Turkeye / Turkeye

Turkeye is a village of Sluis, a municipality located in the west of Zeelandic Flanders. Even though the village is regular village in the province of Zeeland, the name Turkeye is probably an old spelling for Modern Dutch “Turkije” (Turkey / Türkiye). The name supposedly derives from relations between the Ottoman Turks and the Netherlands. It is strange however, since the Turks never referred their Empire as Türkiye until the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923.

The history of Turkeye starts after the conquest of Sluis in 1604 by the State army. The defeated Spanish troops withdrew and left 1500 galley slaves, among whom a large number of Muslims from the Ottoman Empire, referred to in short as Turcken. The States-General decided to release these slaves and to send the Turks back to their homeland. Although the Turks never reached the Ottoman Empire, since they were once again enslaved in Marseille, the event did cause a friendship between the Ottomans and Dutch. By 1612, the Ottoman Empire recognized the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, being the first country to officially recognize the Netherlands as an independent country.

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