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Turkish diaspora

The Turkish diaspora (Turkish: Türk diasporası or Türk gurbetçiler) is the estimated population of the Turks all around the world who have migrated out from Turkey and former Turkish (Ottoman) territory. This includes citizens of Turkey living abroad (including ethnic Turks and other ethnic minorities), as well as ethnic Turks who have emigrated from other post-Ottoman states, particularly Turkish communities from the Balkans (such as Bulgaria, Greece, North Macedonia, Romania etc.), the island of Cyprus, the region of Meskhetia in Georgia, and the Arab world (such as Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria).

Due to the large numbers of Mainland Turks, and Turkish minorities from other post-Ottoman states who have emigrated from their traditional homelands, there are no official statistics which represent a true indication of the total ethnic Turkish population in the host countries. For example, although official data shows that there are 52,893 Turkish citizens in the United Kingdom, the Home Affairs Committee states that there are now 500,000 British Turks made up of 300,000 Turkish Cypriots, 150,000 Turkish nationals (i.e. people from Turkey), and smaller groups of Bulgarian Turks and Romanian Turks.[1] Nonetheless, it is known that Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and France all have larger Turkish diaspora communities than the UK.[2]


Anatolian/Mainland Turks

According to the Republic of Turkey's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Turkish citizens (i.e. ethnic Turks as well as other minority groups holding Turkish passports) living abroad exceeds 6 million people, around 5.5 million of which live in Western Europe.[3] However, these figures do not include Turkish immigrants, and their descendants, who have acquired the citizenship of the country they now live in, nor does it include ethnic Turks who have immigrated from other countries (such as Turks from the Balkans, Cyprus, Meskhetia, or the Arab world).

In Western Europe

Due to significant Turkish migration waves to Western Europe, today, the Turkish people form the largest ethnic minority group in Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands, and the second largest minority in Austria.[4] According to The Guardian, whilst half a million Turks live in the UK, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and France all have larger Turkish communities.[2]


The largest Turkish community in Western Europe is in Germany. Estimates of the total Turkish population in Germany, including those of partial descent, have ranged considerably because the German census does not collect data on ethnicity. Academic estimates have often ranged between 2.5 and 4 million.[5][6] Official German data considering people with current or former Turkish citizenship (including ethnic minorities from Turkey, particularly the Kurds) and people who fully or partly descend from Turkish nationals gave the total number of 2.851.000 in 2015.[7] However, since the first decade of the twenty-first century, numerous academics have suggested that there are 4 million people, or "at least" or "more than" 4 million people, of full or partial Turkish origin in the country,[6][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17] or forming 5% of Germany's total population of 82 million inhabitants (which accounts to 4.1 million).[6][15][17] In addition, several academics have also distinguished the "Turkey-related population", which includes ethnic minorities from Turkey but does not include the significant populations of ethnic Turkish communities from the Balkans, Cyprus and the Arab world. Estimates suggest that the total number of people living in Germany who originate from Turkey only (including ethnic minorities from Turkey, particularly the Kurds) reaches, or is more than, five million people[18][19][20] to 5.6 million people.[21] Some academics have also quoted much higher estimates made by European officials. For example, Tessa Szyszkowitz has quoted one estimate by a European official suggesting that there are seven million Turks living in Germany, including the second generation.[22]

In the Americas

Algerian Turks

Initially, the first wave of migration occurred in 1830 when many Turks were forced to leave the region once the French took control over Algeria; approximately 10,000 were shipped off to Turkey whilst many others migrated to other regions of the Ottoman Empire, including Palestine, Syria, Arabia, and Egypt.[23] Furthermore, some Turkish/Kouloughli families also settled in Morocco (such as in Tangier and Tétouan).[24]

In regards to modern migration, there are many Algerian Turks who have emigrated to Europe and, hence, make up part of Algeria's diaspora. For example, there is a noticeable Algerian community of Turkish descent living in England.[25] Many Algerians attend the Suleymaniye Mosque which is owned by the British-Turkish community.[26] There are also thousands of Algerian Turks living in France.[25] Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, and Spain are also top receiving countries of Algerian citizens.[27]

Egyptian Turks

In Egypt the Turkish populations were originally transported as slaves, where their Arab caliph served. The first Turkish dynasty in Egypt was that of the slave Ahmad ibn Tulun (868). Lastly also with the Turkish Ottoman Empire the Turkish populations establish large populations, and to this day descending of Turks governs Egypt, although much mixed with the original populations of Egypt.

