HomeTURKEY TRAVELLERSTurkish Image in Europe

Turkish Image in Europe

by Professor Erol Göka

Sociopsychology of European View of Turks [1]

[For Europe, Turks have been seen as “barbarians among us” for centuries. Germans, Normans, and Hungarians also came to Europe as invaders, but eventually integrated. The Arabs also resisted until they were expelled from Europe. The Russians were in a marginal position between assimilation and exclusion. Turks, on the other hand, took place only in their own part of Europe. They neither tried to impose their beliefs nor adopted Christianity. They were admired when they were strong, and hated when they were weak. Pushed from Europe for three hundred years, they could only hold on to its extreme and decided to “Westernize”. It is difficult to find another people who have had such a contradictory and confused relationship with Europe for so long. envy and resentment, Emotions arising from prejudices, such as fascination and fear, complicate the solution of the problem.] (Yerasimos, 2002: Foreword)

In general, it can be said that there is always a skeptical, timid, hesitant and unfriendly view towards “Turk” in Europe. This view is clearly felt in the social and political spheres all over Europe today. This view towards the Turks is actually a part of the general xenophobia in Europe and has been formed in a historical process that embodies the concept of “threatening foreigner”. This fact, ” hermeneutics” (hermeneutics)It falls within the scope of a psychodynamic approach as well as a historical understanding. Although there are racial, religious, economic and social dimensions of Turkish hostility in Europe, it is also necessary to take into account the elements of community psychology, which form the infrastructure of all of them and have a very old foundation.

In order to understand and interpret the psychological elements correctly, first of all, it is necessary to analyze the historical process of the European communities, which have removed the word “Europe” from being a word that defines only a geographical area, and the historical adventures of European communities, which have been able to meet on a common ground despite many differences among themselves.

Turkish: The “Other” That Europe is Using to Define Itself!

The origins of Europe’s encounter with and hostile attitude towards foreigners can be traced back to the 4th century AD. During the mass migrations that started in the 4th century and lasted until the 13th century and greatly affected Europe, the concept of “nation” did not exist in Europe yet, and the concept of foreigner was used to describe communities living outside the domain of Greek or Roman sovereignty in this period. With the beginning of the migration of tribes in 375, the Huns captured a significant part of Northern Europe and the European experienced the first concern of survival in the face of this threat. It was during this period that the European started to use the word “barbarian”, which is a phonetic equivalent of the “dark, aggressive human figure whose language he does not understand”, which comes to life in his imagination when the word “foreigner” is mentioned (Erdheim, 1984).

In the conditions of this period, Factors such as race, ethnicity and religion are not yet decisive in the acceptance of the Turk as a foreigner and the hostile attitude towards the Turk. During the migration of the Huns, Europe was the scene of many wars and massacres for about a hundred years, and “the very sight of them scares people, they can ride a horse very well, use weapons, are extremely brutal and aggressive” (Dollinger, 1999). caused fear and hostility to take root. It caused an indelible fear and hostility to take root in the minds of Europeans for centuries. It caused an indelible fear and hostility to take root in the minds of Europeans for centuries.

This article aims to examine how the European identity is formed by mediating the Turkish image. We include historical information only for this purpose. In order to understand the abstract conflict that has taken place between the “foreigner from afar”, that is, the “other” since their encounter with the Huns, the mentality of the Europeans must also be examined with the methods of group psychology, which we have discussed in this book. The theme of the “other” has so far occupied an extensive place in philosophy and sociology; whereas the subject is basically within the domain of psychology. For this reason, we would like to focus on how a psychological perspective can be useful for us in examining the formation and behavior of large group identity, and in addressing the problem of the “other”, by using the European encounter with the Turks as a means.

Redefineding International Relations in The Light of Psychology

In recent international relations publications, it has been suggested that the realistic approach, which argues that political decision is rational, makes macro-level analysis, and asserts that the main actor is the state, is out of date, and instead it is suggested that macro-level analysis and micro-level analyzes should be combined, events are multidimensional and cyclical, not just cause-effects. An approach has been proposed, which advocates understanding with the processes that are thought to be present and focusing on an interdisciplinary approach (Hudson, Vore, 2002). While there is an evolution in this direction in the discipline of international relations, micro-level, individual and “intrapsychic” (inside psychology) such as psychology and psychoanalysis. Studies investigating ethnic groups and nations, group-leader relations based on group processes have also increased in disciplines examining processes, and the knowledge in this field has begun to be used in the resolution of conflicts between large groups.

For example, the theories emerging from social psychology, in relation to international conflicts, against the arguments of the realist approach, “mutuality” in international relations. He brought propositions emphasizing the importance of human and human factor. According to them, international relations and especially conflicts are the result of the functioning of some psycho-social processes arising from the collective needs or fears of the communities, rather than a rational decision that emerges as a result of an objective evaluation.

Conflict in international relations is a phenomenon that operates in inter-communal processes rather than conflicts between states. International conflict does not arise because of the great harm caused by one side using force over the other, it consists of an alternating process between the two sides that has multiple phases and is shaped by mutual interaction. In addition, international conflicts are not a series of behaviors in which actors mutually influence and react to each other, but are self-replicating, provocative, it follows an interactive course with a multiplier dynamic (Kelman, Fisher, 2003).

