Effects of Turcophobia
...It is a term describing a group of people who have formed their collective identity around the hatred of a race, ethnic or religious group.
A certain form of it, Turkophobia, is especially common in the Middle East and Balkans. Small proto-nations, or tribal collections of people have been found to develop hatred of Turks into a semi-religion and almost an art form thus establishing and verifying their very own identity and character. There is almost no cure for this evil bacteria. A lust for blood, preferably of Muslim or Turkish, is the most obvious symptom. A runaway strain of this illness recently has caused much death and destruction in the Balkans. Researchers are still trying to find a cure.
Guestbook comment, author unknown
I'd rather be a dog than a Turk.
I'd rather be the scum of the world than a Turk.
I'd rather be conquered by everyone and not be a Turk.
I'd feel blessed not to be a Turk.
Hellektor, armeniangenocide.com/forum/, Jan. 18, 2006
The many years of exclusively reported anti-Turkish negativism have had the desired effect.
The article below is not as revealing as a lecture I saw on video once... with Professor Justin McCarthy. He referred to another poll, one that asked which ethnic group was the most disliked in America. The Turks made Number One on that list.
For lack of that *, the following "1995 Poll" with less sensational findings will have to suffice... just to give an idea of how all the negative reportage leaves people with a clear bias. This is why Greek, Armenian and other Turk-hating groups get jittery whenever anything positive is reported about Turkey. They are quick to write letters to newspapers whenever the rare, favorable account shows up... reminding of all the many genocides the Turks have perpetrated in their hateful eyes. Whenever something promising about Turkey is announced, letter-writing campaigns of intimidation seal their doom. Turk-hating forces within the media are quick to sabotage anything about Turks that might leave a favorable impression. And then Greeks and Armenians laugh in their web sites that nobody likes the Turks.
* Here is a passage by Justin McCarthy I subsequently came across, as reported by Levon Marashlian:
...In surveys conducted in American universities concerning attitudes toward various peoples, "the Turks always come out as the worst," because of "all these prejudices built in." He stated that he recently conducted the survey at his own university among 300 students, and "the Turks came out worse than Cambodians, worse than Colombians, just down the line, worse than Russians, and Germans . . ." But when asked how much they knew of Turks, McCarthy explained, the students "who disliked the Turks the most were the ones who admitted that they knew nothing about them at all. . . . they said, I don't know anything about them, but I hate them. This is prejudice, and only over the next 10, 20, 30 years can we hope to defeat that prejudice, and that's what we really have to work on."
1995 Poll Suggests 26% Rates Turkey Favorable in U.S.
Washington, D.C., May 4--A nationwide poll conducted by the John Zogby Group International on April 19 through 24 for Asharq al Awsat, a Saudi Arabian daily based in London, found out that only 26 percent of the American public opinion rates Turkey favorable whereas 24 percent rates it unfavorably. 50 percent of the poll showed to be indifferent towards Turkey.
The purpose of this nationwide poll, with a sample of 1,004 adults, was to find out more about the attitudes towards Islam and the Middle East in the United States. Ironically, the poll was begun just as Americans were receiving news of the Oklahoma City bombing tragedy.
The poll had a margin of sampling error of +1-3.2. The sample was slightly weighted by gender, race, and party, and the sample was stratified by region to represent population patterns. The majority of the respondents had at least high school education (93.8%), were older than 30 years old (82.3%) and white (80.3%).
Among the major findings of the poll were:
• Nearly half (48%) feel that "there is a tendency to discriminate against Muslims in the U.S."
• Pluralities agree that "Muslims tend to lead clean and respectable lives" (37% to 24%) and "the vast majority of Muslims hate terrorism" (35% to 25%).
• Egypt has a better favorable to unfavorable rating (45 % to 17%) than any Middle East country, including Israel (49% to 22%).
• Majorities agree that the US should continue to ensure the security of Saudi Arabia (55%), Kuwait (56%), and Israel (53%), while a plurality favors the same for Egypt (46%-34%).
• A plurality (39%) feels that the US should "pressure Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty".
• A huge majority (78%) feel that sanctions against Iraq should not be lifted.
