Inscription shows Turkish presence in Anatolia in 10th century
KONYA - Demirören News Agency
An inscription belonging to an unspecified period before the 1071 Battle of Manzikert, known as the victory that led the Turks to first enter Anatolia, has been found in the Central Anatolian province of Konya, with the head of the excavation informing it’s the “evidence of the Turkish presence in the 10th century.”
The inscription was found during the excavations carried out in Konya’s Savatra Ancient City.
Noting that the inscription reads “Türkopol” in runic alphabet, literally meaning “son of Turk,” İlker Işık, an associate professor from Selçuk University, said, “It is the first inscription found that reads Turk in Anatolia, while it is evidence demonstrating the existence of Christianized Turks before 1071.”
“It indicates the presence of Turkish soldiers in the legion units of the Byzantine armies,” he said, adding that the inscription is estimated to date from the 10th or 11th century.
The inscription, found in a castle in the ancient city, was a part of a Byzantine templon pier, which is an architectural element found in religious buildings, according to Işık.
Reiterating that they carried out surface analysis for six years in the region, a military garrison area from Altınekin district to Karatay borders, Işık said, “This is a region that includes the eastern border of Konya and acts as a buffer.”
“It is a place where different cultures come together as it was built to ensure both the public order and the safety of the passing trade convoys. The region is also important as it enables the discovery of strategically important roads and harbors military headquarters.
Deepening the work, the excavation team also encountered two runic inscriptions in the region. “We consider these writings to be texts of prayer and healing,” Işık said.
In order to advance these studies, it is necessary to develop studies in the epigraphic sense first, according to Işık. “It is very important for us that scientists trained in this field take part in these studies for the advancement of Turcology.”
On Aug. 26, 1071, the armies of the Seljuk Turks and the Byzantine Empire clashed on the plain of Manzikert (Malazgirt) in what is now Muş, in eastern Türkiye. The battle concluded with a victory for the Seljuks.
The Battle of Manzikert was one of the most significant turning points of medieval history, as the gates of Anatolia swung fully open to Turks, paving the way for both the Ottoman Empire and modern Türkiye.