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(1) Turkey is part of Europe.
(2) Turkey borders the Caucasus, and people from the Caucasus are, by definition, Caucasian.
(3) Turks look whiter, to me, then the typical Italian-American. See photos of Ataturk; he looks pretty white.
December 22, 2010 | Permalink
A couple of years ago I went into a nearby Turkish market to get some Turkish Delight. The woman at the register addressed me in Turkish. I am of 100% white ancestry (1/2 Italian, 1/4 Irish, 1/4 English).
This should settle any doubts.
December 22, 2010 at 11:44 AM
Funny, in Russia Caucasians (i.e., Ingush, Chechens et al) are considered black.
враг народа |
December 22, 2010 at 11:53 AM
"People from the Caucasus are, by definition, Caucasian." - it is arguable whether people from the Caucasus are white. I personally think they're more Middle Eastern than white, but maybe that's just me. Indeed, "The Supreme Court in United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind (1923) decided that Asian Indians and Middle Easterners – unlike Europeans – were Caucasian, but were not white". See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caucasian_race
враг народа |
December 22, 2010 at 11:57 AM
Ataturk was an "ethnic Turk" from Macedonia and how "turkish-turkish" his ancestry actually was remains a matter of dispute.
December 22, 2010 at 12:00 PM
Furthermore, only part of Turkey that is west of the Bosphorus is in Europe; the rest of the country would be considered in the Near East. Also, a lot of Turks look white because the Mongols sold a lot of Ukrainian slaves to the Turks. Girls from the Ukraine and Southern Russia were prized in the harems. Byron even wrote:
For one Circassian, a sweet girl, were given,
Warranted virgin. Beauty's brightest colours
Had decked her out in all the hues of heaven.
Her sale sent home some disappointed bawlers,
Who bade on till the hundreds reached the eleven,
But when the offer went beyond, they knew
‘Twas for the Sultan and at once withdrew.
- Don Juan, canto IV, verse 114
And looking white doesn't mean a thing. I've had a Mongolian girlfriend with blonde hair and blue eyes with the distinctive epicanthic fold.
враг народа |
December 22, 2010 at 12:04 PM
Ataturk was Sepharadi, Spanish Jew.
December 22, 2010 at 12:07 PM
The original Turks were probably East Asian - look at Kazakhs for example, who are descended from the original horde. Or look at historical portraits of people like Mehmet the conqueror from the 16th century - he looks pretty Asian. However the population of Turkey today is mostly not of ethnic Turkic descent - they are the descendants of the people who lived in Anatolia before the Turks got there - mostly Greeks, Kurds, Persians and Armenians. These groups are generally considered white. On top of that, for centuries the Turks captured Russian/Ukrainan girls for their harems and conscripted white kids from the Balkans into the Janissaries. So there's a lot more European genes mixed in. So I would assume by now the population of Turkey is just as "white" genetically as Serbia or Greece.
Peter A |
December 22, 2010 at 12:26 PM
"Are Turks white?"
For those Turks living along the Western coastline of Turkey the answer is mostly yes. Specifically Greek.
The ancient Greeks had major colonies along the Turkish coast going back to 7th century B.C. and the heirs of Alexander I dominated Anatolia for centuries. The Byzantine Empire was also referred to as the "Greek Empire".
Greek DNA may drop off as you go further East in Turkey where people become more Kurdish in appearance. But the Western end of Turkey will cluster pretty closely with Greeks and to a lesser extent Armenians.
Here is a DNA admixture chart from Dienekes' which includes Turkish, Greek, and Armenian DNA:
See Resolution @ K-15
The Undiscovered Jew |
December 22, 2010 at 12:32 PM
Btw, it looks like, based on Dienekes' admixture analysis that Jews are about 66% European (green and Red components) and 25% Armenian/Anatolian (Purple Component) and only 5-10% Arab(black component)
The Undiscovered Jew |
December 22, 2010 at 12:35 PM
The Undiscovered Jew |
December 22, 2010 at 12:40 PM
Well if Turks aren't generally white, then neither are Bulgarians, Romanians, Greeks, Ukranians, Georgians . . . I guess you get the point.
ice hole |
December 22, 2010 at 12:45 PM
"Turks look whiter, to me, then the typical Italian-American."
As for Turks being white, I generally don't consider them white. I also don't consider Armenians white either. I do consider Greeks and Italians white.
December 22, 2010 at 12:49 PM
Where's the link for those numbers on Jews?
December 22, 2010 at 12:51 PM
When I went to Turkey, I found it to be a bit like Mexico. Some are very fair-skinned, including blue eyes and light colored hair, but many are darker. For the most part, they are lighter skinned than Mexicans.
