US and Turkish Governments See Kinship Between American Indians and Turkic Peoples

Kevin A. Thompson
February 10, 2024

Photo: A Yakut woman of the Sakha Republic, Siberia. Yakut are one of the Turkic peoples believed by some to be related to Native Americans. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The country of Türkiye, then known as Turkey, almost got exclusive rights to trade with Native American tribes.

Back in 2012, US Representative Tom Cole (R) sponsored a bill that would have done just that. Cole is an enrolled member of the Chickasaw nation in Oklahoma. The bill failed, due to political issues between the US and Turkey. Cole noted that many Turks feel kinship with American Indians due to common Eurasian origins.

The year before, in 2011, Turkey became the first foreign country to send a delegation to the 25th Annual Reservation Economic Summit (RES), sponsored by the US Department of the Interior.

The Turkish Coalition of America (TCA) has helped recruit US students of Native American, Native Hawaiian and Black American origins to attend grad school in Turkey. TCA has also built infrastructure projects on Native American lands.

The modern Turkish government still displays a collection of American Indian artifacts given by the US Smithsonian to the Turkish (Ottoman) Sultan, Abdul Hamid, sometime prior to his death in 1909. Apparently, the Smithsonian felt that the Sultan would appreciate the items.

Apparently, the  US government believes there is a Turkish-Native American connection.

Many Turks and the other Turkic peoples believe Native Americans are their distant cousins. Linguists have found common words, like “kayak” in Turkic and Native American languages, with the same meaning.


Chris Casteel, "Failure of Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole's bill to help American Indian Tribes linked to animosity toward Turkey," The Oklahoman, July 25, 2012

Polat Kaya, "Turkish Language and the Native Americans,"

Turkish Coalition of America website, various articles 2011-2015,