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An internecine war broke out between the senior eastern Göktürks and the junior West Turkic Qağanate some decades later, when on the death of Taspar Qağan, a succession dispute led to a dynastic crisis between Taspar's chosen heir, the Apa Qağan, and the ruler appointed by the tribal high council, Āshǐnà Shètú (阿史那摄图), the Ishbara Qağan.
By 568, these Göktürks were probing for an alliance with Byzantium to attack Persia.Proposals of Khazar origins have been made regarding the Slavic Judaising Subbotniks, the Bukharan Jews, the Muslim Kumyks, Kazakhs, the Cossacks of the Don region, the Turkic-speaking Krymchaks and their Crimean neighbours the Karaites to the Moldavian Csángós, the Mountain Jews and others.In the late 19th century, a theory emerged that the core of today's Ashkenazi Jews are genetically descended from a hypothetical Khazarian Jewish diaspora who had migrated westward from modern Russia and Ukraine into modern France and Germany.At the peak of their empire, the Khazars ran a centralised fiscal administration, with a standing army of some 7-12,000 men, which could, at need, be multiplied two or three times that number by inducting reserves from their nobles' retinues.Other figures for the permanent standing army indicate that it numbered as many as one hundred thousand.The greater king was recruited from the Khazar house of notables (ahl bait ma'rûfīn) and, in an initiation ritual, was nearly strangled until he declared the number of years he wished to reign, on the expiration of which he would be killed by the nobles.
The deputy ruler would enter the presence of the reclusive greater king only with great ceremony, approaching him barefoot to prostrate himself in the dust and then light a piece of wood as a purifying fire, while waiting humbly and calmly to be summoned.
In Expositio in Matthaeum Evangelistam, Gazari, presumably Khazars, are referred to as the Hunnic people living in the lands of Gog and Magog and said to be circumcised and omnem Judaismum observat, observing all the laws of Judaism.
Whereas the royal or ruling elite probably spoke an eastern variety of Shaz Turkic, the subject tribes appear to have spoken varieties of Lir Turkic, such as Oğuric, a language variously identified with Bulğaric, Chuvash, and Hunnish (the latter based upon the assertion of the Persian historian al-Iṣṭakhrī that the Khazar language was different from any other known tongue).
The native religion of the Khazars is thought to have been Tengrism, like that of the North Caucasian Huns and other Turkic peoples.
but the scope of the conversion within the Khazar Khanate remains uncertain.
Though anachronistic in retrodating the Khazars to this period, the legend, in placing the Khazar qağan on a throne with equal status to kings of the other two superpowers, bears witness to the reputation won by the Khazars from early times.