or anti-Turkish sentiment
is the hostility towards Turkish people
, Turkish culture
, the Ottoman Empire
(Turkish Empire) and the Republic of Turkey
Anti-Turkism does not always refer to just the Turks of Turkey, but can also refer to various Turkic peoples
and Balkan Muslims. This includes the Turkic peoples living in the Russian Federation
, the Turkic states of the former Soviet Union
, the autonomous Xinjiang Uyghur
region of the People's Republic of China
, Northern Cyprus
, and even also non-Turkic Balkan Muslims, particularly Bosniaks
and Macedonian Muslims
 Early History
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This box: view
Turcophobia is sometimes[who?
] traced to the Turkish Wars
of the Late Middle Ages
, viz. the attempts of Western Christianity
to stem the expansion of the Ottoman Empire
. By the middle of the 1400s special masses
called missa contra turcas
(translated as "mass against Turks") were celebrated in various places in Europe,
the message of these masses was that victory over the Turks was only possible with the help of God
and that a Christian community was therefore necessary to withstand the cruelty of the Turks.[citation needed
Bishop Fabri of Vienna (1536–41)
"There are no crueller and more audacious villains under the heavens than the Turks who spare no age or sex and mercilessly cut down young and old alike and pluck unripe fruit from the wombs of mothers".
In the 16th century about 2,500 publications about the Turks were spread around Europe (over a thousand of which were in German
), in these publications the image of the 'bloodthirsty Turk' was imprinted on reader. In fact in the period of 1480 to 1610, twice as many books were published about the Turkish threat to Europe than about the discovery of the continents of America
During this time the Ottoman Empire had conquered the Balkans and had been besieging Vienna
. There was much fear in Europe about the Ottoman spread.
claimed that the Turks were the Red Jews
- Jews because they circumcised
their sons and had other Jewish manners and Jewish customs
and Red because they were bloodhounds that murdered
had the view that the Turks invasion of Europe was Gods punishment of Christianity because it had allowed the corruption of both the Holy See
and the Church
. In 1518 when he defended his 95 theses
, Luther claimed that God had sent the Turks to punish the Christians in the same way as he had sent war, plagues and earthquakes
. The reply of Pope Leo X
was the famous papal bull
in which he threatened Luther with excommunication
and attempted to portray Luther as a troublemaker who advocated capitulation
to the Turks.
According to some theologians
the word Turk came from "torquere"
("torture"), and according to another popular theory the Turks were identical with the Scythians
who were considered a particularly cruel race.
Stories of the dog-Turk also gave Europe this negative image of the Turks. The dog-Turk was claimed to be a man-eating being, half animal half human with a dog’s head and tail. Military power
were the recurring attributes in all these claims about the origins of the Turks.
, the Turks were designated the arch-enemy
of Christianity. This is evident in a book entitled Luna Turcica eller Turkeske måne, anwissjandes lika som uti en spegel det mahometiske vanskelige regementet, fördelter uti fyra qvarter eller böcker
("Turkish moon showing as in a mirror the dangerous Mohammedan rule, divided into four quarters or books") which was published in 1694 and was written by the parish priest Erland Dryselius
. In sermons the country's clergy preached about the Turks' general cruelty and bloodthirstiness and of how they systematically burned and plundered the areas they conquered. In a Swedish school book published in 1795 Islam was described as "the false religion that had been fabricated by the great deceiver Muhammad, to which the Turks to this day universally confess".
, Edward Said
"Until the end of the seventeenth century the 'Ottoman peril' lurked alongside Europe to represent for the whole of Christian civilization a constant danger, and in time European civilization incorporated that peril and its lore, its great events, figures, virtues, and vices, as something woven into the fabric of life."
The term "Turk" acquired the a meaning similar to "barbarian
" or "heathen
" in various European languages, as evident from the following dictionary entries:
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. Many vices
in the world were associated with the Turks. Some sayings:
 Within the Ottoman Empire
- In English "To look like a Turk". In the U.S., A "Turk" was a brown-skinned "ethnic looking" person or a light-skinned African-American of possible White or American Indian descent, the word reminded white Americans of what an ethnic Turk supposedly looked like.
- In Italian phrases such as "bestemmia come un Turco" ("he swears like a Turk").One of the most infamous Italian phrase (and one much used by headline writers) was "Mamma li Turchi!" ("Oh my, the Turks are coming!") this is used to suggest an imminent danger. In addition, Italians regularly use the expression "Fumare come un Turco" ("To smoke like a Turk"). In German there are phrases that mean "he smokes like a Turk".
- In Romanian, the expression "a fuma ca un turc" (to smoke like a Turk) is used to denote a person who smokes a lot.
- In French, the word Turc was once used in proverbial expressions such as C'est un vrai Turc ("He's a real Turk"), used to indicate that a person was harsh and pitiless.
- When the Spanish wanted to make disparaging remarks about a person, he/she was called "Turco".
- In Maltese, a Tork is someone feared and unwanted due to his nature. In fact, when a Maltese person is left out or forgotten from a share between a group, this person would quickly say: "Mela jien xi Tork, jew?" ("Am I a Turk, or what?"). Also, when a rare event occurs, a common saying is: "Tgħammed Tork!" ("A Turk was baptised!") because a Turk turning to Christianity from Islam is seen as a rare event.
- In Austrian rural areas you can sometimes still hear today how children are called in from play: "Es ist schon dunkel. Türken kommen. Türken kommen" ("It’s already dark, The Turks are coming. The Turks are coming").
- In Persian, "Tork-e khar" ("Turkish ass/donkey") is a derogatory joke usually directed against Turkic-speaking Iranian Azeris.
