About Gregorian Kıpçaks
Keywords: Gregorian Kıpçaks, Armenians, Turks, Armenian Language, Turkish
This article is about the Kıpçak-Kumans who came to Georgia in various periods upon the invitation of the Georgian kings (King David II, Queen Tamara) and, having converted to Christianity, submitted themselves to the service of the Georgian kings. Of these Kıpçaks, who settled in the Upper-Aras, Middle-Aras and Middle Kür areas, the majority were Georgian Orthodox, but those who conquered the Ani-Şeddad Emirate in 1200 converted to the Gregorian Orthodox version of Christianity, because it was the dominant religion in the lands they had conquered. Even though these Kıpçak-Kumans who had settled in the above-mentioned areas beginning from the 13th century spoke Turkish, they became known as "Georgian" or "Armenian", in the same way that the Ottomans were known as Rum (plural Rumiyan), because having become Georgian Orthodox or in the case of some Armenian Gregorian, they were considered "followers of the cross". From their Collection of Laws (Töre Bitiği) and from their works written mostly in the 14th - 16th centuries in the Kıpçak version of Turkish, albeit using the Armenian alphabet, we know that the Gregorian Kıpçaks established colonies in the Galicia and Podolia regions of Ukraine as early as the 14th century during the time of the Golden Horde and we also know about their religious, social, economic, cultural and juridical affairs. As is well known, these texts contain precious information concerning the story of the Turkish language and the religious, social and cultural history of the Christian Kıpçaks, who followed the Gregorian version of Christianity. However, not only are the above-mentioned texts known very little in Turkey, notwithstanding their great importance, and have not been scientifically analysed, but they also have not been promoted enough. On the other hand, the fact that some of the Kıpçaks became Armenian due to the fact that they were followers of Gregorian Christianity is a striking phenomenon in Turkish history and is especially important nowadays while the Armenian problem is being intensely debated; the clarifying of this point would enlighten a different aspect of this problem and is thus of great importance.