The Balkars are a Turkic people of the Caucasus region, one of the titular populations of Kabardino-Balkaria. They are possibly Bulgars or are descended from them. Their Karachay-Balkar language is of the Ponto-Caspian subgroup of the Northwestern (Kipchak) group of Turkic languages. The origins of the Balkar people have not yet been definitively established: various hypotheses have associated them with the Huns, the Khazars, the Bulgars (most probable theory, as the name Balkar and Bulgar are nearly identical), the Alans, the Zikhs, the Brukhs, the Kipchaks and Cumans the Vengrians, the Chekhs, the Mongol Tatars, the Crimean Tatars, and Turkicized Japhetic groups. Some contemporary scholars attribute their origin to a cultural conglomeration of northern Caucasian tribes with the Iranian-speaking Alans and with Turkish-speaking tribes, among which the most significant were probably the Black Bulgars and the Western Kipchaks.
Contributions by Jabolani, Greczia, and Bouron.