country straddling Southeast Europe and West Asia
(Redirected from Anatolia)
This entry is about the country; for the bird, see Turkeys.

Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye), officially the Republic of Turkey and Türkiye, is a Eurasian country that stretches across the Anatolian peninsula in southwestern Asia and the Balkan region of southeastern Europe. The modern Republic of Turkey was formed by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I. It is a founding member of NATO and is a candidate for membership in the European Union. Its current head of state is President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

I love Turkey. I first traveled there in my early twenties, when I was obsessed by the 1915 Dardanelles campaign. I immediately liked the people — brave, stoical, generous, hospitable and patriotic, if a little inclined to conspiracy theories. I saw Turkey as a model for the region. ~ Daniel Hannan
Turkey has a secular constitution. It's a democratic society where you have gender equality between men and women. It's a member of NATO and is in accession talks with the European Union. ~ Soner Cagaptay

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He is a weak ruler who needs religion to uphold his government; it is as if he would catch his people in a trap. My people are going to learn the principles of democracy, the dictates of truth and the teachings of science. Superstition must go. ~ Atatürk
Turks can be killed, but they can never be conquered. ~ Napoleon
Turkey and Cyprus in particular, while geologically Asian, possess elements of European culture and may be regarded as parts of Europe. ~ Encyclopædia Britannica
[The Ottoman Empire] whose sick body was not supported by a mild and regular diet, but by a powerful treatment, which continually exhausted it. ~ Montesquieu

Hereunder is the Student Oath that all Turkish students had to recite at the beginning of each schoolday until 2013. The original was written in 1933 by Reşit Galip, the Minister of Education at the time. It has been changed a few times since then, the version that follows is from 1997. "How happy is the one who says I am a Turk" (Ne mutlu Türküm diyene) is a quote from a speech by Atatürk. The references to Atatürk were not present in the original, they were added in 1972, by then the Turkish military had performed two coups (in 1960 and 1971), partly due to them fearing the country was veering away from Atatürk's ideals. (In the past, the Turkish military traditionally viewed itself as a guardian of Atatürk's legacy.)

  • I am a Turk, honest and hardworking.
    My principle is to protect the younger, to respect the elder, to love my homeland and my nation more than myself.
    My ideal is to rise, to progress.
    O Great Atatürk!
    On the path that you have paved, I swear to walk incessantly toward the aims that you have set.
    Let my existence be a gift to the Turkish existence.

    How happy is the one who says "I am a Turk!"

    Türk'üm, doğruyum, çalışkanım,
    İlkem: küçüklerimi korumak, büyüklerimi saymak, yurdumu, milletimi özümden çok sevmektir.
    Ülküm: yükselmek, ileri gitmektir.
    Ey Büyük Atatürk!
    Açtığın yolda, gösterdiğin hedefe durmadan yürüyeceğime ant içerim.
    Varlığım Türk varlığına armağan olsun.

    Ne mutlu Türk'üm diyene!

