Where Is Turkish Spoken Around the Globe?

Mapping the global Turkish diaspora and its linguistic footprint.

Where Is Turkish Spoken Around the Globe?
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Published on
Oct 12, 2023
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The Turkish language is not only spoken in Turkey but also in many other regions and countries worldwide. Turkish people have established communities in various corners of the world, resulting in the spread of the Turkish language and its unique culture.

From Europe to Asia, North America to Africa, Turkish-speaking communities have thrived and left their mark on the local populations. The Turkish language has become an essential tool for communication, connecting people from different backgrounds and cultures.

Key Takeaways

  • Turkish is not only spoken in Turkey but also in many other regions and countries worldwide.
  • Turkish-speaking communities have established themselves in various corners of the world.
  • The Turkish language has become an essential tool for communication, connecting people from different backgrounds and cultures.
  • Turkish-speaking communities have left their mark on local populations in various regions of the world.
  • The spread of the Turkish language has contributed to the cultural enrichment of different areas around the world.

Turkish Speaking Communities in Europe

Turkish-speaking communities have a significant presence in various European countries. The largest Turkish-speaking community outside of Turkey is in Germany, with more than 2.5 million Turkish residents. Other countries with sizable Turkish-speaking communities include the Netherlands, Austria, and France.

The establishment of Turkish-speaking communities in Europe is primarily due to historical and cultural factors. In the 1960s and 70s, Turkey experienced rapid economic development, leading to a shortage of labor in certain sectors. Several European countries invited Turkish workers to fill these positions, resulting in a significant wave of migration from Turkey to Europe.

Over time, these Turkish migrants and their families formed their own communities and began to preserve their language and culture. Today, these communities serve as cultural hotspots, providing a taste of Turkish culture through traditional food, music and cultural events. The annual "Turkish festival" held in Germany is a great example of the rich and diverse culture of Turkish-speaking communities in Europe.

Turkish Language in the Middle East

Turkish is widely spoken across the Middle East, with significant Turkish-speaking populations in countries like Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

The presence of Turkish language in the region can be attributed to various historical and cultural influences. Ottoman conquerors established their rule over much of the Middle East in the 16th century, and Turkish became the language of administration and governance. This led to the spread of the Turkish language among the local populations.

In addition, modern migration patterns have contributed to the growth of Turkish-speaking communities in the Middle East. Many Turkish people have migrated to the region in search of economic opportunities or to escape political instability in their own country. This has led to the establishment of Turkish-speaking enclaves in major cities like Baghdad, Damascus, and Beirut.

Today, the Turkish-speaking population in the Middle East is estimated to be around 3 million people. While Turkish is not the official language in any Middle Eastern country, it remains an important language for commerce, education, and cultural exchange.

Turkish Diaspora in North America

The largest Turkish-speaking population outside of Turkey resides in North America. The United States and Canada alone are home to over half a million Turkish people. The history of Turkish migration to North America dates back to the early 20th century, with significant numbers arriving in the 1950s and 1960s.

Today, Turkish-speaking communities can be found in many major cities, including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. These communities have established cultural centers, mosques, and restaurants, preserving their unique heritage while also integrating into the broader North American society.

The Turkish language continues to thrive in these communities, with many Turkish-American and Turkish-Canadian individuals speaking the language fluently. The Turkish language is also taught in universities across North America, with courses in Turkish literature, culture, and history.

In recent years, Turkish political and economic instability has led to an increase in Turkish migration to North America. As a result, the Turkish-speaking population in the region is likely to continue growing in the coming years.

Turkish Language Across Asia

Turkish is also spoken in various Asian countries, particularly those with historical and cultural connections to Turkey. Kazakhstan has the highest population of Turkish speakers in Asia, with over 2 million people speaking the language. Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan also have significant communities of Turkish speakers.

The Turkish language spread throughout Central Asia during the Ottoman Empire's reign and has since been preserved by various Turkic groups in the region. The language has also influenced other languages, such as the Turkic languages and Tajik.

In China, the Uyghur people, who are of Turkic origin, speak a dialect of Turkish. The language is also spoken in Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, and Iran.

The presence of the Turkish language in these regions highlights the cultural and linguistic connections between Turkey and its neighboring countries. The Turkish language continues to thrive in Asia, with efforts being made to preserve and promote its use among younger generations.

Turkish Influence in Africa

The Turkish language has also made an impact in several African countries, particularly in nations like Sudan, Egypt, and Tunisia. This can be attributed to the historical ties between Turkey and Africa, with Turkey being a major player in the Ottoman Empire, which held sway over much of North Africa.

Today, Turkish is spoken by various communities in Africa, including those of Turkish descent and those who have learned Turkish through cultural exchange programs. These communities have contributed to the diversity of the African linguistic landscape and have helped to strengthen the bonds between Turkey and Africa.

Moreover, Turkish cultural influences, including food, music, and fashion, are also apparent in certain African regions. This highlights the importance of Turkish linguistic and cultural territories beyond its homeland.

Turkish Speaking Communities in Oceania

Turkish people have migrated to various parts of the world, including Oceania. In Australia, Turkish speakers are concentrated in cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, and their presence has contributed to the multicultural fabric of these regions. According to the 2016 Australian census, there are over 63,000 people who speak Turkish at home.

In New Zealand, the Turkish community is smaller, with around 1,500 people who speak Turkish. The majority of Turkish speakers in New Zealand are located in Auckland and Wellington. Despite their small numbers, the Turkish people in New Zealand have made significant contributions to the social and economic development of the country.

Both Australia and New Zealand have Turkish language schools, community centers, and cultural associations. These institutions play a crucial role in preserving the Turkish language and culture in the region. In addition, Turkish festivals and events are held annually, providing an opportunity for Turkish people in Oceania to come together and celebrate their heritage.

The Turkish-speaking communities in Oceania are relatively small compared to other regions, but they have established themselves as vital contributors to the cultural diversity of their respective countries. Their presence underscores the global reach of the Turkish language and the richness it brings to different regions of the world.


In conclusion, the Turkish language is spoken in diverse locations worldwide, making it one of the most widespread languages in the world. From Europe to the Middle East, North America to Asia, Africa to Oceania, Turkish speaking communities thrive and contribute to the cultural enrichment of their respective regions.

The presence of Turkish language and culture in these regions highlights the historical and cultural connections between Turkey and various parts of the world. The Turkish speaking population in these areas contributes to the promotion and preservation of the Turkish language and serves as a bridge between different cultures and traditions.

In light of this, it is essential to acknowledge the significance of the Turkish language outside of Turkey. The growing Turkish speaking population globally reinforces its importance and influence on other cultures.

Overall, the Turkish language and its diverse communities serve as a testimony of the linguistic and cultural richness of the world. Its global reach is a testament to the enduring legacy and impact of the Turkish people and their culture.