Turks in Palestine
Total population
400,000-500,000 (1987 estimate)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Gaza Strip, Jerusalem
Turkish, Arabic
Sunni Islam
Related ethnic groups
Turkish Cypriots, Syrian Turkmens, Turks in Lebanon

The Turks in Palestine (Turkish: Filistin'deki Türkler), also referred to as Palestinian Turks and Palestinian Turkmen (Turkish: Filistin Türkmenleri) are ethnic Turkish descendants who have had a long-established presence in Palestine. With Turkish rule spanning between the years 1069-1917/22, mass Turkish migration was encouraged during the rule of Nureddin Zengi in Syria, and then when thousands of Turks participated in the battle of Jerusalem with Saladin. Turkish migration continued further during the Mamluk and Ottoman rule of Palestine as well as during the British rule.[2]


Mamluk rule (1260-1517)

Ottoman rule (1517-1922)

Turkish Algerian migration wave (1830)

Once Ottoman Algeria came under French rule in 1830, many Turkish Algerians were forced to leave the region. Although the majority who fled were shipped off to Turkey, many others migrated to other regions of the Ottoman Empire, including Palestine, Syria, Arabia, and Egypt.[3]

Turkish Cypriot brides (1920s-1950s)

During the British rule of Cyprus (1878-1950) Turkish Cypriots who remained on the island faced the harsh economic conditions of the Great Depression and its aftermath. Consequently, many families in the poorest villages, facing debt and starvation, married off their daughters to Arabs mainly in British Palestine[4] in the hope that they would have a better life.[5][6] A bride price was normally given by the groom to the family of the girls, usually about £10-20, enough to buy several acres of land at the time, as part of the marriage arrangements.[6][7] Such payments had not been part of Cypriot tradition, and Cypriots typically describe the girls in these forced marriages as having been "sold".[5] The marriages were sometimes arranged by brokers, who presented the prospective husbands as wealthy doctors and engineers. However, Neriman Cahit, in her book Brides for Sale, found that in reality many of these men had mediocre jobs or were already married with children. Unaware of these realities, Turkish Cypriot families continued to send their daughters to Palestine until the 1950s. Cahit estimates that within 30 years up to 4,000 Turkish Cypriot women were sent to Palestine to be married to Arab men.[8]


During and after the 1947–1949 Palestine war, many Turkish families fled the region and settled in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon.[9]

According to a 2022 news article by Al Monitor many families of Turkish origin in Gaza have been migrating to Turkey due to the "deteriorating economic conditions in the besieged enclave."[10]

Turkish family names

Turkish family surnames in Palestine often end with the letter's "ji" (e.g, al-Batniji and al-Shorbaji) whilst other common names include al-Gharbawi, Tarzi, Turk, Birkdar, Jukmadar, Radwan, Jasir and al-Jamasi.[10]

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ Khateeb, Alya (1987), عرب التركمان أبناء مرج بن عامر ("The Arab Turkmen – Merj Beni Amir Children"), Dar Al-Jalil
  2. ^ Tütüncü, Mehmet (2008), Turkish Palestine (1069-1917): Inscriptions from al-Khalil (Hebron), Nabi Musa and Other Palestinian Cities Under Turkish Rule, SOTA, ISBN 9789069210049
  3. ^ Kateb, Kamel (2001), Européens: "Indigènes" et juifs en Algérie (1830-1962) : Représentations et Réalités des Populations, INED, pp. 50–53, ISBN 273320145X
  4. ^ Mert, Kadir; Ali-Aybar, Mehmet; Rize, Ekrem (1994), "Kıbrıslı Türk Kimliği", K.K.T.C. Milli Eğitim Ve Kültür Bakanlığı Yayınları, 97 (17): 95
  5. ^ a b Andreou, Evie (29 July 2018). "Searching for the missing brides of Cyprus". Retrieved 2019-09-10.
  6. ^ a b Paraskos, Michael (17 November 2015). "Brides for Sale, by Neriman Cahit". Women's Studies. 44 (8): 1200–1203. doi:10.1080/00497878.2015.1084166. hdl:10044/1/71142. ISSN 0049-7878. S2CID 146127415.
  7. ^ Güven-Lisaniler, Fatma (2003), Assessing the Status of Women: A Step Towards Equality, Turkish Cypriot University Women Association, p. 9
  8. ^ Sabah. "Küçük adanın talihsiz kızları". Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  9. ^ Suwaed, Muhammad (2015), "Turkmen, Israeli", Historical Dictionary of the Bedouins, Rowman & Littlefield, p. 121, ISBN 978-1442254510
  10. ^ a b Al Gherbawi, Hadeel (2022), Palestinian, Turkish ethnic mixture persists over times, Al-Monitor, retrieved 3 November 2022