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Turks in France

Turks in France
Template:Image array
Total population
800,000 (2014 estimate)[1][2]
Regions with significant populations
Predominantly Sunni Islam, others

Turks in France or French Turks (French: Turcs de France; Turkish: Fransa Türkleri) refers to the Turkish people who live in France. After Germany, France is the main destination country for Turks who emigrate.[3]


Early Ottoman migration

The first Turks settled in France during the 16th and 17th century as galley slaves and merchants from the Ottoman Empire;[4][5] the historian Ina Baghdiantz McCabe has described Marseille as a "Turkish town" during this time.[6] In Jean Marteilhe's autobiography, he stated that "…the Turks of Asia and Europe...of whom there are a great many in the galley of France, who have been made slaves by the Imperialists, and sold to the French to man their galleys… are generally well-made, fair in feature, wise in their conduct, zealous in the observance of their religion, honourable and charitable in the highest degree. I have seen them give away all the money they possessed to buy a bird in a cage that they might have the pleasure of giving it its liberty".[7]

Modern Turkish migration

France signed a bilateral labour recruitment agreement with Turkey on 8 May 1965[8] because the number of entrants from other countries such as Italy, Spain and Portugal was not sufficient.[9] However, in practice, France started to recruit Turkish labourers in the 1970s, until a decision was made to halt the recruitment on 3 July 1974.[9] By 1975 there were 55,710 Turkish workers living in France,[9] and by 1990 it had almost quadrupled to 198,000.[10] The majority of Turkish immigrants came from rural areas of Turkey, especially from central Anatolia.[11]


File:Eiffel Tower Wearing Turkey Colors.jpg
The Eiffel Tower in Paris wearing the colours of the Turkish flag during the "Saison de la Turquie en France".

The majority of Turks are mainly concentrated in eastern France.[12] There is a strong Turkish presence in Île-de-France (especially in Paris), Nord-Pas-de-Calais (mainly in the cities of Calais, Lille, and Roubaix), Rhône-Alpes (especially in Lyon), Alsace (mainly in Strasbourg) and Lorraine.[13][14] There is also a large community in Marseille.[15]

The 10th arrondissement of Paris is steeped with Turkish culture and is often called "La Petite Turquie" (Little Turkey).[16] Bischwiller, in Alsace, is often dubbed "Turkwiller" due to its large Turkish community.[17]


Official censuses

According to the French census there was 8,000 Turks living in France in 1968, this had increased to 51,000 in 1975, 123,000 in 1982, 198,000 in 1990, and 208,000 in 1999.[18][13] The French censuses only collect data based on the country of birth, therefore, these figures only identify the number of Turkish immigrants from Turkey and does not include the children of immigrants born in France who are recorded as "French" rather than "Turkish".[19] Furthermore, the Turkish population would be greater if naturalised citizens and illegal emigrants were also taken into account.[20] Turkish communities who have emigrated to France from other countries, such as Algeria (Turco-Algerians), Bulgaria (Bulgarian Turks), Cyprus (Turkish Cypriots) and Tunisia (Turco-Tunisians), are recorded according to their country of origin rather than their Turkish ethnicity.

Estimated population

In the early 2000s academics placed the Turkish population at approximately 500,000.[14][21][22] Since the 2010s, immigration flows from Turkey have been increasing faster than flows from Algeria and Morocco.[11] The Turkish population increases by approximately 20,000 each year, although in 2013 it increased a further 35,000.[2] In 2014 the L'Express estimated that there was 800,000 Turks living in France.[1] The "Fransa Diyanet İşleri Türk İslam Birliği" suggests that the actual Turkish population in France is about 1 million, including descendents.[23] The Armenian Weekly has also stated that "there are also about a million French people of Turkish origin".[24]

Birth rates

Although the birth rates among Turks living in France has declined over the years they remain substantially higher than the French population. In 1982, the average number of children for Turks was 5.2, compared with 1.8 for the French population. By 1990, the average number of births for Turks was 3.7 compared to 1.7 for the French population.[25]



