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Turkey is Troy

Regardless of where you stand on the perennial issue of origins of the Turks, we shall argue here, as we have for he past quarter century, that today’s Turkey is very much like the Troy of 11th Century B.C. i.e., on the borderline of the West and the East, belonging to neither, but a part of both, neither entirely here nor completely there, squeezed between a rock and a greasy place. (Both puns intended).

This has been so ever since the Turks settled in Anatolia about a millennium ago and the pendulum has continued to swing from one side to the other without ever becoming completely unstuck. It is this bi-polarity that makes Turkey so frustratingly complex, defying and defeating easy generalizations. As I have written many times recently: “We reached out to the West, but were turned down ; we went back to the East, and were rejected.”

This is why my first book, a collection of essays, was entitled “It is not easy being a Turk”. It still is not; but can be very exciting and challenging for it offers not only confusion but also the promise of new syntheses and unexplored vistas.


In the aftermath of the release of the movie Troy in 2004, debates reerupted regarding the relationship between the Turks and the defeated and dispersed Trojans. During the Middle Ages, many historians in Europe had argued that there was some kind of linkage. The source of the blue blood of nobility, was in Asia and Troy. Later, when the Turks moved into Europe, those ideas were vehemently rejected.

I published a small book about this historical myth, the Trojan origins of the Turks or the Turkish origins of the Trojans, and its political ramifications, entitled “Troyalılar Türk müydü?” (Were the Trojans Turks) Here are some excerpts from that book in English as selected by History (May 27, 2012). The translations into English could have been better.

When Trojans had come to Europe, they separated into two ways.

One of them was Francions, the predecessors of Franks and the other one was Turcoths, the predecessors of Turks. Franks had gone to Rhône area while others had stayed in Tisza area.

The others did choose a king for themselves and named him as ‘Turcoth’, which later formed the name, the “Turks”, recent forms of nation known as recent Turkish countries..” Frédégaire – French

“After Troy has fallen, Trojan armies were separated by two groups.

One group had followed King Priamos’s grandchild Francon from Hector, other group had followed King Priamos’s grandchild Turkus from Troilus. Therefore there are two nations, originated from Trojans, their names have been known as ‘Franks’ and ‘Turks’
by the world currently.” Vincent de Beauvais, writer of Speculum Maius (known with the encyclopedia of the Middle Age)

“Turks’; homelands are behind of the Caucasian Mountains. Their roots were originated from the son of Trojan King Priamos, Turkos the son of Troilos. Turkos and his people migrated from this area after Troy city has fallen.” Andrea Dandolo, the Italian Admiral

“Therefore the heroes of those lands, Turkish men and women come from Hektor’s blood, who was very brave and strong.” Sébastien Mamerot – French translator who did translate the Roman History

“All Turks were known as Trojans during the middle ages of Europe. However, when the Turks became a threat for Catholic world, all they had tried to change this idea.” James Harper – An American publisher and politician

“Turks came back from deepness of Asia to take Troy’s vengeance from the Greeks.” Jean Pouchet – French

“I have taken the vengeance of “Trojan War”! But I can’t understand why Italians are enemy to us by saving the Greeks against us despite the same roots we are based.” II. Mehmet – Conqueror of Istanbul

“We took the vengeance of Troy, again from the Greeks at Dumlupınar.” Mustafa Kemal Atatürk – The Founder of Turkish Republic

“Turci in Latin and Turchi in Italian, both, come from Teurci, which was formerly used to indicate the name the “Trojans” by Latin poem writer Vergilius. In Scandinavian languages, ‘Tyrkir’ has two meanings: one of them is Turkish, the other is Trojan.” Prof.
Dr. Haluk Şahin – Turkish Reporter, Writer, Lecturer in University.

“Trojans were the origin of Luvis who became later the roots of Hittites. Everybody knows they came from behind the Caucasian mountains. However, nobody knows where they went after their empire has fallen as nobody knows where the Trojans went…”

Source: History  May 27, 2012

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