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Are Turkish People Arabs? 9 Facts to Know

Are Turkish People Arab?

Have you ever wondered if ethnic Turks from Anatolia, Balkan Turks, or Meskhetian Turks are Arabs? The answer is no, they are not. Although Turkey is located in the Middle East and shares a border with several Arab countries, Turkish people have a distinct identity and culture.

One misconception is that the Turkish language is an Arabic dialect, but it's actually a Turkic language spoken by ethnic Turks in Anatolia and beyond, including Turkmen and Balkan Turks. It has its own unique grammar and vocabulary, with cultural influences from the Middle East due to historical interactions. Turkish culture has its roots in Central Asia and also incorporates elements from Europe.

So who exactly is considered Arab? It's not based on ethnicity or race, but rather on language and cultural affiliation. Arabs are those who speak Arabic as their first language and identify with the Middle Eastern culture. Many Arabs are also Muslims, with Islam being a significant aspect of the Islamic Empire that once dominated the region. In recent years, conflicts and political instability have led to a significant number of Arab refugees seeking asylum in other countries.

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In Turkey, there is a small population of Arabs primarily living in the southeastern region near the Syrian border. However, the majority of the population identifies as Turkish and ethnic Turks, belonging to the Turkic countries. They have their own distinct identity separate from that of Arabs, as well as Balkan Turks and Meskhetian Turks.

History of Turks and Arabs: Prehistory to Early Middle Ages

Distinct Origins

The question of whether Turkish people are Arab is a common one, but it is important to note that the two groups have distinct origins in history. The Turkish people, including ethnic Turks, Meskhetian Turks, and Turkmen, originated from Central Asia, specifically the Altai Mountains region, before migrating to Anatolia. Meanwhile, Arabs come from the Arabian Peninsula.

Between the 6th and 11th centuries, various Turkish tribes, including ethnic Turks and Turkmen, rose to power in Central Asia. Some of these tribes migrated westward into what is now modern-day Turkey and the Ottoman territories. The Seljuk Empire, for example, was a major empire founded by a Turkish tribe that ruled over much of Anatolia and Persia during the 11th century. In more recent times, the forced deportation of Meskhetian Turks from their homeland in Georgia has been a tragic event in the history of the Turkish people.

Emergence and Expansion of Arab Empire

In contrast, the Arab Empire emerged in the 7th century after Prophet Muhammad founded Islam. The empire expanded its territory through military conquests and trade for several centuries. It reached its peak under the Umayyad Caliphate (661-750 CE) when it controlled much of North Africa, Spain, and parts of Central Asia. During the Ottoman rule, the empire expanded further into Ottoman territories such as Iraq and Anatolia.

Interactions between Turks and Arabs

During this period between the 6th and 11th centuries, Turks and Arabs had significant interactions through trade and warfare. The Turkish migration to Anatolia played a crucial role in the Ottoman rule over the Ottoman territories.

  • The Abbasid Caliphate (750-1258 CE), which succeeded the Umayyad Caliphate as rulers over much of the Islamic world, relied heavily on Turkic soldiers, including ethnic Turks, Turkmen, and Meskhetian Turks, in their armies. The Ottoman Empire, which rose to power centuries later, also had a significant presence of ethnic Turks in their military.

  • In turn, some ethnic Turks leaders converted to Islam under Arab influence during the Islamic Empire and Ottoman rule, which was further propagated through Turkish migration.

  • There were also clashes between Arab forces and various Turkish tribes, including ethnic Turks from Anatolia, over territories like Syria during the Ottoman rule of the Islamic empire.

Separate Identities by 19th Century

By the 19th century, both Turkish and Arab identities had become more defined and separate due to various political developments under Ottoman rule in Anatolia, which was the heartland of the Islamic empire. However, ethnic Turks remained a significant part of the Ottoman society.

  • The Ottoman Empire (1299-1922 CE), which was founded by ethnic Turks in Anatolia, expanded its territory to include much of the Middle East, North Africa, and the Balkans. The empire lasted until the end of the 20th century when it was dissolved.

  • Arab nationalism emerged in the late 19th century as a response to Ottoman rule over Arab territories, including Anatolia, the Balkans, and regions governed by Turks of Turkish origin. This eventually led to the breakup of the Ottoman Empire and the formation of modern-day Arab states.