In 2000, Akıncı and Jisa found that Turkish is spoken exclusively at home by 77% of families, while 68% of children speak French to one another.[26] Turkish children are monolingual in the Turkish language until they start school at the age of 2 or 3; thus, they find themselves in everyday situations in which they have to speak French with their peers.[27] By the age of 10, most children become dominant in the French language.[28] Nonetheless, even for those who use French more than Turkish in their daily lives, numerous studies have shown that they still emphasize the importance of Turkish as the language of the family, particularly for raising children.[29] Thus, there is a high degree of language maintenance in the Turkish community; frequent holidays to Turkey, the easy access and use of Turkish media, and the density of social networks help maintain their language.[30]


The majority of Turks adhere to Islam and focus on creating their own mosques and schools, most of which are tightly linked to Turkey. Thus, Turks worship their religion mainly with others within their community.[31] Due to Turkish immigrants having a strong link to the Turkish state and much less knowledge of the French language, compared to other Muslim immigrants who have emigrated from French-speaking countries, Turks tend to build mosques where sermons are given in Turkish rather than French or Arabic.[32]

The Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DİTİB), which is a branch of the Turkish state Bureau of Religious Affairs (the Diyanet),[32] promotes a "Turkish Islam" which is based upon a moderate, rational Islam of a secular state.[33] The Diyanet has organic links to the "Coordination Committee of Muslim Turks in France", or CCMTF, (French: Comité de coordination des musulmans turcs de France)[34] which brings under its umbrella a total of 210 mosques.[35] Its major competing network of mosques is run by the Millî Görüş movement (French: Communauté Islamique du Milli Görüş de France) which emphasizes the importance of solidarity of the community over integration into French society.[32] The Millî Görüş has an estimated 70 mosques in France.[32][35]


A Turkish kebab shop in Paris

The Turkish community is considered to be the least integrated immigrant community in France,[13] largely due to their strong attachment to their country of origin.[36] However, there is increasing recognition by Turkish officials that without successful integration the immigrant community cannot lobby for the home country.[36] For example, in 2010, the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stressed that assimilation is different from integration and urged the Turkish community in France to integrate by applying for French citizenship.[37]


Naturalisation of Turkish citizens[38]


Discrimination against Turks in French society is seen particularly within the labour market when they are looking for jobs. Given a choice between a Turkish and a French with the same qualifications, French employers tend not to choose the immigrant applicant.[39][40]

Organisations and associations

  • Comité de coordination des musulmans turcs de France, the coordination committee for Turkish Muslims in France is linked to Turkey.[41]
  • "Fransa Türk Federasyonu", the French Turks Federation.[42]
  • "Migrations et cultures de Turquie" (ELELE), promote knowledge of Turkish immigration and helps to assist the integration of Turkish migrants into French society.[43]
  • "Le Groupement des Entrepreneurs Franco-Turcs" (FATIAD), the leading business association created by Turks living in France.[44]
  • Réseau Pro'Actif, A professional network created by second and third generations of Turks in France. It gathers graduates of the country's leading universities.

