Turks in Egypt/Egyptian Turks
أتراك مصر
Mısır Türkleri
Total population
Estimates vary
(see population)
Regions with significant populations
Sunni Islam
Related ethnic groups

The Turks in Egypt, also referred to as Egyptian Turks, Turkish-Egyptians and Turco-Egyptians[1] (Arabic: أتراك مصر Turkish: Mısır Türkleri) are Egyptian citizens of partial or full Turkish ancestry, who are the descendants of settlers that arrived in the region during the rule of several Turkic dynasties, including: the Tulunid (868–905), Ikhshidid (935–969), Mamluk (1250–1517), and Ottoman (1517–1867 and 1867–1914) eras. Today their descendants continue to live in Egypt and still identify as Egyptians of Turkish or mixed origin, though they are also fully integrated in Egyptian society.[2]


Mamluk era

See also: Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo)

Ottoman era

See also: Ottoman Egypt

During the four centuries of Ottoman rule, Turkish settlers arrived predominately from Anatolia; however, many also arrived from the Ottoman Isles (such as the Aegean islands, Crete, and Cyprus), as well as from prominent Ottoman cities (such as Istanbul, Algiers, and Tunis).[3]

In 1833 one estimate claimed that the Turkish population in Egypt was 30,000;[4] however, in 1835, the Missionary Herald newspaper claimed that the population [of Ottoman Egypt] is of a mixed character, the great mass being Arabic language speaking Muslims, and a minority of Turkish speakers who belonged to the Ottoman ruling-class.[5] Similarly, in 1840, The Saturday Magazine series claimed that Egypt's population was only about two million and a half, the majority of whom are of Arabic speaking masses and Ottoman ruling class.[6] This study is widely discredited and has no scientific basis.

By 1878 the Karl Baedeker Firm published a census stating that the population of Egypt "hardly exceeds 5 millions" and that the population of Turkish origin numbered barely 100,000 (accounting to approximately 2% of the population), mainly concentrated to the towns.[7]

Foreign-born Ottomans in Egypt: [1907 - 1917] census[8]
Ethnic group 1907 census 1917 census
Turks 27,591 8,471
Arabs 440 386
Armenians 7,747 7,760
Greeks N/A 4,258
Jews N/A 1,243
(including Arabs, Turkmen, Kurds etc.)
33,947 7,728
Other races 951 N/A
Total Foreign-born 69,725 30,797

Post-Ottoman era

Prior to the Egyptian revolution in 1919, the ruling elite were mainly Turkish, or of Turkish descent, which was part of the heritage from the Ottoman rule of Egypt.[9] The ethnic affiliation in Egypt at this time was still blurry; however, Amal Talaat Abdelrazek describes the Turkish society in Egypt with the following words:

"This interiorized rejection of things local and Arabic in part derives from the fact that the ruling and upper classes in the years before the revolution were mainly Turkish, or of Turkish descent, part of the heritage from the Ottoman rule in Egypt. If one was not really Western, but belonged to the elite, one was Turkish. Only the masses, the country folk, were quite simply Egyptian in the first place, and possibly Arabs secondarily."[9]



During the Ottoman rule of Egypt, the region was ruled directly by Turkish-speaking elites.[10] Consequently, the lexical Turkish influence of Egyptian Arabic has been clearer and more consistent than in Levantine Arabic, especially the formal terms like Pasha and Bek which are still used till today in daily conversations.[10] Today, many Turkish lexical items (and Persian borrowings through Turkish) have been firmly integrated into Egyptian Arabic.[10]


According to an article by Gamal Nkrumah in the Egyptian Al-Ahram Weekly, estimates regarding the population of the Turkish minority vary considerably, ranging from 100,000 to 1,500,000.[11] However, one estimate in 1971 suggested that the population of Cretan Turks alone numbered 100,000 in Egypt.[12] Moreover, another estimate in 1993 claimed that the Turkish minority in Egypt numbered 1.5 million at the time.[13]