From this point of view, it is possible to argue that psychology and psychoanalysis can be used, among other disciplines, to understand international conflicts that are seen to be effective at the international level (Volkan, 2005). Psychological and psychoanalytic analysis by avoiding psychological reductionism is thought to contribute greatly to understanding the conflicts that arise between large groups such as nations and ethnic groups (Göral, 2005).

Large group identity is the identity of the individuals who make up a group, internalized in the growth and socialization processes and intertwined with their personal identities, the existence and effects of which are not known when faced with a significant threat, but which are in fact as decisive as individual identity of “mental representations” that determineIt consists of a set of codes. In his “tent model”, Volkan (1995: p.40) envisions the large-group identity with an image on the clothing representing the individual identity of the person, with a tent cloth covering all the members of that group, and with the leader as the pole of the tent. This tent cloth actually brings individuals together under the “sense of we-ness”, creates a border between the outside and the inside of the tent, and protects the group against the threat from outside. However, if there is a tear in the canvas or a jolt in the pole, the group’s sense of we-ness increases and individuals perceive more clearly that they are living under a tent. Even in these situations of danger, large-group identity becomes more important than the personal identity of individuals.

In our opinion, Volkan’s understanding of the tent model is quite easy to understand and useful, but it does not shed sufficient light on the psychologically impulsive origins. In order to examine the psychology of the formation of a large group’s identity in more detail, the concept of “projective identification “, which we have included in the article “Projective Identity as a tool for comprehending human relations” in this book and which we have discussed with our friends elsewhere (Göka et al., 2004), is very useful. seems useful. Let us briefly recall the concept of projective identification.

“Object relations” in post-Freudian psychoanalysisMelanie Klein (1946), known as the founder of the theory, observed the effects of the infant’s experiences in her relationship with her mother, to the great existential anxiety created by her fragmented perceptual world, and formed a theory from the conceptualizations she came up with. Projective identification is one of the basic elements of this theory. Many perspectives on projective identification have been developed after Klein, and today the concept has risen to the level of one of the key concepts in understanding human relations, with more detailed observations, going far beyond the way it was first put forward, and enriched with other perspectives such as communication theory. The area defined by projective identification, It includes almost all human relations and covers the dynamics and communication types in early childhood of what we give and receive in relation to the other person and how we make this exchange.

Today, we can easily accept that projective identifications inevitably take place in our relationships, as we bring them with our human being, that is, they arise directly from our being human. Projective identification of being human, socialization, “self” (egoA well-understood understanding of the place of ) in the development processes and forms of relationship will contribute to the understanding of the nature of psychopathologies (mental disorders), psychotherapeutic (for the purpose of mental treatment) relationship and psychotherapy process, as well as many problems in human relations. Moreover, thanks to the efforts of other theorists who developed Klein’s view, projective identification will become indispensable in the development of the identities of large groups (community, community, institution, nation) and in understanding the relations they establish with each other.

According to Melani Klein’s first psychoanalytic conceptualization, projective identification is one of the defense mechanisms that human infants develop in order to cope with the difficulties they experience in the first months of their lives. The infant projects negative mental representations that are not yet integrated in order to survive and survive the destructive influence of the aggressive instinct inside. He lives them as if they are coming from outside. Man reflects the evil within himself to the outside by projection; He tries to get rid of it with the illusion that “I am not the bad one, he is”. It identifies the other person with the bad material it reflects. He begins to treat her as if she is suitable for the material he reflects, thus forcing him to accept this identity that he reflects, and often making him accept it. The reflections coming from the baby also play a major role in this behavior of the mother, who, feeling guilty, is eager to feed her baby as soon as possible.

The reason why post-Klein theorists argue that projective identification is valid in all kinds of human relations and in the identity formation of large groups and their relations with each other, based on this theory, is that they see the origins of our effort to get rid of the burden of negativities within ourselves and to impose them on the other person in order to create a purer identity for ourselves. . Humans and human groups always use this mechanism to which the human infant resorts. Indeed, projective identification plays an important role in the formation and development of nations as a large group. Establishing a sense of we-nessIn order to be one fist and gather around idealized features, the society must reflect the evil inside and create an enemy/evil outside.

If we go back to the mood of the European who came face to face with the Huns, which is our main subject: Based on the theory of projective identification, it can be said that Europe, which was incapable of ensuring its unity and agitated by the civil wars of the pagan tribes, for the long time leading up to the establishment of the Roman Empire, only struggled to survive in this process and kept the xenophobia that developed in parallel with this in community psychology.

While the Roman Empire politically brought the peoples of Europe together, it attained the core elements of a more institutional identity with which it would define itself together with European consciousness (and unconsciousness), Roman Law and Christianity. In the early periods of the Roman Empire, as mentioned earlier, the identities of those living within the empire’s borders were determined by ethnicity, race, and not defined by differences in religion. As Christianity became more and more the most important unifying factor, the definition of foreigner came to mean those who held both extra-imperial and non-Christian beliefs.

Later, with the Renaissance, adding Greek humanism and aesthetics to the unifying elements of Roman Law and Christianity, Europe had the chance to define its identity in a historical process. However, there is one more thing missing for the establishment of an identity, which is where to put the negativities in it, especially the elements related to violence and aggression. The solution to this problem of the European identity will come from the Hun attacks. Thanks to the Huns, who threatened its existence, the European established the “other” of his identity as Turks. In the same period, the victories of the Muslim Arabs against Europe also contribute to the formation of the European identity (Göka, 1999).

