Figure 1.--Here is a carving of an idealized Turkish family on a Kemal Ataturk monument. This image is on lots of monuments to him. Ataturk created modern Turkey. Notice the western clothing. Part of Ataturk's program was to westernize Turkey. Image courtesy of Fersgusson image collection.

Turkey is one of the countries whichbhas over time experienced fundamental change. We title this page Turkey only because Turkey is the modern country inhabiting Anatolia. The country's names come from the Turkic tribes that moved into Anatolia after the classical era. Most of Anatolia's history including the entire ancient era is non-Turkic. Just as the history of Mexico has to include the history of Meso-America, the hstory of Turkey has to include the many non-Turkic people which inhabitd Anatolia. This is complicated because the country is named after the Turks. Probably better stated is that this is a page on Anatloia, its history and cultures, althiugh there is an emphasis on the Turkic Islamic era. HBC has begun to collect information on boys' clotthing in Turkey. We have not yet been able to collect much information on the clothing worn by Turkish boys. We have little historic information on Turkey. We do note that the warm Medditeranean climate of Turkey is an important factors as was centuries of rule by the Ottoman Turks. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of the modern secular state after World War I, European fashions began to have greater influence. Boys in Turkey have largely adopted Western dress. We note, however, that more Turkish girls are adopting Islamic head scarves and longer skirts. The Turks do have very distinctive killt folk costumes. HBC has been unable to find much information on Turkish boys clothes and would bevery interested in any information that Turkish visitors to our site may be able to offer.


Turkey is a country largely surronded by watr. To the north is the Black Sea, to the west is the Agean Sea, and to the south is the Mediterranean Seas. Between the Black and Ageans Seas are the strategic Turkish Straits. The Turkish Straits include the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus, and the Dardanelles. which have played an important role in history. This began with the very dawn of human history. Early man migrating out of Africa did not cross over to Europe from Anatolia because of the Straits, rather they moved into the great Eurasian Steppe and from theie moved west into Europe and east into Asia. The Ottoman Empire after conquering Anatolia launched an invasion of the Christian Balkans and attempted to move into western Europe, stopoed only at the gates of Vienna. The Ottomans were thus an important player in European, Asian, and Middle Eastern history. The Straits form the geographic border between Europe and Asia. Since the Christian Balkans achied indepenbence in the 19th century, however, the Ottomans and modern Turkey have generally not been seen as a European countriues, alththough Constaniople (Istanbul) and minor territory is on the European side of the Straits. Turkey is today largely made up of Anatolia which played such an important role in ancient history. The country's Anatolian heartland is centered on a high central plateau surrounded by a narrow coastal plain and several large mountain ranges. The highest point in Turkey is Mount Ararat (16,949 feet/5,166 merers), one of the most famous mountains in the world because of the Biblical references. It is a dormant volcano located on Turkey's eastern border.


Anatolia is a relatively small area in global terms, anout the size of Texas. Anatolia is a Greek term. The Romans called it Asia Minor. Even so, few araeas have proved to be such an imprtant cross roads of history. There are evidence of human habitation in Anatolia during pre-history. The migration of humans out of Africa, however, does not appear to have followed a route through Anatolia, but rather into Central Asia and then West into Europe. Anatolia on the perifery of the rise of civilization in Mesopotamia has played an important role from the beginning of written history. Neolithic hunter-gathers soon after civilization began to become estanlished in Mesopotamia began a transition toward a pastoral and agricultural life style (about 7000 BC). Anatolia was the center of the Hittite civilization which vied with Egypt for supremecy. The Hittites like the Egyptian fielded chariot-based armies. While the Eguptians fought the Hittites tonadeaw, the Hittites conquered large areas of Mesopotamia, including Babylonian Empire. From an early point, eastern Anatolia became an imprtant part of the Greek cultural world. The Trojan War was fought there. Achaeam merchantb princes and adventurers clashed with the remnants of the Hittite Empire. Important Greek thinkers (Anaximander, Heraclitus, and Thales) lived and wrote in easern Anatolia. The Persian Empire gained control over Anatolia. The revolt of the Ioania Greeks ld to the Persian Wars and eventually Alexander's campigns. Alexander's great vuctories were largely fought in Anbatolia. This led to destruction of the Persin Empire and the Helinistic Era. Anatolia Turkey was an important part of the Roman Empire and Byzantine Empire that followed. The Byzantines even when significantly reduced saved classical literary works and shielded Europe from mounted nomadic invaders. With the transformation of the Steppe tribes from Ibdo-European groups tmore Asiatic peoples, the Turkic tribes moved wet and seized Anatolia from the Bysantines, beginning the Turkic and Islamic era of Anatolian history. With the decline of the Caliphate, Turkey, firsr under the Seljuks and then the Ottomans became the center of the Islamic world. The Ottoman Empire was for centuries a major power dominating not only Anatolia, but the Christian Balkans and the Muslim Arab lands. The Turks were a minority in their Empire. The modern Turkish Republic rose our of the Turkish heartland of the Empire following World War I. The non-Turkic people were destroyed by the Young Turks in the Armenian Genocide.