Major Cultural Differences between Arabs and Turkish People

Turkish culture, shaped by centuries of Ottoman rule, has a unique blend of influences from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Although Turkey is geographically located in Anatolia, it is not an Arab country. The Turkish people, also known as Turks and Turkmen, have their own distinct culture that differs significantly from Arab culture.

Gender Roles and Expectations

Gender roles and expectations differ significantly between Turkish, Turkmen, and Arab cultures. In traditional Ottoman society, men were typically seen as providers while women were expected to take care of the home and children. Women's rights were limited in many Anatolian countries, with strict dress codes enforced for women in public places.

In contrast, gender equality is highly valued in Turkish culture. Turks and Turkmen in Anatolia have played significant roles in Ottoman history and modern society. For example, Turkey was one of the first countries to grant women the right to vote and run for office.


Both Turkish and Arab cultures value hospitality; however, there are some differences in how it is expressed. In Arab culture, hospitality often involves serving guests elaborate meals with multiple courses. It is considered impolite to decline food or drink offered by a host. The tradition of hospitality is deeply rooted in the Turks and Turkmen of Anatolia, dating back to the Ottoman era.

In contrast, Turkish hospitality, which has roots in the Ottoman Empire and Anatolia, is more focused on making guests feel comfortable rather than serving them extravagant meals. Tea is an essential part of Turkish hospitality, and it is customary to offer tea to visitors upon arrival. The turks and turkmen, who are descendants of the Ottoman Empire, continue to uphold this tradition of welcoming guests with warmth and kindness.


The majority of the Turkish population, including Turkish minorities such as Turkmen, are Muslim. However, religion plays a less prominent role in daily life compared to many Arab countries where Islam is deeply ingrained into social norms. While prayer times may be observed at mosques throughout Turkey, they do not disrupt daily life as much as they might in some other Muslim-majority nations. The Turkish language is widely spoken and used in everyday communication.


Turkish language, spoken by the Turks and Turkmen people, belongs to its own language family called Turkic languages. The language has its roots in Anatolia and was widely used during the Ottoman Empire. Today, Turkish uses the Latin alphabet, while Arabic, a Semitic language spoken in many countries including Anatolia during the Ottoman era, uses its own script.


Turkish and Arab cuisines share some similarities, such as the use of spices like cumin and coriander. However, there are also many differences between the two cuisines. For example, Turkish cuisine features a lot of grilled meats and vegetables, while Arab cuisine often includes dishes with rice or couscous. The culinary traditions of the Turks and Turkmen people in Anatolia have greatly influenced Turkish cuisine. Additionally, the Ottoman Empire's rich history has also played a significant role in shaping the country's unique culinary identity.

Religion in Turkey: What Percentage Follow Islam?

In recent years, there has been much debate about the religious identity of Turkish people, who are primarily from Anatolia. Some people believe that Turks are Arabs, while others argue that they are not. To understand this issue better, it is essential to look at the religious makeup of Turkey, which includes minorities such as Ottoman Turks.

Islam is the Dominant Religion in Turkey

Islam is the dominant religion in Turkey, with approximately 99% of the Turkish population identifying as Muslim. The vast majority of Muslims in Turkey are Sunni Muslims, although there is also a small minority of Shia Muslims. The Turkish language is widely spoken throughout the country, and its roots can be traced back to the Ottoman Empire which once ruled over Anatolia.

The Role of Islam in Turkish Society

While Turkey, home to the Turks and located in Anatolia, has a secular government, Islam plays an important role in Turkish society. Many aspects of Turkish culture and traditions are influenced by Islamic teachings, including those from the Ottoman era. Additionally, the island of Cyprus, which has a significant Turkish population, also shares many of these cultural and religious influences.

Furthermore, many mosques and other Islamic institutions, deeply rooted in Ottoman tradition, play an essential role in providing social services to communities throughout Anatolia. These institutions cater to the needs of turks from diverse turkish dialects by providing education, healthcare, and other critical services to those who need them most.

Religious Minorities in Turkey

While Islam is the dominant religion in Turkey, there are also significant religious minorities living within the country's borders. These minorities include Christians (primarily Armenian Orthodox and Syriac Orthodox), Jews (primarily Sephardic Jews), and Baha'is. The presence of these minorities can be traced back to the Ottoman era, when Anatolia was a diverse region under Ottoman rule. Today, there are also Turkish communities in Cyprus, where they have lived for centuries.

