|between 66.1 and 82.6 million|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Related ethnic groups|
Other Turkic peoples, especially the Oghuz branch
|^ a: According to the Home Affairs Committee this includes 300,000 Turkish Cypriots. However, some estimates suggest that the Turkish Cypriot community in the UK has reached between 350,000 to 400,000.
^ b: Government immigration figures on the number of Turks in the US estimates a total of 190,000 persons; however, these statistics are not fully reliable because a considerable number of Turks were born in the Balkans and USSR.
The Turkish people, or the Turks, (Turkish: Türkler), are an ethnic group primarily living in Turkey, and in the former lands of the Ottoman Empire where Turkish minorities have been established. The Turkish minorities are the second largest ethnic groups in Bulgaria and Cyprus. In addition, due to modern migration, a Turkish diaspora has been established, particularly in Western Europe (see Turks in Europe), where large communities have been formed in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. There are also significant Turkish communities living in Australia, the former Soviet Union and North America.
Although Turkic languages may have been spoken as early as 600 BC, the first mention of the ethnonym "Turk" may date from Herodotus' (c. 484–425 BCE) reference to "Targitas"; furthermore, during the first century CE, Pomponius Mela refers to the "Turcae" in the forests north of the Sea of Azov, and Pliny the Elder lists the "Tyrcae" among the people of the same area. The first definite reference to the "Turks" come mainly from Chinese sources in the sixth century. In these sources, "Turk" appears as "Tujue" (Chinese: 突厥; Wade–Giles: T’u-chüe), which was used to refer to the Göktürks.
The word Türk was used only referring to Anatolian villagers back in the 19th century. The Ottoman elite identified themselves as Ottomans, not usually as Turks. In the late 19th century, as European ideas of nationalism were adopted by the Ottoman elite, and as it became clear that the Turkish-speakers of Anatolia were the most loyal supporters of Ottoman rule, the term Türk took on a much more positive connotation. During Ottoman times, the millet system defined communities on a religious basis, and a residue of this remains in that Turkish villagers will commonly consider as Turks only those who profess the Sunni faith, and will consider Turkish-speaking Jews, Christians, or even Alevis to be non-Turks. On the other hand, Kurdish-speaking or Arabic-speaking Sunnis of eastern Anatolia are sometimes considered to be Turks. The imprecision of the appellation Türk can also be seen with other ethnic names, such as Kürt(Kurd), which is often applied by western Anatolians to anyone east of Adana, even those who speak only Turkish. Thus, the category Türk, like other ethnic categories popularly used in Turkey, does not have a uniform usage. In recent years, centrist Turkish politicians have attempted to redefine this category in a more multi-cultural way, emphasizing that a Türk is anyone who is a citizen of the Republic of Turkey. Currently, article 66 of the Turkish Constitution defines a "Turk" as anyone who is "bound to the Turkish state through the bond of citizenship".
Although numerous modern genetic studies have indicated that the historical Anatolian groups are the primary source of the present-day Turkish population, the first Turkic people lived in a region extending from Central Asia to Siberia and were palpable after the 6th Century BC. Seventh century Chinese sources preserve the origins of the Turks stating that they were a branch of the Hsiung-nu (Huns) and living near the "West Sea", perhaps the Caspian Sea. Modern sources tends to indicate that the Turks' ancestors lived within the state of the Hsiung-nu in the Transbaikal area and that they later, during the fifth century, migrated to the southern Altay.
By the ninth century, when the Great Seljuk Empire had emerged, the Turks began their expansion to the west directly colliding with the Byzantine Empire. In 1071, the Seljuk Turks defeated the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert; the Turkish language and Islam were introduced to Anatolia (present day Turkey) and gradually spread over the region and the slow transition from a predominantly Christian and Greek-speaking Anatolia to a predominantly Muslim and Turkish-speaking one was underway. The Mongols invaded Transoxiana, Iran, Azerbaijan and Anatolia; this caused Turkomens to move further to Western Anatolia. In the time of the Ottoman Empire, the Turkish-speaking Anatolian population had spread throughout the Balkans, Cyprus, North Africa, and the Middle East, and remnants of these Turkish minorities still exists. As the Ottoman Empire gradually shrank in size, military power and wealth, many Ottoman Turks and Balkan Muslims migrated to the Empire's heartland in Anatolia, along with the Circassians fleeing the Russian conquest of the Caucasus.
