Prevalence of the Evil Eye Talismans in Turkey
I initially encountered an 'evil eye' talisman in February 2006, on the wrist of an Italian girl that I was sailing with in the Caribbean. I genuinely thought the thing was just another superstitious novelty pushed on tourists, but it's seriously engrained as a part of the culture in Turkey. Both Turks and foreigners alike partake in its power to turn away envy (and the like).
The evil eye is a belief that the envy elicited by the good luck of fortunate people may result in their misfortune.
In some forms, it is the belief that some people can bestow a curse on victims by the malevolent gaze of their magical eye. The most common form, however, attributes the cause to envy, with the envious person casting the evil eye doing so unintentionally.
Also the effects on victims vary. Some cultures report afflictions with bad luck; others believe the evil eye can cause disease, wasting away, and even death. In most cultures, the primary victims are thought to be babies and young children, because they are so often praised and commented upon by strangers or by childless women.
Attempts to ward off the curse of the evil eye have resulted in a number of talismans in many cultures. As a class, they are called 'apotropaic' talismans, meaning that they turn away or turn back harm.
Disks or balls, consisting of concentric blue and white circles representing an evil eye are common apotropaic talismans in the Middle East, found on the prows of Mediterranean boats and elsewhere; in some forms of the folklore, the staring eyes are supposed to bend the malicious gaze back to the sorcerer.
In Turkey and Balkans, evil eye jewelry and trinkets are particularly common. A nazar or evil eye stone (Turkish: nazar boncuğu) is an amulet from ancient mythology that protects against the evil eye. Colorful beads, bracelets, necklaces, anklets, and all manner of decoration may be adorned by this particularly popular symbol, and it is common to see it on almost anything, from babies, horses, doors to cars, cell phones and even airplanes.