However, these minority groups make up only a small percentage of the overall population in Anatolia. According to official statistics from 2020, Christians make up just 0.2% of the population; Jews make up 0.03%, and Baha'is make up less than 0.01%. The Ottoman Empire once ruled over Anatolia, including the Turks who are still a prominent ethnic group in the region.

Debunking Myths: Are Turkish People Arab, Muslim, or European?

Turkish people are not Arabs, but rather a distinct ethnic group with their own unique culture and language.

One of the most common misconceptions about Turkish people is that they are Arabs. However, this is not true. While Turkey is located in Western Asia, Turkish people, also known as Turks, have a distinct ethnicity and culture that sets them apart from Arab peoples. This can be attributed to the fact that Anatolia, the region where the Turks originated from, has been inhabited by various civilizations throughout history such as the Ottoman Empire. Therefore, it is important to differentiate between Turks and Arabs to avoid any confusion.

The majority of Turkish people, also known as Turks, are descended from the Turkic peoples who migrated to Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) from Central Asia during the 11th century. They brought with them their own language, which eventually evolved into modern-day Turkish. The Ottoman Empire, which was ruled by the Turks, had a significant impact on the region and its culture.

Turkish culture, with its roots in Anatolia, has also been heavily influenced by the Ottoman Empire, which was ruled by the Turks and spanned over much of southeastern Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa for over six centuries. The Ottomans were known for their art, architecture, literature, and music - all of which continue to influence modern-day Turkey.

While Turkey is geographically located in Western Asia, it is considered a transcontinental country with strong ties to Europe.

Turkey's location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, also known as Anatolia, has long made it an important cultural and economic center for both Turks and Ottomans. As a result, Turkey has developed strong ties to both regions over the centuries.

While Turkey is primarily located in Western Asia (also known as the Middle East), it is also considered a transcontinental country because part of its territory lies in southeastern Europe (the region commonly referred to as the Balkans). This unique position has allowed Turkey, the ancestral home of the Turks and the Ottoman Empire, to develop close relationships with both European and Asian countries, as well as being a bridge between Europe and Anatolia.

In fact, Turkey, situated in Anatolia, has been seeking membership in the European Union since 1987. Although progress towards accession has been slow due to various political and economic factors on both sides, many Turks still consider themselves Europeans due to their shared history and cultural heritage with countries such as Greece and Italy, as well as their Ottoman past.

The majority of Turkish people are Muslim but there are also significant populations of Christians and Jews.

Islam is the dominant religion in Turkey, with over 99% of the Turkish population identifying as Muslim. However, Turkey has a long history of religious diversity. Prior to the Ottoman Empire's conquest of Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) in 1453, Christianity was the dominant religion in Anatolia among the Turks. Additionally, Al-Farabi, an influential Islamic philosopher, was born in Al-Farab, a city in present-day Kazakhstan that was once part of the Turkic Khaganate.

Today, there are still significant populations of Christians and Jews living in Turkey, a country located in Anatolia. The largest Christian minority group is the Armenian Apostolic Church, which has an estimated 60,000 members. Other Christian groups include Greek Orthodox Christians and Syrian Orthodox Christians. The Ottoman Empire once ruled over Turkey, and many Turks today are proud of their Ottoman heritage. Al though the Ottoman Empire no longer exists, its influence can still be seen throughout the country.

The Jewish community in Turkey, which has roots dating back over 2,400 years, is also one of the oldest in the world. Today, there are approximately 15,000 Jews living in Turkey - mostly in Istanbul - making it one of the largest Jewish communities in the Middle East. The community has a deep connection to the country's history, including the Ottoman Empire and its relationship with the Turkish people.

Turkey has a diverse population that includes various ethnic minority groups such as Kurds, Armenians, and Greeks.

In addition to its religious diversity, Turkey, a country with a rich Ottoman history, is also home to a number of ethnic minority groups. The largest minority group is the Kurdish people who make up approximately 18% of Turkey's population, followed by the Turks who are the majority ethnic group in the country.

