Studies Presented to Vladimir Minorsky by His Colleagues and Friends (1952), 639-668.)
The steppe which stretches between the Lower Danube and the Black Sea, from the Delta southward as far as the foothills of the Emine Dagh,  and which since the middle of the 14th century has been called, after the Bulgarian prince Dobrotitsa, the Dobruja, is the homeland of a small Turkish-speaking people, the Gagauz. It is because of their religion that they appear as a distinct group among the Turks : they are Christians belonging to the Greek Orthodox Church. In the past the Gagauz may have constituted, among the various ethnic elements of the region, a group of considerable importance, especially in the southern and middle Dobruja, from Varna and Kaliakra towards Silistria on the Danube. Besides, small isolated groups of them are to be found also in the Balkans (where they are more commonly known by the name of Sorguch): in Eastern Thrace, round Hafsa, to the south-east of Adrianople, and in Macedonia, to the east and west of Salonica, round Zikhna (near Serres) and round Karaferia (Verria). In modern times the Gagauz of the Dobruja have shrunk to a feeble minority chiefly as a result of a prolonged and massive emigration into Bessarabia. To-day even this remnant is rapidly dwindling.
The fact that they are Christians makes of the Gagauz an intriguing historical problem. Certainly they cannot be Anatolian Turks who had immigrated into the Dobruja under the Ottomans and been subsequently christianized there, say under the influence qf the surrounding population; even such an unostentatious, gradual apostasy from Islam is something inconceivable under the sultan's sway. Their conversion must therefore have been completed before the Dobruja became Ottoman, i.e. before the end of the 14th century. Could the Gagauz, then, be regarded as Greek, Bulgarian, or Wallachian Christians who under the Ottoman domination adopted the Turkish language? This, too, is a priori most unlikely since in the Balkans conditions favoured on the contrary acceptance of Islam combined with retention of the native language — witness the Muslim Bulgarians (the Pomak), the Bosnian Muslims speaking Serbo-Croat, the Muslim Albanians. A Turkish immigration from the north, from the South-Russian steppe across the Danube, is certainly the first thing which will come to the mind as historically probable. Indeed, the Gagauz have been identified with one or the other of the 'Northern' Turkish peoples — Petcheneg, Uz, Kuman — who are known to have passed through the Dobruja in the 10th and 11th centuries. However, very little and only doubtful evidence has been produced for these various identifications; on the other hand, the late T. Kowalski's careful analysis of the Gagauz Turkish has firmly established
that, in spite of some 'Northern' elements, it is essentially of 'Southern', i.e. 'Anatolian' character. 
An Anatolian origin is precisely what we have to accept if we are to believe the account which a very early Ottoman text gives of a Turkish immigration from Asia Minor into the Dobruja — not in Ottoman but in pre-Ottoman times. This account relates events which happened just after Michael VIII Palaeologos had recaptured Constantinople from the Franks, in 1261, and was being helped in his Balkan campaigns by the Seljuk troops who had joined their sultan 'Izzeddīn Kaikāūs II, then an exile at the Byzantine court. Our account tells us how the Turkish troops were allowed to bring their folk from Seljuk Anatolia and how these nomads, having entered Byzantine territory, crossed over to Europe and settled in the Dobruja which the grateful emperor had assigned to them and where they finally became Christians. 
A late and very incomplete redaction of our account, made in 1599 by the Ottoman court historiographer Seyyid Loqmān,  was first mentioned and used by J. von Hammer-Purgstall  and subsequently published by I. J. Lagus, together with a Latin translation.  Loqmān claims to have drawn his information from a book called Oghuz-name and, indeed, it comes from a work known by this name, but Loqmān has omitted the later and most revealing
part of the story.  As long as he was our sole authority and his source completely unknown, doubts were justified about the value of information which is obviously to a large extent legendary in character and makes its first appearance more than 300 years after the events concerned. Some scholars, indeed, thought it better to ignore the account.  Now, however, we not only know that it is 175 years older than Loqmān — in fact, it is only 30 years younger than the Ottoman occupation of the Dobruja, i.e. as old as an Ottoman reference to this region can be — but we also possess it in full and are thus enabled to determine its true character.  We may therefore dismiss Loqmān and turn to his source.
The Oghuz-nāme or, as it is more often called, Seljūq-nāme — both titles being justified by its contents — is a historical compilation, composed in Turkish by a certain Yazhttp://www.kroraina.com/gagauz/i_k.jpgjhttp://www.kroraina.com/gagauz/i_k.jpgoghlu 'Alī under the Ottoman Sultan Murād II (1421-51).  In the main it is a translation of Ibn Bībī's History of the Rūm Seljuks. The work of Ibn Bībī, finished in 1281,  was written for the famous historian Juwainī who, like Ibn Bībī himself, had by family tradition followed the dīwān career. Little wonder, therefore, that the book is written in the most involved and flowery Persian of which a high chancery official was capable. The only known manuscript,  a splendid volume written for one of the last Rūm Seljuks (Sultan Kaikhosrou III), is now preserved — as a waqf made by Maḥmūd I (1730-1754)  — in the library of the Aya Sofya mosque, having previously been, probably for a very long time, the property of the Ottoman Sultans. The work must always have been extremely rare; for soon after its appearance it was replaced, obviously on account of its bulk and the difficulty of its language, by an excellent and very readable abridgement.  Copies of this 'royal book' in its
full original form, as far as they existed at all, must have been highly treasured at the courts of the emirates which arose from the ruins of the Seljuk Sultanate. As long as the chanceries of those new states had not yet produced an insha literature of their own, the book was to them a priceless source of instruction and guidance. Ibn Bībī, after mentioning briefly the appearance of Sulaimān b. Qutlumush in Rūm, deliberately passes in silence over more than a century, 'for lack of information,' and begins his in general astonishingly well-founded account with the year 1192, carrying his narrative down to 1281, the very year in which he completed his work.
