Also called Kara-Oghur, Karakılçık is our family's nickname, my great grandfather was famous for trading the wheat species called Karakylchyk around the tribal region called Tapan, which is inhabited by Varsak Turkomans (originally Karsak, the name of the steppe fox in Turkic, known as “corsac” in English aswell which is ultimately loaned from Turkic, the corsac fox was the ongun of the tribe) a tribe which is today known as one of the Oghuz tribes who fled the Mongol Invasion and settled in Selchuk lands in Anatolia (originally an Oghur tribe belonged to the Onogur tribal confederation, as many other originally non-Oghuz Turkic tribes, generally urugs from Oghur and Cuman tribes, later got Oghuzified in Anatolia) from Cumania, the realm of 300 year-old Turkic great Eurasian steppe union stretching from the Altays in the east, to Atil Bulgaria region to the north, Derbent and the Caucasus to the south, the Danube and the Carpathians to the west, which was defeated by Jebe.

Early Onogurs (and Karsaks) in the Kipchak Steppe and the CaucasusEdit

It is known that a portion of Onogurs splitted up from their main confederational body in the Kipchak Steppe and settled around modern-day Imereti and Kars regions. Likely, it was occurred during the process of the split up of Bulgars into some parts of the regions of Atil and Danube rivers, later known as Atil Bulgaria and Danube Bulgaria. After the Oghur-speaking tribes separated from their main body in the Turkic Khaganate, known as “On-Oğur” which means “ten tribes”, later known as “Bulgar” which means “mixed” in Turkic, referencing to the fusion of Oghur-speaking Huns and Avars and, as the newcomers to the region, Onogurs, who jointly founded the Bulgar confederation around north of Crimean Peninsula, called Old Great Bulgaria, which is also known as Patria Onoguria (“Onogur land”). This confederational union of these 3 great Oghur-speaking tribes was also known as Altyn-Oba (“golden tribe”) in Atil Bulgar and other chronicles around the Kipchak Steppe.

Per some sources, the name of the city Kars is associated with the Karsak tribe, and also the tribal organization they belonged founded towns or cities around the region such as Onoguris which was also in the Kars-Imereti region. Confederational body of Onogurs (later Bulgars) or Oghur-speaking tribes was also known as Onok Confederation or Western Turkic Khaganate, also known as Tuglug, Tuglu or Duolu who originates from or are identical with the ancient Tiele, Tingling or Tegreg people, who sometimes interpreted as Tögrüg (Törük/Türük “Turk”) or Tegereg people (people of “carts”, cart means “kangly” in Turkic while “tegereg” means “wheel”, hence links with Kangly, Kangar, Kenger clan of Pechenegs, and Kangju peoples are possible), on the other hand “Tuglug” means “have flags (banners), have standards” in Turkic, derives from the Turkic word for banner or standard “tug”. It is also known that Onogurs (later Bulgars) or Oghur-speaking tribes splitted up from their main tribal confederational body not once but multiple times in the course of history. For example, the Onogurs were mentioned among both in the ranks of early Huns in the Caucasus and later in the khaganates of Western Turks, Khazaria and later in the entities of Bulgars or as a cognate to the ethnonym Bulgar. In 11th century, in the works of Kashgari, Kars was mentioned as “the cloth made out of camel or sheep fur”, and Karsak was mentioned as “steppe fox of which skin is used to make fur”.[1] The Onogur confederation was also recorded as Onogundur, Vanagundur, Vagundur, Vegentur, Vehendur, Vanandur, Valendur, Velentur, Vulundur in Islamic and Hebrew sources while it was recorded with the names Vanand and Venend in the Armenian sources, hence the name of Vanand, a historical area roughly corresponds to Kars region, is associated with Onogundur Bulgars by some sources. The Oghur-speaking Karsak clan was recorded among the tribal union of Velentur in some parts of the regions of Northeastern Anatolia, Georgia and Armenia (roughly Kars-Imereti area), by contemporary sources, referencing to the Onogur confederation.[2]

Onogur Confederation in the Balkans, Eastern & Central EuropeEdit

It is known that the name Hungarian is derived from Onogur (> (H)ungar) Bulgars of Balkans and the name of Hungary is also derived from the name of Onogur realm, Onoguria, hence the realm of Onogurians (Hungarians), which was later dominated by Magyar tribes, was always mentioned as Turkey and themselves as Turks. The name of Hungarians in some Slavic languages such as Венгерец (“Vengeris”) or Венгр (“Vengr”) is interestingly similar to the form of Venegundur among the recorded names of Onogurs around the Caucasus. While in all other Slavic languages, Hungarians are called “Vengri” or “Madyari” (and similar varieties), in Ukrainian only as a Slavic language, they are called Угорці (Ugorsi) and their country is called Угорщина (Ugorshina) which derived from the name Ogur (Oğur) rather than Onogur (Vengr in Slavic languages), hence it is easy to claim that the etymology of the name “Ugor” is derived from “Ogur” while there is no other convincing explanation of the words “Ugri” and “Yugoria” (While the modern-day Russian name for the region is “Yugra”, the region and the people were historically recorded as Oúngroi, Ongariae, and Ioughoria or Yugoria). Since the name Bulgar references to the fusion of Oghur-speaking Huns and Onogurs, it is sometimes suggested that the name Hungar also reflects another projected ethnonym, Hunoghur (Hun-Oğur) or Honagur.

Varsak saber and Tapan knifeEdit

It is known that ancient and medieval Turkic warlike groups were superior on blacksmithing of weaponry and armor. It is documented in Chinese sources that before the Gök-Türks rebelled against the Asian Avar Khaganate, Avar khagan Anakay insulted Gök-Türk leader Bumın with such words: "You are my blacksmith slave. How dare you utter these words?" Bumin got angry, killed Anakay's emissary, severed relations with the Avar Khaganate and one year later emerged as the leader of the revolt against the Asian Avar Khaganate. We can understand that Turkic tribes at the time were skillful on blacksmithing, around 550s AD.

Varsaks or Karsaks were famous for their smithery in medieval ages. They were known as skillful smiths in the Ottoman Empire. The famous Turkic kilij or saber known as yatagan was called “varsak saber” or “varsak kilij (sword)” by the Ottoman elites, the Janissaries and especially other military units that fully made up of Turkic tribes in the Ottoman Army such as Yamaks, Sipahis and Akinjis. Varsak tribe is still famous for their smithery since the ancient Karsak and Onogur times. Today the famous Tapan Knife is originated from Tapan tribal region and still being produced by Varsaks who are the inhabitants of Tapan.

Varsağı (“Varsagian”) in the folk literature of Anatolian Turkic tribesEdit

Bulgar Mountain in a region of Anatolia where Karsaks (Varsaks) still liveEdit


Mostly interested in historic and ancient backgrounds of adventurous peoples and their languages, their cultures and related branches. Diplomat, currently in Kazakhstan. Studied International Relations, and also Communication Design and Management at Anadolu University. Worked before as a correspondent at İHA.




  1. ^ "History (of Kars Region)". Wayback Machine Internet Archive. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  2. ^ "Etymologies of the tribal names Onogur and Onogundur of Turkic Bulgars". Wayback Machine Internet Archive. Retrieved 18 August 2021.