Thus, the image of “Muslim” was added to the image of “bad Turk” that started with the Huns, but with the Arab victories, the Turks began to push the gates of Europe again, this time as the leader and standard-bearer of Islam, so that the “Muslim” was no longer needed for the European and made the Muslim identical (Balivet, 2005: p.15).

European identity has now consolidated its “other” during the Crusades and Ottoman expansion. The Turkish image, which constitutes the “other” of the European identity throughout the process until today, will complete its existence for the European, reflect and convey all kinds of unsettling features in itself, It will serve as a psychological reservoir to which In order to create his own identity, the European will pour all the negative qualities in himself onto the Turkish image, clear himself of negativities, and perceive the Turkish reality by mixing it with this negative material that he reflects.

We have now reached the negotiation stage in the process of accession to the European Union. Obviously, the diplomatic language and international relations discourses do not allow the socio-psychological dimensions of the process to be sufficiently revealed. But this dimension is too important to be neglected. We tried to analyze what happened on the Turkish side in this process before (Göka, 2004). Now, in this article, as an introduction, we will focus on the Turkish image in Europe, which is the basis for Europeans to perceive Turks today. Let us consider the historical process in a little more detail this time.

New Thousand Years, Old “Other ”

The Europe of the new millennium is a continent where the majority of the people are extremely poor, live in very difficult conditions and face the danger of starvation. Resources are extremely limited and the productive class, exploited by landowners and warriors, is also spiritually exploited by priests (Huberman, 2000). In this period when people feel weak against the forces of nature and it is believed that God’s anger can cause various disasters, the church has an absolute importance in obtaining God’s approval. The church establishment uses it; it has great power and influence on people (Subaşı, 2002). As seen by the 1000s AD, there are extremely collective fears in Europe that hold the continent’s communities together; hunger, Besides disease and war, all kinds of strangers are also feared (Delumeau, 1985).

The behavior that has traditionally existed in Europe since the ancient empires, to devalue and humiliate all kinds of foreigners, to attribute to them being dangerous as well as all kinds of negative qualities, was shaped as a reflection of negative features such as sinfulness, ugliness and evil against their neighbors living on the same continent during this period. . People perceive the starting point of the borders of their own small country as the starting point of the “foreigner” and expect all kinds of threats and evil from those beyond these borders. Even among villagers and urban residents living in the same region, there are similar feelings of insecurity (Subaşı, 2002). When the superstitions of this period are examined, It can easily be seen that it is shaped according to such attitudes.

A stranger should look at the milk bucket with the belief that it will spoil the fertility, be in the same environment while milking or making butter, enter the kitchen or the barn, eat the crust, which is the most useful part of the bread, without meeting certain conditions (give the baby blessed water and say “God bless you”) it is strictly forbidden to touch it (see German Dictionary of Superstitions”). Moreover, foreigners are considered to be the harbingers of the plague and war, which was very feared at that time.

The foreigners mentioned here are the “local” foreigners who live side by side on the same continent, on the same land, and are neighbors of Europeans, and it can be said that these foreigners cannot have the same effect on the European as the Turks did. In addition to these, social fears fueled by the belief in the end of the world in the millennium and increasing the influence of the church on people also accelerate the situation. With the belief that the “enemy of Christianity” will emerge and that terrible peoples from far corners of the world will attack Europe, in line with what is written in the Bible, Europe has begun to wait for the arrival of its new fear (Glaser, 1999). The new foreign, non-Christian, remote, whose fear and hostility are defined, probably the attacker coming from the East is a foreigner (Subaşı, 2002).

For such reasons, Turks come first in the concept of “all kinds of foreigners” and the psychodynamic mechanism that Europeans will use against foreigners is shaped as projective identification. According to this; It is the Turks who suffer the most from the reflection of all kinds of negative features such as sinfulness, ugliness and evil; Because the Turks, who came from the steppes of Central Asia and started to spread from Anatolia to the West, were very different from both Arab, Iranian, Kurdish co-religionists and Christian communities. “Oddly enough, the Turk, who appears everywhere, is in many respects described in a very similar way by both Christian and Muslim sources. It is as if the ‘exoticism’ of the Turk is as clear as daylight for both Arab and Iranian allies and hostile Christians… One point that everyone unquestionably accepts is the value of the Turk as a warrior” (Balivet, 2005: p.19). There are many known accounts of medieval historians about these warrior qualities of the communities that first encountered the Turks.

Although the tolerant and just administration of the Turks in their powerful, hierarchical state causes admiration such as “Turkish oppression is a child rather than Arab justice” or “I prefer a Turk’s turban to a Latin headdress”, the main thing is hatred and fear from them.“When Turks refuse to give up their strong cultural differences and identities, which do not fully coincide with strict Muslim behavior, disagreements, misunderstandings and suspicions arise on the side of their coreligionists.

Moreover, it leads to a rift with the former Arab-Muslim powers of the Mediterranean, with Christians who have been accustomed for centuries to maintain a certain status quo, but who are not familiar with the customs of the steppe peoples. At that time, severe criticism and contemptuous exclusion that formed the negative Turkish image and that black portrait that would last throughout the Middle Ages and much later begins… A strong sense of identity, customs that bear the strong stamp of nomadism, war and Central Asian shamanism, distinguish Turkish peoples from time immemorial. are their distinctive qualities… These customs are; It continues after Islamization and is against Muslims who strictly adhere to the orders of religion; It does not bother the Turks, who, in addition to their Muslim names, retain their special nicknames that literally represent shamanic totems… Even though foreigners are startled by the peculiar customs and body language of the Turks, they have to obey them in order to make an alliance or a truce with them.”(Balivet, 2005:pp.25-27).

