Image of the Turk in Games as an Antithesis


  • Omer Fatih Parlak Autonomous University of Barcelona



Image of the Turk, Board Games, Playing Cards, Early Modern Period, the Ottomans


"The Turk" is a multifaceted concept that emerged in the late Middle Ages in Europe, and has gained new faces over the course of time until today. Being primarily a Muslim, the Turk usually connoted the antichrist, infidel, and the ultimate enemy. With such attributed qualities, the concept influenced European art and literature by providing a subject with negative visual and textual representations. Current scholarly corpus about representations of the Turk sufficiently investigates the subject, yet, without offering different reading and conclusion. This paper aims at introducing a new perspective to the image of the Turk by shedding light on its representations in early modern European board games and playing cards; thus, contributing to a nouvelle scholarly interest on the image of the Turk. It argues that, belonging to a familiar but relatively obscure world of games, board games and playing cards have the potential to reinforce an antithesis to the negative image of the Turk.


Omer Fatih Parlak, Autonomous University of Barcelona

is a PhD candidate in the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and a member of a research group supervised by Maria Jose Vega. He spent one year in the University of Vienna as a Visiting PhD student. He is a member of the Board Game Studies Society and the Society of Turkic, Ottoman and Turkish Studies in University of Hamburg. He presented two papers in 'BGS15' in La Tour-de-Peilz, Switzerland and 'Games and Empires 2016' in Saarbrücken, Germany, which will be published. Previously he completed his MA in Eastern Mediterranean University in 2012, with a focus on Medical History and dynamics of history writing in contemporary Turkey. His research interests lie in the area of early modern Europe with special emphasis on reflections of the image of the Turk in European arts and literature. He presented his paper introducing an Ottoman medical manuscript about syphilis in the international conference on "Islamic Civilization in the Mediterranean" (2010).






Parlak, O. F. „Image of the Turk in Games As an Antithesis“. Middle East - Topics & Arguments, Bd. 8, Mai 2017, S. 87-95, doi:10.17192/meta.2017.8.6048.