King Ferdinand VII of Spain was often compared to the Ottoman sultan. It was a rhetorical operation that continued a tradition in Western Christendom by which Christian rulers were compared to oriental despots not because they were considered to be equal to them, but to show how far astray from the ideal of good government they were. This article examines the multiple dimensions of this comparison. To what extent was it a reaffirmation of the construction of the Turk as a radical other? Or were there new essential elements, and therefore the metaphor of the Turk can also be interpreted within a new universalistic discourse that opposed tyrants to oppressed peoples across cultural and religious barriers? Our examination leads to a reflection on the transnational character of the discursive frameworks in which the metaphor of the Turk was built and rebuilt, on its circulation and limits, and on its specific uses.