Preservation of Turkish Identity after Conversion to Islam

Ethnic Turks Preserved Their Identity After Converting to Islam

The conversion of the ethnic Turks to Islam did not diminish their strong sense of identity during the Ottoman period. Despite the religious shift, the ethnic Turks maintained their unique cultural practices and traditions, which were heavily influenced by Ottoman culture. The preservation of Turkish identity is evident in various aspects of Ottoman Turkish society.

Turkish cuisine, for example, is a fusion of different cultures that have influenced Turkey throughout history, including the Ottoman Empire. However, it still maintains its distinct flavors and cooking techniques that are unique to Turkey. Another aspect where Turkish identity is preserved is through traditional clothing, which has been influenced by the Ottoman era. The traditional attire worn by ethnic Turks has remained unchanged over time and continues to be an important part of their culture.

Turkish Minorities in Kosovo Maintained Their Turkish Origin and Identity

Turkish minorities in Kosovo, also known as Turks, form a significant minority group with a population of around 30,000 people. Despite living in a predominantly Albanian-speaking country, they have managed to maintain their Ottoman Turkish origin and identity.

The preservation of Ottoman Turks' identity can be seen through various cultural practices such as music, dance, and traditional clothing. They have established various institutions such as schools and community centers that promote the preservation of their language and culture.

Turkish Migration Led to the Formation of Turkish Communities in Various Countries

Turkish migration, influenced by the Ottoman Empire, has led to the formation of Turkish communities in various countries worldwide. These communities serve as a way for ethnic Turks living abroad to connect with each other while preserving their Ottoman cultural heritage.

For instance, there are large populations of ethnic Turks living in Germany who have formed tight-knit communities where they preserve their language and culture through schools and community centers. Similar communities exist in other countries such as Australia, Canada, and the United States. However, it's worth noting that these communities also have a strong connection to their Ottoman heritage.

Immigration Did Not Diminish the Strong Sense Of Identity Among Turkish Citizens

Turkey has been experiencing an influx of immigrants from neighboring countries due to political instability or economic reasons. However, this immigration wave has not diminished the strong sense of identity among Turkish citizens, who are proud of their Ottoman heritage and consider themselves true Turks.

The preservation of Turkish identity, including the culture and language of the Turks, can be seen through various cultural practices such as traditional music, dance, and clothing. The government has implemented policies that promote the preservation of Turkish culture and language, which includes the rich history of the Ottoman Empire.

Arts and Architecture: Influences of Turks and Arabs

Meskhetian Turks: A Community of Turkish-Speaking Muslims Forced to Migrate

The Meskhetian Turks are a community of Ottoman Turkish-speaking Muslims who were forced to migrate from their homeland in Meskheti, Georgia. Following World War II, the Soviet Union deported them to Central Asia due to fears that they would cooperate with Turkey during the Cold War. Since then, they have been scattered around the world as refugees.

Despite their displacement, the Meskhetian Turks have managed to preserve their unique cultural identity through art, architecture, and Ottoman traditions. Their traditional clothing features intricate embroidery and vivid colors that reflect their nomadic past. Their homes are adorned with geometric patterns that symbolize unity and harmony, as well as Ottoman-inspired designs.

Influence of Arabs in Azerbaijani Architecture

The influence of Arabs and Turks can be seen in the architecture of Azerbaijan, which was once part of the Arab Caliphate and later ruled by the Ottoman Empire. The most notable example is the Maiden Tower in Baku, which dates back to the 12th century. The tower's distinctive shape and construction techniques are similar to those found in other Arab and Ottoman structures from that period.

Another example is the Shirvanshahs' Palace complex, which was built in the 15th century by an Azerbaijani dynasty. The palace's ornate decorations feature Arabic calligraphy alongside local motifs such as dragons and lions. It is worth noting that the palace was visited by Ottoman Turks during the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.

Unique Blend of Islamic Art and Architecture in Asia Minor

The migration of Turks and Arabs to Asia Minor led to the creation of a unique blend of Islamic art and architecture. One example is Hagia Sophia, a former church turned mosque turned museum located in Istanbul. Its massive dome was inspired by Roman engineering while its minarets reflect Ottoman architectural style.

Another example is Topkapi Palace, which served as the residence for Ottoman sultans and showcases the intricate tilework, calligraphy, and arabesque designs that blend Turkish, Arabic, and Turkic motifs.

