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Racism in Turkey

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Racism in Turkey

In the latest Lonely Planet on Istanbul, Turkey - the author indicated that Black people will be subjected to racism in the streets of Istanbul - in particular with member of the police force.

As I plan on travelling to Istanbul in November of a Principal's Conference, and since I am Black (African-Canadian), should I be concerned?

Destination Expert
for Istanbul
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1. Re: Racism in Turkey

Hi Sibelius,

I haven't seen the latest Lonely Planet but if it is stated the way you describe then I would consider that misinformation. I would just refer you to an extensive discussion on this subject matter at the following link:



Dallas, Texas
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2. Re: Racism in Turkey

Enigma2007 - thanks for the link. I found the entire thread very interesting.

We hosted an exchange student from Turkey in '06-'07, and this past year I was an advisor for another Turkish student. We had a lot of preconceptions about Turkey before knowing these kids. Over winter break we plan to vist them in Turkey.

We have hosted students from several countries and many have never met a person of another race. I introduced a nice Muslim girl from Egypt to her first Jewish people, and she was surprised they were good friends with Muslim family from Pakistan next door. I also introduced a girl from Japan to her first black person. She had a lot of misperceptions to overcome.

The tables were turned when we visited China - my daughter was the center of attention because of her light brown hair (almost blond). Because we went off the beaten track, often we were the only non-Chinese people and sometimes it felt odd.

It is wonderful that this forum is full of people who are seeking to do more that just be tourists. For example, a friend went on a tour to Israel with a Christian tour company. When she later developed some dietary problems with dairy, I suggested she look for Kosher labeling which indicates whether it contains dairy. She had never heard of a Kosher diet. How can someone who has been to Israel not have heard of the dietary laws which a good portion of the country follows? Simple, she never tried to learn about the people, culture, etc but was only a tourist.

We are lucky to have the opportunity to meet people of different races and cultures. It is really good for us to go to countries where we are the minority.

Thanks for everyone's advice on how to get to know countries and cultures on a more personal level.

Beth in Dallas

Gocek, Turkey
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3. Re: Racism in Turkey

Yes, MALPAL's contribution to the previous thread rather knocks LP's assertion on the head.

Ankara, Turkey
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4. Re: Racism in Turkey

Lonely Planet has its advantages (organized, portable), but in the case of subjective discussions like this, it is no match for Trip Advisor.

Is there racism in Turkey towards blacks? No. We don't have blacks, so many people might end up feeling awkward while interacting with blacks - as it takes a while for them to realize they don't have to act any different than if they were interacting with a with person.

Is there racism in Turkey towards anybody? Not in action, but in thoughts of some people, there slightly is, against the peoples who they see to have a habit of causing troubles to Turkey. I've heard few people say that they don't like Greeks/Armenians upon seeing some bad news (they are consistently speechless when countered with the question of whether they have met any). Few people think any Kurd have a chance of being a terrorist. Still, these are much less than the anti-muslim prejudice that developed in the US after 911.

Should you be concerned? No.

Cirali / Antalya
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5. Re: Racism in Turkey

As a Canadian here are my thoughts...I do not feel that you should read the Lonely Planet as a bible...only as a guide..the internet will provide you with much more information...

A comon question...are there black people in Turkey...the answer is....Yes there are but they are a small minority in numbers.

Especially in Aydın and İzmir area- The Aegean coast- there are villages with black people whose ancestors came to Turkey during the Ottoman period as slaves and then set free, as residents. They usually are descents of Sudanese origin slaves who were carried to Anatolia during the Ottoman period.

Back during the Ottoman Empire time there were alot of Black people from Africa that came to Turkey if they were muslim or not ( mostly muslims) either the Sultans invited them to Turkey or they escaped to Turkey since that time slavery was huge, because since the Turks dont belive in slavery they came over and now there are villages In Turkey ( a few) that have black people.

So yes there are some black people that live in Turkey.

The offspring of these people are mixed with the locals in time. There is actually a few famous singers, dancers and a Beauty Queen among them.

here is an example of an actor in Turkey;


Defne Joy Foster

They are all Turkish for at least one hundred years.

There are also a very small minority of children with interracial and international parents but if you compare it to the whole population, the ratio shall be very minor.

6. Re: Racism in Turkey

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