A Turkologist who spoke to Sputnik Hellas sees specific targets behind the moves made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who stops using Greek terms.
The recent renaming of the Aegean Sea by the Turkish President to the “Sea of the Islands” made sense.
This expression is generally used by Turkish nationalists, said Dimitris Stathakopoulos, PhD at Panteion University, a Turkologist and associate of the Center for Turkish and Eurasian Studies at the University of Piraeus, and a lawyer at the Supreme Court.
As he explained, the average Turk is indifferent to these issues, as well as the fiestas that Erdoğan made a few months ago by turning Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
Tactics that, as he explained before, mark the turn of the modern Turkish state towards Islam.
In addition, according to the analyst, Erdoğan intends to gather his nationalist audience in the midst of the exploratory contacts between Greece and Turkey, which are expected to take place this month in Athens.
Erdoğan, who wants to make the Turks remember their historical Ottoman tradition, made an “own goal”, the professor said.
Having carefully studied the sources of Turkish history, Dr. Stathakopoulos pointed out that the Aegean was called the “Sea of Rum”, ie the Greeks, by the Ottomans.
“It is worth reminding the Turkish president what his ancestors called the Aegean, and especially the Ottoman sultans,” he said.
“The names were: bahr-i rum = Sea of Rome or Bahr-i Sefid, Akdeniz/white sea, ie the Mediterranean and Ege denizi’nde = Aegean sea. History cannot be changed because the Turkish president wants it,” the professor stressed.
Erdoğan refers to the spirit of the retired Admiral Cihat Yaycı, the architect of Turkey’s failed “Blue Homeland” theory who stated a few months ago:
“The Aegean is a Greek name. The name of a place conveys the spirit of the past and carries it to the future.
“It conveys the spirit of the generations before us. The names of the places show the ownership of the nation, if this has a Greek name, then it seems as if they are the real owners.”
What Erdoğan also forgets is that his ancestors hated being called Turks.
According to Mr. Stathakopoulos’s research, the Seljuks and the Ottomans did not use the term “Turkey” for the place where they lived, but terms such:
- Land of the Rum (Diyar-i Rum),
- the Great/High State (Devleti Aliye),
- Eternal State (Devlet Ebed Muddet), and
- Countries of the Imperial Capital (Memaliki Mahrusa-i Sahane).
When they identified someone as a Turk, they meant a Turkoman nomad.
“The Greeks of 1821 did not call the Ottomans as Turks,” he concluded.