To be Turkish


Romanization of Turkish: Ne mutlu Turkum Diyene

Direct Translation: “How happy is the one who says I am a Turk!”

IC: It sounds confusing, but it means that anyone can identify as Turkish. Like if you went to Turkey and started living there and said “okay I’m Turkish now” most people would be like “lit you’re Turkish”.


JS (interviewer): Why do you think this expression is used? Is it considered easy to be a part of Turkish culture?

IC: It’s more so why is it so hard to be part of any other culture? It originated because when the founder demolished the Ottoman Empire he realized a bunch of ethnicities lived in these borders (and the region as a whole is just a mixing pot), and it was like, we are building this nation now, anyone who lives here, anyone who wishes can be Turkish. Anyone who died in battle on these grounds (coming from other countries to fight Turkey) they are also now our “sons”. I feel like it is used to say “I may be ethnically xyz but I’m also a Turk.” My grandparents are Kurdish and fathers side Asian (Tatar) and maybe that’s why it was so prevalent to me. It doesn’t matter your background, it matters what you want to be a part of.

IC is an international student from Turkey. They were born and raised in Turkey and only moved to the United States to attend college at USC. 


I have heard through other Turkish friends that Turkish culture is very open and accepting, which is a stark contrast to most Western countries. They value their culture. If other people value their culture and values just as much, they are already participating in an important part of what makes somebody Turkish. Additionally, a majority of Turkey developed under the Ottoman Empire and Islamic culture. Islam promotes hospitality and kindness, and welcomes anybody regardless of who they were before. Turkey has adopted these traditions and has ingrained this idea of hospitality and welcome into Turkish culture.