Turks in Ukraine
Total population
9,180 (2001 census)[a][1]
15,000 Meskhetian Turks (2018 estimate)[2]
plus 20,000 Turkish nationals (pre-2022 Russian invasion)[3]
Regions with significant populations
 Kherson Oblast3,736
 Donetsk Oblast1,791
 Mykolaiv Oblast758
Predominantly Sunni Islam
Minority Alevism, Other religions and Irreligious

^ a: In the 2001 Ukrainian census 8,844 people were recorded as "Turks" and 336 were recorded as "Meskhetian Turks".[1]

Turks in Ukraine (Turkish: Ukrayna'daki Türkler) are people of Turkish ethnicity living in Ukraine. The first Turkish settlement started during the Ottoman rule of Ukraine. In addition, there has been modern migration to the country largely formed of Meskhetian Turks, followed by immigrants from Turkey and Turkish communities from other post-Ottoman territories, such as Turkish Cypriots from Northern Cyprus.[4]


Ottoman migration

See also: Ottoman Ukraine, Podolia Eyalet, Silistra Eyalet, and Yedisan

The First All-Union Census of the Soviet Union in 1926 recorded 8,570 Ottoman Turks living in the Soviet Union. The Ottoman Turks are no longer listed separately in the census, it is presumed that those who were living in Ukraine have either been assimilated into Ukrainian society or have left the country.[5]

Meskhetian Turks migration

The majority of Turkish Meskhetians arrived in the eastern region of Ukraine in 1989-90 as persecuted refugees who had experienced two deportations; the first from Georgia in 1944, and then Uzbekistan in 1989-90.[6] Initially, they were forced to leave their homeland in the Meskheti region of Georgia when the Soviet Union was preparing to launch a pressure campaign against Turkey.[7][8] Nationalistic policies at the time encouraged the slogan: "Georgia for Georgians" and that the Meskhetian Turks should be sent to Turkey "where they belong".[9][10] Joseph Stalin deported the majority of Meskhetian Turks to Uzbekistan, thousands dying en route in cattle-trucks,[11] however, in 1989, the Meskhetian Turks in Uzbekistan became the victims of riots by the ethnic Uzbeks.[12] Thus, the majority of the Turkish Meskhetian community were deported for a second time, many coming to Ukraine during 1989-1990 following ethnic persecution in the Ferghana Valley. Others followed later to re-unite with their relatives.[13] The majority mostly settled in Crimea, Donetsk, Kherson, and Mykolaiv. A few live in Kyiv. In 1991, they were granted Ukrainian citizenship.

Mainland Turkish migration

Ukraine has witnessed increasing numbers of immigrants from Turkey. By 2009, 5,394 Turkish citizens were living in Ukraine.[14] Prior to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the number of Turkish citizens had increased to around 20,000.[3]

Turkish Cypriot migration

In the twenty-first century, Turkish Cypriots have arrived in Ukraine both as temporary and permanent residents.[4]


According to the 2001 Ukrainian Census, 8,844 were recorded as "Turks" and 336 people were recorded as "Meskhetian Turks".[1] Of those who were recorded only as "Turks", the majority lived in Kherson (3,736), Donetsk (1,791), Crimea (969) and Mykolaiv Oblast (758).[1]

In 2018, the number of Meskhetian Turks alone numbered approximately 15,000.[2]

Census history

Census Recorded as
"Turks" only
Recorded as
"Meskhetian Turks" only
1939[15] 853 N/A
1959[16] 284 N/A
1970[17] 226 N/A
1979[18] 257 N/A
1989[19] 262 N/A
2001[1] 8,844 336


Sultan Suleiman Mosque in Mariupol, Ukraine

See also: Islam in Ukraine

Opened in 2005, the Sultan Suleiman Mosque was also built in Mariupol and named after the Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. It was built by a Turkish Businessman (Salih Cihan). Five times prayers along with the Friday Prayers are offered at the mosque. During the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, at least 300 Turks, and hundreds more family members (without Turkish citizenship), were trapped in Mariupol; at least 150 people took refuge in the Sultan Suleiman Mosque. The mosque is run by Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs.[20]


The Simferopol International School opened by Turkish entrepreneurs in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea in Ukraine has been listed the top school in the list of the country’s best 100 schools. Turkish, English, Crimean Tatar, and French are taught at the school. In the third year since its establishment, the school has achieved several successes in the Olympics held in the city and across the country. The Turkish school also won a bronze medal in the International Environmental Project Olympics (INEPO) held in Turkey.[21] Turkish Parliament Speaker of the time, Cemil Çiçek had visited Meridian International School founded by Turkish entrepreneurs in Ukrainian capital Kyiv on April 4, 2013.[22]

2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

Upon the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, nearly 9,000 Turks with Turkish citizenship were reported to have evacuated the country by 3rd March, having arrived in Turkey with Turkish Airlines flights from Warsaw and Bucharest.[3]

On February 25, 2022, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Northern Cyprus strongly recommended all Turkish Cypriot citizens to leave Ukraine. Assistance was provided at the TRNC Representative Office in Budapest.[4]

On March 17, 2022, the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, announced that Turkey had evacuated 15,196 Turkish citizens since the start of the war.[6] Among them were Meskhetian Turks who had already acquired Turkish citizenship, having previously settled in the Üzümlü district of Erzincan in 2015 due to the 2014 Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation. Some of these Meskhetian Turks from Erzincan had later returned to Ukraine; thus, the 2022 evacuation back to Turkey has meant that "some of them have seen three deportations in their lifetime."[6]

