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Los turcos en Bélgica (en turco : Belçika'daki Türkler ), también conocidos como belgas turcos o turcos belgas (en turco : Belçika Türkleri ), son personas de etnia turca que viven en Bélgica . La mayoría de los turcos belgas descienden de la República de Turquía ; sin embargo, también ha habido una migración turca significativa desde otros países post- otomanos , incluidas las comunidades étnicas turcas que han llegado a Bélgica desde los Balcanes (especialmente de Bulgaria , Grecia ,Kosovo , Macedonia del Norte y Rumania ), la isla de Chipre y, más recientemente, Irak y Siria .


Turkish migration from the Republic of Turkey[edit]

Turkish flags in the Brussels town of Sint-Joost-ten-Node

Turkish migration from the Republic of Turkey to Belgium began in the 1960s when Belgium was actively encouraging immigration to meet its employment needs in an era of rapid economic expansion.[4] These immigrants were welcomed as "guest workers" when Belgium and Turkey signed a bilateral agreement in July 1964.[5][6] As mainly unskilled labourers, Turkish immigrants hoped to make a fortune in a short time and then return to their homeland. The majority of Turkish migrants arrived from central Anatolian provinces, particularly from Afyon, Emirdağ, Eskisehir, Kayseri, Konya (particularly from and Piribeyli) and Sivas.[7][8] Many settled in the industrialised areas of Belgium; thereafter, these migrants brought their families over when Belgium attempted to resolve the growing problem of low population by encouraging family renification.[9]

By the 1970s the phenomenon of immigrants arriving in Belgium with a tourist visa started; most came from Afyon, especially from the town of Emirdağ.[10][11] Upon arrival they looked for work and tried to legalise their status as labourers. The presence of these tourists created a black market labour force so that on two occasions the government had to legalise their status. Once they obtained the status of "guest workers" they could bring in their family.[12]

By the 1980s, immigration to Belgium for economic reasons was forbidden by law. The only legal way to take up residence in Belgium was by family reunification, which was only applicable to members of the nuclear family of guest workers or by marrying someone who was a Belgian citizen. Another possible motive for coming to Belgium was to apply for the status of asylum-seeker upon arrival. Turkish asylum seekers came from all over Turkey, with some belonging to minority groups.[12]

Mainland Turks have continued to migrate to Belgium in the twenty-first century in the hope of building a better future; many lured by social and economic security.[13]

Turkish migration from the Balkans[edit]


Initially, Turkish Bulgarians first arrived in Belgium as refugees in the 1980s due to the Bulgarisation policies of the so-called "Revival Process" under the communist ruler Todor Zivkov which sought to forcefully assimilate the Turkish minority. The next wave of Turkish Bulgarian migrants in the 1990s and early 2000s were mostly undocumented migrants. These early Turkish Bulgarian arrivals found work in areas where there was an established mainland Turkish community, especially in Ghent, but also in Melle, Zele and Hamme.[14]

More recently, after Bulgaria became a member of the European Union during the 2007 enlargement, the number of Turkish Bulgarian migrants to Belgium increased significantly due to their freedom of movement rights as EU citizens. Thus, Turkish Bulgarian emigration to Belgium in the twenty-first century has been dictated by the economic situation and the stagnation of the labour market in Bulgaria.[15]

As a result of the continuous Turkish Bulgarian migration, the majority of Bulgarian citizens living in Belgium are ethnically Turkish; moreover, Turkish Bulgarian children who were either born in Belgium, or who arrived at preschool age, hardly understand the Bulgarian language.[14] Most Turkish Bulgarians tend to live in areas where there is a large mainland Turkish population, such as Genk.[16] Thus, "Genk Bulgarians" are mostly of Turkish origin;[16] in 2013, estimates on the population in Genk alone ranged between 10,000 and 20,000.[14]


There have been two main waves of migration from the Turkish minority of Western Thrace (located in Greece) to Western Europe, including to Belgium.[17] The first wave of Turkish Western Thracian migration occurred between 1970-2010 due to political and economic reasons. More recently, a signifcantly larger migration wave occurred within eight years, between 2010-18, due to the Greek government-debt crisis.[18]