Quotes about

  • Regardless of which authority ordered it and their legal reasoning, it is certain that the government, including the president, is annoyed with the growing criticism toward them in terms of handling the aftermath of the earthquakes. [And with the general election in May, the] government is obviously not happy about this criticism and wants to control the communication
  • Turkey does not leave the rights in Azerbaijan, Syria, Libya, and the East Mediterranean to the mercy of the powerful and unjust, who have grand statements to say; it accumulates the power it needs to claim its rights where necessary. The spectacular performances demonstrated by the armed UAVs, Kirpis (“Hedgehogs,” heavy armored troop carriers), Turkish canons, and all products of the defense industry, were only showing the power of justice.
  • …He is a weak ruler who needs religion to uphold his government; it is as if he would catch his people in a trap. My people are going to learn the principles of democracy, the dictates of truth and the teachings of science. Superstition must go. Let them worship as they will; every man can follow his own conscience, provided it does not interfere with sane reason or bid him against the liberty of his fellow-men.
    • Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, as quoted in Atatürk: The Biography of the founder of Modern Turkey, by Andrew Mango; "In a book published in 1928, Grace Ellison quotes [Atatürk], presumably in 1926-27", Grace Ellison Turkey Today (London: Hutchinson, 1928)
  • …O Turkish child of future generations! As you see, even under these circumstances and conditions, it is your duty to save the Turkish Independence and the Republic! The strength that you will need is present in the noble blood which flows in your veins!
  • The Republic of Turkey cannot be a country of sheikhs, dervishes, and disciples. The truest, most real order is the order of civilisation.
  • Understand this: Turkey is a country whose warnings should be taken seriously and listened to. Don't test Turkey's patience. Try to win its friendship.
  • I am one of the servants of Allah. We do our duty of fighting for the sake of the religion of Allah. It is also our duty to send a call to all the people of the world to enjoy this great light and to embrace Islam and experience the happiness in Islam. Our primary mission is nothing but the furthering of this religion. ... Let not the West be taken in by those who say that Muslims choose nothing but slaughtering. Their brothers in East Europe, in Turkey and in Albania have been guided by Allah to submit to Islam and to experience the bliss of Islam. Unlike those, the European and the American people and some of the Arabs are under the influence of Jewish media.
  • All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.
  • [I]n Germany we are giving work to two million people from Turkey.
  • We all know the Turkish state is in a position to control its borders. It is not failed state, it is a proper functioning state so we have to negotiate with Turkey for its responsibilities. It is not like Libya which is ungovernable.
  • “…the planet from which the little prince came is the asteroid known as B-612. This asteroid has only once been seen through a telescope. That was by a Turkish astronomer, in 1909. On making his discovery, the astronomer had presented it to the International Astronomical Congress, in a great demonstration. But he was in Turkish costume, and so nobody would believe what he said. …Fortunately, however, for the reputation of Asteroid B-612, a Turkish dictator made a law that his subjects, under pain of death, should change to European costume. So in 1920 the astronomer gave his demonstration all over again, dressed with impressive style and elegance. And this time everybody accepted his report.”
    • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (translated by Katherine Woods), Piccolo Books in association with Heinemann, Pan Books, London, 1974 (first 1945). Quoted in Talageri, S. (2000). The Rigveda: A historical analysis. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan.
  • Turkey doesn’t understand that, for the United States, buying a sophisticated Russian air defense system is a major national security issue that can’t be papered over. But Americans don’t understand that all their tough talk about leveling sanctions against Turkey if the Russian arms sale goes through only plays into Turkish leaders’ hands politically...
    Speaking at a forum on Ankara-Washington relations hosted by the Hudson Institute in Washington, Hudson fellow Blaise Misztal said that, to President Tayyip Erdogan and his political coalition partners, “sanctions and kicking you out of 'NATO is a winning policy” because it fuels long-standing and growing anti-Americanism in their nationalist-leaning array of parties. Since 2014, and particularly after a failed coup attempt in 2016 that many Turks believe was known in Washington before it was launched, Erdogan “is becoming closer to [Vladimir] Putin, Bashir al Assad, Iran and China” to burnish his nationalist credentials, Misztal said. As an example of how this plays out, Erdogan told his parliament Wednesday the nation is “passing through a very critical period, from economy to security.” He warned about plotters still inside its borders and their outside supporters. At the same time as Erdogan spoke, a Turkish newspaper reported the defense ministry is sending troops to Russia to receive familiarization training for the S-400 air defense system.
  • …I think that I have said that at three or four meetings before rather than us talking about the problem of Cyprus which makes that it becomes a problem for the Republic as it is worldwide known we ought to talk about the problem of Turkey, it is really a 100% Turkish problem that they're not acting in the way in which they should be acting and if that's the case well shove it to them!
    • Rudi Vis, [At the Friends of Cyprus meeting in the Jubilee Room at the House of Commons, 3rd July 2007] (see External links for transcript).
  • I hate calumny so much that I do not want even to impute foolishness to the Turks, although I detest them as tyrants over women and enemies of the arts.
  • We became acquainted we found the people, whether Christian or Turkish, prevailingly of a friendly, kindly, progressive type, as is often the case with simple-minded people in times of peace.
    • George Edward White (1940). Adventuring with Anatolia College. Herald-Register. pp. p. 18. 
  • I always liked the common Turkish people unless they were stirred to passion by militarists.
    • George Edward White (1940). Adventuring with Anatolia College. Herald-Register. pp. p. 18. 
  • In the College two classes were called preparatory, while four bore the ordinary college class names. The schools from which our students came did not carry them far. When Americans first came to Turkey, hardly any vernacular was taught anywhere. Instruction was in classic tongues and religious lore. But our students for the most part came with a purpose in modern life. They wanted to attain a worth-while and useful manhood and they felt that the College could give them a start.
    • George Edward White (1940). Adventuring with Anatolia College. Herald-Register. pp. p. 19. 
  • One student told me in after years that when he came to Marsovan [a city in Turkey] he was really illiterate, that is, he could not fairly read his native tongue, or any other. But he had no chance of learning more in his native village. For a number of months he was cow-boy for an American family, and eagerly studying too.
    • George Edward White (1940). Adventuring with Anatolia College. Herald-Register. pp. p. 19. 
  • Another time I was riding alone with a Circassian, and in the talk of man to man in such companionship, asked him a bit about his occupation and his affairs. "Sometimes I get a traveller to escort, like you", he replied, "and then I take him, but my regular business is smuggling tobacco. Every man in our village has a regular job, some are smugglers, some are farmers, and some are thieves". I asked him about his chance of getting caught, and he promptly said, "There are two kinds of smugglers; one kind gets caught and one kind doesn't get caught", and he added a pious expression of gratitude to the good Lord that he never had been put to shame yet. We knew very well that the mounted police of Anatolia were largely recruited from among the robbers and smugglers of the mountain roads. One of the most effective ways of securing official employment, and who knows what promotion later, was to acquire the reputation of a daring hold-up man on the mountains."
    • George Edward White (1940). Adventuring with Anatolia College. Herald-Register. pp. p. 25. 