Turkey inherited a largely mixed economy from the Ottoman Empire. The failure to participate in the European renaissance and revival of learning with the development of capitalism and science meant that the Ottomans also did not participate in the industrial revolution. The result was that the Ottoman Empire could no longer participate in the European power struggle which became increasingly pparent inthe 19th century, culminating in the dusaster of World War I Turkey after World War I was not only a rather poor, backward largely agricultural country, but a country reduced largely to Antolia, having lost the Christian Balkans and the Arab lands. Since that time, Turkey has devloped a mixed economy of modern industry and traditional agriculture. Agriculture continues to provide about 30 percent of the country's employment. The main agricultural crops are tobacco, cotton, grain, olives, sugar beets, hazelnuts, pulse, citrus and livestock. Turkey's principal industries are textiles, food processing, autos, electronics, mining, steel, petroleum, construction, lumber and paper. Mining includes coal, chromate, copper, and boron.


HBC at this times has no infornmation on historic Turk boys' clothing. We do note that the warm Medditeranean climate of Turkey is an important factors as was centuries of rule by the Ottoman Turks. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of the modern secular state after World War I, European fashions began to have greater influence. We have little information on fashion trends in the 19th century. Nor do we have any information on early 20th century clothing.


We have little information on the styles of clothing worn by Turkish boys. After World War I Kemal Attaturk led a modernization and secularization program. Boys began wearing Wesern clothing which as far as we can tell is now common in the country.


HBC at this time has only limited information on Turkish boys' garment.



Turkish as other Middle-Eastern school children commonly wore school smocks. I think the smocks were almost always associated with school wear. I do not have many details on the styles involved or the extent to which individual schools dictated specific styles. Some images show that the smocks might be worn with large Peter Pan collars. Turkish boys almost always wore their smocks with long trousers. The turkish smocks also seem rather short.

Other garments

Hair Styles

We tend to note many Turkish boys with close-cropped hair in the early 20th century. This seems to have changed somewhat after World War II. Even so boys tend to wear short hair styles.


We do not yet have much information about boys' activities in Turkey. There are special clothing for activities like music, school, and sports, but our information is still limited. One important activity is religion. Turkey is a largely Muslim country. The modern state of Turkey was created after World War I as a secular state out of the Turkish center os the old Ottoman Empire. Since that time a basic tennant of the Turkish Republic was a secular state within a largely Muslim population. Many Turks in recent years have begun to rethink the secular state. Many Muslims now want a greater role for Islam in their society. Thus the future of the secular state is now in question. Boys in Turkey have largely dopted Western dress. We note, however, that more Turkish girls are adopting Islamic head scarves and longer skirts. For Muslim boys one of the most important events in their lives in circumscion. In Turkey this is a Muslim religious ritual rather than a medical procedure, although it is now mostly done by medically trained individuals. There is still a problem in rural Turkey where untrained individuls carry out the procedure.


The Turks were a minority in the Ottoman Empire. The Christians in the Balkans and the Arabs outside of Anatolia outnumbered the Turks. The Balkan Christians gradually obtained their independence during the 19th centurt. The Ottomans lost their Middle East provinces with Arab populations during Workd war I. Within Anatolia there were also minorities, including Greek Orthodox Christians, Armenian Christians, and Kurds in the east. There were also small numbers of Jews. Turkey after World War I emerged as a much more ethnically pure country. The Turks eliinated the Armenians in a holocaust dufing the War. Most of the Greek Christians were expelled after a war with Greece following the War. The Turks did not move as brutally toward the Kurds, perhaps because they were fellow Muslins. The Kurds in eastern Anatolia, however, have proved a continuing problem as Turkey attempts to Turkify them and the Kurds resist.


