Turkish Canadians

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Turkish Canadians
Türk asıllı Kanadalılar
Turkish Canadians 2005.jpg
Turkish Canadians at the Victoria Day Parade in 2005.
Total population
(55,430 (by ancestry, 2011 Census)[1])
Regions with significant populations
Toronto  · Montreal  · Vancouver  · London  · Ottawa  · Calgary  · Edmonton
Turkish  · Canadian English  · Canadian French
Predominantly Sunni Islam, significant minority of Shi'a Islam (Alevi)

Turkish Canadians (Turkish: Türk asıllı Kanadalılar; literally "Turkish-originating Canadians") are Canadian citizens of Turkish descent or Turkey-born people who reside in Canada.[2][3] According to the 2011 Census there were 55,430 Canadians who claimed full or partial Turkish descent.[1]


Turks first began to immigrate to Canada in small numbers from the Ottoman Empire. However, significant migration initially began in the late 1950s and early 1960s when the Turkish government encouraged student education abroad.[4] Furthermore, there have been Turks fleeing from unrest and oppression from Bulgaria and Cyprus who have arrived in Canada as both political and economic refugees.[4]

Ottoman migration[edit]

In 1901, Canada had between 300-400 Muslim residents, equally divided between Turks and Syrian Arabs.[5] By 1911, the size of the Muslim community had increased to about 1,500, of whom 1,000 were of Turkish origin and the remainder were Arabs.[5] During the pre-World War I period Turks were to be found in mining and logging camps across Canada.[6] However, due to bad relations between the Ottoman Empire and Europe, further migration was made difficult for the Turks and the Canadian government discouraged "Asian" immigration.[6] Thus, by the onset of World War I, Canada witnessed the return of many Turkish immigrants who were then classified as "enemy aliens".[5] Another reason for the return-migration of Ottoman Turks was because for the majority of Turks, the founding of the new republic of Turkey in 1923 was a greater incentive to stay at home.[6]

Mainland Turkish migration[edit]

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the government of Turkey encouraged and financially supported Turkish students to study in Canada.[4] Thus, the early 1960s consisted primarily of students and professionals, especially doctors and engineers.[7] Significant Turkish immigration began during the 1960s and 1970s; most Turks went to Canada for educational and economic opportunities.[7] According to the 1972 Canada census there was 9,342 Turkish-born persons living in Canada.

Bulgarian Turks migration[edit]

In 1989, Turks in Bulgaria were fleeing from the unrest and oppression of the Bulgarian government; many have arrived in Canada as political and economic refugees.[6]

Turkish Cypriot migration[edit]

During the 1950s, Turkish Cypriots started to leave Cyprus for political reasons when the Greek Cypriots held a referendum in which 95.7% of Greek Cypriots supported enosis, the union of Cyprus with Greece. By 1963, inter-ethnic fighting broke out in Cyprus, with Turkish Cypriots bearing the heavier cost in terms of casualties and some 25,000 Turkish Cypriots became internally displaced accounting to about a fifth of their population.[8] Tension continued to grow by the late 1960s and approximately 60,000 Turkish Cypriots left their homes and moved into enclaves.[9] This resulted in an exodus of more Turkish Cypriots from the island, many migrating to Canada. In 1983, Turkish Cypriots unilaterally proclaimed the establishment of their own state, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which has since remained internationally unrecognized except by Turkey. Since the division of the island, the Turkish Cypriot economy has remained stagnant and undeveloped because of the economic embargoes which have been imposed on the north.[10] Turkish Cypriots are still forced to emigrate, as a result of unemployment, and economic, social and moral degradation. Furthermore, due to the 'Turkeyfication' policies administered in the north, Turkish Cypriots responses to such policies of nationalisation have been to leave the island and moved to Britain, Australia, and Canada.[11]


According to the Canada 2006 Census, there was 43,700 Turks living in Canada; the majority were concentrated in Toronto (14,970), Montreal (10,345), Vancouver (3,380), Ottawa (2,455), Hamilton (1,590), Calgary (1,305), and Edmonton (1,250).[12] However, the actual number of Turkish Canadians is believed to be considerably higher,[3] as ethnic Turks have also immigrated to Canada via Bulgaria, Cyprus, and the Republic of Macedonia.[3] Statistics on Bulgarian Turks, Turkish Cypriots, and Macedonian Turks present particular problems because it is unclear how many have immigrated to Canada; they are recorded by their citizenship (i.e. "Bulgarian", "Cypriot", and "Macedonian") rather than their ethnicity.

