Turks in Italy

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Turks in Italy
Total population
Turkish citizens: 19,068 (2010)[1]
est. 21,000[2][3]
Regions with significant populations
Rome · Milan · Turin · Brescia · Venice
Turkish  · Italian
Sunni Islam

Turks in Italy (Turkish: İtalya Türkleri) are Italian citizens of Turkish origin. The term Turk or Turkish used in Italy may apply to immigrants or the descendants of immigrants born in the Ottoman Empire before 1923, in the Republic of Turkey since then, or in neighbouring countries once part of the Ottoman Empire that still have a population whose language is Turkish or who claims a Turkish identity or cultural heritage, in contrast to the many other peoples from present-day Turkey and the former Ottoman Empire, who identify with their own communities.


Map of Otranto by Piri Reis.
Fondaco dei Turchi, The Turks' Inn.

During the 15th century, the Ottoman Empire was expanding mightily in southeastern Europe. It completed the invasion and occupation of the Byzantine Empire in 1453 under Sultan Mehmet II by conquering Constantinople and Galata. It seized Genoa's last bastions in the Black Sea in 1475 and Venice's Greek colony of Euboea in 1479. Turkish troops invaded the Friuli region in northeastern Italy in 1479 and again in 1499–1503. The Apulian harbor town of Otranto, located about 100 kilometers southeast of Brindisi, was seized in 1480, but the Turks were routed there in 1481 when Mehmet died and a war for his succession broke out. Cem Sultan, pretender to the Ottoman throne, was defeated despite being supported by the pope; he fled with his family to the Kingdom of Naples, where his male descendants were bestowed with the title of Principe de Sayd by the Pope in 1492. They lived in Naples until the 17th century and in Sicily until 1668 before relocating to Malta.

Demographic history[edit]

From the early 17th century through to 1838, the Fondaco dei Turchi served as a one-building-ghetto for Venice's Ottoman Turkish population (thus "dei Turchi"). The fondaco then served as a combination home, warehouse, and market for the Turkish traders. When the Venetian Republic was conquered and abolished by Napoleon Boneparte in 1797, the Turkish traders continued to live in the palazzo until 1838.

Today, the majority of Turks live in Rome, Milan and Venice.

Year Males Females Total
2002 4,171 3,012 7,183
2003 5,553 3,577 9,130
2004 6,826 4,251 11,077
2005 7,471 4,888 12,359
2006 8,040 5,492 13,532
2007 8,631 5,931 14,562
2008 9,549 6,676 16,225
2009 10,367 7,284 17,651
(Source: Istituto Nazionale di Statistica (ISTAT)) [4]

Turkish settlement[edit]

As of 2008, regions of Italy which had over 1,000 Turks included; 6,202 Turks in Lombardia (mainly in Como and Milano), 3,834 in Emilia Romagna (mainly in Modena and Reggio Emilia), 1,483 in Liguria (mainly in Imperia) and 1,064 in Toscana.

Rank Geographical area Turkish population (2009)
1 North-West 9,239
2 North-East 5,562
3 Central 2,168
4 South 595
5 Islands 87
Total  Italy 17,651
(Source: Istituto Nazionale di Statistica (ISTAT)) [5]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Statistiche Demografiche ISTAT. "Resident Population by sex and citizenship (Middle-East Europe)". Retrieved 2010-10-27. 
  2. ^ Sabah. "Eyvah Türkler geldi!". Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  3. ^ ntvmsnbc. "Roma'da bir Türk Film Festivali". Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  4. ^ Source: Demography in Figures
  5. ^ Statistiche demografiche (ISTAT). "Foreigner Citizens. Resident Population by sex and citizenship on 31st December 2009". Retrieved 2009-10-17.