Migration from the Turkish Kosovar community to Belgium began when many were forced to flee the Kosovo War (1998-99). Alongside the Turkish Macedonians in Belgium, they are active in the Belçika Rumeli Türkleri Derneği ("Belgian Rumelian Turkish Association").[19]

North Macedonia[edit]

The Turkish Macedonian minority have joined other North Macedonian citizens in migrating to Belgium. Together with the Turkish Romanians in Belgium, the Turkish Macedonians are active in the Belçika Rumeli Türkleri Derneği ("Belgian Rumelian Turkish Association").[19]


Since the first decade of the twenty-first century, there has been a significant decrease in the population of the Turkish Romanian minority group due to the admission of Romania into the European Union in 2007 and the subsequent relaxation of the travelling and migration regulations. Hence, Turkish Romanians, especially from the Dobruja region, have joined other Romanian citizens in migrating mostly to Western European countries, including Belgium.[20]

Turkish migration from the Levant[edit]


Most Turkish Cypriot migrants left the island of Cyprus due to economic and political reasons in the 20th century, especially after the 1974 Cypriot coup d'état carried out by the Greek military junta which was then followed by the reactionary Turkish invasion of the island. More recently, with the 2004 enlargement of the European Union, Turkish Cypriots have had the right to live and work across the European Union, including in Belgium, as EU citizens. In 2012, hundreds of Turkish Cypriots gathered in Brussels to draw attention to the EU's failure to keep the promises made to Northern Cyprus after having voted in favour of reunification during the 2004 Annan Plan referendum.[21]


Due to the Syrian civil war, many Syrian Turks have sought refuge in Turkey and Western Europe. In particular, it was during the European migrant crisis (2014-19) that Syrian citizens came to Belgium in larger numbers.


Turkish people gathering in Brussels.

Around half of Turkish Belgians live in the Flemish region, one-quarter in Wallonia, and one-quarter in Brussels.[22] Turks from the same region in Turkey tend to congregate not only in the same cities but also in the same quarters.[23] The majority of Turks live in the Schaarbeek commune.[24] The Chaussee De Haecht street is heavily populated with Turkish immigrants,[25] with its pizzerias, pastry shops, cafes, and barbers, is reminiscent of a Turkish street.


Official Belgian data only collects statistics on foreign citizens rather than the ethnic affiliation of Belgian citizens. Consequently, the Turkish Belgian community cannot self-declare their ethnicity in censuses. The majority of Turkish Belgians are mainland Turks and their Belgian-born descendants, however, there are growing Turkish communities from the Balkans (e.g. Bulgarian Turks, Macedonian Turks, Romanian Turks, Western Thrace Turks etc.) and the Levant (e.g. Cypriot Turks, Iraqi Turks and Syrian Turks) who are registered according to their citizenship (i.e. "Belgian", "Bulgarian", "Cypriot", "Greek", "Iraqi", "Syrian" etc.) rather than their Turkish ethnicity.

In 2012 Professor Raymond Taras said that the population of Turkish Belgians totalled over 200,000.[26]


The majority of Turks are Sunni Muslims[27] Several Turkish Sunni groupings are active in Belgium, most notably Milli Görüş (Fédération islamique belge), the Süleymancis (Union des Centres culturels islamiques de Belgique) and the Nurcus . As in other countries, there is also an official Sunni Diyanet (Fondation religieuse islamique turque de Belgique), which controls most mosques and a majority of the affiliations to the repatriation funerary insurance.

