In the opening chapter of Thomas Hardy's "The Withered Arm", the following passage is found (emphasis mine):
The discussion waxed so warm that the purr of the milk streams became jerky, till a voice from another cow's belly cried with authority, "Now then, what the Turk do it matter to us about Farmer Lodge's age, or Farmer Lodge's new mis'ess? I shall have to pay him nine pound a year for the rent of every one of these milchers, whatever his age or hers. Get on with your work, or 'twill be dark afore we have done. The evening is pinking in a'ready." This speaker was the dairyman himself, by whom the milkmaids and men were employed.
What is the meaning of this phrase? It seems like "Turk" is being used as an oath, in the same way we might say "what the hell" or other profanities. Was this phrase commonly used (in rural England) at the time this story was written? Does it suggest some view of Turks among the English people, or is it a bowdlerism of something else, or what? Searching the web for "what the Turk" didn't give any useful results, simply places where these three words appeared together naturally.
There are some typos / OCR errors in the version of the story that I've linked above (such as "homeward-hound" at the start of Chapter 2), but I've checked the Project Gutenberg version and it also has "what the Turk" and the correct "homeward-bound".