Yazhttp://www.kroraina.com/gagauz/i_k.jpgjhttp://www.kroraina.com/gagauz/i_k.jpgoghlu 'Alī translates from the full original version. Though he makes no attempt to fill the long gap at the beginning of Ibn Bībī’s history, he puts before it a short account of the Great Seljuks, taken from Rawandi,  down to 471/1079, the year which he accepts as the date when Sultan Malikshāh sent his 'nephew' Sulaimān b. Qutlumush  to Rūm. By means of a 'fore-runner', i.e. an interpolation in Rawandi’s text which foreshadows what will follow in Ibn Bībī, the welding is so cleverly done that the reader will not easily be aware of having passed into a quite different work.  Yazhttp://www.kroraina.com/gagauz/i_k.jpgjhttp://www.kroraina.com/gagauz/i_k.jpgoghlu has likewise
added at the end a continuation  which carries the narrative down to the first years of the 14th century, ending with a chapter on 'the situation in Rūm after the death of Ghāzān Khān' (1304).  Here, too, 'fore-runners' inserted at the chronologically appropriate places in the later parts of Ibn Bībī's text, ensure the continuity of the narrative. The main part of the account of our Dobruja Turks belongs to that continuation, but instalments of it appear already, long before, as 'fore-runners' carefully fitted into the body of Ibn Bībī's text, not always without causing some slight adaptations in the latter. Furthermore, right at the beginning of his work, Yazhttp://www.kroraina.com/gagauz/i_k.jpgjhttp://www.kroraina.com/gagauz/i_k.jpgoghlu 'Alī has put, in the guise of an introduction, the legendary history of Oghuz Khān and the Turkish tribes descended from him. This is entirely taken from Rashīdeddīn's Jāmi' et-tevārīkh, of 1310, which the translator must have used in a specially fine copy as we can see from the admirably executed tamghas of the 24 Oghuz tribes, missing, as it seems, in almost all the manuscripts of the Persian original. 
The 'Oghuzian theme', so forcefully put forward with this introduction, permeates the entire work right to the end in the form of prose and verse interpolations on 'oghuzian' matters scattered throughout the text: begs of the Oghuz are introduced wherever possible and their deeds, their feasts and their customs exalted in prose and in verse; the great 'Alāeddīn Kaiqobād is said (in addition to what Ibn Bībī ascribes to him) to have had full knowledge of the Oghuz-nāme and the Oghuz lore (türe).  Towards the close of the work the 'Oghuzian theme' becomes once more supreme, when the begs of the Oghuz according to their türe elect 'Osmān b. Ertoghrul, a descendant of Qayhttp://www.kroraina.com/gagauz/i_k.jpgn.  All these interpolations are, as one can easily recognize, mere inventions  but the emphasis accorded to the 'Oghuzian theme' reflects, as we shall see, a very real purpose. Apart from a parallel 'Ghāzī theme' which can here be left aside,  there runs throughout the work yet another set of arbitrary interpolations in prose and in verse extolling the chancery official, the yazhttp://www.kroraina.com/gagauz/i_k.jpgjhttp://www.kroraina.com/gagauz/i_k.jpg, and his art and stressing the importance of his position.  Furthermore, here and there passages are inserted in praise of
the author's own sultan, Murād II (1421-1451), by which Yazhttp://www.kroraina.com/gagauz/i_k.jpgjhttp://www.kroraina.com/gagauz/i_k.jpgoghlu's work can be roughly dated.  Finally, there is an epilogue in verse: here the author gives his name and a rather enigmatic chronogram concerning the completion of the work. 
The chronogram has been interpreted as indicating the hijra year 827, i.e. 1424.  In fact, there is a passage which seems to support this date. At the end of the chapter on the conquest of Antalia by Kaikhosrou I in 1207, we find an especially fervent prayer that 'with the help of God Sultan Murād may be victorious over his enemies and crush the tyrants, infidels, and rebels of the time.'  In 1424 Antalia was a remote and desperately defended outpost towards which all the thoughts of a devoted Ottoman were naturally turned. We shall encounter still stronger evidence that the work was really written in the first years of Murād II's reign. 
