Foreign Influences on Turkish Culture

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Throughout the history, there have always been foreign influences on every culture. When it comes to the Turkish culture, having a wide geographic area, being located between Europe and Asia, playing a role as a host to hundreds of cultures are determiner factors for Turkish culture to be influenced by foreign cultures. In today’s world interaction between cultures happens more easily and quickly because of the mass media, guest workers living in foreign countries, TV series, literature, and music culture. Chinese, Arabic, Persian and Western civilizations have had great impact on Turkish culture since Turks began to appear on history scene. First of all, both eastern and western countries have left a permanent mark on the Turkish language. After the adaptation of Islam with Seljuk Turks, who are the cultural ancestors of Ottoman Empire, Turkish language borrowed a great number of words from Arabic to use in many fields such as administration, literature, philosophy, and law. In addition to Arabic, Turkish also acquired non-Arabic Persian words: Chagatai can be shown as a main example for languages influenced by Perso-Arabic language. In Ottoman Age which lasted more than six hundred years (1299-1922) the language used for literature and official administration that is called Ottoman Turkish was a mixture of Turkish, Persian and Arabic, whereas the colloquial language was different and less sophisticated. Since the Constitutional Period that began in 1839 with the return of some young Turks from the Europe, French and English have become effective in Turkish language. Some types of literature are adapted from French literature such as novel, tale, and article. For example “Taaşşuk-ı Talat ve Fitnat” is the first Turkish novel written by Şemseddin Sami who is one of those Young Turks in 1873 (Yapucu 7). After the foundation of Turkish Republic, westernization in language seemed to happen more voluntarily. Turkish government changed the alphabet on the first...
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