Its a nice place to travel.
albert magnus |
December 22, 2010 at 12:51 PM
Modern Turks are mostly descended from Greek converts to Islam. However, in Europe, they are not generally considered white, because whiteness or rather European-ness in Europe is not only about physical features (like in America) but also culture. Americans seem to think that Arabs are white as well, which would be a ridiculous proposition in most of Europe.
December 22, 2010 at 01:23 PM
There is no clear dividing line between white and nonwhite as you go south and east so any line is going to be arbitrary. The line between Christendom and Islam is as good as any.
December 22, 2010 at 01:26 PM
I think that, at some point, we should include culture and behavior in our assessment of whether somebody is white or not. From what I've read about the behavior of Turks in Germany, I would not count those Turks as "white". Let them give up Islam and become civilized. Then, we'll see.
December 22, 2010 at 02:11 PM
Keep in mind that the Turks in Germany are *not* representative of Turks as a whole. Even people in Turkey consider them backwards and ignorant.
As for Christianity/Islam as a white/nonwhite dividing line, consider the many complicating factors: fully European Albanian and Bosnian Muslims, Arab Christians (10% in Egypt), and so on.
December 22, 2010 at 02:45 PM
Pointless discussion. Whether or not Turks are white depends on the culture you grew up in.
I lived in Bulgaria for two years. Because the Turks ruled that area for over 400 years, there's a lot of Turkish blood in Bulgaria. Usually you couldn't tell the Bulgarians and Turks apart but, according to Bulgarians, Turks wouldn't be considered white. It has less to do with skin color, however, and more to do with the Turks religion and culture.
So argue about it all you want, in the end it doesn't really matter. At least that's what I believe.
December 22, 2010 at 02:49 PM
"A couple of years ago I went into a nearby Turkish market to get some Turkish Delight. The woman at the register addressed me in Turkish. I am of 100% white ancestry (1/2 Italian, 1/4 Irish, 1/4 English).
This should settle any doubts."
This doesn't really settle anything.
Italian phenotypes are more dominant, Irish/English phenotypes are more recessive.
Italian phenotypes range from white to appearing more non-white than groups considered non-white such as Arabs.
December 22, 2010 at 03:03 PM
"Where's the link for those numbers on Jews?
Posted by: OneSTDV | December 22, 2010 at 12:51 PM"
I already linked to it.
Scroll down and look at the jpg of Dienekes' Admixture chart at K-15 resolution.
In Dienekes' charts, Northern European DNA is colored Green (green is highest among Lithuanians), Southern European is Red (Highest among Sardinians), Armenian-Georgian-Anatolian-Caucuses-Adygei DNA is light purple, and Arab DNA is colored black:
The Undiscovered Jew |
December 22, 2010 at 03:17 PM
If you look at the charts it looks like Ashkenazi DNA is about 66% European (Total of Red + Green), about 25% Armenian-Anatolian (light Purple) and only 5-10% Arab (black coloring).
The Undiscovered Jew |
December 22, 2010 at 03:20 PM
I've been to Istanbul. In the palace of the sultans there's one room filled with a portrait of every Sultan in chronological order. They get noticeably more European looking as time goes on. I have no idea what this implies for the rest of Turkey, but I remember thinking it was interesting at the time.
December 22, 2010 at 04:21 PM
My friend, a native Sicilian who lives in California, took his wife and daughter on a med. cruise last year, with one stop in Turkey. A shopkeeper in the bazaar offered him 20 camels for his daughter, then immediately demurred with, "just kidding sir, no offense."
helene edwards |
December 22, 2010 at 05:12 PM
"White" is not a scientific category based upon clear objective criteria. We made it up and determined it's boundaries based upon subjective considerations, which have changed over the course of centuries. My understanding is that various Muslims groups have also used the term at various points, as did the British empire when referring to "white muslims". The question assumes that there is a scientific answer, which there isn't.
In answer to the question, "Would Turks be considered white in America?", I think the answer is that some would and some wouldn't, as there is a spectrum of variation in Turkish appearance that runs from being "white" by American standards to "not quite white."
This isn't to say that I don't think there are racial differences, but that I don't think there are clearly defined and delineated categories, as there is way too much overlap between neighboring populations.
At any rate, here are some haplogroup maps for Europe showing that at the very least, the Y-DNA distributions aren't significantly different for Turkey than for the various Balkan nations.