For a copy of the report please call John I Zogby at (315) 853-3598.
The article above was reported in
The Turkish Times May 15, 1995
"Racism originates from a mind-set that regards 'them' as different from 'us' in ways that are permanent and unbridgeable...What is being denied is the possibility that the racializers and the racialized can coexist in the same society."
George Frederickson, Racism: A Short History
“The Turks are aware of the prejudice against them that exists in Western minds, and are inclined to despair of the possibility of overcoming it”
I have heard believing Western Christians, in comparing the Turks with the Near Eastern Christian peoples, stigmatise the former as ‘incapable of progress.’ These same Christian Westerners would be horrified at the doctrine that negroes, or women,1 have no souls. Yet this is only a theological form of the proposition which they make, with regard to the Turks, without hesitation. It is not the first case in which theological prejudice has led estimable people to count fellow human-beings among ‘the beasts that perish.’ Western statesmen are little better, for though they have recently become more chary of religious allusions, the other current defamations of the Turks could hardly have been more pithily formulated than they were by the Allied Governments in a note dated the 11 th January 1917 and addressed to President Wilson, in which they enumerated, among their war-aims, ‘the expulsion from Europe of the Ottoman Empire, which has proved itself so radically alien to Western civilisation.’ ...These are the three false antitheses of Christianity and Islam, Europe and Asia, civilisations and barbarism. They are so deeply rooted in Western minds...
Arnold Toynbee, The Western Question in Greece and Turkey, 1922; Footnote 1: But I have heard this doctrine as regards women attributed by them—I believe with no foundation whatever—to Islam. The doctrine about Negroes was, of course, propounded by Protestant divines in the Southern States of the American Union before the Civil War. The Turks, like other Moslems, are free from prejudice about colour.
The Effect of the Image of the Turk
on the Armenian - Turkish Conflict
In Canada and the United States, the Armenian-Turkish Conflict has generally been understood as a simple matter of Turks killing the Armenians, as a matter of course. Several factors contribute to this understanding including religious and racial prejudice.
The prejudice against Turks originates from ethnic and religious stereotyping and wartime propaganda. The stereotyping of Turks is more difficult to wipe out compared to most other groups, since there have been few Turks living in North America until the second half of the 20th century. Because prejudice against Turks is also rooted in older religious biases against non-Christians, it is especially difficult to eradicate.
During the Crusades, a time of intense European Christian hatred of Muslims and Islam, Turks became known in Europe as the strongest Islamic warriors. They became the focus of religious hatred. Later when the Ottomans began to conquer Christian countries, hatred was intensified by the fear. For 300 years Ottomans remained a threat to Europe. Three hundred years were more than enough for a stereotype of Turks to form in the West. The familiar image of the "Terrible Turk " was born.
The stereotyping and prejudice against Turks are evident when one examines the dictionaries commonly used in the West. The following are some examples of how dictionaries define "Turk":
Webster's International Dictionary
"One exhibiting any quality attributed to Turks such as duplicity, sensuality or brutality"
Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary- "One who is cruel or tyrannical"
Concise Oxford Dictionary- "Ferocious, wild or unmanageable person"
Random House Dictionary:- "A cruel, brutal or domineering man"
Turks were portrayed for centuries as evil in European folk culture and art; in paintings, plays, books and cartoons. No wonder Europeans and later North Americans were always willing to believe the worst of the Turks.
Effect of Religion:
In the 19th century almost all the information on the Armenian-Turkish conflict that came to North America originated with missionaries who, by nature, only told of Armenian suffering; never of the Turkish suffering.
The Muslims of the Ottoman Empire were often described as fanatical in their religion and this was frequently given as the motivation for supposed attacks on Christians. Yet the Ottoman Government has a long tradition of religious tolerance and had allowed Christian and Jewish groups to retain their religious practices. When Christians conquered Spain and attempted to forcibly convert all non-Christians, it was the Ottoman Empire that welcomed the Jews of Spain.
The missionaries in Anatolia 100 years ago were imbued with a sense of Christian religious superiority and Armenian racial superiority that coloured all their observations. They felt a very practical need to support the Armenian cause. Missionary reporting of events in Eastern Anatolia was deeply influenced by the fact that the American Mission was a Mission to the Armenians. Without the Armenians the Protestant Church in the Ottoman Empire would not have existed.