The area now called Turkey (derived from the Medieval Latin Turchia, i.e. "Land of the Turks") has been inhabited since the Paleolithic, including various Ancient Anatolian civilizations and Thracian peoples.
The history of the Turkic peoples began in ancient times and had an important role in Eurasian history. The linguists hypothesize that proto-Turkic was spoken as early as 3000-500 B.C.E. The Xiongnu civilisation of the Central Asia has been also regarded as the precursors of the nomadic Turks. However, the Turks did not appear in history until the Orkhon inscriptions were erected by the Göktürks in the sixth century C.E. Although the ancient Turks were nomadic, they traded wool, leather, carpets, and horses for wood, silk, vegetables and grain, as well as having large ironworking stations in the south of the Altai Mountains during the 600s C.E. Most of the Turkish-speaking people were shamanists, sharing the cult of Tengrianism, although there were also adherents of Manichaeism, Nestorian Christianity, or, especially, Buddhism. However, during the Muslim conquests, the Turks entered the Muslim world proper as slaves, during the booty of Arab raids and conquests. The Turks began converting to Islam after Muslim conquest of Transoxiana through the efforts of missionaries, Sufis, and merchants. Although initiated by the Arabs, the conversion of the Turks to Islam was filtered through Persian and Central Asian culture. Under the Umayyads, most were domestic slaves, whilst under the Abbasids, increasing numbers were trained as soldiers. By the ninth century, Turkish commanders were leading the caliphs’ Turkish troops into battle. As the Abbasid caliphate declined, Turkish officers assumed more military and political power taking over or establishing provincial dynasties with their own corps of Turkish troops.
During the 11th century the Seljuk Turks grew in number and were able to occupy the eastern province of the Abbasid Empire. By 1055 the Seljuk Empire captured Baghdad and began to make their first incursions into the edges of Anatolia. The victory of the Turks at the Battle of Manzikert over the Byzantine Empire, in 1071, opened the gates of Anatolia to the Seljuk Turks. Although ethnically Turkish, the Seljuk Turks appreciated and became the purveyors of the Persian culture over the Turkish culture. Nonetheless, the Turkish language and Islam were introduced and gradually spread over the region and the slow transition from a predominantly Christian and Greek-speaking Anatolia to a predominantly Muslim and Turkish-speaking one was underway.
In dire straits, the Byzantine Empire turned to the West for help setting in motion the pleas that led to the First Crusade. Once the Crusaders took Iznik, the Seljuk Turks established the Sultanate of Rum from their new capital, Konya, in 1097. By the 12th century the Europeans had begun to call the Anatolian region "Turchia" or "Turkey", meaning "the land of the Turks". The Turkish society of Anatolia was divided into urban, rural and nomadic populations; the other Turcoman tribes who had also swept into Anatolia at the same time as the Seljuk Turks where those in which kept their nomadic ways. These tribes were more numerous than the Seljuk Turks, and rejecting the sedentary lifestyle, adhered to an impregnated Islam with animism and shamanism from their central Asian steppeland origins, which then mixed with new Christian influences. From this popular and syncretist Islam, with its mystical and revolutionary aspects, sects such as the Alevis and Bektashis emerged. Furthermore, the intermarriage between the Turks and local inhabitants, as well as the coversion of many to Islam, also increased the Turkish-speaking Muslim population in Anatolia.
By 1243, at the Battle of Köse Dağ, the Mongols defeated the Seljuk Turks and became the new rulers of Anatolia, and in 1256, the second Mongol invasion of Anatolia caused widespread destruction. Particularly after 1277, political stability within the Seljuk territories rapidly disintegrated, leading to the strengthening of Turcoman principalities in the western and southern parts of Anatolia called the "beyliks".
