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Turkish Cypriots

Turkish Cypriots
Kıbrıslı Türkler
Total population
est. 1,100,000
(see also Turkish Cypriot diaspora)
Regions with significant populations
 Northern Cyprus 120,000-150,000a[1][2]
 Turkey 500,000[3][4]
 United Kingdom 300,000-400,000[4][5][6][7][8]
 Australia 40,000-120,000[3][4][7][9][10]
 United States 5,000-10,000[4][11]
 Palestine 4,000[12]
 Cyprus (south) 2,000[13]
 Germany 2,000[4]
 Canada 1,800[4]
 New Zealand 1,600[4]
 Italy 1,000[4]
 France 800[4]
Cypriot Turkish
Sunni Islam
Related ethnic groups
Turkic peoples

a This figure does not include Turkish settlers from Turkey.

Turkish Cypriots (Turkish: Kıbrıs Türkleri or Kıbrıslı Türkler; Greek: Τουρκοκύπριοι) are ethnic Turks originating from Cyprus. Following the Ottoman conquest of the island in 1571, about 30,000 Turkish settlers were given land once they arrived in Cyprus,[14][15] Additionally, many of the islanders converted to Islam during the early years of Ottoman rule.[16] Nonetheless, the influx of mainly Muslim settlers to Cyprus continued intermittently until the end of the Ottoman period.[17] The fact that Turkish was the main language spoken by the Muslims of the island is a significant indicator that the majority of them were either Turkish-speaking Anatolians or otherwise from a Turkic background[18] which bequeathed a significant Turkish community, today's Turkish Cypriots.

Today, while Northern Cyprus is home to a significant part of the Turkish Cypriot population, the majority of Turkish Cypriots live abroad, forming the Turkish Cypriot diaspora. This diaspora came into existence after the Ottoman Empire transferred the control of the island to the British Empire, as many Turkish Cypriots emigrated primarily to Turkey and the United Kingdom for political and economic reasons. The emigration was exacerbated by the intercommunal violence in the 1950s and 1960s, as Turkish Cypriots had to live in enclaves in Cyprus.

The vernacular of Turkish spoken by Turkish Cypriots is Cypriot Turkish, which has been strongly influenced by Cypriot Greek as well as English. The vast majority of Turkish Cypriots are Sunni Muslims, but the community is generally secular.


  • History 1
    • Ottoman Cyprus 1.1
    • British Cyprus 1.2
    • Republic of Cyprus 1.3
    • Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus 1.4
  • Culture 2
    • Religion 2.1
    • Language 2.2
    • Music and dances 2.3
  • Demographics 3
  • Diaspora 4
    • Turkey 4.1
    • Palestine 4.2
    • United Kingdom 4.3
  • Notable Turkish Cypriots 5
    • Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe 5.1
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • Bibliography 8
  • Further reading 9
  • External links 10


Ottoman Cyprus

The Ottoman Turks built Büyük Han in 1572. Today it has become a thriving center of Turkish Cypriot culture

The basis for the emergence of a sizeable and enduring Turkish community in Cyprus emerged when Ottoman troops landed on the island in mid-May 1570 and conquered it within a year from Venetian rule.[19] The post-conquest established a significant Muslim community which consisted of soldiers from the campaign who remained behind and further settlers who were brought from Anatolia as part of a traditional Ottoman population policy.[20] However, there were also some new converts to Islam on the island during the early years of Ottoman rule.[16] In addition to documented settlement of Anatolian peasants and craftsmen, as well as the arrival of soldiers, decrees were also issued banishing Anatolian tribes, "undesirable" persons and members of various "troublesome" Muslim sects, principally those officially classified as "heretic".[21] This influx of mainly Muslim settlers to Cyprus continued intermittently until the end of the Ottoman period.[17] By the second quarter of the nineteenth century approximately 30,000 Muslims were living in Cyprus, comprising about 35% of the total population. The fact that Turkish was the main language spoken by the Muslims of the island is a significant indicator that the majority of them were either Turkish-speaking Anatolians or otherwise from a Turkic background.[18] Throughout the Ottoman rule, the demographic ratio between Christian "Greeks" and Muslim "Turks" fluctuated constantly.[22] During 1745-1814, the Muslim Turkish Cypriots constituted the majority on the island against the Christian Greek Cypriots (TCs being max 75% of total island population) (Drummond, 1745: 150,000 vs. 50,000; Kyprianos, 1777: 47,000 vs. 37,000;[23][24] De Vezin, 1788-1792: 60,000 vs. 20,000; Kinneir 1814: 35,000 vs. 35,000)[25] However, by 1841, Turks made up 27% of the island's population.[26] One of the reason for this decline is because the Turkish community were obliged to serve in the Ottoman army for years, usually away from home, very often losing their lives in the endless wars of the Ottoman Empire.[27] Another reason for the declining population was because of the emigration trend of some 15,000 Turkish Cypriots to Anatolia in 1878, when the Ottoman Turks handed over the administration of the island to Britain.[28][29]

