Ministry of Education confused Orkhon inscriptions with Tombstones of Ahlat

CLAIM:  In the Turkish literature textbook distributed by the Ministry of Education, the image in the section about the Orkhon inscriptions belongs to the Tombstones of Ahlat.


The claims about a photograph belonging to the Tombstones of Ahlat being used in a section about the Orkhon inscriptions, in the Turkish literature textbook distributed by the Ministery of Education, was shared on social media.


The claim corresponds with the distributed textbook and the PDF of the ministery’s textbook on the website called EBA used by all the teachers and the students in Turkey.


The image printed as the Orkhun inscriptions in the textbook distributed by the Ministery of Education is wrong.

The Difference Between the Orkhun Inscriptions and the Tombstones of Ahlat

orhun-abideleri-1The Orkhon inscriptions are two memorial installations erected by the Göktürks written in Old Turkic alphabet in the early 8th century in the Orkhon Valley in Mongolia. They were erected in honor of two Turkic princes, Kul Tigin and his brother Bilge Khagan in 732 and 735 respectively.

The inscriptions, in both Chinese and Old Turkic, relate the legendary origins of the Turks, the golden age of their history, their subjugation by the Chinese, and their liberation by Bilge Khagan. In fact, according to one source, the inscriptions contain “rhythmic and parallelistic passages” that resemble that of epics.

The inscriptions were discovered by Nikolay Yadrintsev’s expedition in 1889, published by Vasily Radlov. The original text was written in Old Turkic alphabet and was deciphered by the Danish philologist Vilhelm Thomsen in 1893.

ahlat-selcuklu-mezarligiThe Tombstones of Ahlat are the Seljuk period graveyard in Ahlat, Bitlis. The tombstones can be found in the old neighborhoods of ahlat and in the periphery of the town. There are around  a thousand of them but there are only 188 monumental ones. These tombstones constitute the biggest Turkish – Islamic cemetery that belongs to early period.