December 22, 2010 at 05:22 PM
"I've been to Istanbul. In the palace of the sultans there's one room filled with a portrait of every Sultan in chronological order. They get noticeably more European looking as time goes on. I have no idea what this implies for the rest of Turkey, but I remember thinking it was interesting at the time."
Probably that the Turkish sultans had a taste for lighter-skinned women? Similar to Latin America, where the wealthy are typically lighter-skinned than the masses because (a) the wealthy were more likely to be Spanish (not mestizo) to begin with, and (b) rich Latin men have a preference for light-skinned women.
The Ottoman Empire, at its height, covered a large portion of Eastern Europe, so the Sultans would have no shortage of available white women from within their realm to choose from.
December 22, 2010 at 05:45 PM
"This doesn't really settle anything.
Italian phenotypes are more dominant, Irish/English phenotypes are more recessive.
Italian phenotypes range from white to appearing more non-white than groups considered non-white such as Arabs."
What settles the matter is that I do not appear ethnic, let alone non-white, in any way whatsoever. I could pass without comment for a native of any European country.
Not that it really matters, but for the most part the Irish/English half of my ancestry is lighter than the Italian half.
December 22, 2010 at 06:48 PM
A simple litmus test of who is white:
Are their womens' nipples (before their first pregnancy) pink to light brown? if yes, they're white. If the nipples are dark brown to black, they are not white.
December 22, 2010 at 09:15 PM
"What settles the matter is that I do not appear ethnic, let alone non-white, in any way whatsoever. I could pass without comment for a native of any European country."
Any European country? Including the Northern European countries? Doubt it. Most part-Italians have some tells that give them away. Even if they're fair in coloring, they have certain morphological features.
December 22, 2010 at 09:59 PM
"Ataturk was Sepharadi, Spanish Jew."
Bullshit. Ataturk was most likely Albanian.
"However the population of Turkey today is mostly not of ethnic Turkic descent - they are the descendants of the people who lived in Anatolia before the Turks got there - mostly Greeks, Kurds, Persians and Armenians. These groups are generally considered white."
If Kurds, Persians, and Armenians are considered white, then so are Mexicans.
"As for Christianity/Islam as a white/nonwhite dividing line, consider the many complicating factors: fully European Albanian and Bosnian Muslims, Arab Christians (10% in Egypt), and so on."
It's not a complicating factor. Albanians, Serbs and Croats converted to Islam fairly recently and their version of Islam is the most European of all. It's not like Ottomans dumped a bunch of Persians and Arabs into the Balkans and called them "Albanians" and "Bosnians". And Christianity doesn't make you magically white. Ethiopians were Christian before most Europeans and nobody confuses them for white people. The Europeaness is implicit when people invoke the Christianity/Islam divide to determine whether an ethnic group is "white" or not. They really mean normative Protestantism and Catholicism, not Coptic Orthodoxy or African charismatic offshoots.
December 23, 2010 at 01:28 AM
It doesn't matter whether they are white. They are Muslim, so the country is a sh*thole.
December 23, 2010 at 03:34 AM
Are Turks white?
The elite class --- yes
The lower class --- no
BTW, you can replace the word Turks with Mexicans and the answer to the question turns out the same. interesting huh?
December 23, 2010 at 05:00 AM
You probably haven't been to Turkey if you are asking this question. Turks are CLEARLY not white people. They are a mixed race people, like Mexicans. Some look 100% white. Some are clearly non-white, the majority look mixed race.
Look at this picture and tell me that these people look white to you:
December 23, 2010 at 05:17 AM
When I go to Germany, it's often very hard for me to tell that someone is Turkish and not German. The Turks I encounter in Germany for the most part speak German and look white.
December 23, 2010 at 05:29 AM
High status Turks probably look whiter than ordinary southern Italians due to their high status but would ordinary Turks look whiter than ordinary southern Italians? Somehow I doubt it.
Joe Walker |
December 23, 2010 at 05:34 AM
Quote: "If you look at the charts it looks like Ashkenazi DNA is about 66% European"
That would probably be more like southeastern European as opposed to northwestern.
Joe Walker |
December 23, 2010 at 05:38 AM
look whiter, to me, then the typical Italian-American
December 23, 2010 at 07:18 AM
As someone who's lived in Turkey for the past seven years, I'm finding this comment thread pretty amusing.
Most Turks look more Central European than anything else (the women generally not as good-looking as the Czechs or Hungarians, though). A Mediterranean appearance runs a close second. There are certainly some Turks who look Middle Eastern or Central Asian, but in both cases they're hardly the norm. Even among the "prole" classes.