As to the author, his work both in its character and in numerous points of detail gives the strong impression that he was a high official in the Ottoman chancery. His very name of Yazhttp://www.kroraina.com/gagauz/i_k.jpgjhttp://www.kroraina.com/gagauz/i_k.jpgoghlu, 'Clarkson', suggests that, like Ibn Bībī and Juwainī, he had entered the dīwān career by family tradition. Little wonder therefore that he endeavours in his work, as we have seen, to enhance the prestige of the yazhttp://www.kroraina.com/gagauz/i_k.jpgjhttp://www.kroraina.com/gagauz/i_k.jpg and that he knew of, and chose to translate, a work like that of Ibn Bībī. In his translation he shows special care and skill in the rendering of the administrative formulae and technical terms as if one of his aims were to provide the Ottoman chancery with a model of style. That he was an official of importance can be inferred from the fact that the 'Oghuzian theme' clearly serves aims of high policy. Interpolated in Rashīdeddīn's 'Testament of Oghuz Khān'  is to be found the audacious declaration that
'Sultan Murād is by origin and süngük  superior to all the khān families of the other Oghuz as well as to the various branches of the house of Jingizkhān; therefore shar' and 'urf demand that the Turkish and Tatar khāns come to his Porte for salutation and service'.  In justification of this Ottoman claim there follows at once the vaticination of the sage Qorqud Ata to the effect that 'the khānship shall in the end return to the Qayhttp://www.kroraina.com/gagauz/i_k.jpg from whose hands no one shall take it away'  - which, of course, implies that 'Qayhttp://www.kroraina.com/gagauz/i_k.jpg' stands for 'Ottoman', though this becomes clear only towards the end of the book, in the chapter on 'Osmān's election.  Here a political programme is laid down in which tendencies, timidly appearing as early as in the time of Murād I,  are developed into a precise and most ambitious ideology, destined at first for the ' innermost circle' only. To be the instigator of such a programme, or even only the formulator of its 'scientific' and literary expression, Yazhttp://www.kroraina.com/gagauz/i_k.jpgjhttp://www.kroraina.com/gagauz/i_k.jpgoghlu must surely have been a great official in close touch with the sultan.
Having formed an idea of the author  and his work, we can now turn to his account of the Dobruja Turks. I summarize it as briefly as possible and divide it into paragraphs in order to facilitate the commentary.
§ 1. 'Izzeddīn Kaikāūs II (who by decision of the Mongol overlord rules over the western half of the Sultanate whereas the eastern half obeys his brother Rukneddīn), feeling himself threatened by his brother and the latter's Mongol protectors, flees with his family and household to Antalia and from there by ship to Constantinople (Istanbūl). His army makes a fighting retreat to Sivrihisar and the border region, crosses into Byzantine territory, and finally joins the sultan in Constantinople. The sultan and his warriors find favour with the basileus (fāsilyevs) whom they valiantly help against his enemies.649 http://www.kroraina.com/gagauz/line.gif
§ 2.  One day the sultan and one of his generals complain to the basileus that being Turks they cannot endure town life for ever; if they were given a dwelling in the country-side, they could summon their nomad families from Anatolia. The basileus gives them the Dobruja (Dobruja-éli) as abode and they send word secretly to the nomad clans to which they belong. Whereupon their kinsfolk descend in large numbers from the mountains to Iznik and then cross over at Üsküdar. 'Ṣarhttp://www.kroraina.com/gagauz/i_k.jpg Ṣalthttp://www.kroraina.com/gagauz/i_k.jpgq of blessed memory too crossed over with them.' Soon there exist in the Dobruja two or three Moslim towns and 30-40 oba (clans) of Turkish nomads. These Turks ward off the enemies of the basileus and destroy them.
§ 3. During a banquet (in Constantinople) the sultan is urged by his friends to profit by the strength of his followers and overthrow the basileus. This being reported to the latter, he orders one of the two Turkish army chiefs to be killed and the other blinded, and pardons only those of the Turkish soldiers who accept baptism. The sultan and his two 'older' sons, Mas'ūd and Kayūmerth, are imprisoned in a fortress.
§ 4. The sultan's mother, 'a sister of the basileus,' together with two younger sons of Kaikāūs, is kept in the palace of the basileus. Later she is sent to Karaferia (Qara-Vérya) where she is granted the tolls which are levied at the Anaqaphttp://www.kroraina.com/gagauz/i_k.jpgshttp://www.kroraina.com/gagauz/i_k.jpg — i.e. the 'Mother Gate' as it is therefore called still nowadays. The two young princes receive the governorship (subashhttp://www.kroraina.com/gagauz/i_k.jpglhttp://www.kroraina.com/gagauz/i_k.jpgq) of the town.
§ 5. The sultan is liberated from his fortress prison by the Tatars of the khān of the Golden Horde, Berke khān, who gives him hospitality in the Crimea.
§ 6. The sultan's mother, on hearing the false Rūmour that her son has perished on his flight, throws herself from the tower which flanks the 'Mother Gate'.
§ 7. After this the basileus gives Karaferia to the elder of the two princes and takes the younger one into his palace. § 8. Kaikāūs feels deeply grieved on the death of his mother and the captivity of his sons in the hands of the basileus.