The Ottoman Empire was an extremely large and important state in the social, economic and cultural spheres. For this reason, it has been home to people of many different nationalities, cultures and beliefs. Long ago, many people from African countries such as Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Sudan, Nigeria and Kenya, for various reasons, came to the lands we live in today. However, unlike other people, their journey from Africa to Anatolia was no longer an ordinary journey, but turned into a beautiful story.

Turks of African descent, called Afro-Turks, have been living in Anatolia for many years. Moreover, other than the color of their skin, they have no indication that their history began in Africa. Because their names, food, conversations, culture and even dialects, in short, belong entirely to this land. Here’s what you need to know about the Afro-Turks who play a leading role in this beautiful story stretching from Africa to Anatolia…

Afro-Turks are the descendants of people who came to the Ottoman lands a long time ago from African countries.

The ancestors of some were brought to Anatolia long ago as slaves, and the ancestors of some came to Anatolia as soldiers. Some of these people, who came from Africa, worked as agricultural workers in different parts of Anatolia, and some were engaged in agriculture.

Whatever they did, these people who left the Black Continent and came to Anatolia, established a new life here and made Anatolia their home … Here are the citizens belonging to a minority called Afro-Turks, today they are the descendants of these people.

The exact number of Afro-Turks in Turkey is unknown.

It is alleged that the number of Afro-Turks in Turkey ranges from 5 to 100 thousand people. However, there has not been a comprehensive study of how many Turkish citizens of African descent live in Anatolian lands. Therefore, their exact number is unknown.

Afro-Turks mainly live in the cities of the Aegean region such as Izmir and Aydın.


Turkish citizens of African descent are known to reside in cities such as Antalya and Mersin. However, it would not be wrong to say that Afro-Turks were born and raised by Aegeans. Especially the Afro-Turks living in the countryside in Izmir and Aydın identify themselves as Aegean.

Although their skin color is different, their life is no different from that of any family in the Aegean.


Their names, cultures, cuisines and even dialects belong to the Aegean region. For example, Hassan Biberchi, a member of the Afro-Turkish minority, said in an interview. We are the Enlightened Ones, I am even more Enlightened than the Enlightened One. We are in the Aegean. Now this is my land.” he uses.

Hassan Biberdzhi’s wife, Ulviye Biberdzhi, expresses her belonging to these lands. “We celebrate our national holidays with great enthusiasm. We love the National Anthem, the Turkish flag and our Ataturk. We live the way our mother and grandfather saw. Even our cuisine is Aegean cuisine.he expresses. On the other hand, Biberchi states that he is very sad because of discrimination in countries like America, but this is not the case in Turkey:

“We do not welcome what happened. These things never happen here. Things like “No, you’re from that race, no, I’m from that race” will never happen. Those who love get married, those who don’t love don’t get married. My son and daughter also married a white man. That’s what’s important. It is to be able to do it. God created all of us. No one has superiority over anyone. There is no black and white, people are people. Religion and language may be different for everyone. Everyone is fighting for where they live, we are also fighting for Turkey.”

Although Afro-Turks have lived in these lands for a long time, they are often confused with refugees, especially in large cities.


Afro-Turks, who are little known outside of their rural areas of the Aegean, sometimes face problems with this situation. Especially in big cities, many people do not know that they have been Turkish citizens for many years. For this reason, many people, encountering Afro-Turks in large cities, confuse them with refugees arriving in our country from Africa. These people, who add color to the Aegean culture, live happily and peacefully.

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