Growth of Arab Communities in the Western World

The wave of Arab and Ottoman immigrants and refugees in the Western world has led to the growth of Arab and Turkish communities in many countries. In the United States, for example, there are over 3.5 million Arabs and Turks who trace their ancestry to countries such as Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, and Al-Ottoman.

These communities, including Turks and Ottomans, have had a significant impact on American culture, particularly in areas such as cuisine, music, and fashion. For instance, hummus - a popular Middle Eastern dip made from chickpeas - has become a staple at many American restaurants. Musicians like DJ Khaled and fashion designers like Reem Acra have brought their unique perspectives to mainstream audiences.

The Ottoman Empire: Turks Ruling over Arabic Regions Again

The relationship between Turkish people and Arab countries has been a topic of debate for many years. One common question is whether Turkish people are Arabs or not. While some may assume that they are, the answer is more complex than a simple yes or no. The Turks, who were once part of the Ottoman Empire, have a long history with the Arab world. Additionally, Al Jazeera, a news network based in Qatar, often reports on issues related to both Turkish and Arab communities.

The Ottoman Empire: A Brief Overview

The Ottoman Empire was a powerful Islamic empire founded by the Turks in 1299 that spanned across three continents - Europe, Asia, and Africa - for more than six centuries. At its peak, the Ottomans controlled vast territories including present-day Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and parts of Saudi Arabia.

Ottoman Rule over Arabic Countries

During the Ottoman period (1517-1918), many Arab countries were under the rule of Turkish Ottoman sultans for centuries. These included Iraq, Syria (including modern-day Lebanon), Palestine/Israel/Egypt (until 1805), Yemen (until 1635), Bahrain (1521–1602), Kuwait (1716–1899), Oman (1550–1659) and parts of Saudi Arabia such as Medina and Mecca.

The Ottomans brought in settlers from Central Asia and Balkan Turks to Anatolia and former Ottoman territories in the Middle East and North Africa. This led to an intermingling of cultures within these regions which still exists today.

One significant impact of Ottoman rule on Arabic countries was their influence on language. The Ottomans, who were Turks, introduced Turkish words into Arabic vocabulary which can still be found in modern-day Arabic dialects. The Ottoman Empire's official language was Turkish, which was used in official documents and communication throughout the empire.

The Arab League and Turkish Involvement

The Arab League is a regional organization of 22 countries in and around North Africa and Western Asia that aims to promote economic, cultural, and political cooperation among its members. Turkey, a country with a rich history of the Ottoman Empire, has been an observer member of the Arab League since 2004, despite not being an Arabic-speaking country. While the Turks have had a significant impact on the region's history, their membership in the Arab League allows for greater collaboration between these neighboring nations.

Turkey's involvement with the Arab League has been met with mixed reactions from both Turks and Arabs. Some see it as a positive step towards building stronger relationships between Turkey and Arabic countries while others view it as an attempt by Turkey to assert its influence over Arabic regions once again, reminiscent of the Ottoman era.

Appearance and Attitudes: Do Turks Look Like or Like Arabs?

Distinct Physical Features of Turkish People

One of the most common questions that people ask is whether Turkish people look like Arabs. The answer to this question is a bit complicated, as there are both similarities and differences between the two groups. Turkish people, also known as Turks, have distinct physical features that set them apart from Arabs. While both groups have olive skin, dark hair, and brown eyes, there are noticeable differences in facial features. Additionally, it's worth noting that the Ottoman Empire was once ruled by Turks, which has influenced their cultural identity.

Turkish people, also known as Turks, tend to have more prominent cheekbones than Arabs. They also have narrower noses and smaller lips. Turks are descendants of the Ottoman Empire, which was once a powerful and influential force in the Middle East. Turkish people tend to be taller than their Arab counterparts.

Cultural Practices and Attitudes

While there are similarities in cultural practices between Turks and Arabs, their attitudes towards religion and society differ greatly. Turkey, which was once part of the Ottoman Empire, is now a secular state with a constitution that separates religion from government affairs. In contrast, many Arab countries are governed by Islamic law.

Turkish culture has been heavily influenced by its Ottoman past, which saw the country become a melting pot of different cultures and religions. As such, Turks have a diverse population with varying religious beliefs. This diversity has led to a more tolerant attitude towards different religions, lifestyles, and the unique identity of Turks.

