Warding Off The Evil Eye in Turkey

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Words by Dalene Heck / Photography by Pete Heck

As soon as we arrived in Turkey, we fell under its gaze.

The blue eye of turkey was everywhere – cemented into sidewalks, hanging in taxis, stores, and restaurants. We saw people wearing them as jewelry.

blue eye of turkey



We were perplexed, and finally asked a shop owner in Istanbul of it’s significance. “To ward off evil,” she said.

A friend told us later that the nazar boncuğu more specifically absorbs or deflects evil energy that is born of envy. If someone looks at you with hateful thoughts or wishes for what you have, no worries, the eye will have your back.





It is not a tradition that evolved from religion, but rather a superstition that has been around since very early times and has become a big part of the Turkish culture.

And everyone could use some extra protection from evil, no?

(To borrow a quote from Michael Scott – “I’m not SUPERstitious, but I am a LITTLEstitious…”)


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  1. Ha, that last quote cracks me up. We first encountered it while housesitting in London – our hosts had them all over the house, and it took us forever to figure out what they were. They’re not Turkish, but they are a little hippie. πŸ˜‰

    1. We probably have come across them in our travels also but just didn’t think anything of them. Now we see them everywhere and will probably be more aware when we see them outside of Turkey. I’m assuming you were evil free when housesitting in London πŸ˜‰

  2. I went crazy on just about everything with the eye, and now that I’m back in Spain, am happy To have seen it in the bar I had breakfast in!

    1. Cool! I said in an earlier comment that I’m sure we have come across it in our travels, but just did not know what it was or recognise it. I’m sure now it will jump out at us everywhere we go πŸ™‚ Gracias Cat πŸ™‚

    1. I hope you mean you brought home the eyes, or did you actually get evil eyes in Turkey? I’m guessing the first as the people here have been amazingly hospitable and kind πŸ™‚

  3. Reminds of Thailand and the use Buddhist amulets in various forms, they also ward off evil, protect little boys from the water ghost, protect mens personal parts, attract business and prosperity.

    Thais are very superstitious, just like you see the “blue eye” in Turkey, here in Thailand there is no escaping lucky charms and spirits.

    1. Thanks for the insight into the Thai ones. It’s so interesting to hear about the different superstitions around the world, this topic sounds like a great blog post πŸ˜‰

      1. Sure it would make an interesting blog topic Pete, if you want more insight just google “Thai Buddhist Amulets”, “palad khik” “sak yant”. Should find all the info you need.

  4. This is interesting indeed. Many such things are used in India too to ward off evil!! They are called nazarbattu!!
    Great shots.

    1. Very close in name, hey Arti! I’m sure there are these kinds of things all over the world, we just never knew about them here in Turkey before we came here.

  5. Love all of these close-ups! I had a few eyes from my Turkey trip on my bag for more than a year, until they finally broke and fell off. πŸ™

  6. I have one hanging in my house. I had never bought into the theory but then thought, while it can not hurt can it? Subconsciously buying into it but not realizing it πŸ™‚

  7. πŸ˜› of course I meant the former not latter. We found the same about the Turks. Turkey is on our visit again list. Home rennos first!

  8. You’ll see them around Greece, too. Probably brought in by the Turks, but don’t tell the Greeks that!

  9. I have seen these blue eyes before, but never knew the meaning behind them. πŸ™‚ Turkey is a truly fascinating country…

    1. Thanks Laurence. We are really happy that we went to a full width format for our posts. We wanted to have larger photos and figured in the posts this was the best way to go. IMO I’m a big fan and would recommend any site to go that way. Cheers!

  10. Lovely pics and love the last quote! :)))

    Our Facebook followers would love this… sharing now…. πŸ™‚

  11. Oh man Michael Scott is the best. But your photos are amazing! Every place you go will always have traditions and superstitions as these but this one is not that creepy so that’s good! Great post.

  12. How interesting! I’ve seen them before but never really knew what they meant. Now, I kind of want one πŸ™‚

  13. I love this. But I think I need an eye, because right now I am so envious of your travels in Turkey. Really enjoying following your journey, and taking notes for my own eminent trip.

  14. Absolutely beautiful photos. A waiter in a restaurant gave one to our little daughter in Turkey – she subsequently dropped and broke it. Fortunately I’m not even a littlesticious πŸ™‚

  15. So true, those evil eyes are *everywhere*. Case in point: I actually have one of the exact bracelets pictured in your photos. I think the whole idea is pretty cool.

  16. Despite their purpose to ward off evil, Andy and I found them to be a little creepy when there were a bunch in a store or something. 1 or 2, no big deal, but a whole shop full – Andy kept saying “we’re being watched!”

  17. Hi! I just started reading this blog and I LOVE it! I’m trying to start a blog myself. I love the meaning behind the eye! A family friend actually just returned from Turkey, when I talked to her before she left, I asked her to find me a bracelet. I will be receiving the bracelet in the mail soon! Happy and safe travels and thanks for being an inspirtation couple!

  18. I am gifted a blue eye by one of my relatives. Can you suggest where(in which direction) to place the blue eye at home?

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