03 January 2015

3515) Orientalism: ‘Terrible Turk’ Becomes a ‘Genocidal Turk’


M. HAKAN YAVUZ

University of Utah, USA

ABSTRACT

This article examines the connections between Orientalism and the construction of the stereotypic image, the ‘terrible Turk.’ It focuses on the major politically motivated texts that were produced during the First World War as war propaganda. These texts portrayed Turks as the enemy of civilization at a time when Britain and later the United States were at war with the Ottoman Empire, which unof?cially was known as Turkey in the West. In the years after the First World War, the essentially racist characterizations of Turks in these polemical texts made them undiplomatic and they essentially were forgotten. In recent decades, however, diverse international actors have been recycling these texts in a concerted effort to delegitimize the Republic of Turkey and to ‘otherize’ Turks as ‘genocidal’ for deporting the Armenian population out of eastern Anatolia in 1915. By examining the motives behind both the Armenian and Turkish reframing of the 1915 events as a Turkish genocide campaign against Armenians or an Armenian mezalim [atrocity] against Muslims, the article criticizes both approaches and provides a new framework for mutual understanding between Christians and Muslims.

KEY WORDS

Armenian Revolutionary Federation; Armenians; Anatolia; John Bryce; First World War; Genocide; Islamophobia; mezalim; Muslims; Henry Morgenthau; Sr., Orientalism; Ottoman Empire; Arnold Toynbee . . .

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