The languages of the Turks are strange, their physical appearance is foreign, their clothes and customs are strange.“Christian and Muslim sources are united in vilifying the identities of the Turks, which, depending on the situation, are found to be startling, even disgusting, and almost always threatening or frankly frightening… When speaking of Turks, ‘unconscious Turks’ (etrak-ı bi-idrak), ‘dirty Turks’ Greek, Armenian, Latin or Syriac writers join Arab and Persian writers who use derogatory terms such as (etrak-ı na-pak) with similar insults. Some speak of the Turkish ‘oppression’ and the ‘violence’ of the steppe peoples, others describe the Turks as ‘the devil’s people’, ‘bloodthirsty wild beasts’; while others emphasize the ‘barbarism of their way of life’… The greed, ruthlessness, sold-out, disloyalty, etc. of the Turk, who raids only to gain loot and material wealth, etc. often emphasized(Balivet, 2005: pp.31-34, p.58). Yes, an “other” has been found again, to which the European can pour all his evils for the construction of identity.

When it comes to Europe of the Middle Ages, with the definition of the concept of the foreigner, the view of the foreigner has also undergone a transformation. Due to the importance of the notion of religion with the stronger “other”, the feared foreigner in Medieval Europe is this time “non-Christian”.

Among these, it is Muslims who threaten Europe’s material and spiritual existence the most, and although the fear of Muslims was against the whole understanding represented by the Arab tribe, as it was mentioned before, the real fear of Muslims is literally “Eastern”, which Europe recognizes in the migration of tribes.

It was embodied by the threat of “Muslim Turks” along with the figure of the “aggressive man coming from By reusing the European primitive psychic mechanisms, he identified the distant foreigner as the scapegoat for his inability to establish his own internal integrity, and with the Seljuk Turks’ capture of Jerusalem in 1076, He was able to establish the first unity and alliance in his history against the “other” he defined as “Muslim Turk”.

Thus, in the 12th and 13th centuries, Europe established the unity it had never been able to establish in its history in the form of the “Christian European People” against the “Muslim other” – that is, the Turks – and the new projective identification process that started on this occasion lasted from 1147 to 1270. During the 6th Crusade, which was the first time, the barbarian was the greatest comforter of the Europeans in legitimizing all kinds of atrocities against foreigners.

In addition, Europe has hardened its attitude towards non-believers within itself, and has started to slaughter Jews in the continent in addition to the Crusades it has been carrying out against foreigners (Subaşı, 2002).In the 12th and 13th centuries, the new projective identification process that started with the “Christian European People” against the “Muslim other” – that is, the Turks – that it could never establish until that time in its history, and the 6 Crusaders that lasted from 1147 to 1270.

Throughout his expedition, he was the European’s greatest comforter in legitimizing all his atrocities against the barbarian foreigner. In addition, Europe has hardened its attitude towards non-believers within itself, and has started to slaughter Jews in the continent, in addition to the Crusades it has been carrying out against foreigners (Subaşı, 2002).During the 6 Crusades that lasted from 1147 to 1270, the barbarian was the European’s greatest comforter in legitimizing all his atrocities against the foreigner. In addition, Europe has hardened its attitude towards non-believers within itself, and has started to slaughter Jews in the continent in addition to the Crusades it has been carrying out against foreigners (Subaşı, 2002).

Social classes that became evident in the 19th century with the migration of exploited peasants from the countryside and the emergence of craftsmanship as a new source of income; new occupational groups such as artisans, craftsmen and merchants began to emerge. With the establishment of towns and urbanization in parallel with these developments, Jews began to operate predominantly in the listed occupational groups (Pirenne, 2002).

The Jews, who started to increase their influence in social life, were targeted by the Church as enemies of religion and those who sucked the blood of the people; they were forced to change their religion, to be baptized, and a large number of Jews who did not accept these were either massacred or forced to commit suicide (Subaşı, 2002). In this period, against the Jews who were excluded from social life in the 12th century and started to live in the ghettos of the cities.

The definition of “inner foreigner” in Europe took the form of a definite exclusion from social life, with the introduction of strict rules such as wearing signs indicating that they were Jewish on their clothes. It can be said that the prototypes of the systematic, organized and institutional coercion and oppression applied against the foreigner in Europe in the Nazi era were already visualized long ago, 8 centuries ago. Europe, not content with such exclusion, blamed the Jews for the social disasters and punished the Jews by burning them or expelling them from their countries, on the grounds that they caused the great plague epidemic that took place in the 14th century (Fried, 1999). The fact that he reflects bad qualities by putting himself in a bad mood has further developed his insecurity.

Centuries of Accumulation: Foreigners That Need To Be Exterminated

By the turn of the century, Christianity was now literally the sole and common unifying element of European societies, above all differences. The Church, with the help of historical enmity accumulation, shows Judaism and Islam as the biggest threat in this period. According to the Church, these foreigners who are “anti-Christians”, whether they come from within or outside of society, must be destroyed or converted before the Empire of God can be established. For these reasons, not only Jews and Muslims, but also scientists with discoveries other than Christian teachings or countless women accused of witchcraft were massacred and targeted by the Church or the public (Subaşı, 2002).

