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Thread: Are Turks Armenians under the hood?

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    Are Turks Armenians under the hood?

    Benedict Andersonís Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism is one of those books I havenít read, but should. In contrast, I have read Azar Gatís Nations, which is a book-length counterpoint to Imagined Communities. To take a stylized and extreme caricature, Imagined Communities posits nations to be recent social and historical constructions, while Nations sees them as primordial, and at least originally founded on on ties of kinships and blood.

    The above doesnít capture the subtlety of Gatís book, and Iím pretty sure it doesnít capture that of Andersonís either. But, those are the caricatures that people take away and project in public, especially Andersonís (since Gatís is not as famous).

    When it comes to ďimagined communitiesĒ I recently have been thinking how much that of modern Turks fits into the framework well. Though forms of pan-Turkic nationalism can be found as earlier as 9th-century Baghdad, the ideology truly emerges in force in the late 19th century, concomitantly with the development of a Turkish identity in Anatolia which is distinct from the Ottoman one.

    The curious thing is that though Turkic and Turkish identity is fundamentally one of language and secondarily of religion (the vast majority of Turkic peoples are Muslim, and there are periods, such as the 17th century when the vast majority of Muslims lived in polities ruled by people of Turkic origin*), there are some attempts to engage in biologism. This despite the fact that the physical dissimilarity of Turks from Turkey and groups like the Kirghiz and Yakut is manifestly clear.




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    This is what happens when you combine the lack of historical knowledge with popular interpretation methods. Razib needs to be informed about the demographic history of Anatolia before using sensational titles like that. The new article is like the carbon copy of his 7-year-old article (Are Turks acculturated Armenians?).

    > Use Yakuts as a proxy for Oghuz Turks.
    > Use Greeks from Greece as a proxy for Anatolian Greeks.
    > Conclude that Turks descend mostly from Armenians (even if it contradicts history)


    Some facts:

    • Prior to the Turkic migration, Anatolia was mostly inhabited by Greeks.

    • The areas formerly inhabited by Armenians (and Assyrians) are now inhabited mostly by Kurds.

    • The overwhelming majority of the Turkish population is concentrated in formerly Greek inhabited areas.

    • The genetic profile of Anatolian Greeks does not resemble that of Balkan Greeks, which means Balkan Greeks cannot be used as a modern-day proxy for Byzantine Anatolia.


    Some quotes from the article:


    "This despite the fact that the physical dissimilarity of Turks from Turkey and groups like the Kirghiz and Yakut is manifestly clear."

    Does the physical dissimilarity of an Indian and a Russian also indicate that the former or the latter is something else under the hood? Turks of Turkey belong to the Oghuz branch of the Turkic language family and are not closely related with Yakuts. Oghuz Turks have absorbed non-Turkic Anatolians (and non-Turkic Central Asians before them) while Yakuts have absorbed non-Turkic Siberians.



    "Of course, there is some genetic element which shows that there was a migration of an East Asian people into modern day Anatolia, but this component in the minority one."

    East Asian people?

    In the 700s, the Oghuz Turks migrated to the area between the Caspian and Aral Seas from Jeti Su. The first wave of the Turkic migration into Anatolia (11th century) was from the area between the Caspian and Aral Seas, the following waves were from Khwarezm and Khorasan. To define this process as "a migration of an East Asian people" is to mislead people.






    Anatolian Turks, despite being closer to Anatolian Greeks than to Central Asians, have substantial Central Asian admixture. The Central Asian populations below are not close to being a perfect proxy for the Seljuk era Oghuz Turks, nonetheless they are useful in such comparisons.





    These are the closest populations to Armenian_West (Armenians from eastern Turkey).

    Turk_Anatolia: Average of all Anatolian Turkish samples (n=105) in our project database.

    Least-squares method.

