Turkish diaspora

Turkish diaspora

The term Turkish diaspora (Türk diyasporası) refers to the estimated population of Turkish people in the world migrated outside of Turkey.

Turkish people

Turkish people primarily live in Turkey; however, when the borders of the Ottoman Empire became smaller after World War I and the foundation of the new Republic; many Turkish people chose to stay outside Turkey's borders. Since then, some of them have migrated to Turkey but there are still significant minorities of Turks living in different countries such as in Northern Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria, Syria, Iraq, Republic of Macedonia, the Dobruja region of Romania and Kosovo (especially in Prizren). These Turkish people are not to be confused with the Turkish diaspora as they are considered to be 'native Turks' due to living in these countries for hundreds of years and thus are not immigrates.

Turkish people living in other countries outside of Turkey can be summarized into three groups;

  • People who have stayed out of the borders after the Republic of Turkey was formed (Turkish Natives)
  • People who, from Central Asia, have not come to Anatolia (Turkish people in Central Asia)
  • People who have migrated to other countries as (Turkish diaspora)

In the Republic of Turkey, an early history text provided the definition of being a Turk as "any individual within the Republic of Turkey, whatever his faith who speaks Turkish, grows up with Turkish culture and adopts the Turkish ideal is a Turk." This ideal came from the beliefs of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

History of the Turkish diaspora

The main migration of Turkish people to Anatolia occurred at the same time of Turkic migration between the 6th and 11th centuries (the Early Middle Ages), when they spread across most of Central Asia and into Europe and the Middle East. The Seljuk Turks (Selçuk Türkleri) were the first Turkish power to arrive in the 11th century as conquerors, who proceeded to gradually conquer the land of existing Byzantine Empire. In the following centuries the local population began to be assimilated from the emerging Turkic migrants. Over time, as word spread regarding the victory of the Turks in Anatolia, more Turkic migrants began to intermingle with the local inhabitants, which helped to bolster the Turkish-speaking population.

Turks in Europe

The post-war migration of Turks to Europe began with ‘guest workers’ who arrived under the terms of a Labour Export Agreement with Germany in October 1961, followed by a similar agreement with the Netherlands, Belgium and Austria in 1964; France in 1965 and Sweden in 1967. As one Turkish observer noted, ‘it has now been over 40 years and a Turk who went to Europe at the age of 25 has nearly reached the age of 70. His children have reached the age of 45 and their children have reached the age of 20’ . Due to the high rate of Turks in Europe, the Turkish language is now home to one of the largest group of pupils after the German-speakers. Turkish in Germany is often used not only by members of its own community but also by people with a non-Turkish background. Especially in urban areas, it functions as a peer group vernacular for children and adolescents . The increasing Turkish population of Europe can be explained by the continuation of migration through marriages and by the high birth rate of the Turkish population. This high rate has as a consequence that Turkish migrant population is very young (1/3 is under 18 years old); more than 80% of these young people have been born and schooled in Europe.

Turks in North America

In the United States, there are over 500,000 Turkish Americans whose ancestors came from Turkey but the ethnonational category includes those of ethnic Greek, Armenian and Kurdish background. The largest Turkish communities are found in Paterson, New York City, Chicago, Miami, Boston (esp. the suburb of Watertown) and Los Angeles. Since the 1970s, the number of Turkish immigrants has risen to more than 2,000 per year.

There is also a growing Turkish population in Canada, Turkish immigrants have settled mainly in Montreal and Toronto, although there are small Turkish communities in Calgary, Edmonton, London, Ottawa, Windsor and Vancouver. The population of Turkish Canadians in Metropolitan Toronto may be as large as 5,000 .