Although I hesitate to do this, I'm going to provide a link to the school my kids attend, a moderately priced (non-elite) private school. I'm doing this so you can see the photos of the students and their parents, which obviously weren't selected by me or anyone else to make any point about the typical Turkish appearance. In fact, these photos are a reasonable sample of what people in most (not all) of Turkey tend to look like. The dude with the moustache standing in front of the Turkish flag happens to be the president, Abdullah Gül. I can't say whether his appearance respresents anything in particular.
ice hole |
December 23, 2010 at 09:04 AM
"A simple litmus test of who is white:
Are their womens' nipples (before their first pregnancy) pink to light brown? if yes, they're white. If the nipples are dark brown to black, they are not white."
It's off to Voyeurweb to test that theory.
December 23, 2010 at 10:46 AM
I thought that one of the points of this blog was to bemoan the fact that Turks probably no longer consider Americans white.
December 23, 2010 at 11:07 AM
LOL. Why would the elite Turks be white, and the prole Turks be non-white? Oh, that's right, white = good and upper class = good so white = upper class.
Turkey was conquered by Central Asians, who became the elite. If anything, the Turkish-descended elite should be *less* white than purely Anatolian proles (though actually, I would be surprised if there was that much of a difference in admixture among the classes if any). It's Mexico in reverse (Asiatics conquering, ruling over and mixing with caucasians), although with far less genetic input.
December 23, 2010 at 11:22 AM
I consider "whites" to be Gaels, Germans, Nords, and Slavs.
Spaniards, Italians, Greeks, and Turks are "Mediterraneans".
December 23, 2010 at 12:40 PM
Their national soccer team was white in appearance (except for an "English" player whose father was black and whose mother was a Turk).
The ones I know in the DC area are certainly white to white-ish.
I do think being Muslim gives some people pause about calling them white. Kind of like some people can see a clearly white person from Argentina or Uruguay and still think of them as Hispanic.
One interesting thing is asking these people if they consider themselves white. Not in an aggressive way, but merely chatting among friends/colleagues. A Persian girl I knew for a while says Persians consider themselves Europeans with a slight tan.
December 23, 2010 at 01:52 PM
The Turks in those pictures don't look Central European to me at all. If anything, they look more like the Caucasian peoples. It's very slight but you can notice Western Asian characteristics in their faces, especially the eyes. Turkey seems to be like most Western Asian countries when it comes to skin complexion. There seem to be a significant amount of them that could be mistaken for Europeans but there is a larger amount of them with olive complexions and typical Mediterranean features. Of course the white/swarthy divide in Turkey is more even than it is in Mexico. From my visits to Turkey and Lebanon, I noticed far more (naturally) blonde Turks than blonde Lebanese. That's says a lot considering Lebanon is the "whitest" Arab country around.
December 23, 2010 at 02:57 PM
They are not Whites. They are probably best described at Turks.
Jeff Maylor |
December 23, 2010 at 05:03 PM
13-30% asiatic genes.
One important difference between Mexicans and Turks/Persians/Kurds/Armenians is that Mexicans in the United States do not identify themselves as white, whereas the west Asians groups desperately to be seen as white.
Also, immigrants from Mexico are from the less white lower classes, wheras immigrants from west asia are from the whitish elites.
December 23, 2010 at 06:16 PM
I've been to Germany many times. Turks look nothing like Germans, are you kidding?
And the person who has lived in Turkey for 7 years, are you kidding? Are we seeing the same thing?
My link doesn't work for some reason. Try this and tel me if these people look German to you?
December 23, 2010 at 07:47 PM
Ataturk, it is speculated, was not Turkish, but of Jewish stock. One of the followers of Sabbatai Zvi.
December 23, 2010 at 07:51 PM
As with any issue of categorization, the threshold question is "why" i.e. why are you drawing a distinction between whites and non-whites?
If it's for purposes of advocating an immigration policy, then clearly Turks should be considered non-white since they are difficult to assimilate and probably stupider than your typical European.
December 23, 2010 at 10:09 PM
Posted by: Mimi
"You probably haven't been to Turkey if you are asking this question. Turks are CLEARLY not white people. They are a mixed race people, like Mexicans."
Not quite true. A more accurate statement would be, most Mexicans are a mixed race people
10% of Mexico is white.
60% are Mestizos
December 24, 2010 at 02:38 AM
Better question: does intelligence decline as we move further south and especially southeast in Europe? Richard Lynn believes southern Europeans to be less intelligent, on average. Turks only have 90 IQs. The difference between the average British person and the average Turk could be as large as between Ashkenazim and others. Is this accurate?