The 15th and 17th centuries were the periods when Europe saw the Muslim Turks as the greatest threat. Beginning with the Ottoman advance in the Balkans in the 15th century, Europe’s concerns for survival in the face of this “aggressive foreigner from the East” re-emerged. Modern Europe will perceive the Ottomans in the same way as the West perceived the Turk in the Middle Ages: the dangerous enemy to be feared and to be eliminated, to be feared. However, behind this fear and hostility, there is often a certain admiration.

The following words of the Austrian ambassador in Istanbul in 1560 reveal everything clearly:“When I compare the Turkish system with ours, I shudder to think about the future… On the Turks’ side are the resources of a mighty empire, the experience and training of war, experienced soldiers, familiarity with victory, frugality and prudence. On our side, there is general poverty, personal wealth, powerlessness, impaired faith, lack of tolerance and education. Our soldiers are disobedient, our officers are greedy, they do not care about discipline; dishonesty, recklessness and immorality are knee-deep… Since nobility, offices and ministries are the rewards of talent and virtue among the Turks, deceitful, lazy and sluggish never rise; They are respected and despised: these are the reasons why the Turks succeed in whatever they do, become the superior race, and expand their reign day by day. Our methods are very different. We do not attach any importance to virtues. It all depends on soy. This is the only way to reach high positions. I could talk more about this elsewhere. You should not share what I have said with anyone, you should keep it to yourself.”(Busbecq, 2002: pp.61-62; pp.103-104).

With the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, Europe fell into a complete depression, and the economic and cultural systems that sustained it were faced with the threat of collapse. Indeed, the conquest of Constantinople, the capture of the metropolis is a theme that will never be erased from the identity-forming memory of the West. After Iznik, Antakya and Jerusalem, the conquest of Constantinople by the Muslims is the greatest trauma for the Western consciousness (and unconscious). People lament after this trauma and rituals are held in churches. The theme of the fall of the metropolises as a literary or religious inspiration, a subject of political thought or a sign of apocalypse was especially engraved in the memories of the Middle Ages. As contemporary reflections of this intellectual field about identity, The Greek-Orthodox megali idea, which focuses on the retake of Constantinople, or the Israeli-Arab conflict over the ownership of Jerusalem can be cited as an example (Balivet, 2005: p.88).

One of the important roles of the Turks’ capture of Constantinople in the construction of the European identity is that they were thought of as Trojans and that Mehmet the Conqueror said, “In the past, Greeks, Macedonians, Thessalians, Peloponnesians destroyed these places, after all this time they were often unfairly treated. and I avenged the Asians they persecuted by punishing their grandchildren”. After the conquest of Constantinople, the European consciousness will compare the Turks with the Romans, and the belief that these warlike, contented people who take care of their subjects can establish a universal monarchy will settle in the unconscious of the people, starting with the observations of the travelers (Yerasimos, 2002: p.23).

In the 16th and 16th centuries, both the migration of European peasants to the lands under the rule of Turks, who had a more just and soft administration understanding, and the conversion of thousands of Europeans to Islam, the European view of Turks became more hostile and it was a material and moral threat, It has caused him to see himself as an aggressor who needs to be united against. Realizing the brutal and exploitative aspects of its own feudal order, Europe found the solution by reflecting these to the other side and tried to achieve its cohesion in this period with this reflection. In addition to all these, some geographers, historians, travelers and diplomats emphasized the positive aspects of the Ottoman Empire in their works on the Ottoman Empire, It deepened the fear of the Church, which felt responsible for ensuring the integrity of Europe, and forced it to take new steps.

In the face of this great and serious threat that it could not cope with, the Church invited all Christians to pray to God every day to ask for help against the Ottomans, and even to ring the Turkish bells at certain times of the day in some parts of Europe to remind the danger and keep people constantly on alert. implemented the application. While all this is being done, Europe is unanimous that the Turk is a threat, but beyond that, European dignitaries have a more important concern: how the European people recognize the Turk… Because now the “aggressive man from the East” is destroying the existence of Europe. threatens both the substance and the mana platform. Then reflection will come into play again. After the Mohac War, the Ottoman sultan had 2000 cut heads erected in front of his tent as a sign of victory.

Integration against a common enemy has been tried to be achieved by creating a common concern (Delumeau, 1985; Dollinger, 1999).Integration against a common enemy has been tried to be achieved by creating a common concern (Delumeau, 1985; Dollinger, 1999).Integration against a common enemy has been tried to be achieved by creating a common concern (Delumeau, 1985; Dollinger, 1999).

This great fear of Turks in Europe; it is a fear that has been processed by the church elders and inflated with various methods and for certain purposes (Subaşı, 2002). This mechanism shows that the “other” called “Turk” played the main role in ensuring the unity of Europe in the Middle Ages. This “unity against the dangerous other” behavior was effective even in the 16th century, when sectarian quarrels began to take place in Europe. Sultan Suleiman’s First Siege of Vienna failed and during the stagnation period of the Ottoman Empire, Europe started to make progress in the technical and cultural field, but the “Muslim Turk” remained indifferent to these advances that would shape the world civilization. The defeat of the Second Siege of Vienna in 1683, in the memory of the European.