    Using 1 population approximation:
    1 Armenian_West @ 0,330285
    2 Assyrian @ 5,936259
    3 Greek_Pontus @ 7,596964
    4 Greek_Central_Anatolia @ 9,345522
    5 Greek_Cappadocia @ 9,455437
    6 Laz @ 10,57632
    7 Druze @ 11,348706
    8 Zaza @ 12,240103
    9 Azerbaijani_Turkey @ 12,406637
    10 Azerbaijani_Karabakh @ 12,585885
    11 Lebanese @ 13,288646
    12 Kurd_Kurmanji_Turkey @ 13,353637
    13 Turkmen_Iraq @ 13,580998
    14 Cypriots @ 14,069585
    15 Azerbaijani_Iran @ 14,088569
    16 Azerbaijani @ 14,180357
    17 Kurd_Sorani_Iraq @ 16,351122
    18 Turk_Anatolia @ 16,389678
    19 Syrians @ 17,157054
    20 Iranian @ 17,20853
    219 iterations.



    And these are the the closest populations to Turk_Anatolia.

    Least-squares method.

    Using 1 population approximation:
    1 Turk_Anatolia @ 0,347642
    2 Azerbaijani_Turkey @ 8,811929
    3 Azerbaijani @ 9,488827
    4 Azerbaijani_Iran @ 9,898933
    5 Azerbaijani_Karabakh @ 11,182537
    6 Kurd_Kurmanji_Turkey @ 11,631125
    7 Zaza @ 12,900473
    8 Turkmen_Iraq @ 13,446909
    9 Greek_Central_Anatolia @ 13,459829
    10 Greek_Cappadocia @ 14,332658
    11 Circassian_Kabardian @ 14,719508
    12 Balkar @ 15,57719
    13 Armenian_West @ 16,036109
    14 Kurd_Sorani_Iraq @ 16,636542
    15 Circassian @ 16,665634
    16 Kumyk @ 16,823547
    17 Lebanese @ 17,473106
    18 Iranian @ 17,77682
    19 Turkmen_Ashgabat @ 18,15738
    20 Ossetian @ 19,627032
    219 iterations.


    The rankings in the list might change when other calculators are used, but the overall picture does not change. The difference between Turk_Anatolia and Armenian_West is bigger than the difference between many neighboring populations.

    Nice choice of title though, the article will attract masses of people.
    Last edited by Alkaevli; 02-26-2018 at 06:43 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alkaevli View Post
    Does the physical dissimilarity of an Indian and a Russian also indicate that the former or the latter is something else under the hood?
    Obviously yes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Megalophias View Post
    Obviously yes.
    You misunderstood me.

    Both Russians and Indians can be modeled as a two-way mix of "Steppe + natives of their respective regions" (with varying percentages of course), it would be ridiculous to refer to the former as original and the latter as X under the hood; for they are both mixed. The same goes for Anatolian Turks and Yakuts, the latter also have non-Turkic Siberian ancestry (which is usually swept under the carpet by those who use them as a proxy for Turkic populations).
    Last edited by Alkaevli; 02-26-2018 at 06:46 PM.
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    Ah, okay.
    Last edited by Megalophias; 02-26-2018 at 07:09 PM.

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    Alkaevli pretty much covered all the mistakes and illogical conclusions. But I would also like to add that how Razib, as a self-proclaimed "expert geneticist" can come up with such shallow conclusions:

    "This despite the fact that the physical dissimilarity of Turks from Turkey and groups like the Kirghiz and Yakut is manifestly clear."

    Both the title of the article and the language that is used in it give me the impression that his article is not a scientific examination but a provacative declamation written to serve some social and/or political interests of some.

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    So what is the actual difference of opinion here?

    Whether Yakuts are a good reference for early Turks, whether Armenians are a good reference for native Anatolians.

    Not seeing any sinister political motivation here guys. Mildly clickbaity title.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Megalophias View Post
    So what is the actual difference of opinion here?

    Whether Yakuts are a good reference for early Turks, whether Armenians are a good reference for native Anatolians.

    Not seeing any sinister political motivation here guys. Mildly clickbaity title.
    Actually both. What is the purpose of bringing up the 10 years old article with no difference in methodology and with the same conclusions? I can't see anything scientific in that article, not to mention his language.
    Last edited by Leper; 02-26-2018 at 07:52 PM.

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    Well if he wanted to troll you guys into giving him pageviews and helping him get better samples he certainly succeeded.