Once the Seljuk Turks were defeated by the Mongol's conquest of Anatolia, the Turks became the vassal of the Ilkhans who established their own empire in the vast area stretching from present-day Afghanistan to Turkey. As the Mongols occupied more lands in Asia Minor, the Turks moved further to western Anatolia and settled in the Seljuk-Byzantine frontier. By the last decades of the 13th century, the Ilkhans and their Seljuk vassals lost control over much of Anatolia to these Turkoman peoples. A number of Turkish lords managed to establish themselves as rulers of various principalities, known as "Beyliks" or emirates. Amongst these beyliks, along the Aegean coast, from north to south, stretched the beyliks of Karasi, Saruhan, Aydin, Menteşe and Teke. Inland from Teke was Hamid and east of Karasi was the beylik of Germiyan. To the north-west of Anatolia, around Söğüt, was the small and, at this stage, insignificant, Ottoman beylik which was hemmed in to the east by other more substantial powers like Karaman, based on Iconium, which ruled from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. Although the Ottomans were only a small principality among the numerous Turkish beyliks, and thus posed the smallest threat to the Byzantine authority, their location in north-western Anatolia, in the former Byzantine province of Bithynia, became a fortunate position for their future conquests. The Latins, who had conquered the city of Constantinople in 1204 during the Fourth Crusade, established a Latin Empire (1204–61), divided the former Byzantine territories in the Balkans and the Aegean among themselves, and forced the Byzantine Emperors into exile at Nicaea (present-day Iznik). From 1261 onwards, the Byzantines were largely preoccupied with regaining their control in the Balkans. Toward the end of the 13th century, as Mongol power began to decline, the Turcoman chiefs assumed greater independence.
Under its founder, Osman I, the Ottoman beylik expanded along the Sakarya River and westward towards the Sea of Marmara. Thus, the population of western Asia Minor had largely become Turkish-speaking and Muslim in religion. It was under his son, Orhan I, who had attacked and conquered the important urban center of Bursa in 1326, proclaiming it as the Ottoman capital, that the Ottoman Empire developed considerably. In 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe and established a foothold on the Gallipoli Peninsula while at the same time pushing east and taking Ankara. Many Turks from Anatolia began to settle in the region abandoned by the inhabitants who had fled Thrace before the Ottoman invasion. However, the Byzantines were not the only ones to suffer from the Ottoman advancement for, in the mid-1330s, Orhan annexed the Turkish beylik of Karasi. This advancement was maintained by Murad I who more than tripled the territories under his direct rule, reaching some 100,000 square miles, evenly distributed in Europe and Asia Minor. Gains in Anatolia were matched by those in Europe; once the Ottoman forces took Edirne (Adrianople), which became the capital of the Ottoman empire in 1365, they opened their way into Bulgaria and Macedonia in 1371 at the Battle of Maritsa. With the conquests of Thrace, Macedonia, and Bulgaria, significant numbers of Turkish emigrants settled in these regions. This form of Ottoman-Turkish colonization became a very effective method to consolidate their position and power in the Balkans. The settlers consisted of soldiers, nomads, farmers, artisans and merchants, dervishes, preachers and other religious functionaries, and administrative personnel.
In 1453, Ottoman armies, under Sultan Mehmed II, conquered Constantinople. Mehmed reconstructed and repopulated the city, and made it the new Ottoman capital. After the Fall of Constantinople, the Ottoman Empire entered a long period of conquest and expansion with its borders eventually going deep into Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. Selim I dramatically expanded the empire’s eastern and southern frontiers in the Battle of Chaldiran and gained recognition as the guardian of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. His successor, Suleiman the Magnificent, further expanded the conquests after capturing Belgrade in 1521 and using its territorial base to conquer Hungary, and other Central European territories, after his victory in the Battle of Mohács as well as also pushing the frontiers of the empire to the east. Following Suleiman's death, Ottoman victories continued, albeit less frequently than before. The island of Cyprus was conquered, in 1571, bolstering Ottoman dominance over the sea routes of the eastern Mediterranean. However, after its defeat at the Battle of Vienna, in 1683, the Ottoman army was met by ambushes and further defeats; the 1699 Treaty of Karlowitz, which granted Austria the provinces of Hungary and Transylvania, marked the first time in history that the Ottoman Empire actually relinquished territory.
By the 19th century, the empire began to decline when ethno-nationalist uprisings occurred across the empire. Thus, the last quarter of the 19th and the early part of the 20th century saw some 7–9 million Turkish-Muslim refugees from the lost territories of the Caucasus, Crimea, Balkans, and the Mediterranean islands migrate to Anatolia and Eastern Thrace. When World War I broke out, the Turks scored some success with Mustafa Kemal Pasha's legendary defence of Gallipoli at the Battle of the Dardanelles in 1915. However, in 1918, the Turks, represented by the Committee of Union and Progress, agreed to an armistice with England and France. The Treaty of Sèvres was signed in 1920 by the government of Mehmet VI which dismantled the Ottoman Empire. The Turks, under Mustafa Kemal, refused to accept the conditions of the treaty and fought for the Turkish War of Independence, resulting in the abolition of the Sultanate; thus, the 623-year old Ottoman Empire had come to an end.