Bulgarian Turks

Country Population Further information
 Turkey 1,160,614 have emigrated between 1879-1992[28] not including descendants
 Sweden 30,000[29]
 Netherlands 10,000-30,000[30]
 Austria 1,000[31]

Cretan Turks

Country Population in 1971 Further information
 Turkey 200,000[32]
 Egypt 100,000[32]
 Libya 100,000[32]

Cypriot Turks

Country TRNC Ministry of Foreign Affairs
(2001 estimate)[33]
Other estimates Further information
 Turkey 500,000 300,000[34][35]-500,000[36][37]
 United Kingdom 200,000 300,000[1][38]-400,000[39][40] British Cypriots
British Turks
 Australia 40,000 60,000[41][42]-120,000[37] Turkish Australian
North America
 United States
Cypriot American
Turkish American
Turkish Canadians
 Germany 2,000[37]
 New Zealand 1,600[37]
 South Africa N/A[37]
Other 5,000

Iraqi Turks

Iraqi Turks protesting in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Most Iraqi Turkmen migrate to Turkey followed by Germany, Denmark, and Sweden.[43] Smaller communities have been formed in Canada, the United States, Australia,[43] Greece,[44] and the United Kingdom.[45]

Lebanese Turks

Due to the numerous wars in Lebanon since the 1970s onwards, many Lebanese Turks have sought refuge in Turkey and Europe, particularly in Germany. Indeed, many Lebanese Turks were aware of the large German-Turkish population and saw this as an opportunity to find work once settling in Europe. In particular, the largest wave of Lebanese-Turkish migration occurred once the Israel-Lebanon war of 2006 began. During this period more than 20,000 Turks fled Lebanon, particularly from Beirut, and settled in Germany.[46]

Macedonian Turks

Meskhetian Turks

Country Population Further information
 Kazakhstan 150,000[47]
 Azerbaijan 90,000-110,000[47]
 Russia 70,000-90,000[48]
 Kyrgyzstan 50,000[47]
 Turkey 40,000[48]
 United States 15,000[49]
 Uzbekistan 15,000[48]
 Ukraine 10,000[48]

Palestinian Turks

Syrian Turks waving Turkish and Syrian flags whilst shouting slogans: "No To Demographic Changes in Syria' and 'No To Genocide' during the December 2016 protests in London.

During and after the 1947–1949 Palestine war, some of the Turkish minority fled the region (particularly the Jezreel Valley region and Golan Heights) and settled in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.[50] [51] In Jordan, there is approximately 55,000 Palestinian-Turkish refugees in Irbid[52] 5,000 near Amman[52] 5,000 in El-Sahne[52] 3,000 in El-Reyyan[52] 2,500 in El-Bakaa[52] 1,500 in El-Zerkaa[52] and 1,500 in Sahab[52]

Romanian Turks

Syrian Turks

Since the Syrian Civil War hundreds of thousands of Syrian Turkmen have been internally displaced and/or have been forced to leave the country, especially to neighbouring states but also to Western Europe. In particular, approximately 300,000[53] to 500,000[54] Syrian Turkmen have taken refuge in the Republic of Turkey. Moreover, there is between 125,000 and 150,000[55][56] Syrian Turkmen refugees in Lebanon, outnumbering the long-established Turkish minority of Lebanon.

Western Thrace Turks

Between 300,000 and 400,000 Turks have left Greece's region of Western Thrace since 1923, most of which emigrated to Turkey.[57][58] 25,000 to 40,000 Western Thrace Turks have emigrated to Western Europe, about 80% are living in Germany.[59] Western Thrace Turks have also emigrated to the Netherlands, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Austria and Italy.[60]

Turkish Brazilians

Turkish Brazilians (or Turk Brazilians) (Turkish: Brezilya Türkleri) are Turkish people who have immigrated to Brazil, and are mainly Islamic. The term also refers to Brazilian-born persons who have Turkish parents or who have a Turkish ancestral background. The number of Turks in Brazil as of December 2017 is 6,200.[61] The majority of Turks in Brazil live in São Paulo.[62] In Rio de Janeiro, the Tijuca neighbourhood is rich in Turkish culture.[63]

See also


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  2. ^ a b The Guardian (1 August 2011). "UK immigration analysis needed on Turkish legal migration, say MPs". Retrieved 1 August 2011. The Home Office says that there are about 150,000 Turkish nationals living in Britain at present, with about 500,000 people of Turkish origin living in the country altogether.
  3. ^ Communities and Local Government (2009), Turkish Citizens Living Abroad, retrieved 8 October 2017
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