Turks in Tunisia
Regions with significant populations
Sunni Islam

The Turks in Tunisia, also known as Turco-Tunisians[1] and Tunisian Turks,[2] (Arabic: أتراك تونس; French: Turcs de Tunisie; Turkish: Tunus Türkleri) are ethnic Turks who constitute one of the minority groups in Tunisia.[3]

In 1534, with about 10,000 Turkish soldiers, the Ottoman Empire took control and settled in the region when Tunisia's inhabitants called for help due to fears that the Spanish would invade the country.[4] Thus, during the Ottoman rule, the Turkish community dominated the political life of the region for centuries; as a result, the ethnic mix of Tunisia changed considerably with the continuous migration of Turks from Anatolia, as well as other parts of the Ottoman territories, for over 300 years. In addition, some Turks intermarried with the local population and their male offspring were called "Kouloughlis".[5][6][7] Consequently, the terms "Turks" and "Kouloughlis" were used to distinguish between those of full and partial Turkish ancestry.[8]


Families of Turkish origin live mainly near the coastal cities, such as Tunis, Mahdia, Hammamet and the islands (such as Djerba), although there are also many living within central Tunisia as well.[9][10]



In 2012 the Tunisian government introduced the Turkish language in all Tunisian secondary schools.[11]


The Ottoman Turks brought with them the teaching of the Hanafi School of Islam during the Ottoman rule of Tunisia, which still survives among the Turkish-descended families today.[12] Traditionally, Turco-Tunisian mosques have octagonal minarets.[12] Examples of Ottoman-Turkish mosques include:

Notable people

Ali Bach Hamba was a co-founder of the Young Tunisians.
Mustapha Dinguizli served as Prime Minister of Tunisia.
Afef Jnifen is a fashion model and actress.
Chafia Rochdi was a singer and actress.
Yahia Turki was a painter.

The Turks in Tunisia were traditionally a privileged élite in Tunisia who held positions in the military and the bureaucracy.[13] However, by the nineteenth century, marriages with the local population linked the ruling families to indigenous notables. At this time, many Turks also turned to commerce and the crafts, initially in the Souq el-Trouk (the Bazaar of the Turks), where a considerable number of merchants of Turkish ancestry emerged. The Turks also entered the corps of artisans.[13] The Ben Romdhan family, of Turkish origin, claim much of the notable Tunisian families of Mahdia such as the Hamza, Turki, Gazdagli, Agha, and Snène families.[14] Other prominent Tunisian families of Turkish origin include the Bayrams [fr], Belkhodjas [fr], El Materis, Sfars [fr], Osmans [fr], Mamis and the Slim [fr]s.