British Cyprus

By 1878, during the Congress of Berlin, under the terms of the Anglo-Ottoman Cyprus Convention, the Ottoman Turks had agreed to assign Cyprus to Britain to occupy and rule, though not to possess as sovereign territory.[30] According to the first British census of Cyprus, in 1881, 95% of the island's Muslims spoke Turkish as their mother tongue.[31] As of the 1920s, the percentage of Greek-speaking Muslims had dropped from 5%, in 1881, to just under 2% of the total Muslim population.[32] During the opening years of the twentieth century Ottomanism became an ever more popular identity held by the Cypriot Muslim intelligentsia, especially in the wake of the Young Turk Revolution of 1908. Increasing numbers of Young Turks who had turned against Sultan Abdul Hamid II sought refuge in Cyprus. A rising class of disgruntled intellectuals in the island's main urban centres gradually began to warm to the ideas of positivism, freedom and modernization.[33] Spurred on by the rising calls for "enosis", the union with Greece, emanating from Greek Cypriots, an initially hesitant "Turkism" was also starting to appear in certain newspaper articles and to be heard in the political debates of the local intelligentsia of Cyprus.[34] In line with the changes introduced in the Ottoman Empire after 1908, the curricula of Cyprus's Muslim schools, such as the "Idadi", were also altered to incorporate more secular teachings with increasingly Turkish nationalist undertones. Many of these graduates in due course ended up as teachers in the growing number of urban and rural schools that had begun to proliferate across the island by the 1920s.[35]

In 1914 the Ottoman Empire joined the First World War against the Allied Forces and Britain annexed the island. Cyprus's Muslim inhabitants were officially asked to choose between adopting either British nationality or retaining their Ottoman subject status; about 4,000–8,500 Muslims decided to leave the island and move to Turkey.[36][37] Following its defeat in World War I, the Ottoman Empire were faced with the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922) whereby the Greek incursion into Anatolia aimed at claiming what Greece believed to be historically Greek territory.[38] For the Ottoman Turks of Cyprus, already fearing the aims of enosis-seeking Greek Cypriots, reports of atrocities committed by the Greeks against the Turkish populations in Anatolia, and the Greek Occupation of Smyrna, produced further fears for their own future. Greek forces were routed in 1922 under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk who, in 1923, proclaimed the new Republic of Turkey and renounced irredentist claims to former Ottoman territories beyond the Anatolian heartland. Muslims in Cyprus were thus excluded from the nation-building project, though many still heeded Atatürk's call to join in the establishment of the new nation-state, and opted for Turkish citizenship. Between 1881 and 1927 approximately 30,000 Turkish Cypriots emigrated to Turkey.[39][28]

The 1920s was to prove a critical decade in terms of stricter ethno-religious compartments; hence, Muslim Cypriots who remained on the island gradually embraced the ideology of Turkish nationalism due to the impact of the Kemalist Revolution.[40] At its core were the Kemalist values of secularism, modernization and westernization; reforms such as the introduction of the new Turkish alphabet, adoption of western dress and secularization, were adopted voluntarily by Muslim Turkish Cypriots, who had been prepared for such changes not just by the Tanzimat but also by several decades of British rule.[41] Many of those Cypriots who until then had still identified themselves primarily as Muslims began now to see themselves principally as Turks in Cyprus.[42]