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ a b L'Express. "Face à l'islam de France, du déni à la paralysie". Retrieved 2014-12-21. 
  2. ^ a b Zaman France. "La communauté turque compte 611.515 personnes en France". Retrieved 2014-12-21. 
  3. ^ LeSaout & Kadri 2002, 86.
  4. ^ Morrison & Gardiner 1995, 190.
  5. ^ Takeda 2011, 98.
  6. ^ McCabe 2008, 18.
  7. ^ Marteilhe 1867, 146.
  8. ^ Akgündüz 2002, 61.
  9. ^ a b c Akgündüz 2002, 101.
  10. ^ Al-Shahi & Lawless 2005, 13.
  11. ^ a b Milewski & Hamel 2010, 618.
  12. ^ LeSaout & Kadri 2002, 87.
  13. ^ a b c Hargreaves 2007, 73.
  14. ^ a b Nielsen, Akgonul & Alibasic 2009, 129.
  15. ^ Bowen 2008, 147.
  16. ^ Le Petit Journal. ""LA PETITE TURQUIE" - Balade dans le quartier turc de Paris". Retrieved 2014-12-14. 
  17. ^ Le Point. "Alsace le ghetto turc". Retrieved 2014-12-14. 
  18. ^ Rollan & Sourou 2006, 38.
  19. ^ Milewski & Hamel 2010, 631.
  20. ^ Fadlouallah 1994, 32.
  21. ^ Hunter 2002, 6.
  22. ^ Grand National Assembly of Turkey (2009). "İnsan Haklarını İnceleme Komisyonu:Fransa Raporu" (PDF). Grand National Assembly of Turkey. p. 3. 
  23. ^ Fransa Diyanet İşleri Türk İslam Birliği. "2011 YILI DİTİB KADIN KOLLARI GENEL TOPLANTISI PARİS DİTİB’DE YAPILDI". Retrieved 2012-02-15. 
  24. ^ Armenian Weekly. "An Interview with Garo Yalic, Advisor to Valerie Boyer". Retrieved 2012-02-15. 
  25. ^ Al-Shahi & Lawless 2005, 27.
  26. ^ Akıncı & Jisa 2000, 318.
  27. ^ Crul 2011, 275.
  28. ^ Akıncı, Jisa & Kern 2001, 190.
  29. ^ Backus 2008, 695.
  30. ^ Backus 2008, 694.
  31. ^ Bowen 2009, 11.
  32. ^ a b c d Bowen 2009, 60.
  33. ^ Çitak 2010, 625.
  34. ^ Çitak 2010, 620.
  35. ^ a b Çitak 2010, 626.
  36. ^ a b Çitak 2010, 627.
  37. ^ Today's Zaman. "Erdoğan urges Turks in France to integrate, not assimilate". Retrieved 2011-05-31. 
  38. ^ Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 2008, 358.
  39. ^ Crul 2007, 220.
  40. ^ Peignard 2006, 8.
  41. ^ Ministère des affaires étrangères et européennes. "The Muslim faith in France" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  42. ^ Fransa Türk Federasyonu. "Ana Sayfa". Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  43. ^ GEMMA. "GENDER & MIGRATION in FRANCE: "a brief overview"" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  44. ^ Groupement des Entrepreneurs Franco-Turcs. "Accueil". Retrieved 2011-05-26. 


