In present texts, it is common to call it "the Ottoman Empire", although the name refers to the ruling dynasty rather than the nation, people or the region. This is not the case with other contemporary empires in Europe, e.g. Russian Empire, Austrian Empire, French Empire.

Were they also contemporarily called "the Ottoman Empire" in diplomacy and official writing, or by other name like "Turkey" or "Turkish Empire"?


2 Answers 2


Wikipedia has a pretty comprehensive list of the names used for the Ottoman Empire at different periods and in various languages. At the end of the article there's also a chronological list of links to historic maps using the alternative names of the Ottoman Empire.

Since you are mostly interested in diplomacy and official writing, I also looked for a few notable international or bilateral pacts and treaties. The period of the Ottoman Empire I'm mostly familiar with is during and after the Greek War of Independence, so I focused my search on documents after 1821. Nevertheless, I think my findings sufficiently show that a variety of names was used, sometimes even within the same document. "Turkey" and "Ottoman Empire" were the terms more commonly used.

London Protocol (1830) and Treaty of Constantinople (1832)

In the original French version of the London Protocol that established Greece as an independent kingdom, "l’Empire Ottoman", "Porte Ottomane" and "Porte" are used.

In the English version of the Treaty of Constantinople that marked the end of the Greek War of Independence, "Turkey", "Turkish", "Ottoman Sublime Porte", "the Sublime Porte" and "Ottomans" are used.

Pact of Halepa (1878)

I couldn't locate the original text of the Pact of Halepa, but I've found two mentions in near-contemporary newspapers that show a variety of names was used. The first one, from the July 16, 1896 issue of The Mercury (Australia), uses "Porte" when referring to the Ottoman government, and "Turks", "Moslem members", "Mussulman members" and "Mahometans" for the Ottoman people.

The second mention is from the May 29, 1903 issue of the Star, the evening edition of the Lyttelton Times (New Zealand). It uses "Turkey", "Turkish" and "Mohammedans".

Treaty of London (1913) and Athens Peace Convention (1913)

The Treaty of London and the peace treaty signed in the Athens convention concluded the First Balkan War. Both documents use "Ottoman Empire".

In a note the Great Powers send to Greece on February 13, 1914 concerning violations of the Treaty of London, "Turquie" is used instead.

Treaties of Sèvres (1920) and Lausanne (1923)

In the English version of the Treaty of Sèvres the Ottoman Empire is referred to as "Turkey", and the Ottoman government as "Imperial Ottoman Government" (preamble) and as "Turkish Government" (article 250). I couldn't locate the French (primary) or the Italian version of the treaty, nevertheless the English one is also an official one.

The Treaty of Lausanne was signed after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, however it's perhaps worth noting that there are various instances of "Ottoman" in it.


  • of course outside of diplomatic channels the names used were probably far less complimentary... things like "those bloody musselmen", "darn turks", etc. were no doubt rather more common in the streets, especially during the frequent wars involving the ottomans.
    – jwenting
    Jun 19, 2013 at 5:21
  • The Sublime Porte (High Gate) was a term for the government of the Ottoman Empire.
    – John Dee
    Nov 20, 2017 at 1:09

I want to give out a older source for you guys.

It is called as the "Turkish Empire" in London Gazette, 1683.

Here the Gazette is telling us how the turks are going to invade Vienna. It's quite of importance to ask me.



It seems to me that the term Ottoman Empire became attractive after formation of the republic. In Turkey they don't even attach the "empire" adjective to it, they simply say "Osmanlı". This could be result of state propaganda, since sultans were highly respective by the people.

Pretty normal if you ask me. Expectable. But now Turkey is on much more of an objective point of view.

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