The Western image of Turks from the Middle Ages to the 21st century: the myth of 'terrible Turk' and 'lustful Turk'

Tiryakioglu, N.O., 2015. The Western image of Turks from the Middle Ages to the 21st century: the myth of 'terrible Turk' and 'lustful Turk'. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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The Western image of Turks is identified with two distinctive stereotypes: 'Terrible Turk' and 'Lustful Turk'. These stereotypical images are deeply rooted in the history of the Ottoman Empire and its encounters with Christian Europe. Because of their fear of being dominated by Islam, European Christians defined the Turks as the wicked 'Other' against their perfect 'Self'. Since the beginning of Crusades, the Western image of Turks is associated with cruelty, barbarity, murderousness, immorality, and sexual perversion. These characteristics still appear in cinematic representations of Turks. In Western films such as Lawrence of Arabia and Midnight Express, the portrayals of Turks echo the stereotypes of 'terrible Turk' and 'lustful Turk'. This thesis argues that these stereotypes have transformed into a myth and continued to exist uniformly in Western contemporary cinema. The thesis attempts to ascertain the uniformity and consistency of the cinematic image of Turks and determine the associations between this image and the myths of 'terrible Turk' and 'lustful Turk'. To achieve this goal, this thesis examines the trajectory of the Turkish image in Western discourse between the 11th and 21st centuries. The discourse analysis focuses on the Western writings, speeches, sermons, and literary texts, including the Crusade rhetoric, Renaissance humanist discourse, Early Modern English drama, and Orientalist travelogue. To establish the continuity of the Turkish stereotypes in Western discourse, the thesis also presents a critical analysis of Western contemporary cinema, including both American and European films. The methodology of the thesis is based on two main theoretical approaches: a) representational practices, which involve the concepts of Otherness, stereotypes, myth, narrative, discourse and intertextuality; and b) Orientalism. These concepts provide a better understanding for the mythical characteristics of the Turkish stereotype. The thesis also offers an exploratory look at the social media platforms and their possible impact on the Turkish image in the future.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Tiryakioglu, N.O.
Date: December 2015
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the owner(s) of the Intellectual Property Rights.
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 08 Jun 2016 13:27
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2016 13:27

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