I had linked to the conference versions of this work in ISABS 2007 and AAPA 2008. Now there is a new paper in American Anthropologist on the topic of variation in four Central Anatolian settlements with very different origins. As I've mentioned before, this is a great illustration of the problem of uncritically treating modern Anatolian Muslim samples as representatives of the Neolithic population, for at least two reasons:
- Modern Anatolian Muslims are only a part of the recent population of Anatolia, with a great part of the Christian population exchanged, killed, or forced to leave.
- Modern Anatolian Muslims are ethnically, linguistically and religiously heterogeneous, and many of them have historical memories of descent from elsewhere, e.g., the Balkans, the Caucasus, or Central Asia
From the current paper, in support of point #1:
Even though the data from official Ottoman records and other sources such as local church accounts are contradictory (Charanis 1972; Vryonis 1986), it is clear that Greek and Armenian peoples comprised the majority, or at least a very sizeable minority, of the late-19th-century Anatolian population (Finkel 2005; Levy 2002; Shaw et al. 1976). Muslim Turkic and Kurdish groups from different ancestral clans and, more importantly, from different sects of Islam made up the largest remaining part of the population (Cahen 1968, 2001; Finkel 2005). Therefore, the population of the Ottoman Empire came from different ancestral backgrounds, lived together, and constructed communities based on their religious affiliations.In support of point #2, the authors have studied the inhabitants of a Central Anatolian region:
We worked in four geographically proximate Central Anatolian settlements located southeast of Ankara (see Figure 1) to test the abovementioned hypotheses and elucidate the regional complexity of Anatolian population history. Because of the current political sensitivities concerning ethnic–religious identity in Turkey, especially those relating to the Alevis and Kurds, the names of the specific settlements we visited are not identified in this article. Instead, for the sake of clarity, pseudonyms are used. This region, which we refer to as “Yuksekyer,” was selected for the study because, based on oral traditions and available historical records, it is home to linguistically, ethnically, and religiously distinct groups that live in close geographic proximity to one another. To assess the possible regional, religious, and ethnic differentiation in Central Anatolia, we collected additional samples from a settlement from Kizilyer, another region located about 500 kilometers east of Yuksekyer, the inhabitants of which are predominantly Alevi Turks."Yuksekyer" is 2,500 sq. km in size, so it's quite small in the broader Anatolian context. Here are details on the studied settlements:
Merkez is the current political and bureaucratic center with about 6,500 inhabitants, making it the most populous settlement in the region (Devlet İstatistik Enstitüsü 2001). It was probably founded by Cerkez (Circassian) people who had migrated there from the Caucasus region in the 14th century.There are a lot of interesting genetic data, but I will focus on the Y-haplogroup profiles of the different populations:
The inhabitants of the oldest known settlement, Eskikoy, claim a pre-Ottoman Karaman ancestry that traces back to a Turkic population that occupied the Konya region during the 13th century (Finkel 2005). To date, no historical records that confirm the connection between Eskikoy and its putative Karaman origin have been found. However, Ottoman records mention the presence of the Eskikoy settlement in the Yuksekyer region and place its foundation at around 1500 C.E.
The residents of Gocmenkoy identify themselves with the Afsar clan of the Oguz tribe, to which the Kayi and Turkmen lineages also belong (Cahen 1968). Their oral history, supported by local historical records, indicates that these people came from Central Asia in the 16th century.
The Kurdish-speaking inhabitants of Dogukoy were the last immigrants to populate Yuksekyer. They purportedly came into the region around 200 years ago from southeastern Turkey.
For comparative purposes, we also collected 30 additional samples from another Central Anatolian region, Kizilyer, which lies about 500 kilometers east of Yuksekyer. This region is roughly comparable to Yuksekyer region in its size and population density.
A few things stand out:
- Haplogroup L is limited to Gocmenkoy. L is divided into informative subclades and is one of the less studied and more mysterious Caucasoid haplogroups; the authors erroneously state that it is more frequent in East Eurasians. In the Gocmenkoy sample it could very well be the legacy of Turkicized Central Asian Iranian speakers in which it is found at a high frequency. Most of the haplogroup Q is also found in Gocmenkoy and this may represent a genuine Turkic element.
- Haplogroup J1 is largely limited to Merkez; this is not surprising as Merkez is said to have been founded by Circassians, and J1 occurs at a substantial frequency in parts of the Caucasus
- Haplogroup N is mostly found in Eskikoy, and this is also a likely marker of Central Asian Turkic groups
- I find the high frequency of J2a (64.5%) in Dogukoy, the Kurdish settlement to be noteworthy. This haplogroup is also probably found at a high frequency in Parsis (although technically only J was studied in the relevant study), and I've noted before that a high J2/J1 ratio contrasts West Asian Indo-Europeans from Semitic groups. J2a also occurs at a high frequency in Indian upper caste populations, whereas it is virtually absent in low castes and tribals.
Volume 113, Issue 1, pages 116–131, DOI: 10.1111/j.1548-1433.2010.01310.x
Biological Ancestries, Kinship Connections, and Projected Identities in Four Central Anatolian Settlements: Insights from Culturally Contextualized Genetic Anthropology
Ömer Gokcumen et al.
ABSTRACT Previous population genetics studies in Turkey failed to delineate recent historical and social factors that shaped Anatolian cultural and genetic diversity at the local level. To address this shortcoming, we conducted focused ethnohistorical fieldwork and screened biological samples collected from the Yuksekyer region for mitochondrial, Y chromosome, and autosomal markers and then analyzed the data within an ethnohistorical context. Our results revealed that, at the village level, paternal genetic diversity is structured among settlements, whereas maternal genetic diversity is distributed more homogenously, reflecting the strong patrilineal cultural traditions that transcend larger ethnic and religious structures. Local ancestries and origin myths, rather than ethnic or religious affiliations, delineate the social boundaries and projected identities among the villages. Therefore, we conclude that broad, ethnicity-based sampling is inadequate to capture the genetic signatures of recent social and historical dynamics, which have had a profound influence on contemporary genetic and cultural regional diversity.