See also


  1. ^ Hourani & Ruthven 2002, 129.
  2. ^ a b Today's Zaman. "Turks in northern Africa yearn for Ottoman ancestors". Archived from the original on 2011-03-13. Retrieved 2012-03-18.
  3. ^ UNESCO 2009, 9.
  4. ^ UNESCO 2009, 12.
  5. ^ Tunisia Today. "Vient de paraître "Tribus : des origines à la dislocation"". Retrieved 2012-04-18.
  6. ^ UNESCO 2009, 13.
  7. ^ Milli Gazete. "Levanten Türkler". Archived from the original on 2010-02-23. Retrieved 2012-03-19.
  8. ^ Miltoun, Francis (1985), The spell of Algeria and Tunisia, Darf Publishers, p. 129, ISBN 1850770603, Throughout North Africa, from Oran to Tunis, one encounters everywhere, in the town as in the country, the distinct traits which mark the seven races which make up the native population: the Moors, the Berbers, the Arabs, the Negreos, the Jews, the Turks and the Kouloughlis… descendants of Turks and Arab women.
  9. ^ Leaders. "Le Monde Arabe et la Turquie: les prémices d'une entente". Retrieved 2013-03-29.
  10. ^ Delarosbil, Dave (2006), Mahdia : histoire et société (PDF), Université de Montréal, p. 7[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ Benrabah, Mohamed (2013), Language Conflict in Algeria: From Colonialism to Post-Independence, Multilingual Matters, p. 186, ISBN 978-1847699664
  12. ^ a b Jacobs & Morris 2002, 460.
  13. ^ a b Green 1978, 47.
  14. ^ Khouaja 1962, 89.
  15. ^ Tunisia Today. "Ahmed Abdelkefi, la machine à idées!". Retrieved 2012-04-18.
  16. ^ Déjeux 1984, 269.
  17. ^ Brett & Fentress 1997, 178.
  18. ^ Smida 1971, 340.
  19. ^ Union Nationale de la Femme Tunisienne. "Asma Belkhodja-Rébaï, une pionnière du mouvement féministe tunisien (1930-2011)". Archived from the original on 2014-02-03. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
  20. ^ a b Africa Time. "Histoire et repères: Grandes figures tunisiennes". Retrieved 2013-04-04.[permanent dead link]
  21. ^ Puaux 1954, 16.
  22. ^ Derrick 2008, 52.
  23. ^ Toute la Tunisie. "Mahmoud Ben Mahmoud". Archived from the original on 2013-11-03. Retrieved 2012-04-17.
  24. ^ Hurriyet. "Umarım yakında bütün Arap kadınları Tunuslularla aynı haklara sahip olur". Retrieved 2013-03-24.
  25. ^ a b c d Ferté & Barrera 2010, 252.
  26. ^ Paul Lambert, Dictionnaire illustré de La Tunisie : choses et gens de Tunisie, éd. C. Saliba aîné, Tunis, 1912, p. 157
  27. ^ Granara 2010, 79.
  28. ^ Toute la Tunisie. "Ali Douagi". Archived from the original on 2012-07-17. Retrieved 2012-04-17.
  29. ^ Leaders. "Abderrahman Dziri". Retrieved 2013-03-29.
  30. ^ Leaders. "La princesse Nazli Fadhel en Tunisie: une figure moderniste". Retrieved 2013-03-29.
  31. ^ Mohamed El Aziz Ben Achour, Catégories de la société tunisoise dans la deuxième moitié du XIXe siècle, éd. Institut national d'archéologie et d'art, Tunis, 1989, p. 235
  32. ^ Sanna, Cristiano (2019). "[Il ritratto] Afef, le quarte nozze, i milioni e quei veleni da scansare. Il potere riservato di una ribelle". Tiscali Spettacoli. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  33. ^ Africa Time. "Les pionniers du théâtre et de la TV en Tunisie-Mohamed Lahbib : le kawkeb du théâtre arabe en Tunisie". Retrieved 2013-03-27.
  34. ^ a b c d TelQuel. "TUNISIE. Où s'arrêtera Sakhr El Materi?". Archived from the original on 2013-05-10. Retrieved 2013-03-27.
  35. ^ Ferchiou 2001, 305.
  36. ^ Africa Time. "Chafia Rochdy : la voix cristalline venue du Sud". Retrieved 2013-03-27.
  37. ^ Festival Tetouan. "Hommages 2012: Hichem Rostom , Acteur Tunisien". Archived from the original on 2012-05-02. Retrieved 2012-04-18.
  38. ^ Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. "Sultans Are No Sultans: Mourad Salem". Retrieved 2013-10-13.
  40. ^ Bidwell 2012, 388.
  41. ^ Arab Women Writers. "Najiya Thamir". Retrieved 2012-04-17.
  42. ^ Women of Tunisia. "Tunisian women Yesterday and Today: Nejia Thameur". Retrieved 2012-04-17.
  43. ^ Toute la Tunisie. "Hédi Turki". Archived from the original on 2013-07-27. Retrieved 2012-04-17.
  44. ^ Toute la Tunisie. "Yahia Ben Mahmoud El Hajjem Turki". Archived from the original on 2012-07-16. Retrieved 2012-04-17.
  45. ^ Toute la Tunisie. "Zoubeïr Turki". Retrieved 2012-04-17.