Turkish Australians

Turkish Australians
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Melbourne, Sydney, Wollongong
Turkish (including the Cypriot Turkish dialect) and Australian English

Turkish Australians or Australian Turks (Turkish: Avustralya Türkleri) are Turkish people who have immigrated to Australia. However, the term may also refer to Australian-born persons who have Turkish parents or who have a Turkish ancestral background.

Turks first began to emigrate to Australia from the island of Cyprus for work in the 1940s, and then again when Turkish Cypriots were forced to leave their homes during the Cyprus conflict between 1963 and 1974. Furthermore, a large numberof Turkish immigrants began to arrive in Australia once a bilateral agreement was signed between Turkey and Australia in 1967. Recently, smaller groups of Turks have begun to immigrate to Australia from Bulgaria, Greece, Iraq, and the Republic of Macedonia. There were also many Australians in Turkey during World War I (Gallipoli/ANZAC).


Ottoman migration

The presence of Turkish people in Australia dates back to the early 19th century, although at the time there were only about 20 Turkish settlers. Their number increased to 300 by the 1911 census. Their number declined during the First World War when Australia and Turkey fought on opposite sides.[11]

Turkish Cypriot migration

A notable scale of Turkish Cypriot migration to Australia began in the late 1940s;[12] they were the only Muslims acceptable under the White Australia Policy.[13] Prior to 1940, the Australian Census recorded only three settlers from Cyprus that spoke Turkish as their primary language. A further 66 Turkish Cypriots arrived in Australia in the late 1940s, marking the beginning of a Turkish Cypriot immigration trend to Australia.[12] By 1947-1956 there were 350 Turkish Cypriot settlers who were living in Australia.[14]

Between 1955-1960, the island of Cyprus' independence was approaching; however, Turkish Cypriots felt vulnerable as they had cause for concern about the political future of the island when the Greek Cypriots attempted to overthrow the British government and unite Cyprus with Greece (known as "enosis").[14] After a failed attempt by the Greek Cypriots, the right-wing party, EOKA, reformed itself from 1963–1974 and launched a series of attacks in a bid to proclaim "enosis". These atrocities resulted in the exodus of Turkish Cypriots in fear for their lives, many migrating to Australia and Britain.[14] Early Turkish Cypriot immigrants found jobs working in factories, out in the fields, or building national infrastructure.[15] However, some Turkish Cypriots became entrepreneurs and established their own businesses once they had saved enough money.[15]

Once the Greek military junta rose to power in 1967, they staged a coup d'état in 1974 against the Cypriot President, with the help of EOKA B, to unite the island of Cyprus with Greece.[16] Thus, there was an exodus of more Turkish Cypriots to Australia due to fears that the island would unite with Greece.[14] The Greek coup led to a military offensive by Turkey who divided the island.[16] In 1983 the Turkish Cypriots declared their own state, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which has remained internationally unrecognised except by Turkey. The division has led to an economic embargo against the Turkish Cypriots by the Greek Cypriot controlled Government of Cyprus, effectively depriving the Turkish Cypriots of foreign investment, aid and export markets. Thus, the Turkish Cypriot economy has remained stagnant and undeveloped; Turkish Cypriots have continued to leave the island in search of a better life in Britain, Australia, and Canada.[17]

Mainland Turkish migration

On 5 October 1967, the governments of Australia and Turkey signed an agreement to allow Turkish citizens to immigrate to Australia.[18] Prior to this recruitment agreement, there were less than 3,000 people of Turkish origin in Australia.[19] According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, nearly 19,000 Turkish immigrants arrived from 1968-1974.[18] The first Turkish immigrants were greeted at Sydney International Airport by Turkish Cypriots, whilst Turkish immigrants who moved to Melbourne were greeted at Essendon Airport by members of the Cyprus Turkish Association.[15] They came largely from rural areas of Turkey; at the time, approximately 30% were skilled and 70% were unskilled workers.[20] However, this changed in the 1980s when the number of skilled Turks applying to enter Australia had increased considerably.[20] Over the next 35 years the Turkish population rose to almost 100,000.[19] More than half of the Turkish community settled in Victoria, mostly in the north-western suburbs of Melbourne.[19]

Migration from other countries

There are also ethnic Turks who have immigrated to Australia from Bulgaria, the Western Thrace area of northern Greece, the Republic of Macedonia, as well as Germany and other Western European countries.[21]



