The Issue of Naming the Traditional Religion of the Turks

The Missionary Face of the Medal


  • Kaan Yeşilyurt
  • Büşra Yeşilyurt


Traditional Turkic Religion, Turkic religion, Monotheistic religion, Missionaries, Shamanism


Throughout the history, Turks have believed in various religions such as Manihaism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and finally Islam. They have carried on many of their cultural and religious practices, within almost every religion they practiced including Islam, as long as they do not contradict with the basic principles of this religion. These practices and beliefs are undoubtedly belong to an older foundation, Turkish Mythology and Traditional Turkic Religion. Although, there is information about the Traditional Turkish Religion in many historical sources belonging to either Turks or to other cultures, no name defining this religion was ever mentioned. Towards the middle of the nineteenth century, efforts to name the Traditional Turkic Religion that has been instigated by the Turcological research initiated by the missionaries still continue. Although it is most popularly and widespread called as Shamanism, different names such as Tengrianism, Tengrism, Sky God Religion and Toyonism were proposed but none has been agreed on. Essentially, the attempt to name the Traditional Religion of Turks is nothing about trying to find a specific name for it, but rather for determining the structure and belief system of the Traditional Turkic Religion. Some, especially missionaries, claim that Traditional Turkic Religion is a polytheistic religion, while others try to prove that it is a monotheistic religion.




How to Cite

Yeşilyurt, K., & Yeşilyurt, B. (2018). The Issue of Naming the Traditional Religion of the Turks: The Missionary Face of the Medal. Turkbilim International Journal of Social Sciences, (2). Retrieved from