Once Mustafa Kemal Atatürk led the Turkish War of Independence against the Allied Forces which were occupying the former Ottoman Empire, he united the Turkish-Muslim majority and successfully led them from 1919–22 in throwing the occupying forces out of what was considered to be the Turkish homeland. The Turkish identity became the unifying force when, in 1923, the Treaty of Lausanne was signed and the newly founded Republic of Turkey was formally established. Atatürk's 15-year rule was marked by a series of radical reforms in order to transform Turkey into a secular, modern republic.
Throughout the 1920s and the 1930s, Turks, as well as other Muslims, from the Balkans, the Black Sea, the Aegean islands, the island of Cyprus, the Sanjak of Alexandretta (Hatay), the Middle East, and the Soviet Union continued to arrive in Turkey, most of which settled in urban north-western Anatolia. The bulk of these immigrants, known as "Muhacirs", were the Balkan Turks who faced harassment and discrimination in their homelands. However, there were still remnants of a Turkish population in many of these countries because the Turkish government wanted to preserve these communities so that the Turkish character of these neighbouring territories could be maintained. One of the last stages of ethnic Turks immigrating to Turkey was between 1940 and 1990 when about 700,000 Turks arrived from Bulgaria. Today, between a third and a quarter of Turkey's population are the descendants of these immigrants.
As a consequence of the Second World War, on 15 November 1944, the Soviet Union deported over 115,000 Meskhetian Turks from their residences in Meskheti, Georgian SSR. As opposed to the other nationalities who were deported during World War II, no reason was initially given for the deportation of the Turkish minority. The Soviet government later, in 1968, confessed that the Meskhetian Turks had been relocated within the USSR because Moscow was preparing to launch a pressure campaign against Turkey for the surrender of three Anatolian provinces (Kars, Ardahan and Artvin).
After World War II, West Germany began to experience its greatest economic boom ("Wirtschaftswunder") and in 1961 invited the Turks as guest workers ("Gastarbeiter") to make up for the shortage of workers. The concept of the Gastarbeiter continued with Turkey bearing agreements with Austria, Belgium, and the Netherlands in 1964, with France in 1965; and with Sweden in 1967.
The impact of the post World War II events also affected the future of the island of Cyprus with the rise of EOKA in the 1950s which initiated an armed struggle against Britain, in favour of union with Greece, known as "enosis". The Turkish Cypriots alarmed at the prospect of becoming a minority in a potentially Greek state insisted that they should be allowed to form part of Turkey in a division or "taksim". By 1960, instead of an "enosis" or "taksim", Cyprus was given its independence with power sharing between the two communities under the 1960 Zürich and London Agreement. However, in December 1963, when Makarios III attempted to modify the Constitution, Greek Cypriots began attacking Turkish Cypriot villages; by early 1964, the Turkish Cypriots began withdrawing to armed enclaves where the Greek Cypriots blockaded them. Some 25,000 Turkish Cypriots became refugees, or "displaced persons", and the UN peacekeeping Force, UNFICYP, was stationed on the island. A decade later, in 1974, EOKA B fell into the Greek Junta's hands; Greece, which had taken over the island, provoked a response by Turkey, which on 20 July 1974 interpreted its role as a Constitutional Guarantor Power, in accordance with the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee, to invade and restore previous constitutional order and to protect the Turkish Cypriots. Greece's junta collapsed and the Turkish invasion effectively resulted in the division of Cyprus. The Turkish intervention resulted in the occupation of some 37% of the island in the north.