See also


  1. ^ Baring, Evelyn (1910), Modern Egypt, Cambridge University Press, p. 590, ISBN 1108025536
  2. ^ DNA analysis proves that Egyptians are Ethnic North Africans not Arabs, 17 January 2017, Only 17 percent of Egyptians are Arabs, while 68 percent of the indigenous population is from North Africa, four percent are from Jewish ancestry, three percent are of East African origins, another three percent from Asia Minor and three percent are South European.
  3. ^ Milner, Alfred (1901). "England in Egypt: With additions summarizing the course of events to the close of the year 1898". openlibrary.org. Edward Arnold. p. 219. ASIN B0014V7JAI. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  4. ^ Douin, Georges (1927). La mission du Baron de Boislecomte, l'Egypte et la Syrie en 1833. Cairo: Royal Egyptian Geographical Society. p. 110. ASIN B00180UKI8. OCLC 1377895. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  5. ^ American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. Syria and the Holy Land. Extracts from a Communication of Mr.Smith, Dated at Beyroot, vol. xxxi, Missionary Herald, 1835, p. 130
  6. ^ The church scholar's reading-book, selected from the Saturday magazine, The Saturday Magazine, 1840, p. 297
  7. ^ "Turks", Egypt: Lower Egypt, with the Fayûm and the peninsula of Sinai, Part 1 of Egypt: Handbook for Travellers, K. Baedeker, 1878, p. 52
  8. ^ Hanley, Will (2017), Identifying With Nationality: Europeans, Ottomans, and Egyptians in Alexandria, Columbia University Press, p. 241, ISBN 978-0231542524
  9. ^ a b Abdelrazek, Amal Talaat (2007), Contemporary Arab American women writers: hyphenated identities and border crossings, Cambria Press, p. 37, ISBN 978-1-934043-71-4
  10. ^ a b c Al-Wer, Enam (2006), "The Arabic-speaking Middle East", in Ammon, Ulrich (ed.), Sociolinguistics: An International Handbook of the Science of Language and Society, Volume 3, Walter de Gruyter, p. 1922, ISBN 3110184184
  11. ^ Gamal, Gamal, Did the Turks sweeten Egypt's kitty?, Al-Ahram Weekly, retrieved 1 May 2018, Today, the number of ethnic Turks in Egypt varies considerably, with estimates ranging from 100,000 to 1,500,000. Most have intermingled in Egyptian society and are almost indistinguishable from non-Turkish Egyptians, even though a considerable number of Egyptians of Turkish origin are bilingual.
  12. ^ Rippin, Andrew (2008). World Islam: Critical Concepts in Islamic Studies. Routledge. p. 77. ISBN 978-0415456531.
  13. ^ Akar, Metin (1993), "Fas Arapçasında Osmanlı Türkçesinden Alınmış Kelimeler", Türklük Araştırmaları Dergisi, 7: 94–95, Günümüzde, Arap dünyasında hâlâ Türk asıllı aileler mevcuttur. Bunların nüfusu Irak'ta 2 milyon, Suriye'de 3.5 milyon, Mısır'da 1.5, Cezayir'de 1 milyon, Tunus'ta 500 bin, Suudî Arabistan'da 150 bin, Libya'da 50 bin, Ürdün'de 60 bin olmak üzere 8.760.000 civarındadır. Bu ailelerin varlığı da Arap lehçelerindeki Türkçe ödünçleşmeleri belki artırmış olabilir.


  • Abdelrazek, Amal Talaat (2007), Contemporary Arab American women writers: hyphenated identities and border crossings, Cambria Press, ISBN 978-1-934043-71-4
  • Akar, Metin (1993), "Fas Arapçasında Osmanlı Türkçesinden Alınmış Kelimeler", Türklük Araştırmaları Dergisi, 7: 91–110
  • Armes, Roy (2008), Dictionnaire des cinéastes africains de long métrage, KARTHALA Editions, ISBN 978-2-84586-958-5
  • Badawī, Muḥammad Muṣṭafá (1975), A critical introduction to modern Arabic poetry, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-29023-6
  • Badran, Margot (1996), Feminists, Islam, and nation: gender and the making of modern Egypt, Princeton University Press, p. 97, ISBN 0-691-02605-X
  • Baedeker, Karl (2000), Egypt, Elibron, ISBN 1-4021-9705-5
  • Baring, Evelyn (2005), Modern Egypt. Volume 2, Elibron, ISBN 1-4021-7830-1
  • Brugman, J. (1984), An introduction to the history of modern Arabic literature in Egypt, BRILL, p. 263, ISBN 90-04-07172-5
  • Carstens, Patrick Richard (2014), The Encyclopædia of Egypt during the Reign of the Mehemet Ali Dynasty 1798-1952: The People, Places and Events that Shaped Nineteenth Century Egypt and its Sphere of Influence, Friesen Press, ISBN 978-1460248997
  • Asbridge, Thomas (2010). The Crusades: The War for the Holy Land. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9781849837705.
  • Clifford, Winslow William (2013). Conermann, Stephan (ed.). State Formation and the Structure of Politics in Mamluk Syro-Egypt, 648-741 A.H./1250-1340 C.E. Bonn University Press. ISBN 9783847100911.
  • Goldschmidt, Arthur (2000), Biographical dictionary of modern Egypt, Lynne Rienner Publishers, ISBN 1-55587-229-8
  • Iggers, Georg G.; Wang, Q. Edward; Mukherjee, Supriya (2008), A global history of modern historiography, Pearson Education, p. 196, ISBN 978-0-582-09606-6
  • Johnson, Amy J. (2004), Reconstructing rural Egypt: Ahmed Hussein and the history of Egyptian development, Syracuse University Press, p. 1, ISBN 0-8156-3014-X
  • Jongerden, Joost (2007), The settlement issue in Turkey and the Kurds: an analysis of spatial policies, modernity and war, BRILL, p. 193, ISBN 978-90-04-15557-2
  • Lababidi, Lesley Kitchen (2008), Cairo's street stories: exploring the city's statues, squares, bridges, gardens, and sidewalk cafés, American University in Cairo Press, ISBN 978-977-416-153-7
  • Manzalaoui, Mahmoud (1986), Arabic short stories, 1945-1965, American University in Cairo Press, p. 193, ISBN 977-424-121-5
  • Moosa, Matti (1997), The origins of modern Arabic fiction, Lynne Rienner Publishers, p. 109, ISBN 0-89410-684-8
  • Nelson, Cynthia (1996), Doria Shafik, Egyptian feminist: a woman apart, American Univ in Cairo Press, p. 27, ISBN 977-424-413-3
  • Olaussen, Maria; Angelfors, Christina (2009), Africa writing Europe: opposition, juxtaposition, entanglement, Rodopi, ISBN 978-90-420-2593-6