By 1950, a

  • Cezire Association - Researchers of Turkish Cypriot history and culture
  • Historical Origins of Turkish Cypriot People
  • Oral histories of Turkish Cypriots in Britain
  • History of Turkish Cypriots in Britain
  • Reassessing what we collect website – Turkish Cypriot London History of Turkish Cypriot London with objects and images
  • Turkish Cypriots of Australia - Historical Book
  • North Cyprus Turkish Youth Club of Victoria
  • Association of Turkish Cypriots Abroad
  • Turkish Cypriot Lobby Group in the UK
  • North Cyprus Turkish Community Centre of Victoria

External links

  • Baybars, Taner, Plucked in a far-off land, London: Victor Gollancz, 1970.
  • Beckingham, C. F., The Cypriot Turks, Journal of the Royal Central Asian Society, vol. 43, pp. 126–30, 1956.
  • Beckingham, C. F., The Turks of Cyprus, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. vol 87(II), pp. 165–74. July-Dec. 1957.
  • Beckingham, C. F., Islam and Turkish nationalism in Cyprus, Die Welt des Islam, NS, Vol 5, 65-83, 1957.
  • Committee on Turkish Affairs, An investigation into matters concerning and affecting the Turkish community in Cyprus: Interim report, Nicosia: Government Printing Office, 1949.
  • Dandini, Jerome. Voyage du Mont Liban / traduit de l'Italien du R. P. Jerome Dandini ... Ou il est traité tant de la créance ... des Maronites, que des plusieurs particularitez touchant les Turcs ... avec des remarques sur la theologie des chrétiens & ... des mahometans. Par R. S. P.
  • Jennings, Ronald C., Christians and Muslims in Ottoman Cyprus and the Mediterranean World, 1571–1640, New York University Studies in Near Eastern Civilization-Number XVIII, New York University Press, New York and London, 1993-Acknowledgments ix-xi + 428 pp.
  • Oakley, Robin, The Turkish peoples of Cyprus, in Margaret Bainbridge, ed, The Turkic peoples of the world. (pp. 85–117), New York: Kegan Paul, 1993
  • Xypolia, Ilia, 'Cypriot Muslims among Ottomans, Turks and British', Bogazici Journal, vol.25, pp. 109–120, 2011.

