paternal lineages: Reconciliation of population genetic / ancient DNA data, archaeological findings and historical narratives Tikhonov et. al. (2019) has the following quote:

"... the contemporary Sakha haplotype ‘Xuo’ (Table 2, Haplotype ID “Xuo”) classified as that of ‘the Xiongnu clan’ in our current study, was the closest to the ancient Xiongnu haplotype (Figure 6). TMRCA estimate for this 14-loci Y-chromosomal STR network was 4357 ± 1038 years or 2341 ± 1038 BCE, which correlated well with the Upper Xiajiadian culture that was dated to the Late Bronze Age (700-1000 BCE)."

Xiong-Nu / Hun are known to be Turkic and Mongolian. Huns have united different people in Eurasia to found a post-Scythian Eurasian Empire. The earlier studies in Eastern Europe and Western Asia have shown that some of the earliest Scythian and Cimmerians belonged to haplogroup Q, an East Asian marker. Additional affinities with Altaic populations were also found. Hence, we can see East- West migration waves throughout ages that kept on going until the 13th century AD Mongolian invasions.

In his article titled N1c-L392 associated with expanding Turkic lineages in Siberia Carlos Quiles mentions "explosive expansion of N1c-L392 lineages starting 5th millennium through Northern Eurasia" and then tries to refute the above papers' claim of connecting the haplogroup n1c-L392 to Turkish speaking people by presenting this paper among others:

From Human Y Chromosome Haplogroup N: A Non-trivial Time-Resolved Phylogeography that Cuts across Language Families Ilumäe et al. (2016). A quote from the paper:

"...N3a3’6 has high frequencies in the patrilineal pools of populations belonging to the Altaic, Uralic, several Indo-European, and Chukotko-Kamchatkan language families. There is no generally agreed, time-resolved linguistic tree that unites these linguistic phyla."

There are multiple problems with this assesment. First, the relationship between these languages are explored and positive results are obtained. Second, the evidence connecting Turkish and Uralic is overwhelming as I have explained above. Ignoring Chuvash, Oghur Turkish, Sumerian languages and their relationship to other languages is quite telling, to say the least. And lastly, based on all other historic and modern data I have outlined above, the likelihood of N1c-l392 speaking either a Turkish or Uralic language is quite high and even more importantly the lines between Uralic and Turkish languages were blurred in history.

Turkish and Uralic languages are connected by genetics, linguistics and migration from Siberia throughout 5000 years!

Certainly the relationship goes back to Siberia, hence beyond the 5000 years mark, the founding of the Sumerian civilization.

This can be further explored through Sun Language Theory as well as computational linguistics and the results can be compared.

Ural-Altaic language family

Since that Uralic language speakers have ancestry from Siberia and Altaic languages are from Siberia, and linguists have been observing similarities among them since 150 years, the relationship of Altaic to Uralic languages in Siberia is a reality. The dating and nature of this relationship is important in establishing not only the language of ANE (Ancient North Eurasian) but also the first human language.

Comparison of Turkish to Uralic throughout ages, since Sumerian at least, must be done before mass comparison of Uralic and Altaic languages which includes Turkish.


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Discover groundbreaking revelations on the roots of modern civilization in one short book. How did we arrive to where we are? How ancient civilizations a world apart, Sumer and Maya were connected. An overview that covers a wide range of topics from human migrations 50000 years ago to Gobeklitepe, the first temple in history, the first matriarchal society with written records, Elam, and to the Sun Cult of the Hattis. Their origins and influence on other ancient civilizations including their neighbors, distant relatives: Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Hurrian, Scythian, Oguz, Kassite, Gutian, Hyksos and more. (Many of my articles on this website included)

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