During the late Roman Period, prior to the Turkic conquest, the population of Anatolia had reached an estimated level of over 12 million people. Furthermore, during the time of Turkic migrations, Anatolia had the lowest migrant/resident ratio. The extent to which gene flow from Central Asia has contributed to the current gene pool of the Turkish people, and the role of the 11th century invasion by Turkic peoples, has been the subject of various studies. Several studies have concluded that the historical and indigenous Anatolian groups are the primary source of the present-day Turkish population. Thus, although the Turks carried out an invasion with cultural significance, including the introduction of the Turkish language and Islam, the genetic significance from Central Asia might have been slight. Today's Turkish people are more closely related with the Balkan populations than to the Central Asian populations, and a study looking into allele frequencies suggested that there was a lack of genetic relationship between the Mongols and the Turks, despite the historical relationship of their languages (The Turks and Germans were equally distant to all three Mongolian populations). In addition, another study looking into HLA genes allele distributions indicated that Anatolians did not significantly differ from other Mediterranean populations. Multiple studies suggested an elite cultural dominance-driven linguistic replacement model to explain the adoption of Turkish language by Anatolian indigenous inhabitants. A group of Armenian scientists conducted a study about the origins of the Turkish people in relation to Armenians. Savak Avagian; director of Armenia's bone marrow bank found that “Turks and Armenians were the two societies throughout the world that were genetically close to each other. Kurds are also in same genetic pool”.
|Turkish settlements in the Balkans|
|Region of settlement||Year of Turkish settlement||Name of Turkish community||Current status|
|Bosnia||1463||Bosnian Turks||The 1991 Bosnian census showed that there was a minority of 267 Turks. However current estimates suggest that there is actually 50,000 Turks living in the country.|
|Bulgaria||1396||Bulgarian Turks||In the 2011 Bulgarian census, which census did not receive a response regarding ethnicity by the total population, 588,318 people, or 8.8% of the self-appointed, determined their ethnicity as Turkish; while the latest census which provided answers from the entire population – the 2001 census, recorded 746,664 Turks, or 9.4% of the population. Other estimates suggests that there are 750,000 to up to around 1 million Turks in the country.|
|Croatia||1526||Croatian Turks||According to the 2001 Croatian census the Turkish minority numbered 300. More recent estimates have suggested that there are 2,000 Turks in Croatia.|
|Rhodes (in Greece)
Kos (in Greece)
|1523||Dodecanese Turks||Some 5,000 Turks live in the Dodecanese islands of Rhodes and Kos.|
|Kosovo||1389||Kosovan Turks||There are approximately 50,000 Kosovar Turks living in Kosovo, mostly in Mamuša, Prizren, and Priština.|
|Macedonia||1392||Macedonian Turks||The 2002 Macedonian census states that there was 77,959 Macedonian Turks, forming about 4% of the total population and constituting a majority in Centar Župa and Plasnica. However, academic estimates suggest that they actually number between 170,000–200,000. Furthermore, about 200,000 Macedonian Turks have migrated to Turkey during World War I and World War II due to persecutions and discrimination|
|Moena (in Italy)||Never conquered by the Ottomans, though settlement began during the Siege of Vienna||Moena Turks||During the Battle of Vienna, in 1683, Turkish soldiers who fled to the south arrived in Moena. Thus, today there is still a community who trace their roots to the Ottoman Turks. Moena is often called "Rione Turchia" which means "Turkish district/region".|
|Montenegro||1496||Montenegrin Turks||There were 104 Montenegrin Turks according to the 2011 census. The majority left their homes and migrated to Turkey in the 1900s.|
|Dobruja (in Romania)||1388||Romanian Turks||There were 28,226 Romanian Turks living in the country according to the 2011 Romanian census. However, academic estimates suggest that the community numbers between 55,000 and 80,000.|
|Western Thrace (in Greece)||1354||Western Thrace Turks||The Greek government refers to the community as "Greek Muslims" or "Hellenic Muslims" and denies the existence of a Turkish minority in Western Thrace. Traditionally, academics have suggeted that the Western Thrace Turks number about 120,000–130,000, although more recent estimates suggest that the community numbers 150,000. Between 300,000 to 400,000 have immigrated to Turkey since 1923.|
The Turkish Cypriots are the ethnic Turks whose Ottoman Turkish forbears colonised the island of Cyprus in 1571. About 30,000 Turkish soldiers were given land once they settled in Cyprus, which bequeathed a significant Turkish community. In 1960, a census was conducted by the new Republic's government which revealed that the Turkish Cypriots formed 18.2% of the islands population. However, once inter-communal fighting and ethnic tensions between 1963 and 1974 occurred between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots, known as the "Cyprus conflict", the Greek Cypriot government conducted a census in 1973, albeit without the Turkish Cypriot populace. A year later, in 1974, the Cypriot government’s Department of Statistics and Research estimated the Turkish Cypriot population to be 118,000 (or 18.4%). A coup d'état in Cyprus on 15 July 1974 by Greeks and Greek Cypriots favouring union with Greece (also known as "Enosis") was followed by military intervention by Turkey whose troops established Turkish Cypriot control over the northern part of the island. Hence, census's conducted by the Republic of Cyprus have excluded the Turkish Cypriot population which had been settled in the unrecognised Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Between 1975 and 1981, Turkey encouraged its own citizens to settle in Northern Cyprus; a 2010 report by the International Crisis Group suggests that out of the 300,000 residents living in Northern Cyprus perhaps half were either born in Turkey or are children of such settlers.