  • Akgönül, Samim (2009), "Turks of France: Religion, Identity and Europeanness", in Küçükcan, Talip; Güngör, Veyis (eds.), Turks in Europe: Culture, Identity, Integration (PDF), Turkevi Research Centre, ISBN 90-77814-13-2 .
  • Akgündüz, Ahmet (2008), Labour migration from Turkey to Western Europe, 1960–1974: A multidisciplinary analysis, Ashgate Publishing, ISBN 0-7546-7390-1 
  • Akıncı, Mehmet-Ali; Jisa, Harriet (2000), "Development of Turkish clause linkage in the narrative texts of Turkish-French bilingual children in France", in Göksel, Aslı; Kerslake, Celia (eds.), Studies on Turkish and Turkic languages, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 3-447-04293-1 
  • Akıncı, Mehmet-Ali; Jisa, Harriet; Kern, Sophie (2001), "Influence of L1 Turkish on L2 French narratives", in Strömqvist, Sven (ed), Narrative development in a multilingual context, John Benjamins Publishing, ISBN 90-272-4134-1 
  • Al-Shahi, Ahmed; Lawless, Richard I. (2005), Middle East and North African immigrants in Europe, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-34830-7 
  • Backus, Ad (2008), "Turkish as an Immigrant Language in Europe", in Bhatia, Tej K.(ed), The Handbook of Bilingualism, Wiley-Blackwell, ISBN 0-631-22735-0 .
  • Bowen, John Richard (2008), Why the French Don't Like Headscarves: Islam, the State, and Public Space, Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-13839-7 
  • Bowen, John Richard (2009), Can Islam be French?: pluralism and pragmatism in a secularist state, Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-13283-6 
  • Çitak, Zana (2010), "Between 'Turkish Islam' and 'French Islam': The Role of the Diyanet in the Conseil Français du Culte Musulman", Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (Routledge) 36 (4): 619–634, doi:10.1080/13691830903421797 
  • Crul, Maurice (2007), "The Integration of Immigrant Youth", in Suárez-Orozco, Marcelo M. (ed.), Learning in the global era: international perspectives on globalization and education, University of California Press, ISBN 0-520-25436-8 
  • Crul, Maurice (2011), "How Do Educational Systems Integrate? Integration of Second-Generation Turks in Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Austria", in Alba, Richard; Waters, Mary C. (eds.), The Next Generation: Immigrant Youth in a Comparative Perspective, NYU Press, ISBN 0-8147-0743-2 
  • Fadlouallah, Abdellatif (1994), "Migration flows from the South to western countries", in De Azevedo, Raimondo Cagiano (ed), Migration and Development Co-operation, Council of Europe, ISBN 92-871-2611-9 .
  • Hargreaves, Alec G. (2007), Multi-ethnic France: immigration, politics, culture and society, Taylor & Francis, ISBN 0-415-39782-0 
  • Hunter, Shireen (2002), Islam, Europe's second religion: the new social, cultural, and political landscape, Greenwood Publishing Group, ISBN 0-275-97609-2 
  • Kastoryano, Riva (2002), Negotiating identities: states and immigrants in France and Germany, Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-01015-3 
  • Kirszbaum, Thomas; Brinbaum, Yaël; Simon, Patrick; Gezer, Esin (2009), "The Children of Immigrants in France: The Emergence of a Second Generation" (PDF), Innocenti Working Paper 2009–13 (UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre), ISSN 1014-7837 
  • LeSaout, Didier; Kadri, Aïssa (2002), "Immigration policies and education in France", in Pitkänen, Pirkko; Kalekin-Fishman, Devorah; Verma, Gajendra K. (eds.), Education and immigration: settlement policies and current challenges, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-27821-X 
  • Marteilhe, Jean (1867), The Huguenot galley-slave: being the autobiography of a French Protestant condemned to the galleys for the sake of his religion, Leypoldt & Holt .
  • McCabe, Ina Baghdiantz (2008), Orientalism in early modern France: Eurasian trade, exoticism, and the Ancien Régime, Berg, ISBN 1-84520-374-7 
  • Milewski, Nadja; Hamel, Christelle (2010), "Union Formation and Partner Choice in a Transnational Context: The Case of Descendants of Turkish Immigrants in France", International Migration Review (Center for Migration Studies of New York) 44 (3): 615–658, doi:10.1111/j.1747-7379.2010.00820.x 
  • Morrison, John; Gardiner, Robert (1995), The Age of the Galley: Mediterranean oared vessels since pre-classical times, Conway, ISBN 0-85177-955-7 
  • Nielsen, Jørgen S.; Akgonul, Samim; Alibasic, Ahmet (2009), Yearbook of Muslims in Europe, BRILL, ISBN 90-04-17505-9 
  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2008), International Migration Outlook: SOPEMI 2008, OECD Publishing, ISBN 92-64-04565-1 
  • Peignard, Emmanuel (2006), "Immigration in France", in Lynch, Jean B.(ed.), France in Focus: Immigration Policies, Foreign Policy, and U.S. Relations, Nova Publishers, ISBN 1-59454-935-4 
  • Rollan, Françoise; Sourou, Benoît (2006), Les migrants turcs de France: entre repli et ouverture, Maison des Sciences de l'Homme d'Aquitaine, ISBN 2-85892-330-2 
  • Takeda, Junko Thérèse (2011), Between Crown and Commerce: Marseille and the Early Modern Mediterranean, JHU Press, ISBN 0-8018-9982-6 

Further reading

  • Böcker, A. (1996), “Refugee and Asylum-Seeking Migration from Turkey to Europe” Boðaziçi Journal Vol. 10, Nos. 1–2.
  • Cahiers d'Etudes sur la Mediterranée orientale et le Monde Turco-iranien (1992), special issue on Turkish immigration in Germany and France, Paris: Centre d'Etude des Relations internationales, n°13.
  • Cahiers d'Etudes sur la Mediterranée orientale et le Monde Turco-iranien (1996), special issue on Turkish migrant women in Europe, Paris: Centre d'Etude des Relations internationales, n°21.
  • Les Annales de l'Autre Islam (1995), special issue on Turkish diaspora in the World, Paris: Institut national des Langues et des Civilisations orientales, n°3.

External links