|Republic of Turkestan|
|Established||1924 (declared independence from Russia)|
1937 (Turkestan National Republic)
|Government Type||Presidential republic|
Turkestan (Perso-Arabic script: ترکستان), less commonly known as Touran (توران), is a nation in Central Asia bordered by Russia to the north and west, Serindia to the east, and the Iranic states of Afghanistan, Persia, and Tadjikistan to the south. The nation was formerly part of Russia until it declared its independence in 1924. It was founded on Orkhonist principles, focusing on the Turkic origins of the majority of Central Asians.
Ideological Origins of Modern Turkestan
The idea for a united republic of Turkic peoples in Central Asia rose to prominence in the late 1910s. The popularity of the idea was fueled by the Ottoman Empire, whose government promoted Orkhonism, an ideology pushing for Turkic Unity. Throughout the late 1910s to 1920s, the Ottoman Empire supplied the Central Asian Orkhonist rebels with weapons and supplies to rebel against the Russian Empire. Eventually, the Orkhonist leaders of Central Asia declared the independent Republic of Turkestan in 1924.
Struggle for Independence (1924-1937)
Russian control in Central Asia only weakened during the Russian Civil War (1925-1928). During the civil war, the Turkestan fought against the two powers vying for power over Russia: the Nationalist-Republicans (also known as "Vosstanists") and the Liberals. When the Nationalist-Republicans won the Russian civil war in 1928, the Nationalist-Republicans continued to fight against Turkestan, who they deemed as a threat to Russia's security. After 3 years of fighting, a ceasefire had been established in 1927.
Over the course of 1927-1930, several Orkhonist Central Asian delegates met with the Russian Nationalist-Republic government to discuss peace. However, negotiations were very slow-paced and often times stalled. Orkhonist leaders used this peace to their advantage. They shifted their military attention to fighting the Khanate of Khiva and the Emirate of Bokhara. Khiva was defeated in 1927, and Bokhara in 1929.
In July 1930, the Central Asian leaders accused the Russians of intentionally stalling negotiations, and fighting between Turkestan and Russia continued. In 1932, the Russo-Corean War broke out in East Asia, which turned the battle in Central Asia to Turkistan's favor. Due to the Russians being pre-occupied with the east, the Orkhonist army was able to capture a large portion of Central Asia. However, shortly after the Russians won the war against the Coreans, they were able to focus their efforts in fighting the Orkhonist rebellion.
Peace with Russia, and the Treaty of Akmolinsk (March 1937)
After the Russians captured Akmolinsk and Aktobe in December 1937, a ceasefire was unilaterally declared by the Russians in order to regroup and reconsolidate their logistics, while also opening the table for negotiations with the Orkhonist rebels. The Orkhonist leadership began to falter by January 1937, with the central Orkhonist movement splintering to multiple factions. The largest faction, led by Latif Ibragimov (Латип Ибрагимов), was able to gain support from Russia expressing support for an independent Russian-sponsored National Republic government in Turkestan, in exchange for revoking their claims on territories that were occupied by the Russians and territories that had a significant Russian minority (including Akmolinsk and Aktobe). Ibragimov consolidated his power with Russian support and signed the Treaty of Akmolinsk.
The Treaty of Akmolinsk led to the creation of the National Republic of Turkestan, with Ibragimov as the first president. It also provided the creation of the National Republic of Tadjikistan, meant to be the homeland of the Persian-speaking ethnicities of Central Asia. Both Turkestan and Tadjikistan would be sister republics of Russia.
The Treaty of Akmolinsk faced heavy opposition within Turkestan at the time, but Ibragimov was able to mute the opposition by arresting political opponents and enforcing a strict authoritarian regime. In the present day, the Treaty of Akmolinsk and Ibragimov are viewed in a negative light.
Bukharan Jews reside mainly around the cities of Samarkand and Bukhara. Sunni Muslim Tajiks, a marginalized minority in accordance with Orkhonist ideology, follow the same settlement patterns. Shia Muslim Persian-speakers, Zoroastrian Persian-speakers, Hindu Indians, Christian Armenians, Buddhist Oirats, and Orthodox Slavs together make up less than 10% of the Turkestani population.
Turki, also known as the Chagatay language, is the lingua franca of the Turkestani state. It is used in official state media, education, and modern literature, and is also used in diplomatic correspondence with Serindia and the Turkic populations of Afghanistan, Mongolia, Russia, and China. Common spoken Turkic dialects include Uzbek, Qazaq, Kirghiz, and Karakalpak.
Persian is also spoken by Tajik, Jewish, and Iranian communities and is also used in traditional arts & religious activities. Jewish populations usually use Bukhorit among themselves. Russian is regarded as a language of commerce.
The largest and most influential religion in Turkestan is Sunni Islam, especially the Hanafi school of jurisprudence. Syncretism of Islam and traditional Turkic traditions is common in rural and mountainous areas, while urban areas in the Fararoud tend to practice a more mainstream version of Islam. Shia Muslims are often Persian immigrants and are discriminated against due to their perceived ethnonational allegiance.
Minority religions include Judaism (practiced by the Bukharan Jews), Eastern Orthodoxy, and Buddhism. Groups, consisting of less than 10,000 people altogether, include Hindus, Zoroastrians, Armenian Christians, and Roman Catholics.
Eastern Orthodox Christians are disadvantaged in Turkestan due to the faith's association with Russia.