It was surely easier in olden times to solve, or to suggest a solution to the very problems of ethnic origins. People used to be grandsons of certain historical or legendary personalities. Today, however, we can be hardly satisfied with those kinds of stories. On the other hand, historico-scientific researches continue also not providing very believable and credible explanations for certain questions. One of them is the mysterious theme of how, where and when the twin nations of the Balkans, the Croats and Serbs were formed. International diplomacy has succeeded in finding some solutions to the most complicated questions posed by the collapse of the Socialist Yugoslavia in 1991, even though of temporary nature and aimed at lengthening the many cease-fires; but world-wide attempts to suggest solutions to the historical matrixes of Eastern Europe in Early Medieval have resulted in very less consensus. Among them, the problem of origins of the Croats and Serbs ranks the first.
Croats are a northwestern nation with a Slavic language and Catholic confession. Today, their confession is the determinant factor on their identity. However, there was a Croatian nation even before the Catholicism. Language is by no means determinant, as they speak the same language as their neighbors Serbs, Montenegrins and Bosniacs. Thus, historians agree on the fact that a certain ethnie, regardless of its ethnic or linguistic affiliation, is on the base of this nation. Who were, then, those Proto-Croats?
Their description in medieval sources signs a non-Slavic identity. Thus, many historians tended to suggest an Iranic and Germanic origin for them. The second has very few bases, thus has no much supporters. The first theory relies on the prejudgment that before the Slavic and Turkic invasion of north of the Black Sea, some Iranic peoples inhabited there. Proto-Croats split from them and migrated to Poland. In the second phase they came to the Balkans, were slavicized meanwhile, and formed the Croatian nation. This theory is even weaker than the Germanic one, as historiography still searches for traces of those supposed or imaginary Iranic people. Some scholars suggested Turkic (i.e. Avaric and Bulgaric) origins; however, their proofs were also very weak and contradictory.
Osman Karatay, the leading balkanolog of Turkey, as well as a prominent medieval historian has focused on this very extreme question for long years. He published his conclusions in a Turkish book (Hirvat Ulusunun Olusumu,Ankara, 2000), in which he proposed a Turkic origin for the Croats. Though seems very fantastical, this theory was appreciated in scholarly milieu, and not too much challenged. Its language precluded the book from reaching more readers. Mr. Karatay preferred writing a new book in English, instead of translating the Turkish version. Thus, "In Search of the Lost Tribe" was borne. It is totally different from the Turkish edition both in structure and content. Fruits of the studies of the last three years were added, and the content was enriched. This also meant more consolidation of the theory, which the author himself calls "The Oguric theory".
Mr. Karatay suggests that a tribe of the Oguric union, a Turkic group coming to Europe just after the collapse of the Hun Empire, second half of the 5th century, were driven by the Avars from the northwest of the Caspian sea to Galicia, south of Poland. A few years later the Avars came just to their south, in today's Hungary and Slovakia. That Ogurs became champions of resistance to the Avars, and organized local people, i.e. Slavs. The last and conclusive phase of their anti-Avar activity was invasion of Dalmatia in a coordinated assault with the Byzantium and Franks. These Turks, very few in number, were slavicized in the course of time, however gave their national name to the mass under their state. Medieval Greek, Russian and Latin sources clearly sign to this adventure.
This very interesting book is also full of new ideas on the formation of Serb and Bosniac nations. He proposes, for instance, the first Serbian king was a Turkic prince called Kuber Khan, son of the Great Bulgar khan Kubrat (mid 7th century); and there are many Serbian kings with Turkic names. His contributions to the Pre-Proto-Bulgar history are surely very outstanding. The author has new ideas on Hungarian and Khazar histories, too. For example, he claims the Hungarians had never been in the North Caucasus. Ancestors of most of the Tataristan Turks, then called Bulgars, lived in cohabitation with the
Chechens in the Caucasus, and were expelled by the rising Khazars to the north, and not by the Arabo-Islamic armies, as widely accepted