It has a place as the salvation of Christianity and all European culture.  In the period between the end of the 16th century and the beginning of the 18th century, this role given to the Turks came to an end, the faults of the Turks were examined rather than their virtues, and their Eastern customs were criticized. From the Turkish type, which was admired as much as feared, to the Turkish type, which was hated as much as it was despised. It is clear that this change is a result of the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of Europe (Yerasimos, 2002: p.30).It is clear that this change is a result of the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of Europe (Yerasimos, 2002: p.30).It is clear that this change is a result of the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of Europe (Yerasimos, 2002: p.30).

Another important development that emerged in Europe in the 19th century is the emergence of the concept of “nation”. The Ottoman Empire, on the other hand, started to weaken in the same period; The Turkish image was identified with the “sick man” in the eyes of the Westerners, and it began to be perceived as a foreign object that caused severe national crises due to its weakness in Europe. It was realized at that time that there would not be a single European empire in the era of nation-states, and that many nation-states would emerge, and a structuring accordingly began. With nationalism, which is the official ideology of the nation-states age, nations have competed with each other, even sectarian wars have become power struggles and moves to come of age.

Europe, which sought the “other” after the advance of the “aggressive man from the east” stopped, this time, it went into divisions within itself, and after each division, it produced new foreigners for itself and started to reflect on these foreigners that it had created within itself for centuries. After the 1650s, that is, after the emergence of the social structures that laid the foundation for the establishment of nation-states, new definitions of foreigners were made with the social and political conditions of the period (Schöneberg, 1987; Wagner, Zick, 1993). “Stranger” is now defined from the perspective of ethnocentrism. Undoubtedly, within this definition, Turks are still foreigners, but due to their lack of threatening power, Turks were seen as a “neutralized enemy” at that time.

The economic infrastructure of the nation-state age is industrial capitalism. The machinery of capitalism operating in the infrastructure in Europe will plunge the society into sharp class conflicts in the form of bourgeois and proletariat. In this period, reflection came into play again, the feelings of hatred and enmity between the classes within the country were again reflected on the “foreigner”, and this defense mechanism, this time, served the functioning of capitalism and paved the way for the outbreak of two world wars (Claussen, 1994). Indeed, it is possible to find the hatred and enmity projected on the Turks in all of the Enlightenment thinkers in this period, and this is very sad.“Thus, the image of the Turk in the minds of the West has turned into a harmful entity that should no longer live.  From now on, the era in which the Turks are models will come to an end and the West will believe in its own universality. Pascal writes, ‘How painful it is to meet so many unbelieving and infidel Turks who practice what they saw from their ancestors’” (Yerasimos, 2002: p.32). Anti-Turkish sentences emerge from the pen of Diderot, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Chateaubriand and Hugo; In this period, the Turk turns into a scapegoat, on which the sins of the West are burdened and must be sent to the depths of Asia.

The ideals of the Enlightenment period, which started in the 18th century in Europe and added a new dimension to the return to Greek humanism in the Renaissance and Reformation Movements, and the concepts of freedom, equality, fraternity, science and technology, which came to the fore with the French Revolution, are the new symbols of modernity and Europe.  European-origin modernity creates an aura of attraction all over the world and spreads rapidly. However, this aura of attraction is also combined with hostile feelings towards Europe, which is trying to spread modernity through colonial methods. European-origin modernity could not bring peace, freedom and brotherhood to the world, on the contrary, it increased tensions and conflicts and caused two great wars to break out around the world.

Therefore, modernity, which affects the whole world, does not have a positive effect on the functioning of European consciousness. The power gained from the developments in science and technology has led to the invasion of a scientistic, positivist ideology in the minds of the European people and racist theories that see the rest of the world as primitive-savages. With this theory, white Europeans are declared the highest of creations, and the European lifestyle and civilization are accepted as the pinnacle of human history. Along with these acceptances, new definitions of foreigners emerged: non-white Europeans; those who are behind or below Europeans in terms of culture and civilization, intellectual abilities and even spiritual values; that is, the rest of the world’s people. The position of the European against these foreigners; congenital, biological and genetic, depending on its natural superiority, it is the authoritative, “master” position that knows “right” to dominate and exploit secretly and openly.

While it is claimed that whites take on the role of “missionary” against other races that are “less civilized”, in fact, the economic goals of colonialism are educational, religious, etc. It was tried to be covered with the understanding of “mission” (Egger, 1994). Turks are also one of the races that oppose all kinds of progress, are psychologically inferior and will never be able to get rid of this quality. European anthropology sees Turks as a primitive people, devoid of all kinds of pleasure, indifferent to all kinds of arts, lazy, insensitive, incapable of doing anything, and indulging in the most disgusting pleasures, and Turkish as a primitive language (Yerasimos, 2002: pp.41-42) .1994). Turks are also one of the races that oppose all kinds of progress, are psychologically inferior and will never be able to get rid of this quality. European anthropology sees Turks as a primitive people, devoid of all kinds of pleasure, indifferent to all kinds of arts, lazy, apathetic, incapable of doing anything, and indulging in the most disgusting pleasures, and Turkish as a primitive language (Yerasimos, 2002: pp.41-42) .1994). Turks are also one of the races that oppose all kinds of progress, are psychologically inferior and will never be able to get rid of this quality.

