Monday, December 29, 2003

Turchia, or Turkey, not the bird, the country

I have been looking for blogs from Turkey in English. I found blogs by Turks, but they were living abroad (actually, this one, but I suppose there are more). There were many from Turkey, but not in English. So, I decided to start one myself.

A few words on the title. Although Turkey is what my country is called in English, it is often a subject of ridicule (especially in the sports pages of English newspapers, when they beat our national team in soccer) by references to the turkey the bird. But the name originates from Turchia, as it was named by the Italians way back in the 11th century. (Now, I rely on the word of the venerable Ilber Ortayli, but I need to check this further in the Encyclopedia of Islam and Oxford English Dictionary.) The Turks did not use the term for a long time to come. The lands of the Seljukid state in Anatolia was called as diyar-i Rum, since they had conquered it from the Romans (that is, the Byzantines, but the Byzantines did not call themselves Byzantines either, always using the term Romaioi!). The Ottoman lands were called as the "Ottoman Imperial and Protected Domains," though in the documents of the foreign ministry the term Turkey began to be used in the 19th century. Only in 1923, with the proclamation of the republic did Turkey become the official name of the country.

So much for Turchia. "home of the Turks, land of the author of this blog" is a silly allusion I concocted (whoa! see how my GRE vocabulary is still in action) just a while ago, in an outrageous attempt to imitate "America: home of the brave, land of the free."

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