The Türgesh or Türgish (Old Turkic: :, romanized: Türüge? budun, lit. 'Türgesh people' /, Pinyin: t?qísh?, Wade-Giles: t'u-ch'i-shih; Old Tibetan: Du-rgyas) were a Turkic tribal confederation. Once belonging to the Duolu wing of the Western TurkicOn Oq elites, Türgeshes emerged as an independent power after the demise of the Western Turks and established a khaganate in 699. The Türgesh Khaganate lasted until 766 when the Karluks defeated them. Türgesh and Göktürks were related through marriage.
Atwood (2013), citing Tekin (1968), etymologizes the ethnonym Türgi? as contains gentilic suffix -? affixed onto the name of lake Türgi-Yar?un, which was mentioned in Kültegin inscription.
By the 7th century, two or three sub-tribes were recorded: "Yellow" Sarï Türgesh tribe Alishi () and the "Black" Qara Türgesh tribe(s) (Suoge < *Soq or *Saqal) - (Mohe < *Ba?a). To the Black Türgesh sub-tribe, Chebishi () (*?avï?), belonged 8th century Türgesh chor and later khagan Suluk. The Turgesh Khaganate also contained Western Turkic remnants: Suluk's subordinate Kül-chor belonged to the Duolu tribe Chumukun (), who lived south of Lake Balkash between Türgesh and Qarluq lands.Tang general Geshu Han was of Duolu Turgesh extraction and bore the Nushibi tribal surname Geshu (). Chinese historians, when naming the Duolu Turk tribes, might have mentioned Khalajes alongsides Türgesh, under the common appellation - (Mand. T?qísh?-hèluósh?; reconstructed Old Turkic *Türge?-Qala?).
A late-7th century Uyghur chief was also surnamed Türgesh.
Foundation of the Turgesh Khaganate
Prior to independence, the Turgesh were ruled by a subordinate tutuk, later shad, of the Western Turkic Khaganate's Onoq elites. Turgesh leaders belonged to Duolu division and held the title chur. A Turgesh commander of the Talas district and the town of Balu possessed a name symbolizing some sacred relation to a divine or heavenly sphere. The first Turgesh Kaghan Wuzhile (Chinese transcription Wuzhi means "black substance") was a leader of a Manichaean consortium known as yüz er "hundred men". He established the Turgesh Khaganate in 699. In 703, the Turgesh captured Suyab from the Tang dynasty. In 706 his son Saqal succeeded him. Both khagans had a church rank of Yuzlik according to Yuri Zuev.
Saqal attacked the Tang city of Qiuci (Kucha) in 708 and inflicted a defeat on the Tang in 709. However Saqal's younger brother Zhenu rebelled and sought military support from Qapagan Khaghan of the Second Turkic Khaganate in 708. Qapaghan Khagan defeated the Turgesh in 711 in Battle of Bolchu and killed both Saqal and Zhenu. The defeated Turgesh fled to Zhetysu. In 714 the Turgesh elected Suluk as their khagan.
In 722 Suluk married the Tang Princess Jiaohe.
In 724 Caliph Hisham sent a new governor to Khorasan, Muslim ibn Sa'id, with orders to crush the "Turks" once and for all, but, confronted by Suluk on the so-called "Day of Thirst", Muslim hardly managed to reach Samarkand with a handful of survivors, as the Turgesh raided freely.
Following his defeat Suluk was murdered by his relative Kül-chor. Immediately, the Turgesh Khagante was plunged into a civil war bewteen the Black (Kara) and Yellow (Sary) factions. Kül-chor of the Sary Turgesh vanquished his rival Tumoche of the Kara Turgesh. In 740 Kül-chor submitted to the Tang dynasty but rebelled anyway when he killed the Turgesh puppet sent by the Tang court in 742. He was then defeated and executed by the Tang in 744. The last Turgesh ruler declared himself a vassal of the recently established Uyghur Khaganate. In 766 the Karluks conquered Zhetysu and ended the Turgesh Khaganate.
^François THIERRY, "Three Notes on Türgesh Numismatics", Proceedings of the Symposium on Ancient Coins and the Culture of the Silk Road, Sichou zhi lu guguo qianbi ji Silu wenhua guoji xueshu yantaohui lunwenji , Shanghai Bowuguan, décembre 2006, Shanghaï 2011, 413-442.
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