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Famous And Influential People in Turkey

28th April 2016

Turkey’s been the home of many famous people and if you’re thinking of making the move to Turkey or are even holidaying there it’s probably a good idea to brush up on some of the most famous and popular people in Turkey. So let’s take a look at some of the most famous people in Turkey from presidents to pundits and more. 


Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (commonly abbreviated to Atatürk) was Turkey’s first president and he is the man responsible for transforming the former Ottoman Empire of Turkey into a more modern and secular nation. Many of the political, economic, and cultural reforms he introduced are still followed to this day and he’s also responsible for making primary education free and compulsory in Turkey and ensuring women were given equal civil and political rights.

Saint Nicholas 

Yeas that’s right jolly old Saint Nick was Turkish although Saint Nicholas is probably not the same man many people in the west think of he is responsible for the story behind Santa Claus. Saint Nicholas lived in the ancient Turkish city of Myra which is now the more modern Turkish city of Demre. A statue of the Saint stands in the city and the ruins of his home are still there, while the legends of a sleigh riding man giving out presents might be better known today. The real story of the man behind the myth is still found in Turkey.

Sabiha Gökçen

Sabiha Gökçen is Turkey’s very own Amelia Earhart and was one of the first world’s first female fighter pilots. Aged only 23 she took to the cockpit and she was also one of the eight adopted children of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. She was very much a pioneer of aviation in Turkey and oversaw the foundation of the Turkish Aeronautical Association. She’s also very famous outside of Turkey and was the only female pilot included on the United States Air Force’s famous poster celebrating "The 20 Greatest Aviators in History" that was unveiled in 1996.


Tarkan or Tarkan Tevetoğlu to give him his full name is a famous Turkish pop singer who has been active since 1991. Many of his songs have been big hits around Europe and he was even compared to having the same effect on Turkish people to the effect Elvis Presley had to Americans. He’s released albums in both Turkish and English and with an album due to be released this year it’s likely that many people visiting Turkey will likely be once again hearing his songs in clubs and on the radio.

Cenk Uygu
Cenk Uygu is the main host and co-founder of the American liberal political and social commentary program The Young Turks. He was born in Istanbul and emigrated to the United States when he was eight. His popular show The Young Turks originally ran on public access television and was more simply known as The Young Turk (as a referenced to his Turkish heritage) The YouTube channel as 2.8 million subscribers and started the online talk show format that many other shows have since followed.

And that’s just five examples of some famous Turks there’s plenty more to talk about in part 2.

Written by David Varty - YellAli Content Team

Turkish Residence Permit


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