The Armenians were more susceptible to conversion to Protestant belief than any other group in Anatolia. Missionary efforts to convert the Greeks and Jews met with little success and the Muslims were uninterested. Once the Armenian Rebellion, motivated by the ideas imported from Europe began, there was real fear that the failure of Armenian conversion might mean the end of missionary activities. Not suprisingly, missionary reports listed and often exaggerated the death of Armenians but did not mention the deaths of Muslims.
The most vocal support in North America for the Armenian cause, aside from the Armenians themselves, came from Protestant clergymen. In 1878 one of the themes emphasized by such clergymen was that " the unspeakable Turk had ruined the countries over which he had ruled and that the Turks had no business in Europe because the Turk was never properly Europeanized; he only pitched his tent in Constantinople". It appears the same view is held in the West even today, as evidenced by the European Union's rejection of Turkey in December 1997 from its expansion plans as the only Muslim country, while including all the countries under the former communist regimes, despite the fact that Turkey had been a candidate for full membership since 1964.
Effect of Newspapers
In the latter half of 19th century large number of Armenians migrated to North America. They formed significant and vocal populations in several important U.S and Canadian cities including New York, Boston, San Francisco, Montreal and Toronto. There was no similar group of Turkish immigrants to write to American congressmen or Canadian members of parliament and to newspaper editors. Over a period of time the non-Armenian public was bound to be affected by the only viewpoint they were able to hear or read.
An opinion expressed over and over by Armenians in Canada and the U.S. in the early parts of the century, was that the Ottoman government had a plan to exterminate the Armenians and wipe out all Christians. Such accusations found ready ground among a public which already believed that good Muslims killed Christians merely because of their Christianity. It made no difference that the episodes of massacre were set off when Muslims were killed by Armenians revolutionary organizations. In Canadian or American public opinion, any claim became acceptable so long as they were directed against the Turks.
The influence of newspapers in the early twentieth century was far greater than today, as the only source of news for the public. The few sources of information on the Ottoman Empire for the Canadian and American newspapers were the missionaries and Armenians living in North America. Because of prejudice, lack of familiarity with the Ottoman system and language barriers, reports seldom considered soliciting the Turkish position. During World War I these sources were supplemented with reports from the British who were themselves at war with the Ottomans. Such reports were never objective and were embellished with wartime propaganda.
As a result of centuries of prejudice and decades of propaganda, Turks were thought to go around routinely killing Armenians. It was literally impossible for a Canadian or American to find the truth on events in Eastern Anatolia. Following the lead of the missionaries, Armenians and the clergy, the press routinely slandered Muslims as murderers and Turks as barbarians.
Although Turks had controlled Eastern Anatolia for more than eight centuries and Muslims were a majority in every province, Armenians felt an historical claim to this territory. The claim was accepted by the Western press and was reflected in references to "Armenia" as if Armenia represented a definite country with particular boundaries. The actual makeup of the population which was overwhelmingly Muslim, was never reported.
In more recent times, the well respected National Geographic magazine in its June 1978 issue, published an article entitled "The Proud Armenians" which included a map of Turkey showing almost all of Eastern Anatolia as the "Armenian Homeland". The same magazine, unbelievably, in its August 1992 issue published an article entitled" Struggle of the Kurds" which included a map of Eastern Anatolia, showing virtually the same territory as "Kurdistan"! It is as if Turks never existed in Anatolia.
The English propaganda machine during the First World War churned out stories of atrocities against both Germany and its ally Turkey to aid its war effort both at home and abroad. The Western nations needed to believe and promote Ottoman stories of atrocities in order to excuse their own plans to annex the Turkish lands. The proposed carving up of the Ottoman Empire and the assignment of lands to various European Powers, were a favorite pastime of intellectuals, diplomats and politicians. The justification for these nations to take Ottoman territory and expel or obliterate the Turkish presence from Anatolia, was that the European conquerors would bring civilization and Christianity.
The preceding article was written by Ay Dogan
For further insight on the prejudicial perception
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