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Monday, May 03, 2010

Words of the Ottoman

"If the sun were masculine like its word in Persian, even he would not be allowed inside."
15th Century Ottoman historian Tursun Bey, in describing the secretiveness of the Ottoman Imperial Harem, where women were also educated in music and literature

"The famous Turkish dish, cabbage dolma (stuffied cabbage) ... is a Swedish national dish as a result of Charles XII, King of Sweden from 1697 to 1718, staying in [the Ottoman Empire] for five years as a prisoner of war."
Excerpt from a TurkofAmerica report on the American Sephardi Federation, dated 5 October, 2009

"My life as a prisoner of war was much better than my life as King of Sweden."
King Charles XII, coming back from the Ottoman Empire after five years and on being asked what it was like to be a prisoner of war of the Ottomans

"You call Ferdinand a wise king, he, who by expelling the Jews, has impoverished his country and enriched mine!"
Ottoman Sultan Bayezid to King Ferdinand on the saving of the Spanish Jews by the Ottoman Turks; the quote hangs in The Center for Jewish History building in New York

"The Ottoman mentality was always an educated one."
David Dangoor, President of the American Sephardi Federation

Flags on Anzac Day in Australia"Your father treated us like his guests. We owe our lives to him. I felt ashamed after being treated so honourably, but I couldn't say this to your father personally, although I tried to explain it to our captors with hand signals. Now I'm telling you. Before the campaign our troop leader told us "Don't dare let yourself get captured by the Turks, fight to the death. Turks are cannibals, they will eat you." And when we were taken captive in that tent we waited for the moment we were going to be eaten. But what I had witnessed fighting against the Turks was what a noble race they were close up, and what great sacrifices they had made for their country."
An Australian army officer to the son of the Turkish commander who had captured him during the 1915 Gallipoli Campaign, when he visited Istanbul 30 years after the war

"Australians search for selfless values in their war stories rather than self-validating victories. Does that not provide part of the explanation why Gallipoli occupies such a special place in the national imagination?"
The BBC's Nick Bryant on how Galipoli provides Australia with a heroic foundation story

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