Turkish nationality

Citizenship is defined in Article 66 of the Constitution of Turkey as:

Turkish natives

Turkish natives are those who are the direct decendents of the Seljuk Turks and the Ottoman Turks who still live in the territories of either of the empires.
Rank Country Capital Number of ethnic Turks Date of reference More information, remarks
1 Ankara 57,680,000 2007 Turkish people
Note: Turkey's total population: 70,586,256 (2008)
2 Baghdad From 222,000 to 2,000,000 2003/04 Iraqi Turkmen
Not to be confused with Turkmen people
3 Damascus c. 1,500,000 2005 Turks in Syria
Not to be confused with Turkmen people
3 Sofia 750,000 2005 Turks in Bulgaria
A further 326,000 live in Turkey
4 Nicosia 250,000 2006 Turkish Cypriot
Including settlers from Turkey
5 Athens 80-120,000 1990 Turks of the Dodecanese
Turks of Western Thrace
6 Skopje 80,000 2002 Turks in the Republic of Macedonia
Turkish language has official status in some areas
7 Pristina 60,000 2000 Turks in Kosovo
Turkish language has official status in Prizren
8 Bucharest 44,500 2002 Turks in Romania
9 Sarajevo 4,000
10 Nicosia 2,500 Turkish cypriot
Turkish language has official status
11 Tirana N/A
12 Others *There is also a further 300,000 Meskhetian Turks and 300,000 Cretan Turks of Turkish decent. Meskhetian Turks
Cretan Turks
Total c.

Turkish people in Central Asia

Rank Country Capital Number of ethnic Turks Date of reference More information, remarks

1979 Figures do not include the 56,000 'Turks of Fergana'
Total c. c.

Turkish diaspora

Rank Country Capital Number of ethnic Turks Date of reference More information, remarks
1 Berlin 2,700,000 2007 Turks in Germany
2 Paris 500,000 2002 Turks in France
3 London 400,000 2003 Turks in the United Kingdom
The majority of the population are Turkish cypriot. Turkish is the seventh most commonly spoken language in London
4 Amsterdam 372 714 2008 Turks in the Netherlands

7 Vienna 250,000 2003 Turks in Austria
8 Washington, D.C. 200,000 2002 Turkish American
An estimated 500,000 of Turkish decent
9 Brussels 230,000 2003 Turks in Belgium
10 Moscow 100,000 2002 Turks in Russia
11 Berne 100,000 2000 Turks in Switzerland
12 Riyadh 80-120,000 2006 Turks in Saudi Arabia
13 Stockholm 60,000 Turks in Sweden
14 Brasilia 58,973 2007 Turks in Brazil
15 Copenhagen 57,130 2003 Turks in Denmark
16 Canberra 54,595 2001 Turks in Australia
A further 120,000 Turkish people live in Australia.
17 Baku 50,000 1999 Turks in Azerbaijan
18 Ottawa 50,000 2006 Turks in Canada
An additional 4,285 Cypriots live in Canada of undeclared ethnicity.
19 Caracas 28,000 est. Turks in Venezuela
20 Jerusalem 20,000 est. Turks in Israel
21 Tehran 15,000 est. Not including the Iranian Azeris, and Qashqai
22 Oslo 14,084 2006 Turks in Norway
23 Rome 13,532 2006 Turks in Italy
24 Chişinău 11,000 2004 Turks in Moldova
25 Tokyo 10,000 2006 Turks in Japan
26 Beirut 10,000 2008 Turks in Lebanon
27 Kiev 8,844 2008 Turks in Ukraine
28 Tripoli 6,000 est. Turks in Libya
29 Kuwait City 3,300 est. Turks in Kuwait
30 Helsinki 3,182 2007 Turks in Finland
31 Madrid 1,758 2001 Turks in Spain
32 Tbilisi 1,200 est. Turks in Georgia
33 Santiago 1,000 2008 Turks in Chile
34 Vaduz 884 2001 Turks in Liechtenstein
35 Wellington 600 2006 Turks in New Zealand
36 Zagreb 300 2001 Turks in Croatia
37 Ljubljana 259 2002 Turks in Slovenia
38 Budapest 100-499 (unknown, but formed a small community) est. Turks in Hungary
for more details
39 Reykjavík 63 2008 Turks in Iceland
40 New Delhi 58 1961 Turks in India
41 Buenos Aires 50 2007 Turks in Argentina
42 San Juan 44 2000 Turks in Puerto Rico
43 Tallinn 24 2008 Turks in Estonia
Total c. c. (including Turkish natives)

Flags used by Turkish people outside Turkey

Famous people of the Diaspora

See also


External links

Sosyo-Kültürel Ekonomik ve Siyasi Açıdan Avrupa'da Türk Gerçeği

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