Turks and Greeks – neighbours with so many commonalities

Turks and Greeks – neighbours with so many commonalities

Istanbul born Greek-Turkish writer Herkul Milas, compiled 4700 common words and 1275 proverb Turks and Greeks use in his book “Turkce Yunanca Ortak Kelimeler, Deyimler ve Atasözleri

When we talk about similarities between Turkish and Greek cultures, many may naturally think this would be a result of Greece being part of Turkey for four to five centuries. However, Turks and Greeks lived together for nearly a thousand years as there was a massive Greek population in the Anatolian mainland. This population was first reduced as a result of the population exchange agreement signed between Greece and Turkey resulted in the uprooting of all Greeks in modern Turkey (and Turks in Greece) from where many of them had lived for centuries after World War I. The remaining Greeks were mostly living in Istanbul and unfortunately they were forced to move after the anti-Greek pogrom in Istanbul in 1955.

The tombstone of a Greek Ottoman soldier among Turkish tombs in an Ottoman Military cemetery

The tombstone of a Greek Ottoman soldier among Turkish tombs in an Ottoman Military cemetery

Turks and Greeks share many common traits; physical features, emotional reactions, cuisine, customs, traditions, drinks, city names and words. Herkul Milas’ book explains that the similarities between national characters are reflected in the use of common proverbs and idioms.

Greek names among Turkish names on a monument dedicated to soldiers who fought for Ottoman Empire

Greek names among Turkish names on a monument dedicated to soldiers who fought for Ottoman Empire

Herkul Milas included an “Ebru” picture on the cover of his book. The writer explains in the preface of the book that, he sees Greek – Turkish affinity as the affinity between motifs in Ebru art. Multiculturalism is often explained as different cultures living together in mosaic format however Herkul Milas believes in case of Ottomans, the different cultures lived together integrated within each other unlike the pieces in mosaic where each piece is on its own but connected on the sides.[divider style = “1,2,3,4,5”][/divider]

A PDF version of the book can be found here.

You can also find an extended list of commong Turkish and Greek words here.

Some food names (TUR-GREEK)

acem pilavi –  acem pilafi
alkol – alkooli
ancuez – ancuya
baharat – bahariko
baklava – baklavas
bamya – bamya
barbunya – barbuni
biber – piperi / piperya
pogaca – bugaca
bulgur – bliguri
cigaralik – cigariliki
ceri (kiraz ickisi) – seri
cipura – cipura
cörek – cureki
defne – dafni
domates – domata
ekmek kadayifi – ekmek kadaifi
fasulye – fasoli
feslegen- vasilikos
fistik – pistakio
hamsi – hamsi
helva – halvas
ispanak – spanaki
istavrit – stavridi
istiridye – stridi
kahve – kafes
kalamar – kalamari
karides – garida
katmer – katimeri
kefal – kefalos

Names (TUR-GREEK)
akasya – akakia
aralik – araliki
asik – asikis
acelya – azalea
bahar – bahari
buglama – bulamas
fellah – felahos
kanavice – kanavaco
kanun – kanonaki
agustos – avgustos
defter – tefteri
gazete – gazeta
Kur’an – korani
makyaj -makiyaz
nostalji – nostalyia

This article originally appeared on EverythingTurkish

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