    Did the ten year old article have TreeMix (not released yet) and all the same samples?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Megalophias View Post
    Well if he wanted to troll you guys into giving him pageviews and helping him get better samples he certainly succeeded.

    Did the ten year old article have TreeMix (not released yet) and all the same samples?
    Good observation there.


    What might be considered an overreaction to a clickbaity article, reflects pent up anger about a larger issue. Razib's article is just the newest addition to a long line of bad pop-science and academic publications concerning the genetics and ethnogenesis of Anatolian Turks. It's just very disappointing to see how sloppy this topic is handled, as they always fail at the basics: proper choice of reference populations (for both Anatolian and Oghuz proxies) and sampling of representative individuals.

    To my knowledge there hasn’t been a single paper published on Turkish genetics yet, that cared about the representativeness of the samples. Even when it concerns questions about Turkic migrations.
    Let’s look at the sampling method of an older but widely cited paper on the Y-DNA of Anatolian Turks by Cinnigoglu et al. 2004 (p. 128):

    A total of 523 samples distributed amongst 90 cities, plus Istanbul, were studied. With the exception of 79 samples from cosmopolitan Istanbul, all remaining 444 samples were assigned to regions commonly distinguished by climate and rainfall […]. A total of 359 samples were from blood banks, 61 from paternity clinics and 103 from staff and students enrolled at Istanbul University
    http://evolutsioon.ut.ee/publications/Cinnioglu2004.pdf

    Not that the sourcing choice for the samples isn’t bad enough in and of itself, but the regional weighting is also not in favor of ethnic Turks.
    (West Anatolia: n=30/523, South Anatolia: n=33/523, Western Black Sea: n=29/523 -vs- East Anatolia: n=82, Southeast Anatolia: n=43.)

     



    This isn’t always just due to sloppiness though, but sometimes reflects the authors’ political views. This is from Alkan et al. 2014 (p. 3):

    We recruited 16 healthy volunteers from across Turkey (Figure 1A). The individuals were included in the study irrespective of their mother-tongue/ethnicity; we refer to them collectively as “Turkish”.
    https://bmcgenomics.biomedcentral.co...medcentral.com

    This paper comes from the GŲkcŁmen lab, who’s lead scientist, ÷mer GŲkcŁmen, has some peculiar believes for a population geneticist:
    Ben garanti veriyorum ki, kimse KŁrtler’den ve TŁrkler’den DNA alıp “Siz farklısınız”ı kanıtlayamaz.
    Translation: I guarantee, that nobody can take DNA samples of Kurds and Turks and conclude “you are different”.’
    http://t24.com.tr/haber/turkluk-irk-...cikmadi,245617

    Now compare that with the sampling method applied by Stamatoyannopoulos et al. 2017 on the genetics of peloponnesean Greeks. This is how it should be done, but we can only dream of such sampling methods for studies on the genetics of Anatolian Turks.

    We analyzed a total of 241 samples genotyped with the Illumina Infinium Omni 2.5–8 arrays. This is a novel data set collected under the auspices of our study. Subjects were included in the study if all four grandparents originated from the same village or from villages that were <10 kilometers apart. The ages of most participants ranged between 70 and 90 years (the oldest subject was 107 years old); hence their grandparents were born between 1860 and 1880.
    https://www.nature.com/articles/ejhg201718

    The widely used Human Origins dataset from the Reich Lab, probably what Razib and many others use, includes different regional samples of Turkey. Most of them include non-Turkish samples and mixed individuals. But the Kayseri samples take the cake, as they only include one fully ethnic Turk, with the rest being mostly Western-Jewish. This specific example of the Kayseri sample-set is probably due to a mislabeling. But this just shows what we are dealing with in terms of sample representativeness.

    There are a lot of misconceptions about the genetics of Anatolian Turks. Most people, even (or especially) in the anthrosphere are rather ignorant about it, which doesn't always stop them from having strong opinions. For use it's an uphill battle , and these kind of clickbaity publications certainly don't help.
    Last edited by Sangarius; 02-27-2018 at 01:34 PM. Reason: added a link I'd forgotten

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