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 823.
  • The unspeakable Turk should be immediately struck out of the question, and the country be left to honest European guidance.
    • Thomas Carlyle, letter to a meeting at St. James Hall, London, 1876. See also his article on 'Das Niebelungen Lied in Westminster Review. 1831. No. 29. Also his Letter to George Howard, Nov. 24, 1876.
  • [Turks] one and all, bag and baggage, shall I hope clear out from the province they have desolated and profaned.
  • The Lofty Gate of the Royal Tent.
    • Mahomet II. It was translated "La Porte Sublima" by the Italians. See E. S. Creasy, History of the Ottoman Turks, p. 96, ed. 1877.
  • [The Ottoman Empire] whose sick body was not supported by a mild and regular diet, but by a powerful treatment, which continually exhausted it.
  • We have on our hands a sick man,—a very sick man. [The sick man of Europe, the Turk.]
    • Nicholas I, of Russia. Conversation with Sir George Hamilton Seymour. (1853). See Blue Book (1854).
  • [The Ottoman Empire] has the body of a sick old man, who tried to appear healthy, although his end was near.
    • Sir Thomas Roe, Ambassador to Constantinople. See Buchanan, Letter, 375.
  • Your Majesty may think me an impatient sick man, and that the Turks are even sicker.
    • Voltaire to Catherine II. In the Rundschau (April, 1878).


  • For nearly five hundred years, these rules and theories of an Arab Shaikh and the interpretations of generations of lazy and good-for-nothing priests have decided the civil and criminal law of Turkey. They have decided the form of the Constitution, the details of the lives of each Turk, his food, his hours of rising and sleeping the shape of his clothes, the routine of the midwife who produced his children, what he learned in his schools, his customs, his thoughts-even his most intimate habits. Islam – this theology of an immoral Arab – is a dead thing. Possibly it might have suited tribes in the desert. It is no good for modern, progressive state. God’s revelation! There is no God! These are only the chains by which the priests and bad rulers bound the people down. A ruler who needs religion is a weakling. No weaklings should rule.
    • Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, as quoted in Grey Wolf: Mustafa Kemal – An intimate study of a dictator (1932) by Harold Courtenay Armstrong, pp. 199-200

See also

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