Further reading

  • Ansari, Humayun (2004), The Infidel Within: Muslims in Britain since 1800, C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, .  
  • Boyle, Kevin; Sheen, Juliet (1997), Freedom of Religion and Belief: A World Report, Routledge, .  
  • Bridgwood, Ann (1995), "Dancing the Jar: Girls' Dress and Turkish Cypriot Weddings", in Eicher, Joanne Bubolz (ed.), Dress and Ethnicity: Change Across Space and Time, Berg Publishers, .  
  • Broome, Benjamin J. (2004), "Building a Shared Future across the Divide: Identity and Conflict in Cyprus", in Fong, Mary; Chuang, Rueyling (eds.), Communicating Ethnic and Cultural Identity, Rowman & Littlefield, .  
  • Bryant, Rebecca; Papadakis, Yiannis (2012), Cyprus and the Politics of Memory: History, Community and Conflict, I.B.Tauris, .  
  • Çakmak, Zafer (2008), "Kıbrıs'tan Anadolu'ya Türk Göçü (1878-1938)", Türkiyat Araştırmaları Enstitüsü Dergisi 14 (36): 201–223,  .
  • Canefe, Nergis (2002), "Markers of Turkish Cypriot History in the Diaspora: Power, visibility and identity", Rethinking History 6 (1): 57–76,  .
  • Carment, David; James, Patrick; Taydas, Zeynep (2006), Who Intervenes?: Ethnic Conflict and Interstate Crisis, Ohio State University Press, .  
  • Cassia, Paul Sant (2007), Bodies of Evidence: Burial, Memory, and the Recovery of Missing Persons in Cyprus, Berghahn Books, .  
  • Çevikel, Serkan (2000), Kıbrıs Eyaleti, Yönetim, Kilise, Ayan ve Halk (1750 - 1800), Eastern Mediterranean University Press, .  
  • Clogg, Richard (1992), A Concise History of Greece, Cambridge University Press, .  
  • Cockburn, Cynthia (2004), The line: Women, Partition and the Gender Order in Cyprus, Zed Books, .  
  • Darke, Diana (2009), North Cyprus, Bradt Travel Guides, .  
  • Davey, Eileen (1994), Northern Cyprus: A Traveller's Guide, I.B.Tauris, .  
  • Demirtaş-Coşkun, Birgül (2010), "Reconsidering the Cyprus Issue: An Anatomy of Failure of European Catalyst (1995-2002)", in Laçiner, Sedat; Özcan, Mehmet; Bal, İhsan (eds), USAK Yearbook of International Politics and Law 2010, Vol. 3, USAK Books, .  
  • Djavit An, Ahmet (2008), Origins of the Turkish Cypriots (PDF), Kibris Kültür Mücadelesi 
  • Göktepe, Cihat (2003), British foreign policy towards Turkey, 1959-1965, Routledge, .  
  • Goetz, Rolf (2008), Cyprus: 42 selected walks in the valleys and mountains, Bergverlag Rother GmbH, .  
  • Güven-Lisaniler, Fatma; Rodriguez, Leopoldo (2002), "The social and economic impact of EU membership on northern Cyprus", in Diez, Thomas (ed.), The European Union and the Cyprus Conflict: Modern Conflict, Postmodern Union, Manchester University Press, .  
  • Hatay, Mete (2007), Is the Turkish Cypriot population shrinking? (PDF), International Peace Research Institute,  
  • Heper, Metin; Criss, Bilge (2009), Historical Dictionary of Turkey, Scarecrow Press, .  
  • Hill, George Francis (1952), A History of Cyprus. Vol.4: The Ottoman province, the British colony, 1571-1948, Cambridge University Press, .  
  • Hüssein, Serkan (2007), Yesterday & Today: Turkish Cypriots of Australia, Serkan Hussein, .  
  • Inalcik, Halil, A Note of the Population of Cyprus (PDF), Bilkent University .
  • Ioannides, Christos P. (1991), In Turkeys Image: The Transformation of Occupied Cyprus into a Turkish Province, Aristide D. Caratzas, .  
  • Jennings, Ronald (1993), Christians and Muslims in Ottoman Cyprus and the Mediterranean World, 1571-1640, New York University Press, .  
  • Johanson, Lars (2011), "Multilingual states and empires in the history of Europe: the Ottoman Empire", in Kortmann, Bernd; Van Der Auwera, Johan (eds), The Languages and Linguistics of Europe: A Comprehensive Guide, Volume 2, Walter de Gruyter,  
  • Kızılyürek, Niyazi (2006), "The Turkish Cypriots from an Ottoman-Muslim Community to a National Community", in Faustmann, Hubert; Peristianis, Nicos (eds), Britain in Cyprus: Colonialism and Post-Colonialism, 1878-2006, Bibliopolis, .  
  • Kliot, Nurit (2007), "Resettlement of Refugees in Finland and Cyprus: A Comparative Analysis and Possible Lessons for Israel", in Kacowicz, Arie Marcelo; Lutomski, Pawel (eds), Population resettlement in international conflicts: a comparative study, Lexington Books, .  
  • Mikropoulos, Tassos A. (2008), Elevating and Safeguarding Culture Using Tools of the Information Society: Dusty traces of the Muslim culture, Earthlab, .  
  • Nesim, Ali (1987), Batmayan Eğitim Güneşlerimiz, KKTC Milli Eğitim ve Kültür Bakanlığı .
  • Nevzat, Altay (2005), Nationalism Amongst the Turks of Cyprus: The First Wave (PDF), Oulu University Press, .  
  • Nevzat, Altay; Hatay, Mete (2009), "Politics, Society and the Decline of Islam in Cyprus: From the Ottoman Era to the Twenty-First Century", Middle Eastern Studies 45 (6): 911–933,  .
  • Orhonlu, Cengiz (2010), "The Ottoman Turks Settle in Cyprus", in Inalcık, Halil, The First International Congress of Cypriot Studies: Presentations of the Turkish Delegation, Institute for the Study of Turkish Culture .
  • Panayiotopoulos, Prodromos; Dreef, Marja (2002), "London: Economic Differentiation and Policy Making", in Rath, Jan (ed), Unravelling the rag trade: immigrant entrepreneurship in seven world cities, Berg Publishers, .  
  • Panteli, Stavros (1990), The Making of Modern Cyprus: From Obscurity to Statehood, CInterworld Publications, .  
  • Papadakis, Yiannis (2005), Echoes from the Dead Zone: Across the Cyprus divide, I.B.Tauris, .  
  • Percival, David Athelstane (1948), Cyprus: Census of Population and Agriculture 1946, Crown Agents for the Colonies .
  • Rowan-moorhouse, Libby (2007), In the Land of Aphrodite, Power Publishing, .  
  • Rudolph, Joseph Russell (2008), Hot spot: North America and Europe, ABC-CLIO, .  
  • Salih, Halil Ibrahim (1968), Cyprus: An Analysis of Cypriot Political Discord, Brooklyn: T. Gaus' Sons .
  • Savvides, Philippos K (2004), "Partition Revisited: The International Dimension and the Case of Cyprus", in Danopoulos, Constantine Panos; Vajpeyi, Dhirendra K.; Bar-Or, Amir(eds), Civil-military relations, nation building, and national identity: comparative perspectives, Greenwood Publishing Group, .  
  • Shawn, Stanford J. (1976), History of the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey, Volume 1, Cambridge University Press, .  
  • Sonyel, Salahi R. (2000), "Turkish Migrants in Europe" (PDF), Perceptions (Center for Strategic Research) 5 (Sept-Nov 2000): 146–153 
  • Spilling, Michael (2000), Cyprus, Marshall Cavendish, .  
  • St. John-Jones, L.W. (1983), Population of Cyprus: Demographic Trends and Socio-economic Influences, Maurice Temple Smith Ltd, .  
  • Strüder, Inge R. (2003), Do concepts of ethnic economies explain existing minority enterprises? The Turkish speaking economies in London (PDF), London School of Economics,  
  • Tocci, Nathalie (2004), EU accession dynamics and conflict resolution: catalysing peace or consolidating partition in Cyprus?, Ashgate Publishing, .  
  • Tocci, Nathalie (2007), The EU and Conflict Resolution: Promoting Peace in the Backyard, Routledge, .  
  • TRNC PRIME MINISTRY STATE PLANNING ORGANIZATION (2006), TRNC General Population and Housing Unit Census (PDF), TRNC Prime Ministry State Planning Organization 
  • Turkish Cypriot Human Rights Committee (1979), Human rights in Cyprus, University of Michigan .
  • Welin, Gustaf; Ekelund, Christer (2004), The UN in Cyprus: Swedish Peace-keeping Operations 1964-1993, Hurst & Company, .  
  • Xypolia, Ilia (2011). "Cypriot Muslims among Ottomans, Turks and British" (PDF). Bogazici Journal 25 (2): 109–120. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  • Yilmaz, Ihsan (2005), Muslim Laws, Politics and Society in Modern Nation States: Dynamic Legal Pluralisms in England, Turkey and Pakistan, Ashgate Publishing, .  


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  10. ^ a b BRT. "AVUSTURALYA’DA KIBRS TÜRKÜNÜN SESİ". Retrieved 18 July 2011. 
  11. ^ Every Culture. "Cypriot Americans". Retrieved 3 October 2010. 
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  13. ^ Hatay 2007, 40.
  14. ^ Welin & Ekelund 2004, 2.
  15. ^ Hüssein 2007, 14.
  16. ^ a b Jennings 1993, 137-38.
  17. ^ a b Çevikel 2000, 178.
  18. ^ a b Nevzat & Hatay 2009, 912.
  19. ^ Shawn 1976, 178.
  20. ^ Orhonlu 1971, 99.
  21. ^ Jennings 1993, 232.
  22. ^ Hatay 2007, 17.
  23. ^ Claude Delaval Cobham Excerpta Cypria, Cambridge University Press, 1908, p.366-67
  24. ^ Archimandrite Kyprianos Istoria Khronoloyiki tis Nisou Kiprou (History and Chronicles of the Island of Cyprus, Ιστορία χρονολογική της νήσου Κύπρου) 1788, p.495
  25. ^ Hatay 2007, 19.
  26. ^ Spilling 2000, 25.
  27. ^ Hatay 2007, 18.
  28. ^ a b c d Heper & Criss 2009, 92.
  29. ^ Çakmak 2008, 201.
  30. ^ Nevzat & Hatay 2009, 916.
  31. ^ Percival 1948, 25.
  32. ^ Percival 1948, 9-11.
  33. ^ Kızılyürek 2006, 317.
  34. ^ Nevzat 2005, 224.
  35. ^ Nesim 1987, 27.
  36. ^ Hatay 2007, 21.
  37. ^ Hill 1952, 413n.
  38. ^ Clogg 1992, 93-97.
  39. ^ a b St. John-Jones 1983, 56.
  40. ^ Nevzat & Hatay 2009, 918.
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  42. ^ Nevzat & Hatay 2009, 919.
  43. ^ Panteli 1990, 151.
  44. ^ a b c Sonyel 2000, 147.
  45. ^ a b c Kliot 2007, 59.
  46. ^ Papadakis 2005, 82.
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  51. ^ Tocci 2007, 32.
  52. ^ Bryant & Papadakis 2012, 5.
  53. ^ Bryant & Papadakis 2012, 121.
  54. ^ Broome 2004, 279.
  55. ^ Broome 2004, 282.
  56. ^ Güven-Lisaniler & Rodriguez 2002, 183.
  57. ^ a b Broome 2004, 286.
  58. ^ a b Boyle & Sheen 1997, 290.
  59. ^ Nevzat & Hatay 2009, 928.
  60. ^ Darke 2009, 10
  61. ^ Nevzat & Hatay 2009, 911.
  62. ^ a b Johanson 2011, 738.
  63. ^ Johanson 2011, 739.
  64. ^ a b c Güven-Lisaniler & Rodriguez 2002, 184.
  67. ^ a b Nevzat 2005, 276.
  68. ^ Nevzat 2005, 280.
  69. ^ Nevzat 2005, 281.
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  71. ^ Yilmaz 2005, 153
  72. ^ a b c Yilmaz 2005, 154
  73. ^ Ansari 2004, 151
  74. ^ Ansari 2004, 154
  75. ^ Cassia 2007, 236
  76. ^ Bridgwood 1995, 34
  77. ^ Panayiotopoulos & Dreef 2002, 52
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  88. ^ RoC


See also

Turkish Cypriot representatives of PACE elected in the Assembly of Northern Cyprus: (TCs have 2 seats in PACE; the parties of elected members are shown) 2005-2007: CTP Özdil Nami; UBP Hüseyin Özgürgün;[86] 27.01.2011 CTP Mehmet Caglar; UBP Ahmet Eti;[87] 04.12.2013 CTP Mehmet Caglar, UBP Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu[88]

Turkish Cypriot representatives of Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) elected in the Assembly of 1960 partnership government: 1961-1964: Halit Ali Riza,[83] 1961-1963: Umit Suleyman,[84] 1963-1964: Burhan Nalbantoglu.[85]

Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

Notable Turkish Cypriots

Once the Turkish Cypriots declared their own state, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, the division of the island led to an economic embargo against the Turkish Cypriots by the Greek Cypriot controlled Republic of Cyprus. This had the effect of depriving the Turkish Cypriots of foreign investment, aid and export markets; thus, it caused the Turkish Cypriot economy to remain stagnant and undeveloped.[80] Due to these economic and political issues, an estimated 130,000 Turkish Cypriots have emigrated from Northern Cyprus since its establishment to the United Kingdom.[81][82]

The 1950s also saw the arrival of many Turkish Cypriots to the United Kingdom due to political reasons; many began to flee as a result of the EOKA terrorists and its aim of "enosis".[44] Once the ethnic cleansing broke out in 1963, and some 25,000 Turkish Cypriots became internally displaced, accounting to about a fifth of their population.[75] The political and economic unrest in Cyprus, after 1964, sharply increased the number of Turkish Cypriot immigrants to the United Kingdom.[72] Many of these early migrants worked in the clothing industry in London, where both men and women could work together; many worked in the textile industry as sewing was a skill which the community had already acquired in Cyprus.[76] Turkish Cypriots were concentrated mainly in the north-east of London and specialised in the heavy-wear sector, such as coats and tailored garments.[77][78] This sector offered work opportunities where poor knowledge of the English language was not a problem and where self-employment was a possibility.[79]

Turkish Cypriot migration to the United Kingdom began in the early 1920s when the British Empire annexed Cyprus in 1914 and the residents of Cyprus became subjects of the Crown.[71] Some arrived as students and tourists whilst others left the island due to the harsh economic and political life during the British colony of Cyprus.[44] Emigration to the United Kingdom continued to increase when the Great Depression of 1929 brought economic depression to Cyprus, with unemployment and low wages being a significant issue.[72] During the Second World War, the number of Turkish run cafes increased from 20 in 1939 to 200 in 1945 which created a demand for more Turkish Cypriot workers.[73] Throughout the 1950s, Turkish Cypriots emigrated for economic reasons and by 1958 their number was estimated to be 8,500.[74] Their numbers continued to increase each year as rumours about immigration restrictions appeared in much of the Cypriot media.[72]

There is a strong Turkish Cypriot community living in London, United Kingdom.

United Kingdom

In the late 1920s the mass migration of Turkish Cypriots to Turkey finally came to a halt and the remaining community in Cyprus were faced with harsh economic disadvantages, particularly during the Great Depression. Consequently, many Turkish Cypriot families in the poorest villages began to marry off their daughters to Arabs in British Palestine in the hope that they would have a better life. By the 1930s many Palestinian Arabs who had heard of the difficult conditions of the Turkish Cypriots posed as wealthy doctors and engineers and offered a bride price to marry young Turkish Cypriot women. However, according to a recent study by Neriman Cahit in her book "Brides for Sale", in reality most of these men had mediocre jobs and were already married with children. Unaware of these realities, Turkish Cypriot families continued to send their daughters to Palestine until the 1950s. It is estimated that within 30 years over 4,000 Turkish Cypriot women were sold to Arab men and sent to Palestine.[12]


By 31 August 1955, a statement by Turkey's Minister of State and Acting Foreign Minister, Fatin Rüştü Zorlu, at the London Conference on Cyprus, stated that:

Metin Heper and Bilge Criss have made a similar observation:

St. John-Jones estimated the demographic impact of Turkish Cypriot emigration to Turkey:

The press in Turkey reported in mid-1927 that of those who had opted for Turkish nationality, 5,000–6,000 Turkish Cypriots had already settled in Turkey. However, many Turkish Cypriots had already emigrated even before the rights accorded to them under the Treaty of Lausanne had come into force.[69]

Economic motives played an important part as conditions for the poor in Cyprus during the 1920s were especially harsh. Enthusiasm to emigrate to Turkey was inflated by the euphoria that greeted the birth of the newly established Republic of Turkey and later of promises of assistance to Turks who emigrated. A decision taken by the Turkish Government at the end of 1925, for instance, noted that the Turks of Cyprus had, according to the Treaty of Lausanne, the right to emigrate to the republic, and therefore, families that so emigrated would be given a house and sufficient land.[67] The precise number of those who emigrated to Turkey is a matter that remains unknown.[68]

The first wave of Turkish Cypriot immigration to Turkey occurred in 1878 when the Ottoman Empire leased Cyprus to Great Britain; at that time, 15,000 Turkish Cypriots moved to Anatolia.[28] The flow of Turkish Cypriot emigration to Turkey continued in the aftermath of the First World War, and gained its greatest velocity in the mid-1920s, and continued, at fluctuating speeds during the Second World War.[67]

A Turkish Cypriot family who migrated to Turkey in 1935.


A more recent estimate, in 2011, by the Home Affairs Committee states that there is now 300,000 Turkish Cypriots living in the United Kingdom[5] whilst Turkish Cypriots themselves claim that the British-Turkish Cypriot community has reached 400,000.[7] Furthermore, recent estimates suggest that there is between 60,000-120,000 Turkish Cypriots living in Australia,[4][7][10] 5,000 in the United States, 2,000 in Germany, 1,800 in Canada, 1,600 in New Zealand, and a smaller community in South Africa.[4]

There was significant Turkish Cypriot emigration from the island during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, mainly to Great Britain, Australia, and Turkey. Emigration from Cyprus has mainly been for economical and political reasons. According to the TRNC Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in 2001, 500,000 Turkish Cypriots were living in Turkey; 200,000 in Great Britain; 40,000 in Australia; some 10,000 in North America; and 5,000 in other countries (mainly in Germany).[3]


Place of Birth Turkish Cypriot
Male Female
North Cyprus 112,534 56,332 56,202
Nicosia Lefkoşa 54,077 27,043 27,034
Ammoxostos Gazimağusa 32,264 16,151 16,113
Kerynia Girne 10,178 5,168 5,010
Morfou Güzelyurt 10,241 5,013 5,228
İskele 4,617 2,356 2,261
District not Indicated 1,157 601 556
South Cyprus 32,538 15,411 17 127
Nicosia (Lefkoşa) 3,544 1,646 1,898
Famagusta (Gazimağusa) 1,307 598 709
Larnaca (Larnaka) 6,492 3,031 3,461
Limassol (Limasol) 9,067 4,314 4,753
Paphos (Baf) 11,955 5,750 6,205
District not Indicated 173 72 101
Cyprus - North or South region not Indicated 371 178 193
Total 145,443 71,921 73,522

According to the 2006 Northern Cyprus Census, there were 145,443 Turkish Cypriots who were born and are living in North Cyprus (TRNC).[65] Of the Cypriot-born population, 120,007 had both parents born in Cyprus; 12,628 had one of their parents born in Cyprus and the other born in another country. Thus, 132,635 Turkish Cypriots had at least one parent born in Cyprus.[66]

Distribution of Turkish-Cypriots (1946, 1960, 1973)
Distribution of Turkish-Cypriots (1891, 1911, 1931)


Folk music and dancing is an integral part of social life among Turkish Cypriots. Traditional Turkish Cypriot folk dances can be divided into five categories: Karsilamas, Sirtos, Zeybeks, Ciftetellis/Arabiyes, and Topical Dances (such as Orak, Kozan, Kartal and Topal). The folk dancing groups usually have performances during national festivals, weddings, Turkish nights at hotels and within tourism areas.

Music and dances

The Turkish language was introduced to Cyprus with the Ottoman conquest in 1571 and became the politically dominant, prestigious language, of the administration.[62] 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.[63] 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.[62] Nonetheless, a Turkish speaker familiar with the Cypriot Turkish variety of Turkish can still easily identify a member of the community from one who is not.[64] Although many Turkish Cypriots command standard Turkish as well, they generally choose to use their own variety in particular contexts to affirm their identity. Most commonly, these differences are in pronunciation, but they extend to lexicon and grammatical structures as well.[64] There are many words used by Turkish Cypriots that originate in the particular historical circumstances of the island, including English and Greek, and therefore have no precedent in standard Turkish. There are also words used by the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities which are authentically Cypriot in origin.[64]


The majority of Turkish Cypriots (99%) are Sunni Muslims.[58] However, the secularizing force of Kemalism has also exerted an impact on Turkish Cypriots.[59] Religious practices are considered a matter of individual choice and many do not actively practice their religion.[60] Alcohol is frequently consumed within the community and most Turkish Cypriot women do not cover their heads.[58] Turkish Cypriot males are generally circumcised at a young age in accordance with religious beliefs, although, this practice appears more related to custom and tradition than to powerful religious motivation.[61]


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The Turkish Cypriots are Turkish-speaking, regard themselves as secular Muslims, and take pride in their Ottoman heritage.[54] However, Turkish Cypriots differentiate themselves from mainlanders, especially from the religiously conservative settlers who have come to Cyprus more recently, but their strong connection to Turkey is nonetheless undisputed.[55] Hence, the Turkish Cypriot identity is based on their ethnic Turkish roots and links to mainland Turkey, but also to their Cypriot character with cultural and linguistic similarities with Greek Cypriots.[56] Their culture is heavily based on family ties linked to parents, siblings, and relatives; one's neighbourhood is also considered important as emphasis is given on helping those in need.[57] Thus, much of their lives revolves around social activities, and food is a central feature of gatherings. Turkish Cypriot folk dances, music, and art are also integral parts of their culture.[57]

A Cypriot (Turkish) Muslim woman, 1878


In 1983 the Turkish Cypriots declared their own state in the north, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which remains internationally unrecognised, except by Turkey.[52] In 2004, a referendum for the unification of the island, the "Annan Plan", was accepted by 65% of Turkish Cypriots but rejected by 76% of Greek Cypriots.[53]

The northern areas of the island of Cyprus administered by Turkish Cypriots

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

[45] By 16 August 1960 the island of Cyprus became an independent state, the

An old Turkish Cypriot "mahalle" (quarter) in Paphos (1969).

Republic of Cyprus


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