The Turks and Colours

by Assoc. Dr. Cihat Yaycı, Head of Turkish DegsTÜRKDEGS LOGO


Turks have always expressed the directions with colors. Therefore, they named the seas with colors according to their directions.

At the moment, there is another Black Sea other than our Black Sea. In case you don’t know, I will talk about this Black Sea.

The name of the region between Novaya Zemiya island and Severnaya Zemyla islands in the north of Russia is Kara Sea (Kara Sea). This place is registered as Kara Sea on Turkish maps in order not to mix with the Black Sea. On English maps, it is indicated as “Black Sea”.

The Turks name the aways with Colors and the Sea with the Colors according to their directions

I would also like to give information about why these seas are called the Black Sea and the Black Sea.

As you know, directions were named with colors in old Turkish culture. Accordingly, the color of the east was sky, the color of the west was white, the color of the north was black, and the color of the south was red.

According to Prof. Dr.M. Fahrettin Kırzıoğlu’s research titled “Dede Korkut Oğuznameleri”, the Turks who came and settled in the Caucasus region in the first years of AD, named the seas around them according to their culture. Therefore, they named the sea in the north as “the Black Sea lying opposite”, the lake in the east as “Gökçe lake”, the sea in the west as the Mediterranean Sea, and the sea in the south as the Red Sea.

The whole world used the place names in this region either with their original names or the translations of these names in their own language. For example, Europeans call the Mediterranean the “Mediterranean Sea”. The Arabs, on the other hand, translate the name Mediterranean into Arabic and call it Bahr-i Sefid (Mediterranean). The Black Sea and the Red Sea are also called the English Black Sea and Red Sea.

The Turks’ naming of directions with colors has passed on to other nations. This is also the case with Russians, who have been greatly influenced by Turkish culture. The Russians to the west of Moscow are called Belarus (White Rus). As you know, in Russian, Bela-Belaya means white.

After the Battle of the Commander-in-Chief, which ended on August 30, 1922, Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk sent the army on September 1, 1922 for the Great Offensive, “Armies! Your first target is the Mediterranean, forward!” gives the order. Our armies do not go towards Antalya, but towards İzmir, that is, towards the west. This shows that even then, the meaning of the word “ak” was widely known.

Although we have now forgotten the directional meanings of the names black, red, white, and sky, we call the wind blowing from the north “black wind”, but we do not even know why it is a black wind.

Let’s not forget what a deep-rooted history and language we have, and that we have historical traces almost everywhere in the world. Let’s be proud to be a member of the Great Turkish Nation. Our best response to those who try to humiliate us and create distrust of ourselves is to research, read and tell our history.


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