Why so many Turks in Algeria and Tunisia?

WeisSaul

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,836
New Amsterdam
A great many Turks (as in Anatolian Turks) moved to Algeria. According to one 1953 study* as many as 25% of the populations of Tunisia and Algeria were of Turkish descent in that year. This is compared to just 1.33% in Libya today.

Why did so many Turks go to far off Algeria and Tunisia?
Why did so few go to Libya where they could have easily formed the majority?
Why didn't they go to more adjacent regions like Syria, Mesopotamia, or Thrace in larger numbers than they did historically?

*Source provided by Wikipedia. No I don't read Turkish but I thought it best to provide some kind of source.

Edit:
According to Wikipedia there are:
600,000 to 3,300,000 Turks in Algeria today, but could even make up to 25% of the population
500,000 to 3,000,000 Turks in Iraq today
750,000 to 1,500,000 Turks in Syria today
588,000 to 800,000 Turks in Bulgaria today
Also it states that Turks could make up to 25% of the population of Tunisia today.

While this does indicate a lot of settlement nearby but outside Anatolia, you still have this huge number that went off to far-away Algeria and Tunisia instead of just going to nearby regions instead. Why is this?

Also this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_people#North_Africa
 
Last edited:
Mar 2012
1,211
Magdeburg
Because Turkish construction companies are like oligopolies there thus having a lot of Turkish workers
 

Afrasiyab

Ad Honorem
Sep 2007
6,378
During the Ottoman Empire, a lot of Turkish soldiers and sailors married Algerian and Tunisian women, hence the descendants. They are called 'kuloğlu'; i.e., servant-son; servant-offspring'.

Secondly, Tunisians and Algerians have a more sympathetic idea about Turks and the Ottomans.
 

WeisSaul

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,836
New Amsterdam
During the Ottoman Empire, a lot of Turkish soldiers and sailors married Algerian and Tunisian women, hence the descendants. They are called 'kuloğlu'; i.e., servant-son; servant-offspring'.

Secondly, Tunisians and Algerians have a more sympathetic idea about Turks and the Ottomans.
As opposed to Libyans and folks in the fertile Crescent?
 
Feb 2010
1,563
25% sounds way too much. That would probably even make the Turkish admixture in Maghreb greater than the Arab one. Maybe 2,5%? That sounds more likely.
 

Tulun

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
3,886
Western Eurasia
25% sounds way too much. That would probably even make the Turkish admixture in Maghreb greater than the Arab one. Maybe 2,5%? That sounds more likely.
I agree it sounds too much, or maybe it counts everybody as Turk who has some "Turk" ancestry (descendant of janissaries also counted as Turks as i understood), but i guess today most of them are as much "Turks" as for example people of Norman ancestry in UK are French. These countries were part of the Ottoman Empire for like 3-400 years so there certainly was local admixture with Ottoman military and administrative staff.

Why did so few go to Libya where they could have easily formed the majority?
Why would they go there? Until the 20th century they had no interest in making a Turkish nation state.
Algeria and Tunis were economically more developed, important for trade and agriculture, the territory of present day Libya was i guess quite irrelevant periphery compared to them, there was a reason why their population was historically so low.

Why didn't they go to more adjacent regions like Syria, Mesopotamia, or Thrace in larger numbers than they did historically?
There are quite significant historical Turkish communities in these countries ( imo more significant than in Maghreb) especially if we would add all Arabs and Kurds in these places who also have names ending with "-li" or "bek" but no longer speak Turkish.
 
Last edited:
Mar 2013
29
Istanbul
This is about economy. Tunis and Algeria had trade connections to Italia, Spain and France and therefore attracted Turkish merchants and sailors. Moreover, I believe the most critical attraction was due to Sultan Selim's ascension to the throne. As he had waged war to his brothers, he wanted to eliminate their forces. Sultan Korkud, for example, one of his brothers was governor of Mediterranean Region and had very good relationships with merchants and especially sailors. In such conflict, Barbarossa and his brother fled from Turkey and traveled to Tunis, where Sultan of Tunis granted them to settle their business. It was profitable as Barbarossa brothers could deal with the enemy Christians and maintain good trade.

Later, Barbarossa showed his loyalty to the Ottoman throne and received the title of High Lord of Algeria and Tunis with an additional permission of collecting troops from Anatolia. Because this region was very critical to control trade and acting as a front garrison to the empire, a massive migration started from Anatolia who were hired as seamen or other governmental issues in order to maintain Ottoman Rule and constitute Barbary States government.
 
Mar 2013
59
middle kingdom
They were decedents of Ottoman soldiers or officials/migrants. It's possible that many Turks during the height of Ottoman power felt Anatolia was too boring or crowed for them, thus decided to seek fortune in the other parts of the Empire, just like in the Balkans.
 
Dec 2012
449
USA
25%? That doesn't sound possible. Even ose withh Turkish blood in four previous generations can't bring the number up that high. Maybe it's 2.5%?