European anthropology sees Turks as a primitive people, devoid of all kinds of pleasure, indifferent to all kinds of arts, lazy, apathetic, incapable of doing anything, and indulging in the most disgusting pleasures, and Turkish as a primitive language (Yerasimos, 2002: pp.41-42) .“The primitive Turk will always remain at the level of an animal. He is a civilized savage. If you scrape off the outer polish, you’ll find the Tatar underneath. Education cannot quench his wilderness.” “The Turkish empire is worse than reactionary and is a phenomenon against history. It has always been and always will be a land of war.

Turks are real Huns who are descended from Genghis Khan, Tamerlane and Atilla. Their lifestyle is always militaristic, so they can never look at the world differently. Their dominance is based on slavery, concubinage in their homes and harems, on the enslavement of non-Turkish non-Muslim races. They maintain their dominance through wars and massacres.” “Turks are indeed very low on the intelligence level chart… History has shown us that Turks do not have the capacity for intelligence. That’s why they can’t rule the country. How can qualified peoples like Indians and Egyptians listen to the advice of the uncivilized Turk? A Turk cannot be a leader, he is completely incompetent and his mental faculties are not developed. (cited by Yerasimos, 2002: pp.43-44).

With this definition of foreigner, another legitimation has been made and this legitimation effort has saved Europe from the conflict of contradictions with the values it has produced, a new conflict of values and interests, by reflecting some inferior qualities to the “other”. Racism, which flourished on this very fertile ground, and defining the foreigner in an ethnocentric way became an integral part of the European view and hostility towards foreigners since the 19th century, and this situation has now reached its zenith in the 20th century.

The European, who looks at the Turkish with the turn of the century, is happy to see that the reflections he has made for centuries work. The Ottoman Empire, which was disintegrated after suffering a heavy defeat in the First World War, brought the Christian elements to join Europe and the European consciousness, on the one hand, and on the other hand, it led to the revival of the image of the “cruel Turk”. The Turks, who fell in love with re-establishing a modern republic from the ashes of the empire, evoked mixed feelings in the European consciousness. They are still standing, and this greatly angers the European consciousness:“The European mentality draws conclusions from data by observing and examining objects in their own environment.

But what to do when it comes to a special race like the Turks and a special country like Turkey? Is it possible to talk about a homogeneous nation with a language, history, customs and traditions that come from the same root, in short, whose homeland is Turkey? Never, never has it been, and never will be.”(as cited in Yerasimos, 2002: p.40). However, the fact that the Turks adopt modernization as an ideal, and especially that some of them call the modernization process “Westernization”, pleases the Europeans and satisfies the European egos.

The fact that European scientists are so eager to do research on Turkish modernization and that these studies attract great attention is because the inferior qualities reflected in the reflection process are accepted by the reflector and their internalization shows that the reflector achieves his goal. However, this situation did not change Europe’s perception of Turks as foreigners and threats. The Turk, who entered Europe with force, coercion and threat yesterday, has started to enter this geography this time with the invitation of Europe itself; Europe is now the “door to the hand in need”. Along with the Turks who went to Europe as workers in the 1960s, Europe perceived the Turk as a different threat this time and fell into the idea that he had entered into its body as a Trojan horse that carried the accumulation of centuries. This time, the concept of “foreigner outside” has left its place to a concept of “foreign inside”, which has been redefined especially for Turks, due to the large number of immigrants from Turkey in this period.

This period’s conceptualization of the inside brought along the risk of destroying the culture of the Europeans and the civilization they had built over the centuries. After the Second Vienna Defeat, the hostility against the Turks eased, and it flared up again as the Turks entered Europe, this time in a different way. Turks, who became the target of neo-Nazi movements in Germany, especially in the 90s,have been subjected to deliberate exclusion culturally and politically. Again, the European chose the way of relaxation by reflecting his own brutality and phobias on Turks without any difficulty, with a habit from history.

Meanwhile, with the collapse of the bipolar world in the same period, the balance established between the capitalist and socialist camp has been disrupted, and a new need for the “other” has emerged for the entire West. September 11, 2001 is a milestone declaring this new “other”; It is now clear that the new “other” is “Islamic terrorism”. When we look at our subject from the perspective of Europe, we see that the discourse of Islamic terrorism reinforces the already negative Turkish image in Europe. The foreign enemy within Europe, It is not only Turks but all Muslims, but historical memory and the European Union process that has been underway for a while brings the Turks to the fore again. For the European, the sure way to get rid of the Turks cannot be found.

Turks who want to join the European Union are nothing but the growing danger of the “foreign inside” in the eyes of the European who has such a historical background about themselves. Even in these difficult situations, the Turks once again left Europe with a stalemate. The projective identification mechanism that the European has operated throughout its history has become useless because of the Turks’ attitudes that do not care at all about the material projected to them and follow their own way.

The European consciousness is concerned about not finding a new solution for itself. With the Turks’ demand to enter the European Union coming to their doorstep, they do not know what to do in the face of this situation where the old mechanisms do not work, but on the other hand, the traces of the old hostility and fears cannot be erased. If he throws the Turks into himself, he has to vomit his old projections and project his own negative sides to someone else (for example, the USA). If it fails to achieve a new process of reflection and self-locking, the result is utterly disastrous.

Again, a Europe facing the threat of its own integrity, and the former scapegoat Turks as the reason for this… The stage today is no longer the battlefields, but the negotiation tables.

