The Seljuks and the Turkish Language
Keywords: Seljuks, Turkish, Seljuk Rulers, History
Suspicions have been raised concerning the fact that from time to time Turkish sovereigns may have, as a result of the cultures of conquered countries, forgotten their Turkishness or abandoned their native language. Some historians have claimed that the Turkish language was used both in the royal palace and in the army, but have not been able to provide conclusive proof. In this paper we shall attempt to convey our observations leading to the conclusion that the Seljuk Sultans spoke Turkish. One of the first observations about Turkish speakers in the Seljuk period, concern İbrahim Yınal and the vizier Amidülmülk Kündürî. Tuğrul Bey's conversation with the Caliph was made possible with the translation of the vizier Amidülmülk. Tuğrul Bey spoke in Turkish to his vizier. When Tuğrul Bey married the Caliph's daughter, he joined and sang together with those singing in Turkish. Even though we do not have - for the moment - any information concerning Sultan Alp Arslan, we are in a position to state that his son Melikşah wrote in Turkish. Also Muhammed Tapar was one of the Turkish-speaking sultans. In Sultan Sencer's time, knowing Turkish was a requisite for being a vizier. Tutuş, founder of the Syrian Seljuk State, also knew Turkish. During the time of the Iraqi Seljuks, Mes'ud talked in Turkish to his brother Mahmud. Even if it requires interpreting the facts a bit, we can state that some of the sultans of the Anatolian Seljuks also spoke in Turkish. The most important event of this period concerning this subject was the acceptance of Turkish as the official language by the Seljuk State Council in 1277.