|Turkish settlement in the Levant|
|Region of settlement||Year of Turkish settlement||Name of Turkish community||Current status|
|Iraq||1534||Iraqi Turks||The Turks of Iraq are often called "Iraqi Turkmens" or "Iraqi Turcomans" because there has been various Turkic migrations to Iraq which began as early as the 7th century. However, most of today's descendants of these first migrants have been assimilated into the local Arab population. Once Suleiman the Magnificent conquered Iraq in 1534, followed by Sultan Murad IV's capture of Baghdad in 1638, a large influx of Turks settled down in the region. Thus, most of today's Iraqi Turkmen are the descendants of the Ottoman soldiers, traders and civil servants who were brought into Iraq during the rule of the Ottoman Empire.|
|Jordan||1516||Jordanian Turks||There exists a small minority of about 5,000 people in the country who are the descendants of the Ottoman-Turkish colonisers.|
|Lebanon||1516||Lebanese Turks||The Turkish community in Lebanon currently numbers about 80,000. Turks were brought into the region along with Sultan Selim I’s army during his campaign to Egypt. The descendants of these early Ottoman Turkish settlors mainly live in Akkar and Baalbeck. Late Ottoman-Turkish migration continued when the Ottoman Empire lost its dominion over the island of Crete, in modern-day Greece. After 1897, when the Ottomans lost control of the island, the Ottoman Empire sent ships to protect the island’s Cretan Turks, most settled in Izmir and Mersin, but some of them were also sent to Tripoli, Lebanon.|
|Syria||1516||Syrian Turks||The Turks of Syria are often called "Syrian Turkmens" or "Syrian Turcomans" because there has been various Turkic migrations to Syria which began as early as the 7th century. However, most of today's descendants of these first migrants have been assimilated into the local Arab population. In 1516 Sultan Selim I conquered Syria and the region was part of the Ottoman Empire until 1918. Hence, during the 402 years of Ottoman-Turkish rule, Turks migrated from Anatolia to Syria for centuries, establishing themselves as a significant community. Today, there are about 1.5 million Turks living in Syria who still speak Turkish, although about a further 2 million are believed to be assimilated within the Arab population.|
The Meskhetian Turks are the ethnic Turks formerly inhabiting the Meskheti region of Georgia, along the border with Turkey. The Turkish presence in Meskhetia began with the Ottoman invasion of 1578, although Turkic tribes had settled in the region as early as the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Today, the Meskhetian Turks are widely dispersed throughout the former Soviet Union (as well as in Turkey and the United States) due to forced deportations during World War II. At the time, the Soviet Union was preparing to launch a pressure campaign against Turkey and Joseph Stalin wanted to clear the strategic Turkish population in Meskheti who were likely to be hostile to Soviet intentions. In 1944, the Meskhetian Turks were accused of smuggling, banditry and espionage in collaboration with their kin across the Turkish border; nationalistic policies at the time encouraged the slogan: "Georgia for Georgians" and that the Meskhetian Turks should be sent to Turkey "where they belong". Approximately 115,000 Meskhetian Turks were deported to Central Asia and only a few hundred have been able to return to Georgia ever since.