According to a statement made by Louise Asher in the Milliyet newspaper in 2013 there are 300,000 people of Turkish origin living in Melbourne alone.[22] Official data in the 2006 Australian Census shows only 59,402 people in Australia who claimed to be of Turkish ancestry.[1] However, the Australian census only collects information based on country of birth; thus, this only identifies the number of Turkish immigrants from Turkey, Cyprus (but excludes a substantial number of Turkish Cypriot immigrants who were born or were citizens of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus as it not recognized by Australia), and Bulgaria. The census neglects to include the Australian-born Turks, Turkish Cypriots, and Bulgarian Turks, as well as other considerable Turkish communities who have immigrated (or are the descendants of) the Balkans, and the USSR. Recent estimates suggests that there are 150,000 Turkish Australians[2][23][24] and between 40,000-120,000 Turkish Cypriot Australians.[8][9]

Number of ethnic Turks in Australia according to the 2006 Australian Census[25]
Country of birthethnic TurksTurkish spoken at home
 Northern Cyprus[27]3,290a[]3,345
Including ancestry59,402[1]53,866[29]

Turkish Cypriot population

In 2001 the TRNC Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed to represent 40,000 Turkish Cypriots living in Australia.[8] However, other sources have claimed higher figures: the "Kibris Gazetesi" claims that there are 60,000 Turkish Cypriots living in Australia[9] whilst the "Star Kıbrıs" newspaper suggests that 120,000 Australians are of Turkish Cypriot origin.[30]

Mainland Turkish population

Academic estimates have suggested that in 1999 there was over 75,000 Turkish Australians[31] whilst a 2011 academic estimate placed the number at almost 100,000.[19] The Presidency of the Republic of Turkey, as well as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, have stated that there are now 150,000 Australians of Turkish origin.[23][24]Weymouth

Other Turkish populations

There are smaller populations of Turkish ancestry who have immigrated to Australia from Bulgaria, the Western Thrace area of northern Greece, the Republic of Macedonia, as well as some who had migrated via Germany and other Western European countries.[21]


Turkish Australians mainly live in New South Wales and Victoria, especially in the cities of Melbourne and Sydney. In Melbourne they reside largely in the suburbs of Broadmeadows, Meadow Heights, Collingwood, Brunswick, Coburg, Fitzroy, Richmond, Springvale and Dandenong.[20] In Sydney, they are concentrated in Auburn, Guildford, Botany, Fairfield, Marrickville, Blacktown, Liverpool, Prestons and Ashfield.[20]


Community bonds remain strong in the Turkish Australian community. They are geographically concentrated in particular areas of Australia which has led to the maintenance of certain cultural traditions across generations.[32] The Turkish language and a "moderate" Islam are symbolic markers of the Turkish Australian culture.[33] More generally, notions of family loyalty, the social organisation of marriage and traditional segregation of gender roles have shaped the youths’ identities in Australia.[33]


Turkish Cypriots are considered to be the first immigrants in Australia who formed a large Muslim community, followed by immigrants from Turkey and then Lebanon.[34] According to the 2006 Australian census, 18% of Australian Muslims are of Turkish origin.[35] Turkish Australian Muslims practice a "moderate Islam" and are significantly secularised;[36] Turkish Cypriots in particular are not so religious and are brought up as Kemalists and are strongly secular.[37]

The Turkish Australian community favours religious sermons in the Turkish language (rather than in Arabic) and attends Friday prayers in Turkish mosques.[38] There are numerous notable Turkish mosques in Australia; in 1992, the Cyprus Turkish Islamic Society constructed an Ottoman-style mosque, known as the Sunshine Mosque, which was designed to mirror the Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul.[39] Another important Turkish mosque is the Auburn Gallipoli Mosque,[40] which attracts about 800 worshippers every week and is listed as an Australian heritage building.[41]


The Turkish language is well maintained in Australia and is seen as very important for the self-identification of Turkish Australians.[33] There are numerous Turkish private schools, including Ilim College, Irfan College, Amity (previously known as Sule) College, Sirius (previously known as Isik) College, Damla College and Burc College that cater for Turkish Australian students.[42]



There are several Turkish language newspapers produced in Australia and generally available free of charge, including Anadolu, Yeni Vatan, Dunya, Camia, Zaman and the Australian Turkish News Weekly.[43]


Currently in Sydney and Melbourne SBS Radio broadcasts in the Turkish language for an hour a day.[43] Other community stations also broadcast in Turkish, though with less hours of content. For example, 3ZZZ currently produces five hours of Turkish programming spread over four days each week.[43]