[1] This article, originally published with the title “From the battlefields to the negotiation tables: The Turkish image in Europe” (with Dr. M. Beyazyüz, with Dr. FV Yüksel- Türkiye Diary, Fall 2005, 82: 5-18.) was later published. Then it was rearranged and included in the 2006 edition of the book “Human Part, Part” published by Aşina Kitaplar. It was removed from the book with the arrangement made during the publication of the book by Vadi Publishing in 2019. The text you are reading is from 2006.

Source: http://www.erolgoka.net/avrupada-turk-imgesi/


Alman Batıl İnançları Sözlüğü. Handwörterbuch des Deutschen Aberglaubens. (1984). Berlin und Leipzig (1928), zit. in: Fremd ist der, der heute kommt und morgen bleibt“, Integration, Bayaz A, Damolin M, Ernst H (Hrsg), Beltz Verlag, Weinheim und Basel. (Aktaran Subaşı,  2002).

Balivet M. (2005). Ortaçağda Türkler.   Güntekin E. çeviren.  İstanbul, Alkım Yayınları.

Busbecq O. G. (2002). Türk Mektupları.  Özkan H. çeviren. İstanbul, Ark Kitapları.

Claussen D.(1994). Was heißt Rassismus?, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt. (Aktaran Subaşı,  2002).

Delumeau J. (1985). Angst im Abendland – Die Geschichte kollektiver Ängste im Europa des 14.-18. Jhdt’s. Reinbek, Hamburg. (Aktaran Subaşı,  2002).

Dollinger H. (1999). Schwarzbuch der Weltgeschichte. 5000 Jahre der Mensch des Menschen Feind. Komet, Frechen. (Aktaran Subaşı,  2002).

Egger A. (1994). Rassismus und Ethnozentrismus- Beobachtungen und Reflektionen. In: Fuchs G, Schratz M (Hrsg): Interkulturelles Zusammenleben- aber wie?, Österreichischer Studien Verlag, Innsbruck. (Aktaran Subaşı,  2002).

Erdheim M. (1984). Fremd ist der, der heute kommt und morgen bleibt. In: Bayaz A, Damolin M, Ernst H (Hrsg), Integration-Anpassung an die Deutschen?, Beltz Verlag, Weinheim. (Aktaran Subaşı,  2002).

Fried J. (1999). Endzeiterwartung und Fortschritt. In: Tausend Jahre Abendland-Die grossen Umbrüche. Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main. (Aktaran Subaşı,  2002).

Glaser H. (1999). 1000-Europa erwacht. In: Tausend Jahre Abendland-Die grossen Umbrüche. Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main. (Aktaran Subaşı,  2002).

Göka E. (1999). Helsinki’den sonra Avrupa’yı düşünmek. Avrasya Dosyası  5:4: 248-266.

Göka E. (2004). Avrupa Avrupa duy sesimizi: AB karşısında Türkiye’nin kültürel ve psikolojik konumu. Euro Agenda Avrupa Günlüğü  3:5: 231-249.

Göka E., Göral S., F.V. Yüksel. (2004). Birbirimize ne yapıyoruz? İnsan ilişkilerini kavramanın bir aracı olarak yansıtmalı özdeşim. Avrasya Dosyası  10:1:279-315.

Göral S. (2005). Türk Ermeni meselesi:  Mağduriyet psikolojisi ve büyük-grup kimliği. Stratejik Analiz  6:66:89-96.

Huberman L. (2000). Feodal Toplumdan Yirminci Yüzyıla. İstanbul, İletişim Yayınları.

Hudson V.M., Vore C.S. Vore, (2002). Dış politika analizinin dünü, bugünü ve yarını. Göka E. Kuşçu I. derleyenler. “luslararası İlişkilerin Psikolojisi” içinde. Ankara, ASAM Yayınları .

Kelman H., Fisher R. (2003). Conflict analysis and resolution. Sears D., Huddy L., Jervis R. derleyenler. “Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology” içinde. New York,  Oxford University Press,ss.316- 320.

Klein M. (1946). Notes on some schizoid mechanisms.  International Journal of Psychoanalysis  27: 99- 110.

Pirene H. (2002). Ortaçağ Kentleri. İstanbul, İletişim Yayınları .

Schöneberg U. (1987). Gruppenpsychologische Hintergründe der Fremdenangst und Fremdenfeindlichkeit. In: Ausländer und Massenmedien. Bestandsaufnahme und Perspektiven. Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung. Band 253, Bonn. (Aktaran Subaşı,  2002).

Subaşı, Ç. B. (2002).  1000’den 2000’e tarihsel süreç içinde Avrupa’da yabancı düşmanlığı. Stratejik Analiz  7: 27: 144-154

Volkan V.D. (1999). Kanbağı Etnik Gururdan Etnik Teröre. İstanbul, Bağlam Yayınları.

Volkan V.D. (2005). Uluslararası ilişkilerde psikanaliz ve psikanalizde uluslararası ilişkiler. “1. Psikanaliz ve diplomasi arası işbirliğinde engeller”  Stratejik Analiz  6:62:52-57.

Wagner U,  Zick A. (1993). Den Türken geht es besser als uns. In: Psychologie Heute 7. (Aktaran Subaşı,  2002).

Yerasimos S. (2002). Ne Mutlu Türk’üm Diyene. Yerasimos S. yayına hazırlayan. “Türkler: Doğu ve Batı, İslam ve Laiklik” içinde. İstanbul, Doruk yayınları, ss.15-57.


Subscribe For Latest Updates
And get notified every monday at 8:00 am in your mailbox


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular