Arabs in Turkey

Turkish Arabs (Turkish: Türkiye'deki Araplar, Arabic: عرب تركيا) refers to citizens and residents of Turkey who are ethnically Arab. They are the second-largest minority in the country after Turkish Kurds.

Turkish Arabs
Türkiye'deki Araplar
عرب تركيا
Map shows the distribution of Arabs in 1965.
Total population
1,500,000 - 2,000,000 (2011)[1][2] (Pre-Syrian Civil War Arab minority) 4,000,000 - 5,000,000 (2017)[3][4][5][6][4][7][5][8] (Including Syrian refugees)
Regions with significant populations
Mainly Southeastern Anatolia Region
Arabic, Turkish[9]
Mainly Sunni Muslims and Alawites, with a Christian minority[10]
Related ethnic groups
Arab diaspora


Beside the large expat and diaspora communities in Istanbul and other larger cities, south and southeastern provinces have a significant Arab community.[11]

Turkish Arabs are mostly Muslims living along the southeastern border with Syria and Iraq in the following provinces: Batman, Bitlis, Gaziantep, Hatay, Mardin, Muş, Siirt, Şırnak, Şanlıurfa, Mersin and Adana. The Arabs in eastern part of the border consist of many Bedouin tribes in addition to other Arabs who settled there before Turkic tribes came to Anatolia from Central Asia in the 11th century. Many of these Arabs have ties to Arabs living in Syria, especially in the city of Raqqa. The Arab society in Turkey is well integrated into the Turkish population, yet some speak Arabic in addition to Turkish. The Treaty of Lausanne ceded to Turkey large areas that belonged to Ottoman Syria, especially within Aleppo Vilayet.[12]

Besides a significant Shafi'i sunni part, about 300.000 to 350.000 belong to Alawism[13] however with no close connection to the Turkish variant. About 18.000 Arab Christians[10] belong mostly to the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch.


The population of Arabs in Turkey varies according to different sources. A Turkish study estimates the Arab population to be between 1.1 and 2.4%.[14] An earlier American estimate from 1995 puts the numbers between 800,000 and 1 million.[2] According to Ethnologue, in 1992 there were 500,000 people with Arabic as their mother tongue in Turkey.[15] According to a Turkish study based on a large survey in 2006, 0,7% of the total population in Turkey were ethnically Arab.[16]

Notable people

See also


  1. "Arabs: Turkey's new minority". Al-Monitor. 12 September 2014.
  2. Helen Chapin Metz, ed. Turkey: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1995.
  3. (UNHCR), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. "UNHCR Syria Regional Refugee Response". UNHCR Syria Regional Refugee Response.
  4. The Iraqi Refugee Crisis and Turkey: a Legal Outlook
  5. "Turkey's demographic challenge". Retrieved 2016-12-18.
  6. "UNHCR Syria Regional Refugee Response/ Turkey". UNHCR. 31 December 2015. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  7. "The Impact of Syrian Refugees on Turkey". Retrieved 2016-12-18.
  8. Ozdemir, Soner Cagaptay, Oya Aktas and Cagatay. "The Impact of Syrian Refugees on Turkey". Soner Cagaptay.
  9. Lahdo, Ablahad (2009). "The Arabic Dialect of Tillo in the Region of Siirt" (PDF). Uppsala Universitet, Department of African and Asian Languages. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  10. Christen in der islamischen Welt – Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte (APuZ 26/2008)
  11. Die Bevölkerungsgruppen in Istanbul (türkisch) Archived February 3, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  12. Translation of the Treaty of Lausanne (1923). The original text was in French.
  13. Die Nusairier weltweit und in der Türkei (türkisch) Archived 2011-12-17 at the Wayback Machine
  14. Ali Tayyar Önder: Türkiye'nin etnik yapısı: Halkımızın kökenleri ve gerçekler. Kripto Kitaplar, Istanbul 2008, ISBN 605-4125-03-6, S. 103. (in Turkish)
  15. Tu. Turkey: Languages. Accessed on 19 September 2013.
  16. "Toplumsal yapı araştırması 2006" (PDF). KONDA Research and Consultancy. 2006. pp. 15–16. Retrieved May 10, 2012. .(in Turkish)
  17. "Mrs Erdogan's many friends", The Economist, 12 August 2004
  18. Yaklaşık 5-6 milyon Türk-Kürt evliliği var, Sabah, 2010
  19. "Murat Yıldırım: 'Annem Arapça, babam Kürtçe konuşur'". Akşam. 3 February 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  20. "Kürt değilim, kökenim Arap".

Further reading

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