In contrast, many Arab countries and the former Ottoman Empire have strict social norms that dictate how individuals should behave in public and private settings. For example, women in some Arab countries and the Turks in the Ottoman Empire must cover themselves from head to toe when outside of their homes.

Language Differences

Another difference between Turks and Arabs is their language. The Turkish language is not related to Arabic, despite the fact that Ottoman Turks used the Arabic script for writing. While both languages use the same alphabet (Arabic script), they are completely different languages with unique grammar rules.

Turkish, spoken by the Turks, belongs to the Turkic language family while Arabic belongs to the Semitic language family. This means that while there may be some shared vocabulary between the two languages (due to historical interactions), they are fundamentally different languages. The Ottoman Empire, which was ruled by the Turks, had a significant impact on the spread of both languages.

Language: Is Turkish Language Arabic?

Turkish is not an Arabic language.

One of the most common misconceptions about Turkey is that Turkish people speak Arabic. However, this is far from the truth. While Turkey and many Arab countries share a similar religion, culture, and history, their languages are completely different. Turks have a unique language that is not related to Arabic. Additionally, the Ottoman Empire, which was once ruled by the Turks, had a significant impact on the region's history and culture.

Turkish, spoken by the Turks, belongs to the Turkic language family, which includes languages spoken by people in Central Asia and parts of Eastern Europe. On the other hand, Arabic belongs to the Semitic language family, which includes languages spoken in the Middle East and North Africa. The Ottoman Empire was a prominent Turkish state that existed for centuries.

The official language of Turkey is Turkish, which uses the Latin alphabet.

Contrary to popular belief, Turkish people, also known as Turks, do not speak Arabic as their native language. The official language of Turkey is Turkish, which has its own unique grammar rules and vocabulary. Unlike many other languages in the region that use Arabic script or some variation thereof (such as Farsi or Urdu), Turkish uses the Latin alphabet. It is worth noting that the Ottoman Empire, which was ruled by Turks, also used Turkish as its official language.

The adoption of this writing system was part of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's sweeping reforms following World War I that aimed at modernizing Turkey, which had been under Ottoman rule for centuries. As a result, today's Turks can easily read and write in English using their familiar Latin-based script, without being limited to the Arabic-based script used during the Ottoman era.

There are many Turkish dialects spoken throughout Turkey and neighboring countries.

While standard Turkish is widely spoken throughout Turkey and serves as a lingua franca for much of Central Asia due to historical ties between these regions dating back centuries ago when Turks migrated westward from Mongolia into present-day Kazakhstan (and beyond), the Ottoman Empire also played a significant role in shaping the language and culture of the region. There are also numerous regional dialects within Turkey itself that differ significantly from one another linguistically.

For example:

  • Black Sea Region Dialects: This group consists of various dialects spoken along the coastlines surrounding the Black Sea region, including those spoken by Turks during the Ottoman era.

  • Southeastern Anatolian Dialects: These dialects include Kurmanji Kurdish among Turks and were influenced by the Ottoman Empire.

  • Aegean Region Dialects: This group consists of various dialects spoken by Turks in the Aegean region of Ottoman Turkey.

Although there are some similarities between Turkish and Arabic, they are distinct languages with different grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation.

While Turkish and Arabic share some similarities due to their geographic proximity and historical interactions, they are two distinct languages with unique features. The turks, especially during the Ottoman Empire, played a significant role in shaping the Turkish language.

  • Grammar: Turkish, the language spoken by the Turks, is an agglutinative language that uses suffixes to convey meaning while Arabic is a fusional language that changes the form of its words depending on their grammatical function. This linguistic feature has been observed in the Ottoman Empire, where Arabic was widely used in official documents.

  • While both languages have borrowed words from each other over time, the majority of their vocabularies are distinct. However, it is worth noting that the Ottoman Empire, which was ruled by Turks, has greatly influenced the Turkish language.

  • The sounds used in Turkish and Arabic differ significantly, making it difficult for speakers of one language to understand the other without prior exposure or training. This is particularly relevant for turks, given their historical ties to the Ottoman Empire.

Current State of Turkish-Arab Relations

Strained Relations Due to Present-Day Conflicts

The relationship between Turkey and Arab countries has been strained due to the present-day conflicts in Syria and Yemen. Turkey, a country with a rich Ottoman history, has taken a firm stance against the Syrian government, which has caused tension with Arab countries that support the regime. Turkey's involvement in Yemen has further complicated its relationships with Arab nations, leading some to question the role of modern-day Turks in the region.