- In Russian there is a proverb Незваный гость хуже Татарина ("An unwanted guest is worse than a Tatar").
- In Greek "Εγινε Τούρκος", literally "He became a Turk", denotes extreme anger towards someone or because of something ("He was so angry that he resembled a Turk").
- In Norwegian there is a saying: "Sint som en tyrker" which means "Angry like a Turk"
Within the Ottoman Empire, the name "Turk" was sometimes used to denote backwoodsmen, bumpkins, or the illiterate peasants in Anatolia
. "Etrak-i bi-idrak
", for example, was an Ottoman play on words, meaning "the stupid Turk".
Özay Mehmet in his book Islamic Identity and Development: Studies of the Islamic Periphery mentions
“ The ordinary Turks did not have a sense of belonging to a ruling ethnic group. In particular, they had a confused sense of self-image. Who were they: Turks, Muslims or Ottomans? Their literature was sometimes Persian
, sometimes Arabic
, but always courtly and elitist. There was always a huge social and cultural distance between the Imperial centre and the Anatolian periphery. As Bernard Lewis
expressed it: "in the Imperial society of the Ottomans the ethnic term Turk was little used, and then chiefly in a rather derogatory sense, to designate the Turcoman nomads or, later, the ignorant and uncouth Turkish-speaking peasants of the Anatolian villages.
" (Lewis 1968: 1) In the words of a British observer of the Ottoman values and institutions at the start of the twentieth century: "The surest way to insult an Ottoman gentleman is to call him a 'Turk'. His face will straightway wear the expression a Londoner's assumes, when he hears himself frankly styled a Cockney. He is no Turk, no savage, he will assure you, but an Ottoman subject of the Sultan, by no means to be confounded with certain barbarians styled Turcomans, and from whom indeed, on the male side, he may possibly be descended.
"(Davey 1907: 209)
” Handan Nezir Akmeşe, who describes the attempts of the Young Turk movement to ingrain nationalism among the Turkish speakers of the Ottoman empire prior to WWI
“ One consequence was to reinforce these officers sense of their Turkish nationality, and a sense of national grievance arising out of the contrast between the non-Muslim communities, with their prosperous, European-educated elites, and "the poor Turks [who] inherited from the Ottoman Empire nothing but a broken sword and an old-fashioned plough." Unlike the non-Muslim and non-Turkish communities, they noted with some bitterness, the Turks did not even have a proper sense of their own national identity, and used to make fun of each other, calling themselves "donkey Turk" ”
 Anti-Turkish quotes
the Turks as:
"tyrants of the women and enemies of arts".
He also spoke
of the need:
"to chase away from Europe these barbaric usurpers"
He accused the Turks
of having destroyed Europes ancient heritage from :"the Orient’s Christian realm"
"I wish fervently that the Turkish barbarians be chased away immediately out of the country of Xenophon, Socrates, Plato, Sophocles and Euripides. If we wanted, it could be done soon but seven crusades of superstition have been undertaken and a crusade of honour will never take place. We know almost no city built by them; they let decay the most beautiful establishments of Antiquity, they reign over ruins." Cardinal Newman
described the Turks as:
the "great anti-Christ among the races of men."
He also said:
“The barbarian power, which has been for centuries seated in the very heart of the Old World, which has in its brute clutch the most famous countries of classical and religious antiquity and many of the most fruitful and beautiful regions of the earth; and, which, having no history itself, is heir to the historical names of Constantinople and Nicaea, Nicomedia and Caesarea, Jerusalem and Damascus, Nineva and Babylon, Mecca and Bagdad, Antioch and Alexandria, ignorantly holding in its possession one half of the history of the whole world.” William Ewart Gladstone
, a 19th century British Prime Minister
was quoted in the same book as saying:
“Let me endeavor, very briefly to sketch, in the rudest outline what the Turkish race was and what it is. It is not a question of Mohammedanism simply, but of Mohammedanism compounded with the peculiar character of a race. They are not the mild Mohammedans of India, nor the chivalrous Saladins of Syria, nor the cultured Moors of Spain. They were, upon the whole, from the black day when they first entered Europe, the one great anti-human specimen of humanity. Wherever they went a broad line of blood marked the track behind them, and, as far as their dominion reached, civilization disappeared from view. They represented everywhere government by force as opposed to government by law.—Yet a government by force can not be maintained without the aid of an intellectual element.— Hence there grew up, what has been rare in the history of the world, a kind of tolerance in the midst of cruelty, tyranny and rapine. Much of Christian life was contemptuously left alone and a race of Greeks was attracted to Constantinople which has all along made up, in some degree, the deficiencies of Turkish Islam in the element of mind!” David Lloyd George
former British Prime Minister
said in 1914 that:
The Turks are a human cancer, a creeping agony in the flesh of the lands which they misgovern, rotting every fibre of life ... I am glad that the Turk is to be called to a final account for his long record of infamy against humanity.
dined at Downing Street
, Lloyd George proposed the toast: “May the Turk be turned out of Europe and sent to . . . where he came from.” Lord Curzon
agreed: “For more than five centuries, the presence of the Turk in Europe has been a source of distraction, intrigue, and corruption . . . Let not this occasion be missed of purging the earth of one of its most pestilent roots of evil”.
The New York Tribune
told its readers in the year 1919:
the Turks have always been a parasite and a stench in the nostrils of civilization
A former American ambassador to Berlin suggested that: the Turks could be dealt with by adopting the US system of parklike reservations such as were used for the American Indians.
, prominent Turkish ideologue of Pan-Turkism
, in his writings heavily criticizes officials of the Ottoman Empire for always using the term "donkey Turk" regarding its Turkish subjects.