Turkish satellite television services are available in Australia. The Australian satellite service provider UBI World TV claims to reach 40,000 Turkish speakers.[44] Furthermore, BRT, the official radio and television broadcasting corporation of Northern Cyprus, claims to reach 60,000 Turkish Cypriot Australians.[10]

Notable people

See also


  1. 1 2 3 Australian Bureau of Statistics. "20680-Ancestry (full classification list) by Sex - Australia". Retrieved 2011-07-13.
  2. 1 2 "Old foes, new friends". Sydney Morning Herald. 2005-04-23. Retrieved 2008-12-26.
  3. Turkish Embassy AU. "Turkish National Day" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 February 2009. Retrieved 26 December 2008.
  4. Turkish Embassy AU. "Turkish National Day 2007" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 July 2008. Retrieved 26 December 2008.
  5. ntvmsnbc. "Australian Governor-General in Ankara". Retrieved 2008-12-26.
  6. http://www.milliyet.com.tr/Dunya/SonDakika.aspx?aType=SonDakika&ArticleID=1094744&Date=14.05.2009&Kategori=dunya&b=Avustralyali%20Turklerden,%20TRT%20Turke%20tepki
  7. http://www.yeniasir.com.tr/Sarmasik/2011/03/24/jakartada_gorkemli_bir_dugun_daveti
  8. 1 2 3 TRNC Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "Briefing Notes on the Cyprus Issue". Retrieved 2010-10-03.
  9. 1 2 3 Kibris Gazetesi. "Avustralya'daki Kıbrıslı Türkler ve Temsilcilik..." Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
  10. 1 2 BRT. "AVUSTURALYA'DA KIBRS TÜRKÜNÜN SESİ". Retrieved 2011-07-18.
  11. Babacan 2001, 709.
  12. 1 2 Hüssein 2007, 17
  13. Cleland 2001, 24
  14. 1 2 3 4 Hüssein 2007, 18
  15. 1 2 3 Hüssein 2007, 19
  16. 1 2 Country Studies. "The Greek Coup and the Turkish Invasion". Retrieved 2011-07-15.
  17. Papadakis, Peristianis & Welz 2006, 94.
  18. 1 2 Hüssein 2007, 196
  19. 1 2 3 4 Hopkins 2011, 116
  20. 1 2 3 4 Saeed 2003, 9
  21. 1 2 Inglis, Akgönül & de Tapia 2009, 108.
  22. "Avustralya'dan THY'ye çağrı var". Milliyet. 2013-03-12. Retrieved 2013-05-08.
  23. 1 2 Presidency of the Republic of Turkey (2010). ""Turkey-Australia: "From Çanakkale to a Great Friendship"". Retrieved 2011-07-14.
  24. 1 2 OECD (2009). "International Questionnaire: Migrant Education Policies in Response to Longstanding Diversity: TURKEY" (PDF). Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. p. 3.
  25. 1 2 3 Australian Bureau of Statistics. "2006 Census Ethnic Media Package". Retrieved 2011-07-13.
  26. Department of Immigration and Citizenship (2006). "Community Information Summary:Turkey" (PDF). Australian Government. p. 2.
  27. Department of Immigration and Citizenship (2006). "Community Information Summary:Cyprus" (PDF). Australian Government. p. 2.
  28. Department of Immigration and Citizenship (2006). "Community Information Summary:Bulgaria" (PDF). Australian Government. p. 2.
  29. Australian Bureau of Statistics. "20680-Language Spoken At Home by Sex - Australia". Retrieved 2011-07-14.
  30. Star Kıbrıs. "'Sözünüzü Tutun'". Retrieved 2012-09-10.
  31. White et al. 1999, 17.
  32. Windle 2009, 175.
  33. 1 2 3 Zevallos 2008, 24
  34. Humphrey 2001, 36.
  35. Humphrey 2009, 146.
  36. Humphrey 2009, 148.
  37. Ali & Sonn 2010, 425.
  38. Akbarzadeh 2001, 232.
  39. Hüssein 2007, 295.
  40. Inglis 2008, 522.
  41. The Sydney Morning Herald (24 April 2010). "Turkish mosque joins honour roll of Australian heritage buildings". Retrieved 2011-07-13.
  42. Windle 2009, 182.
  43. 1 2 3 Hopkins 2009, 234
  44. Hopkins 2009, 238


^ a: The 2006 census recorded a further 4,120 "Cypriots"; however, it is unclear whether these include Greek Cypriots or Turkish Cypriots.


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