Notable people


Ottoman architecture in Ukraine

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e State Statistics Service of Ukraine. "Ukrainian Census (2001):The distribution of the population by nationality and mother tongue". Archived from the original on 2004-11-24. Retrieved 2012-01-16.
  2. ^ a b Karcı, Durmuş (2018), "The Effects of Language Characters and Identity of Meskhetian Turkish in Kazakhstan", The Journal of Kesit Academy, 4 (13): 301–303
  3. ^ a b c "Nearly 9,000 Turks evacuated from Ukraine: FM". Hürriyet Daily News. 2022. Retrieved 3 March 2022.
  4. ^ a b c "Announcement for Our Citizens in Ukraine". Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2022. Retrieved 5 March 2022.
  5. ^ Akiner 1983, 381.
  6. ^ a b c "Turkey continues to evacuate more citizens from Ukraine". Daily Sabah. 2022. Retrieved 21 March 2022.
  7. ^ Bennigsen & Broxup 1983, 30.
  8. ^ Tomlinson 2005, 107.
  9. ^ Kurbanov & Kurbanov 1995, 237.
  10. ^ Cornell 2001, 183.
  11. ^ Minority Rights Group International. "Meskhetian Turks". Archived from the original on 2009-04-29. Retrieved 2011-06-02.
  12. ^ Ryazantsev 2009, 167.
  13. ^ Pentikäinen & Trier 2004, 20.
  14. ^ Çalışma ve Sosyal Güvenlik Bakanlığı. "YURTDIŞINDAKİ VATANDAŞLARIMIZLA İLGİLİ SAYISAL BİLGİLER (31.12.2009 tarihi itibarıyla)". Archived from the original on 2012-03-10. Retrieved 2011-09-27.
  15. ^ Демоскоп Weekly. "Всесоюзная перепись населения 1939 года. Национальный состав населения по республикам СССР". Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  16. ^ Демоскоп Weekly. "Всесоюзная перепись населения 1959 года. Национальный состав населения по республикам СССР". Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  17. ^ Демоскоп Weekly. "Всесоюзная перепись населения 1970 года. Национальный состав населения по республикам СССР". Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  18. ^ Демоскоп Weekly. "Всесоюзная перепись населения 1979 года. Национальный состав населения по республикам СССР". Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  19. ^ Демоскоп Weekly. "Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 года. Национальный состав населения по республикам СССР". Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  20. ^ "Russia-Ukraine war: Hundreds of Turks desperately await evacuation from Mariupol". Middle East Eye. 2022. Retrieved 21 March 2022.
  21. ^ "Turkish School Awarded 'Ukraine's Best School'". 30 March 2006. Retrieved 2014-10-24.
  22. ^ Hizmet Movement blog (2013-04-06). "Parliament Speaker Cicek visits Turkish School in Kiev". Retrieved 2014-10-20.
  23. ^ Miray Akay kimdir ve kaç yaşındadır?, Hürriyet, 2019, retrieved 7 May 2021, Babası Türk annesi Ukraynalı olan Miray Akay, Balıkve Kelebeğin Rüyası gibi başarılı sinama filmlerinde rol aldı...2000 yılında Ukrayna'da dünyaya gelen Miray Akay...
  24. ^ Bakar, Yakup (2017), Ahıskalı Elvira'dan ay-yıldızlı mayoyla Balkan şampiyonluğu, Anadolu Agency, retrieved 20 June 2021, Cumhurbaşkanı Recep Tayyip Erdoğan'ın talimatı, Başbakanlık koordinasyonuyla Ukrayna'dan Türkiye'ye getirilerek Erzincan'ın Üzümlü ilçesine yerleştirilen Ahıska Türklerinden 16 yaşındaki Elvira, Slovenya'da 3-5 Kasım'da düzenlenen Yıldızlar Balkan Şampiyonası'nda kızlar 46 kiloda şampiyonluğa ulaştı.
  25. ^ Brown, William Edward (1980), A History of 18th Century Russian Literature, Ardis Publishing, p. 455, ISBN 9780882333410, D. Vasily Vasilievich Kapnist (1758-1823): The fourth and longest-lived poet of the Lvov circle was Vasily Vasilievich... there is a family tradition that his own mother was, like Zhukovsky's, a captive Turkish woman...
  26. ^ Караманов Алемдар Сабитович, muzcentrum, archived from the original on 2011-11-20, retrieved 6 May 2021
  27. ^ Кизилатеш: "То, что в белоцерковской команде много молодых — наш плюс", UA-Football, 2014, retrieved 7 May 2021, Я сам турок, родился в Стамбуле и жил там до семи лет.
  28. ^ Український клуб підписав контракт з молодим перспективним футболістом, Depo.Ua, 2020, retrieved 22 March 2022, 17-річний Емре має турецьке походження і народився в Стамбулі, але виріс і проживає в Чернівцях.
  29. ^ Özdemir, Kemal (2022), Çiftçilik yaparken keşfedilen Ahıskalı Emrah'ın milli takıma uzanan başarı öyküsü, Anadolu Agency, retrieved 20 August 2023, Sovyetler Birliği'nce 14 Kasım 1944'de Gürcistan'ın Ahıska bölgesinden sürgün edilen Ahıska Türkü ailelerinden Emrah Ormanoğlu, Ukrayna'daki iç karışıklık dolayısıyla zor şartlarda başladığı güreşi, çok sevmesine rağmen devam ettiremedi.
  30. ^ Simonson, Robert (January 11, 2007). "Irma St. Paule, Stage Veteran, Is Dead". Playbill. Archived from the original on March 17, 2010. Retrieved August 18, 2019. Irma St. Paule was born in Odessa, Ukraine. Her father was Turkish and her mother was Russian. The family moved to New York and, after she married, Ms. St. Paule followed her new husband to Chicago.


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