Like all Canadians with origins in West Asia, Turkish Canadians are legally defined as a visible minority, irrespective of their appearance.[13][14]

Turkish settlement[edit]

Rank Provinces/Territories Population (2001 census)[15] Population (2006 census)[12] Percentage increase/decrease
1  Ontario 14,580 23,425 > 62%
2  Quebec 5,680 11,390 > 49.8%
3  British Columbia 2,395 4,250 > 56.35%
4  Alberta 1,515 2,970 > 51%
5  Nova Scotia 190 425 > 44.7%
6  Saskatchewan 105 400 > 26.25%
7  Manitoba 275 345 > 79%
8  New Brunswick 125 275 > 45%
9  Newfoundland and Labrador 35 135 > 25.9%
10  Northwest Territories 10 65 > 15%
11  Yukon 0 10 ≠ 0%
12  Nunavut 0 (10 Multiple responses) 0 ≠ 0%
13  Prince Edward Island 0 0 ≠ 0%
Total  Canada 24,910 43,700 > 57%
(Source: 2001 & 2006 Canadian Census')



The vast majority of Turkish Canadians are Sunni Muslims, whilst the remaining people generally do not have any religious affiliation. Prior to 1980, Turkish Canadian immigrants were from both urban and secular backgrounds.[16] Religion remained an affair of the private conscience.[16] In May 1983, the "Canadian Turkish Islamic Heritage Association" (Kanada Türk Islam Kültür Derneği) was established, followed by the "Canadian Turkish Islamic Trust" (Kanada Türk Islam Vakfi) in April 1987.[16]



Social media[edit]

  • Turkish Association of Canada (TAC)[17]
  • TurkKanada[18]

Turkish newspapers[edit]

Armenian Genocide[edit]

The Turkish Canadian community has been active in denying the Armenian Genocide, and protesting against Canada's recognition of the Armenian Genocide. On the 24th April remembrance day of the Armenian Genocide, many members of the Turkish-Canadian community regularly come to protest against the Armenians.[23][24]


  • Atak Sports - Zafer Biryol Soccer Academy[25]


Since 2005, Nile Academy, a private school[26] run by Turkish administration linked to a nonprofit organization called Canadian Turkish Friendship Community,[27] has grown exponentially over the years. Within eleven years, they managed to open their 3rd[28] school within Ontario. They have also opened a dormitory located near Jane Street and Eglinton Avenue West, Toronto. Throughout the years, Nile Academy has competed in Turkish Language Olympiads and many wrestling tournaments in Ontario.[29]

Nile Academy is also linked with religious cleric and right-wing scholar Fethullah Gülen and the Gülen Movement.[30] They have had many notable alumni[31] ever since they opened in 2005.

The Federation of Canadian Turkish Associations, its members and democratically elected civil societies in Canada[edit]

Since the 1960s, many community organizations have appeared representing various groups of Turkish immigrants. The various associations across Canada are currently represented by the "Federation of Canadian Turkish Associations", an umbrella organization founded in the mid-1980s.[32] The federation serves as a referral and communications centre for news of Turkey, local events, business and governmental inquiries, and intergroup relations. More recently, a similar Turkish Cypriot umbrella group, the "Federation of Turkish Cypriot Associations of Canada", was established; the "Canadian Association for Solidarity of Turks from Bulgaria" also forms part of the federation.[32]

The Federation of Canadian Turkish Associations is an umbrella organization representing 17 member associations from Victoria to Quebec, which include approximately 50,000 Canadians of Turkish origin. The federation was established in 1985 and is a non-profit organization with no political affiliations. It supports and encourages activities that deal with important cultural, economic, educational, historical, social and religious issues that relate to the Turkish community in Canada.

  • Anatolian Heritage Federation[33]
  • Ankara Library[34]
  • Association of Balkan Canadians[35]
  • Association of Canadian Turkish Cypriots
  • Canadian Alevi Culture Centre[36]
  • Canadian Association for Solidarity of Turks from Bulgaria
  • Canadian Iraqi Turkmen Culture Association of London[37]
  • Canadian Turkish Cultural Association of Hamilton
  • Canadian Turkish Film Society
  • Canadian Turkish Islamic Heritage Association INC.[38]
  • Council of Turkish Canadians[39]
  • The Federation of Canadian Turkish Associations[40]
  • Intercultural Dialogue Institute[41]
  • K-W Turkish cultural association
  • Turkish Association of Canada (TAC)[42]
  • The Turkish Canadian Association of London
  • Turkish Canadian Cultural Association[43]
  • Turkish Canadian Cultural Association of Calgary[44]
  • Turkish Canadian Society[45]
  • Turkish Canadian Society of Edmonton[46]
  • Turkish Canadian Society of Vancouver[45]
  • The Turkish Community Heritage Centre of Canada[47]
  • Turkish Federation Community Foundation[48]
  • Turkish Culture and Folklore Society[49]
  • The Turkish Quebec Cultural and Friendship Association[50]
  • Turkish Society of Canada[51]
  • Turkish Society of Nova Scotia[52]
  • The United Canadian Muslim Association
  • United Canadian Turkish Cultural Association