However Italian-Americans, who are mostly from the south of Italy, seem to be okay. I never recalled my classmates of German stock to be particularly intelligent in comparison with Italians. Only a Jewish v. gentile discrepancy in achievement(and a fairly noticeable one at that).
December 24, 2010 at 03:06 AM
Totally anecdotal, but when in Belgium once I saw quite a few nicely dressed Turkish girls and there was an initial emotional reaction that although they obviously weren't Belgians my intuitive reaction was they appeared to be of a "classical" (i.e., Greek native). On the other hand from browsing Turkish Television while most of the actors had this appearance, documentaries I have seen showed many Turks to have an Arabish or more mongol look.
The remark that it is like Mexico was on the money (I would add Argentina as well). It's a diverse place but white is an intuitive concept "when you see it".
Duncan Idaho |
December 24, 2010 at 09:52 AM
"(1) Turkey is part of Europe."
With the exception of a pretty small part of of the country, Turkey is in Asia.
December 24, 2010 at 11:35 AM
"I do think being Muslim gives some people pause about calling them white. Kind of like some people can see a clearly white person from Argentina or Uruguay and still think of them as Hispanic."
Exactly. Race can be a cultural as well as biological concept. Culture being relative, the racial perceptions of various groups may differ from place to place. I am reasonably sure that most people in Europe or elsewhere outside the United States would not think twice about calling a clearly white Argentinian or Uruguayan white. Europeans (or others) do not have the same concept as Americans do, of all Latin Americans as a single, nonwhite race.
On the other hand, I'll bet that a light-skinned Turk is more likely to be considered white in the United States than in Germany, as we do not have the same unhappy experiences with Turks as an outcast group as the Germans do.
"One important difference between Mexicans and Turks/Persians/Kurds/Armenians is that Mexicans in the United States do not identify themselves as white, whereas the west Asians groups desperately to be seen as white."
Actually, although it's becoming less common as time goes on, a non-insignificant percentage of Mexicans in the United States actually do consider themselves white, a percentage much higher than the actual percentage of whites in Mexico.
December 24, 2010 at 09:29 PM
HS - what is your definition of "white" since you don't like mine?
December 24, 2010 at 10:19 PM
The photos in the page to which you linked were taken in Sanli Urfa, in the southeast near the border between Turkey and Syria. So it's not unexpected that those Turks' appearance would deviate in an Araboid direction.
December 25, 2010 at 01:14 AM
Turks are Middle Easterners. Case settled.
Pigmentation-wise, they are fairer than any other ME's. And they may have less Mongoloid blood, despite their "Turkness", than Iraqis or even Persians.
Of course, being close to the Balkans, and for many Turks, right in the Balkans, means they share a lot of ancestry with Europeans from the Balkans (Greeks, Southern Slavs, Albanians, etc). Same with Armenians and Caucasians (Caucasians as in Chechens, Georgians, Ingush,Circassians, etc.).
A hodge podge, but caucasian nonetheless.
Gamma Man |
December 25, 2010 at 08:52 AM
I was in Turkey earlier this year (Istanbul and Canakkale). They're a shade or two darker than Greeks, noticeably so. However, I would call them "basically white." If they weren't Muslim, then I would call them white without any hesitation.
December 25, 2010 at 10:55 AM
The photos in the page to which you linked were taken in Sanli Urfa, in the southeast near the border between Turkey and Syria. So it's not unexpected that those Turks' appearance would deviate in an Araboid direction."
Nebbish, these are just photos I found on the Internet. I have seen Turks like that all over, including Istanbul, Izmir, and villages along Mediterranean coast.
I strongly disagree that they look Araboid. Not my understanding of Araboid. Osama Bin Laden and Brigitte Gabriel look Araboid to me. These people look Central Asian to me. They are not white. Apart from being really dark-skinned, they have totally different facial features than your typical European - sharp, bird-like features. Race is more than just a skin tone - it's your built and features too. If people classify this human variety as white, then white becomes such a broad term as to be completely useless.
December 27, 2010 at 06:49 AM
Undiscovered Jew, are you Ashkenazim? Those guys look a lot like slightly more Levantine South Italians/Sicilians and Greeks in their genetic make-up. Perhaps there was considerable (enough) conversion in the Hellenistic and Roman worlds after all though the historians are still arguing over the possibility.
OPA wrote :"Better question: does intelligence decline as we move further south and especially southeast in Europe? "
Even if it's a rule, it has exceptions. Finland and even Ireland, for example, seem to score somewhat less on IQ tests than southeast Europeans. And you also have the Levantine - South European looking Ashkenazim who outperform both Southeast and Northwest Europe.
December 30, 2010 at 07:11 PM
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