Turks and Greeks; common words, proverbs, idioms.

Turks and Greeks; common words, proverbs, idioms.

Istanbul born Greek-Turkish writer Herkul Milas, compiled 4700 common words and 1275 proverb Turks and Greeks use in his book ‘Türkçe 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.

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.

A PDF version of the book can be found here.

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

Some food names (TUR-GREEK)

acem pilavı –  acem pilafi
alkol – alkooli
ançüez – ançuya
baharat – bahariko
baklava – baklavas
bamya – bamya
barbunya – barbuni
biber – piperi / piperya
poğaça – bugaça
bulgur – bliguri
cigaralık – cigariliki
çeri (kiraz içkisi) – seri
çipura – çipura
çörek – çüreki
defne – dafni
domates – domata
ekmek kadayıfı – ekmek kadaifi
fasulye – fasoli
fesleğen- vasilikos
fıstık – pistakio
hamsi – hamsi
helva – halvas
ıspanak – spanaki
istavrit – stavridi
istiridye – stridi
kahve – kafes
kalamar – kalamari
karides – garida
katmer – katimeri
kefal – kefalos

akasya – akakia
aralık – aralıki
âşık – asikis
açelya – azalea
bahar – bahari
buğlama – bulamas
fellah – felahos
kanaviçe – kanavaço
kanun – kanonaki
ağustos – avgustos
defter – tefteri
gazete – gazeta
Kur’an – korani
makyaj -makiyaz
nostalji – nostalyia

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