Philip Mansel

Sultans of Bling

Turquerie: An Eighteenth-Century European Fantasy

By

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The alliance between France and the Ottoman Empire lasted for nearly four hundred years, from 1535 to 1914. Despite occasional squalls, it was one of the few fixed points in European politics. It was so enduring that it generated cultural, economic and social benefits, as well as political and military ones. Marseille (where coffee was first drunk in France in 1644) and Provence lived off the Levant trade. By 1900, the Ottoman elite, including Mustafa Kemal and Enver Pasha, knew French and were influenced by the books and ideas of the Third Republic. 

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