Turks in Lebanon

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Turks in Lebanon
Total population
Turkish minority: 50,000–80,000[1][2][3]
(1%-1.7% of Lebanese population)
In addition, Syrian Turkmen refugees: 120,000–150,000[4]
Regions with significant populations
Sunni Islam

Turks in Lebanon, also known as Lebanese Turks (Turkish: Lübnan Türkleri), are people of Turkish ancestry that live in Lebanon. Turks have been present in Lebanon ever since Ottoman rule of the region.


Ottoman rule[edit]

Lebanon became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1516, and Turks were brought into the region along with Sultan Selim I’s army during his campaign to Egypt and were settled in the conquered lands. Turkish colonists were encouraged to stay in Lebanon by being rewarded with land and money.[5]

Cretan Turks[edit]

The history of the Cretan Turks in Lebanon began when the Ottoman Empire lost its dominion over the island of Crete.[6] After 1897, when the Ottoman Empire lost control of the island, they sent ships to protect the island’s Cretan Turks. Most of these Turks were settled in Izmir and Mersin, but some of them were also sent to Tripoli and Damascus.[6] After World War I, the Ottoman Empire lost Lebanon, however, some of the Cretan Turks remained in Tripoli where their relatives lived. Today, there are about 10,000 Cretan Turks remaining in Tripoli.[6]

Mainland Turkish migration[edit]

In the 1950s, thousands of Turks left the city of Mardin and headed for Lebanon because of the economic crisis and high unemployment rate in Turkey.[7] Many of these migrants settled in Beirut and could already speak Arabic. Therefore, they quickly adapted to life in Lebanon.[7]

Syrian Turkmen refugees[edit]

In October 2015 the Syrian independent newspaper Zaman Al Wasl reported that 125,000 to 150,000 Syrian Turkmen refugees, who have escaped from the Syrian civil war, have settled in Lebanon, and hence they now outnumber the Turkish minority of Lebanon.[4]



The Turkish community in Lebanon currently numbers about 80,000.[1] In addition, there is 120,000-150,000 Syrian Turkmen refugees, part of the Syrian refugee population in Lebanon, living in the country as a result of the Syrian Civil War.[4]

Areas of settlement[edit]

The descendants of the early Ottoman Turkish settlers mainly live in Akkar (including the villages of Kouachra and Aydamun) and Baalbeck,[8] while the descendants of the later Ottoman Turkish arrivals, mainly the Cretan Turks, currently live in Tripoli.[8] More recent Turkish arrivals to modern Lebanon from Turkey and Syria (Syrian Turks) live in Beirut.[8]


The Turkish community is becoming more politically active by seeking better representation locally and support from the Turkish embassy in Beirut.[1]


Established in 1997, the "Future Youth Association", located in Beirut's Witwat neighborhood, is the most active Turkish association in Lebanon. Because of confusion over its name with the Future Movement, its office sustained damage during the 7 May 2008 armed clashes in Beirut between pro-Hariri and pro-Hezbollah forces.[1] The Future Youth Association organises Turkish language classes in Beirut using teachers sent from Turkey’s Ministry of Education. The turnout for these classes have so far exceeded expectations, with many Lebanese of Turkish origin attending classes.[1]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Al-Akhbar. "Lebanese Turks Seek Political and Social Recognition". Retrieved 2012-03-02.
  2. ^ Today's Zaman. "Tension adds to existing wounds in Lebanon". Archived from the original on 2012-01-11. Retrieved 2012-03-02.
  3. ^ Zaman. "Siyasî gerilim, Lübnan'ın yaralarını derinleştiriyor". Archived from the original on 2013-04-18. Retrieved 2012-03-02.
  4. ^ a b c Ahmed, Yusra (2015), Syrian Turkmen refugees face double suffering in Lebanon, Zaman Al Wasl, retrieved 11 October 2016
  5. ^ Orhan 2010, 7.
  6. ^ a b c Orhan 2010, 13.
  7. ^ a b Today's Zaman. "Turkish migrants grieve for Beirut from exile". Retrieved 2012-03-02.
  8. ^ a b c Orhan 2010, 8.
  9. ^ Parsons, Laila (2017). The Commander: Fawzi al-Qawuqji and the Fight for Arab Independence 1914–1948. Saqi Press. p. 31. ISBN 0863561764.
  10. ^ Body Building. "Sacrificing To Compete: An Interview With Dina Al-Sabah!". Retrieved 2012-03-02.
  11. ^ Harding University. "Bilal Aziz Özer". Retrieved 2012-04-05.
  12. ^ Today's Zaman. "In memory of Osman Selim and his service at Çanakkale". Retrieved 2012-04-05.
  13. ^ Fahim, Joseph (2016). "Beirut's Horror, Sci-Fi Film Fest a Hit Success". Middle East Institute. Retrieved 30 November 2017. Lebanese-Turkish director Hussen Ibraheem alludes...
  14. ^ Esposito, Claudia (2013), The Narrative Mediterranean: Beyond France and the Maghreb, Lexington Books, p. 36, ISBN 0739168223, born into a culturally composite family - his mother was Egyptian of Turkish origin, his father a Greek Catholic in 1949 in Lebanon...
  15. ^ Cooke, Miriam (2007), Dissident Syria: making oppositional arts official, Duke University Press, p. 40, ISBN 0822340356, One day, she [Houda Naamani] invited me along with a group of women from the "old bourgeoisie." Over tea and fruit they talked about the good old days, their Turkish grandparents, and the lost world of courtly etiquette…
  16. ^ Mardam Bey, Salma (1997). Syria's Quest for Independence. Ithaca Press. p. 31. ISBN 0863721753. Al-Damand was a man of Turkish origin, who could hardly speak Arabic...
  17. ^ Turkish Football Federation. "L.C. Sears Collegiate Seminar Series". Retrieved 2012-04-05.
  18. ^ Khal 1988, 175.
  19. ^ Rogan 2009, 344.
  20. ^ Al-Materi, Mohammed (2016), من قصص العشاق:«روز اليوسف» ... الصحافة... والرجال (1-3):تزوجت ثلاث مرات وأنجبت «إحسان عبد القدوس « الكاتب المصري المعروف, Al Chourouk, retrieved 6 September 2017, وروز اليوسف (1897 - 1958)، ممثلة لبنانية من أصل تركي، ولدت في بيروت يتيمة الأم في أسرة مسلمة.