In the Turkic mythology, the myth aims to explain the foundation of the Turkic Khaganate. The Ergenekon legend tells about a great crisis of the ancient Turks. Following a military defeat, the Turks took refuge in the legendary Ergenekon valley where they were trapped for four centuries. They were finally released when a blacksmith created a passage by melting the mountain, allowing the gray wolf Asena to lead them out. The people led out of the valley found the Turkic Khaganate, in which the valley functions as its capital. A New Year's ceremony commemorates the legendary ancestral escape from Ergenekon.
The first author to connect the mythology of Ergenekon to the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923 was Yakup Kadri Karaosmano?lu. Karaosmano?lu was the author of several essays about the Turkish War of Independence. His interpretation of the myth bolstered its place in the founding mythology of the modern Turkish nation-state.
The myth itself was a story about the survival of the Turkic people who, faced with extinction, were able to escape with the help of their totem god, a Gray Wolf. The Gray Wolf remains a potent symbol of Turkish nationalism into the present day. Even the renowned Turkish dissident poet Nazim Hikmet lauds Mustafa Kemal Atatürk as a "blonde wolf" in the poem titled Kuva-yi Milliye. While the original Ergenekon myth was about the survival of the ancient Turkic people, in its Republican form it carried the symbolism of Turkey's national self-determination.
According to Ergun Candan, there are some similarities between the mythologies of other cultures in their symbolism. The she-wolf Asena showed the Turks the way through the labyrinth of valleys and mountain passes. According to Ergun Candan, the she-wolf may be seen as a symbol of the "dog star" Sirius.
^Dursun Y?ld?r?m, "Ergenekon Destan?", Türkler, Vol. 3, Yeni Türkiye, Ankara, 2002, ISBN975-6782-36-6, pp. 527-43.
^?brahim Aksu: The story of Turkish surnames: an onomastic study of Turkish family names, their origins, and related matters, Volume 1, 2006, p. 87
^H. B. Paksoy, Essays on Central Asia, 1999, p. 49
^Andrew Finkle, Turkish State, Turkish Society, Routledge, 1990, p. 80
^Michael Gervers, Wayne Schlepp: Religion, customary law, and nomadic technology, Joint Centre for Asia Pacific Studies, 2000, p. 60
^Jiexian Chen, Guoli Taiwan daxue, Proceedings of the Fifth East Asian Altaistic Conference, December 26, 1979 - January 2, 1980, Taipei, China, National Taiwan University, 1980. According to Reshideddin's record original Mongols, historically, were divided into two parts. They are: 1. Those branches descended from the Original Mongol Tribes, which had been in Ergenekon... Those tribes are: The origin of Mongols were descendants from these two persons, Nekuz and Qiyan and their wives who escaped to Ergenkon.(in English)
^ abBahaeddin Ögel, Türk Mitolojisi Vol. I, Milli E?itim bas?mevi, ?stanbul, 1971, Türk Mitolojisi I: 'Kaynaklar? ve Aç?klamalar? ?le Destanlar, Tütk Tarih Kurumu, Ankara, 1989, pp. 14-15. (in Turkish)
^ abDursun Y?ld?r?m, "Ergenekon Destan?", Türkler, Vol. 3, Yeni Türkiye, Ankara, 2002, ISBN9756782366, pp. 527-43. (in Turkish)