TURKISH STUDIES - EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES, vol.14, no.3, pp.1417-1435, 2019 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)
Gypsies' homeland is India. They are given
names like Roma, Çigan, Çingen, Kıpti, Karaçı, Poşa in Turkey. When Gypsies
first come to Europe, they arouse curiosity and do not face any discrimination.
However, they are soon accused of being cheating, bad and useless. One of the
three routes they spread to the world is the route they crossed to Europe via
Anatolia. According to the official records of the 16th century, they have
settled in many regions of Anatolia. One of the first works to mention them is
Evliya Çelebi's Seyahatname (Travel Book). In this work, Evliya Çelebi
describes Balat Gypsies as thieves and famous waylayers. It is seen that
prejudices about Gypsies have not changed in Turkish literature since Çelebi.
Gypsies are not accepted as they are in many works, such as Ahmet Midhat
Efendi's Gypsy, one of the first works dealing with Gypsies. The most important
condition for them to get rid of being the other is to comply with the society
in which they live. For example, in some works, being a Muslim is emphasized as
a basic condition. In some works, it is stated that they should work in regular
jobs or they should dress like everyone else as well. In this context, writers
who deal with Gypsies and seem to approach them from a positive perspective use
them to impose their view of life. The aim is not to defend the way Gypsies
live. As a result, in Turkish literature, some writers try to understand them
and try to look at the Gypsies from the inside, as well as those who evaluate
them with hundreds of years of myths and what they see from the outside.
However, it is understood that the Gypsies cannot be fully understood due to
the thick defense walls they build around them.