|Turkish settlements in North Africa|
|Region settlement||Year of Turkish settlement||Name of Turkish community||Current status|
|Algeria||1517||Algerian Turks||Estimates on the Algerian Turkish community vary significantly, according to the Turkish Embassy in Algeria there is between 600,000 to 2 million people of Turkish origin living in Algeria. The Oxford Business Group has suggested that people of Turkish descent make up 5% of Algeria's total population, accounting to about 1.7 million. However, other estimates state that the Turkish community make up 10–25% of Algeria's population.|
|Egypt||1517||Egyptian Turks||About 100,000 Turks are still living in Egypt.|
|Libya||1551||Libyan Turks||In 1936 there was 35,000 Turks living in Libya, forming about 5% of the total population at the time.|
|Tunisia||1574||Tunisian Turks||As much as 25% of Tunisia's population are of Turkish origin.|
Current estimates suggests that there is approximately 9 million Turks living in Europe, excluding those who live in Turkey. Modern immigration of Turks to Western Europe began with Turkish Cypriots migrating to the United Kingdom in the early 1920s when the British Empire annexed Cyprus in 1914 and the residents of Cyprus became subjects of the Crown. However, Turkish Cypriot migration increased significantly in the 1940s and 1950s due to the Cyprus conflict. Conversely, in 1944, Turks who were forcefully deported from Meskheti in Georgia during the Second World War, known as the Meskhetian Turks, settled in Eastern Europe (especially in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine). By the early 1960s, migration to Western and Northern Europe increased significantly from Turkey when Turkish "guest workers" arrived under a "Labour Export Agreement" with Germany in 1961, followed by a similar agreement with the Netherlands, Belgium and Austria in 1964; France in 1965; and Sweden in 1967. More recently, Bulgarian Turks, Romanian Turks, and Western Thrace Turks have also migrated to Western Europe.
Compared to Turkish immigration to Europe, migration to North America has been relatively small. According to the 2000 United States Census and the 2006 Canadian Census, 117,575 Americans and 43,700 Canadians claimed Turkish descent. However, the actual number of Turks in both countries is considerably larger, as a significant number of ethnic Turks have migrated to North America not just from Turkey but also from the Balkans (such as Bulgaria and Macedonia), Cyprus, and the former Soviet Union. Hence, the Turkish American community is currently estimated to number about 500,000 whilst the Turkish Canadian community is believed to number between 50,000–100,000. The largest concentration of Turkish Americans are in New York City, and Rochester, New York; Washington, D.C.; and Detroit, Michigan. The majority of Turkish Canadians live in Ontario, mostly in Toronto, and there is also a sizable Turkish community in Montreal. With regards to the 2010 United States Census, the U.S government was determined to get an accurate count of the American population by reaching segments, such as the Turkish community, that are considered "hard to count", a good portion of which falls under the category of foreign-born immigrants. The Assembly of Turkish American Associations and the US Census Bureau formed a partnership to spearhead a national campaign to count people of Turkish origin with an organisation entitled "Census 2010 SayTurk" (which has a double meaning in Turkish, "Say" means "to count" and "to respect") to identify the estimated 500,000 Turks now living in the United States.
A notable scale of Turkish migration to Australia began in the late 1940s when Turkish Cypriots began to leave the island of Cyprus for economic reasons, and then, during the Cyprus conflict, for political reasons, marking the beginning of a Turkish Cypriot immigration trend to Australia. The Turkish Cypriot community were the only Muslims acceptable under the White Australia Policy; many of these early immigrants found jobs working in factories, out in the fields, or building national infrastructure. In 1967, the governments of Australia and Turkey signed an agreement to allow Turkish citizens to immigrate to Australia. Prior to this recruitment agreement, there were less than 3,000 people of Turkish origin in Australia. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, nearly 19,000 Turkish immigrants arrived from 1968–1974. They came largely from rural areas of Turkey, approximately 30% were skilled and 70% were unskilled workers. However, this changed in the 1980s when the number of skilled Turks applying to enter Australia had increased considerably. Over the next 35 years the Turkish population rose to almost 100,000. More than half of the Turkish community settled in Victoria, mostly in the north-western suburbs of Melbourne. According to the 2006 Australian Census, 59,402 people claimed Turkish ancestry; however, this does not show a true reflection of the Turkish Australian community as it is estimated that between 40,000 to 120,000 Turkish Cypriots and 150,000 to 200,000 mainland Turks live in Australia. Furthermore, there has also been ethnic Turks who have migrated to Australia from Bulgaria, Greece, Iraq, and the Republic of Macedonia.