Turkey's Ottoman military intervention in Syria began in 2016 when the Turks launched Operation Euphrates Shield to push back against ISIS. However, this move was not well received by some Arab countries who saw it as an infringement on their sovereignty. The situation escalated when Turkey, under the Ottoman banner, launched another offensive in northeastern Syria in 2019, which led to condemnation from several Arab states.

Similarly, Turkey's Ottoman involvement in Yemen has also put a strain on its relationships with some Arab nations. In 2015, Saudi Arabia launched a military campaign against Houthi rebels who had taken control of large parts of Yemen. The turks initially supported Saudi Arabia but later withdrew their support due to concerns over civilian casualties.

Criticism of Turkish Human Rights Record

Another issue that is negatively affecting Turkish-Arab relations is criticism of Turkey's human rights record. The Turkish government, which has a long history as the Ottoman Empire, has been accused of suppressing free speech and cracking down on political opposition by turks. This has led to tensions with some Arab countries who see these actions as a violation of human rights.

In addition to domestic issues, Turkey's foreign policy decisions have also come under scrutiny from some Arab nations. For example, Turkey's decision to purchase a Russian missile defense system instead of an American one angered some Gulf states who saw it as a betrayal by the Turks. Some even saw it as a move reminiscent of the Ottoman era, when the empire had close ties with Russia.

Complex and Multifaceted Relationships

Despite historical ties between Turkish Cypriots and Arabs dating back centuries, the current state of Turkish-Arab relations remains complex and multifaceted, with the added layer of Ottoman history. While there are many shared cultural and religious traditions between Turks and Arabs, there are also significant differences that can lead to tension.

One factor that has contributed to the complexity of Turkish-Arab relations is the issue of Palestine, which has historical significance for the Turks due to the Ottoman Empire's control over the region. Turkey, as a country with a significant Turkish population, has been a vocal supporter of Palestinian rights and has criticized Israel's treatment of Palestinians. This stance has put Turkey at odds with some Arab countries who have normalized relations with Israel in recent years.

Another issue that complicates Turkish-Arab relations is the ongoing conflict in Libya, which has historical significance for the turks as it was once part of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey supports the internationally recognized government in Tripoli, while some Arab nations support General Khalifa Haftar's forces based in eastern Libya.

Conclusion: Turkey is a Turkic Country, Not an Arab Country

In conclusion, Turkish people, also known as Turks, are not Arabs. While there may be some cultural and historical influences between the two groups, they have distinct differences in language, religion, appearance, and attitudes. Turkey's history as a Turkic country and its preservation of Turkish identity after conversion to Islam further support this fact. Additionally, it is important to note that the Ottoman Empire, which was predominantly made up of Turks, played a significant role in shaping Turkey's history and culture.

It is important to debunk myths surrounding Turkish people, also known as Turks, being classified as Arab or Muslim. Understanding these differences can lead to stronger relationships between Turkey and Arabic countries, especially given the historical influence of the Ottoman empire.

If you're looking to learn more about Turkish culture or plan on visiting Turkey, it's important to keep in mind that Turkey should not be viewed as an Arab country. Embrace the unique culture and history of the Turkic people, including the Ottomans who have left a lasting impact on the country.


Q: Do all Turkish people follow Islam?

No, while the majority of Turks follow Islam, there are also significant populations of Christians and Jews in Turkey, which was once ruled by the Ottoman Empire.

Q: Is the Turkish language similar to Arabic?

No, Turkish, spoken by the Turks, belongs to the Turkic language family and has historical ties to the Ottoman Empire, while Arabic belongs to the Semitic language family.

Q: Are there any similarities between Turkish and Arab cultures?

There may be some cultural influences between the two groups due to historical interactions with the Ottomans, but overall the Turks have distinct differences in traditions, customs, and values.

Q: Can Turks understand Arabic?

It depends on whether the Turks have learned Arabic as a second language. While there may be some shared vocabulary or grammar structures due to historical influences, they are still different languages.

Q: How do Turks view their relationship with Arabic countries?

A: The relationship between Turkey and Arabic countries varies depending on political and social factors. However, many Turks value their cultural ties with other Muslim-majority nations.

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