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Statistics Canada. "2011 National Household Survey: Data tables". Retrieved 11 February 2014. 
  2. ^ Karpat 2004, 632
  3. ^ a b c Powell 2005, 297
  4. ^ a b c Aksan 1999, 1277.
  5. ^ a b c Abu-Laban 1983, 76.
  6. ^ a b c d Aksan 1999, 1276.
  7. ^ a b Powell 2005, 298
  8. ^ Cassia 2007, 19.
  9. ^ Tocci 2004, 53.
  10. ^ Tocci 2004, 61.
  11. ^ Papadakis, Peristianis & Welz 2006, 94.
  12. ^ a b Statistics Canada. "2006 Census". Retrieved 2009-02-25. 
  13. ^ http://www.statcan.gc.ca/eng/concepts/definitions/minority01a
  14. ^ https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/as-sa/99-010-x/99-010-x2011001-eng.cfm
  15. ^ Statistics Canada. "Selected Ethnic Origins, for Canada, Provinces and Territories - 20% Sample Data". Retrieved 2009-02-23. 
  16. ^ a b c Aksan 1999, 1279
  17. ^ "Security Check Required". 
  18. ^ "Türk Kanada - Kanada hakkında bilmeniz gereken herşey". 
  19. ^ http://www.canadaturk.ca
  20. ^ http://www.referans.ca
  21. ^ "Edmonton Intercultural Dialogue Institute - IDI Edmonton". 
  22. ^ "Bizim Anadolu". 
  23. ^ "Turkish-Canadian Groups Celebrate Armenian Genocide". 
  24. ^ Turkish Embassy in Ottawa (25 April 2016). "Kanada'da Türk vatandaşları Ermeni iddialarına karşı ilk kez protesto yürüyüşü gerçekleştirdi" – via YouTube. 
  25. ^ http://www.ataksports.com
  26. ^ "Nile Academy". nileacademy.ca. Retrieved 2016-02-23. 
  27. ^ "Job Offers - Nile Academy BlueHaven". nileacademy.ca. Retrieved 2016-02-23. 
  28. ^ "Nile Academy 2013 Awards (PDF)" (PDF). 
  29. ^ "Nile Academy, Plunkett's Wrestling Team - Nile Academy-Plunkett Campus". nileacademy.ca. Retrieved 2016-02-23. 
  30. ^ "Fethullah Gülen Web Sitesi - Kanada'daki Türk Okulundan Büyük Başarı". tr.fgulen.com. Retrieved 2016-02-23. 
  31. ^ "Alumni - Nile Academy-Plunkett Campus". nileacademy.ca. Retrieved 2016-02-23. 
  32. ^ a b Aksan 1999, 1278
  33. ^ "Anatolian Heritage Federation Canada - AHF". 
  35. ^ http://www.balkancanadian.org/
  36. ^ "Kanada Alevi Kültür Merkezi". 
  37. ^ http://citcal.turkmeninfocentre.com/
  38. ^ "Kanada Türk İslam Kültür Derneği & Pape Cami - Ana sayfa". 
  39. ^ "Council of Turkish Canadians". 
  40. ^ YILDIRIM, Inanc. "The Federation of Canadian Turkish Associations - Kanada Turk Dernekleri Federasyonu". 
  41. ^ "Intercultural Dialogue Institute, Canada". 
  42. ^ TAC. "Home". 
  43. ^ "Security Check Required". 
  44. ^ http://calgaryturkishcanadian.org/
  45. ^ a b "new homepage". 
  46. ^ http://www.edmontonturks.com/
  47. ^ "TCHCC Home". 
  48. ^ http://vakif.turkishfederation.ca/
  49. ^ http://www.turkculture.ca/indexeng.html
  50. ^ http://www.turquebec.ca/
  51. ^ "Turkish Society of Canada - Turkish Society of Canada". 15 March 2014. 
  52. ^ http://nsturkishsociety.ca/


  • Abu-Laban, Baha (1983), "The Canadian Muslim Community: The Need for a New Survival Strategy", in Waugh, Earle H.; Abu-Laban, Baha; Abu-Qureshi, Regula (eds.), The Muslim Community in North America, University of Alberta, ISBN 0-88864-034-X .
  • Aksan, Virginia H. (1999), "Turks", in Magocsi, Paul R. (eds.), Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples, University of Toronto Press, ISBN 0-8020-2938-8 .
  • Cassia, Paul Sant (2007), Bodies of Evidence: Burial, Memory, and the Recovery of Missing Persons in Cyprus, Berghahn Books, ISBN 1-84545-228-3 .
  • Karpat, Kemal H. (2004), "Turkish Immigration to Canada", Studies on Turkish Politics and Society: Selected Articles and Essays, BRILL, ISBN 90-04-13322-4 
  • Ozcurumez, Saime (2009), "Immigrant Associations in Canada:Included, Accommodated, or Excluded?", Turkish Studies, Routledge, 10 (2): 195–215, doi:10.1080/14683840902864002 
  • Papadakis, Yiannis; Peristianis, Nicos; Welz, Gisela (2006), Divided Cyprus: Modernity, History, and an Island in Conflict, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, ISBN 0-253-21851-9 .
  • Powell, John (2005), "Turkish Immigration", Encyclopedia of North American Immigration, Infobase Publishing, ISBN 0-8160-4658-1 
  • Tocci, Nathalie (2004), EU accession dynamics and conflict resolution: catalysing peace or consolidating partition in Cyprus?, Ashgate Publishing, ISBN 0-7546-4310-7 .

External links[edit]