HBC knows relatively little about Turkish films. These are Turkish movies I have noted, but dot have the titles for them. Any information you might have on these films would be appreciated.

Folk Costume

The Turks have very distinctive folk costumes. Each region in Turkey has its own culture with different dress traditions. We do not yet have any detailed information on these costumes. Hopefully a Turkish reaader will provide us some information. We do note Turkish Costume Dolls, a company producing dolls in traditional Ottoman dress. The company specializes in dolls wearing traditional Turkish costumes. You may see different examples of female and male Turkish clothing in their dolls from bridal dresses to sufi darwish clothes.


We have been able to find very little information about Ottoman and Turkish orphanages. One of the problems here is family is very important in Turkey and many other Muslim countries. Orphans are generally taken in by family members. If this does not occur than the child is basically an outcast. This was poignently shown in the classic film, 'Lawrence of Aeabia' by how the two orphan boys taken in by Larence were treated. The same was true of Turkey despite the Koranic promotion of charity. A good indication of this is a 1894 publication which indicates how active Christian charities were in the Ottoman Empire. The author notes a letter complaining that there wre no orphanages in the Ottoman Empire and printed a letter about the religious supported orphabages in the major cities. The first specific orphnage we know of is the Kalfayan School & Orphanage was founded by to assist the victims of a cholera epedemic (1866). Today it is supportrd by international charities to support abandoned and at risk girls. We note an orphanage for Armemian and Greek children in Constantinople during the 1930s. We believe that the orphanaage was supported by Christain charities rather than the Turkish Government. These were Christian children. The Armenians were of clourse the victims of the genocide the Turkish Government perpetrated during World War I. Turkey and Greece fought a war after World War I in which the Greek population was largely expelled from eastern Turkey as part of a population exchange. Turkey today has a growing economy. It was a rather poor country and thus the Government had only limited resources to limit orphanages. Unlike Christian churches and Jewish groups, however, Islamic groups devoted little effort to supporting orphanages. Nor has the Government, despite ariwing economy, made a major effort to support orphanages. We notice an orpanage maintained by the Turkish Governmnt in which children were kept in apauling conditions. This became an international incident When the Duchess of York, Sarah Fergusson, and her daughters visitd the orphanage and released photographs in 2008. Instead of taking action on the apuling conditions, the Turkish Govenment threatend the Duchess with jail and accused her of both violating the hildren's privacy and carrying out a politically motivated stunt to embarass Turkey and the Government. A press article read, "The Duchess of York faces 22 years in jail after a Turkish court pressed charges against her for secretly filming in an orphanage. The charges relate to an undercover documentary Sarah Ferguson made with ITV in 2008 to expose 'appalling' conditions in state run institutions. A spokesman for the Duchess said: ĎThe Duchess of York has fully co-operated with both the Turkish and British authorities at all times on this issue. British ministers refused to accede to the further requests for legal assistance from Turkey. From a UK perspective, the Duchess has been told by the Home Office that the case is closed. Yesterday a court accused Prince Andrew's former wife in absentia of 'going against the law in acquiring footage and olating privacy' of five children. She faces a maximum term of 22 and-a-half years in prison if convicted. No trial date has been set. 'Anywhere else it would be the authorities running these homes who were in the dock,' a source close to the Duchess said." And now Turkey's increasingly Islamic government instead of improving the care of orphans has launched an anti-Western campaign attacking the West in their name. A press reoort reads, "Government officials in Turkey are campaigning to take back Turkish children who were adopted by overseas Christian or gay couples, saying those lifestyles donít coincide with the nationís Islamic values. The Turkish site Hurriyet Daily News reports on the campaign to retrieve the adoptees who were given to Christian couples in European countries. According to the article, the first step in the campaign is to take them away from gay and lesbian couples."


Although neighboring Greece is not on good terms with Turkey and there are major differences between the two countries, there are also many similarities. The history of the two countries have been linked for centuries. HBC readers interested in Turkey may also want to have a look at the Greek sections of HBC.


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Created: May 28, 2002
Last updated: 2:12 PM 12/26/2014