The Turkish people traditionally lived in the Meskhetia region of Georgia. However, due to the ordered deportation of over 115,000 Meskhetian Turks from their homeland in 1944, during the Second World War, the majority settled in Central Asia. According to the 1989 Soviet Census, which was the last Soviet Census, 106,000 Meskhetian Turks lived in Uzbekistan, 50,000 in Kazakhstan, and 21,000 in Kyrgyzstan. However, in 1989, the Meshetian Turks who had settled in Uzbekistan became the target of a pogrom in the Fergana valley, which was the principal destination for Meskhetian Turkish deportees, after an uprising of nationalism by the Uzbeks. The riots had left hundreds of Turks dead or injured and nearly 1,000 properties were destroyed; thus, thousands of Meskhetian Turks were forced into renewed exile. The majority of Meskhetian Turks, about 70,000, went to Azerbaijan, whilst the remainder went to various regions of Russia (especially Krasnodar Krai), Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Ukraine. Soviet authorities recorded many Meskhetian Turks as belonging to other nationalities such as "Azeri", "Kazakh", "Kyrgyz", and "Uzbek". Hence, official census's have not shown a true reflection of the Turkish population; for example, according to the 2009 Azerbaijani census, there were 38,000 Turks living in the country; yet in 1999, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees stated that there were 100,000 Meskhetian Turks living in the country. Furthermore, in 2001, the Baku Institute of Peace and Democracy suggested that there was between 90,000 to 110,000 Meskhetian Turks living in Azerbaijan.
The Turkish language, which is a southern Oghuz dialect of the Turkic languages, is natively spoken by the Turkish people in Turkey, Bulgaria, the island of Cyprus, Greece (primarily in Western Thrace), Kosovo, the Republic of Macedonia, Meskhetia, Romania, and other areas of traditional settlement which were formerly, in whole or part, belonged to the Ottoman Empire. Turkish is the official language of Turkey and is one of the official languages of Cyprus. It also has official (but not primary) status in the Prizren District of Kosovo and several municipalities of the Republic of Macedonia, depending on the concentration of Turkish-speaking local population. Modern standard Turkish is based on the dialect of Istanbul. Nonetheless, dialectal variation persists, in spite of the levelling influence of the standard used in mass media and the Turkish education system since the 1930s. The terms ağız or şive are often used to refer to the different types of Turkish dialects (such as Cypriot Turkish).
There are three major Anatolian Turkish dialect groups spoken in Turkey: the West Anatolian dialect (roughly to the west of the Euphrates), the East Anatolian dialect (to the east of the Euphrates), and the North East Anatolian group, which comprises the dialects of the Eastern Black Sea coast, such as Trabzon, Rize, and the littoral districts of Artvin.
The Turkish language was introduced to the Balkans by the Ottoman Turks during the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Today, Turkish is still spoken by the Turkish minorities who are still living in the region, especially in Bulgaria, Greece (mainly in Western Thrace), Kosovo, the Republic of Macedonia, and Romania. Despite some contact phenomena, especially in the lexicon, the Balkan Turkish dialects are considerably closer to standard Turkish and do not differ significantly from it.
The Turkish language was introduced to Cyprus with the Ottoman conquest in 1571 and became the politically dominant, prestigious language, of the administration. In the post-Ottoman period, Cypriot Turkish was relatively isolated from standard Turkish and had strong influences by the Cypriot Greek dialect. The condition of coexistence with the Greek Cypriots led to a certain bilingualism whereby Turkish Cypriots knowledge of Greek was important in areas where the two communities lived and worked together. The linguistic situation changed radically in 1974, when the island was divided into a Greek south and a Turkish north (Northern Cyprus). Today, the Cypriot Turkish dialect is being exposed to increasing standard Turkish through immigration from Turkey, new mass media, and new educational institutions.
The Meskhetian Turks speak an Eastern Anatolian dialect of Turkish, which hails from the regions of Kars, Ardahan, and Artvin. The Meskhetian Turkish dialect has also borrowed from other languages (including Azerbaijani, Georgian, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Russian, and Uzbek) which the Meskhetian Turks have been in contact with during the Russian and Soviet rule.
Due to a large Turkish diaspora, significant Turkish-speaking communities also reside in countries such as Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States. However, because of cultural assimilation of Turkish immigrants and their descendants in host countries, not all ethnic Turks speak the Turkish language with native fluency.
Over 90% Turkish people are Muslims, the majority following the Sunni branch of Islam, with the remainder being Alevis. There is a Christian and Jewish minority in Turkey. Christian Turks are either Syriac Orthodox or Assyrian/Chaldean Catholic. They are concentrated in mainly in Istanbul and Mardin. The Jewish Turks are of Spanish Origin. Many Christian Turks immigrated to Europe and the United States. The Turks generally take a moderate attitude toward their religion and have developed a brand of secularism, known as Kemalism, when in 1924, the caliph was abdicated and all overt expressions of Islam from public life were banished.
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