dimanche 9 octobre 2016

Vampire in Turkish Culture

Vampire in Turkish Culture: Blood Drinking Extraordinary Creatures in Turkish Culture with Reference to Turkish World Narratives and Beliefs

Vampire is an imagination of extraordinary creature that is specifically drinking blood. Vampire is a naming of this imagination that belongs the European cultures. The origin of the blood drinking extraordinary creature imaginations is very ancient and there are narratives and beliefs in so many cultures in the world. In Turkish culture, there are imaginations that drink blood and have extraordinary features, too. Turkish world narratives and beliefs;  Obur, Yalmavuz and Yek/Yek İçkek

The Oldest One “Yek”: An Ancient Vampire/Demon From Turkish Culture
                                                                                        Ege University, Institute for Turkish World Studies, 
                                                                                                           Lecturer
                                                                                                            Seçkin Sarpkaya


Supernatural beings like vampires or demons attract a great deal of our attention. Sohow do we define these beings? Of course, there are many studies on this . As you can guess,as a Turkish researcher, I pursued the possibility of the existence of such vampiric beings inTurkish culture. Thus, my main aim in this artictle is to study the oldest vampire/demon conceptin Turkish culture. I will leave other vampire/demon concepts of Turkish culture like Obur orYalmavuz for a another time.
 Vampires and demons also point out an interactive world of creatures. As you all know,vampire is a supernatural creature which drinks blood. It exists in almost every culture in theworld. Vampire concepts such as Lamashtu, Lilith and Striga are ancient. What is the oldest
vampire/demon in Turkish culture then? Let’s answer this question.Yek is a demon that ismentioned in the Old Turkish dictionaries and the oldest Turkish texts. “Yek” finds place in the
Middle Age dictionaries, one of the oldest Turkish dictionaries  Divânü Lugâti’t -Türk  (aroundfirst years of 11th century) and some of the Buddhist Uygur texts (8th to 10th cc).
According to the knowledge from Divânü Lugâti’t-Türk, the word “yek” means “devil,satan”. Also, Jean Paul Roux kindly gives us hints that yek means “demon, devil, satan, iblis”in Old Turkish. The word “yek” is actually derived from the verb “yemek (to eat)” and, as you
can guess, it has cannibalism in its nature. In an Arabic-Kıpçak dictionary, it’s also a dangerous
creature in the form of powerful winds that accompany dust clouds.


The word “yek” is explained as “fairy, satan, devil, iblis” in dictionaries about OldTurkish. Also it means “obur” and while this denotation means “someone or something thateats a lot, appetent, glutton”, it’s also the name for a type of vampire in Turkish culture. So, ifyou are a person who loves eating much and someone bullies you about that, just remember that you may be a vampire incognito. In old Turkish texts the word “yek” takes place in theform of “yek içkek” which is a name for another vampire type In Karaçay-Malkar and Kazak Turkish, this word appears in the form of “cek” and means demon, devil, satan, as well. AltayTurks have “cek” word in their language and this word means glutton, appetent; also it’s one of the epithet of Erlik the arch-devil. Imagine, the arch-devil, the prime antagonist of theTurkish beliefs, i mean pre-Islamic, Islamic and the other beliefs of different Turkish tribes around the world, actually carries vampiric features! This fact itself alone can show how important of a figure the vampires are for Turkish myths. In old Turkish, the word “yek” is used as the general denotation of evil spirits in the nature.
One of the oldest Turkish texts that belong Uygur Turkish (8th to 10th cc), hasdescriptions of the hell in detail; creatures in it and what kind of punishments there are forsinners. It also contains the demons called Yek, who are a kind of hellhound, demon of the hell;they throw the sinner people, who fell down into the hell, to the boilers and they are monstersthat have got stern and sullen faces.
There is “yek” in an another old text Çaştani İlig Beg (The Story of Çaştani Bey, 8th to10th cc) that belongs to Uygur Turkish, too. Çaştani Bey, the hero of the story, fight againtsthese demons that send sickness to his people and harm them; he saves his people.
In this text the demons that called “yek” are demons/monsters that wait at the crossroad,
eat human flesh and drink human blood, wrap the guts of humans to their bodies, horrible faced,shout with ugly voices, hold tridents and flags in their hands, in the shape of a black giant, withfire-colored and tressed and beautify their bodies with venomous snakes.
Based on the knowledge that we presently have, it can be said that yek is the oldestdemon/spirit/vampire in Turkish folk lore.