Despite being a monarchy of very recent vintage (see Ilxanate), Turkestan has an ancient noble class of its own: the so-called Aq Süyük ("White Bone"). According to tradition and Turkestani customary law, membership of the Aq Süyük is confined to those who can trace their lineage to Çıņğıs Xan, though in practice there was always a certain amount of finessing one's lineage in order to show descent. The common people, who could not show such ancestry, were (and are) known as the Qara Süyük ("Black Bone").
Between the Qurultaı period and the modern elected monarchy, however, there have been some changes that have crept in; some former Qara Süyük lineages are now considered noble, and the focus on proving descent from Çıņğıs Xan has become much less important.
There were and are several titles of nobility in use, but the Turkestani system is far less organised than Western peerages.
Noble Titles of the Aq Süyük
- Rulers of the old city-states and the nomadic Jüz ("Hordes") are generally known as Xan or sometimes Emir. In modern Turkestan, these are positions of honour equivalent to Scots clan-chiefs, but do not presuppose involvement in the Keņes.
- Mırza (for a male) or Xenem (for a female) is the honorary title given to the offspring of Xans and Emirs. In modern Turkestan it is also used for the offspring of the Ilxan.
- Sultan is the higher title of nobility, traditionally normally reserved for the direct descendents of Xans. In modern Turkestan, the title has become hereditary in its own right, and is passed down to the male-line descendents of former Xans' offspring who were not in the direct line of succession.
- Lesser members of the Aq Süyük use a title variously rendered Baı, Bey or Bek. (This is also the origin of the military rank of Beğ). The various Beks and Baıs have different relative rank to each other based mostly on the personal prestige of the office-holder.
- In the pre-Russian period, Qara Süyük leaders were awarded the title of Bii. However, somewhere between the Basmaçı Revolt, the Qurultaı and the Government of National Unity, the title became reinterpreted as a noble one, akin to a kind of hereditary knighthood. While those bearing the title Bii in modern Turkestan are technically Qara Süyük, they might as well be Aq Süyük, and most Western commentators treat them as another title of nobility.
- War leaders and great champions were traditionally awarded the title of Bahadır (sometimes spelled Bahadur, or even Batır). In EBÜK-era and modern Turkestan, this title remains non-hereditary, and denotes recipients of the three highest military awards of Turkestan: the Order of Glory, the Ring of Eagles and the Heart of Iron.