Image Of The Turks

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade April 2001

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The Image of the Turks Throughout history the Ottoman Empire was looked upon as having a barbaric and lustful people. This was the opinion of a majority of Western Europeans. Andrew Wheatcroft wrote The Ottomans to show exactly how the Europeans did look on the Turks. This paper shows how the feelings toward the Ottomans created stereotypes that lasted centuries.

The Europeans looked upon the Turks as lower forms of human beings, much like Adolf Hitler viewed the Jews during World War II. Europeans were prejudiced towards the Turks because they did not understand the Muslim people or their religion. Wheatcroft used a quote by Francis Bacon to show the mood of the Europeans in the sixteenth-century: Without morality, without letters, arts or sciences; a people that can scarce measure an acre of land or an hour of the day; base and sluttish in building, diet and the like; and in a word, a very reproach to human society"¦it is truly said concerning the Turk, where the Ottoman's horse sets his foot, people come up very thin (231).

The Turks were considered to be a very dangerous group of people. The Europeans were really scared of them. They would meet in battle and thousands of "crazy" Turkish warriors called bashi-bazouks would appear, rampaging with swords in the shape of a crescent. The Europeans had never seen any thing like this before and they didn't know what to think. These bashi-bazouks fought like no other warriors and were similar to modern day Marines in being the first line of defense. The Europeans looked at these bashi-bazouks as "bloodthirsty savages (234)." They were accused of raping the women and pillaging the cities they would conquer, knowing good and well that the Europeans would do the same when they conquered a city...