Another Turkish Muslim community present in Belgium is the Alevi one, with several associations in Brussels, the Centre culturel turc pour le respect de la personne humaine - Erenler (Turkish cultural centre for the respect of the human being - Erenler), officially registered in 1994, founded by Alevis from the village of Karacalar, near Emirdag, led by their traditional spirituel leader (dede) from the Şahbaz family, and the more progressive Centre socioculturel alévi de Bruxelles, officially registered in 2003 by 14 founding members, 4 of whom were born in Elbistan, 3 in Belgium, 2 in Gücük (near Elbistan), the rest in Adıyaman, Inis, Tunceli, Soğucak and Sün [tr]),[28] Charleroi (Centre culturel alévi de Charleroi, officially registered in 1999 by 9 founding members, 6 of whom had the dual Turkish-Belgian citizenship),[29] Antwerp (Alevietische Kultureel Centrum Antwerpen), Liège (from 2002 till 2004 Liège Alevi Kültür Derneği - Association culturelle Alévi de Liège,[30] since 2005 Foyer culturel alévi de Liège)[31] and the Limburg province (Samenwerking Limburgse Alevieten, officially registered in 1990). There is also a Federation of the Belgian Alevi Associations, Belçika Alevi Birlikleri Federasyonu, since 2008 Fédération unions des Alévis en Belgique - Belçika Alevi Birlikleri Federasyonu (FUAB-BABF),[32] created in 2003, based in Antwerp, then in Brussels in 2006,[33] and grouping the Alevietische Kultureel Centrum Antwerpen, the Centre culturel alévi de Charleroi and the Samenwerking Limburgse Alevieten.

  • Alaaddin Mosque in Marchienne-au-Pont, Charleroi.

  • Diyanet Mosque in Rue Pige-au-Croly, Charleroi.

  • Mimar Sinan Mosque in Visé.

  • Molla Gürani Mosque in Lier.

  • Yunus Emre Mosque in Genk.

  • Selimiye Mosque in Heusden-Zolder.

Organisations and associations[edit]

There are dozens of Turkish associations in Belgium, most are grouped into federations, either linked to the Turkish government (Diyanet) and embassy or to various Turkish religious and political movements, Milli Görüş (Fédération islamique belge), the Nurcus, the Süleymancis (Union des Centres islamiques de Belgique), the Grey Wolves (Verbond der Turkse Verenigingen in België, Belçika Ülkücü Türk Dernekleri Federasyon/Belçika Türk Federasyonu) etc.

Political participation[edit]

At the federal level, several deputies and senators have been elected or coopted to the Belgian Chamber of Representatives and Senate. Among them, the Flemish Socialists Cemal Çavdarlı (deputy in 2003-2007) and Fatma Pehlivan [nl] (senator in 2001-2007, and again in 2009-2010), the Flemish Ecologists Meryem Kaçar (senator in 1999-2003) and Meyrem Almacı (deputy since 2007, reelected in 2010), the Flemish Christian Democrat Hilâl Yalçin [nl] (deputy in 2007-2010); Antwerp district mayor since January 2013) and French-speaking Socialist Özlem Özen [fr] (deputy since June 2010).

There are also Turkish-Belgian members of the regional parliaments, one of them, Emir Kir (French-speaking Socialist Party), became an underminister in the Brussels regional government in 2004, and again in 2009, as Secretary for Public Sanitation and Monument Conservation.


Turks have also contributed to music in Belgium, recently Hadise daughter of a family from Sivas was in the pop music world in Belgium. Hadise made a name for herself in 2003 in the “Idool” song contest sponsored by VTM, the largest Belgian broadcaster. Her songs “Stir Me Up” and her album “Milk Chocolate Girl” were on top of the charts for a long time.

Notable people[edit]

  • Meyrem Almaci, Party President of Groen

  • Hadise Açıkgöz, singer

  • Sinan Bolat, football player

  • Murat Direkçi, kickboxer

  • Nawal Ben Hamou [fr], politician

  • Adnan Januzaj, football player

  • Funda Kılıç, singer

  • Emir Kir [fr], Mayor of Saint-Josse-ten-Noode

  • Kubat, singer

  • Özlem Özen [fr], politician

  • Faroek Özgünes [tr], TV presenter and journalist

  • Emin Özkara [nl], politician

  • Alpaslan Öztürk, football player

  • Zeynep Sever, Miss Belgium 2009

  • Önder Turacı, footballer

  • Güler Turan [nl], politician and lawyer

  • Tuğba Yurt, singer

  • Veli Yüksel [nl], politician and author

See also[edit]

  • List of Turkish Belgians
  • Islam in Belgium
  • Belgium–Turkey relations
  • Faymonville
  • Turks in Europe
    • Turks in France
    • Turks in Germany
    • Turks in the Netherlands


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  17. ^ Avrupa'da Batı Trakya Batı Trakya Türkleri Gerçeği ve Avrupa Batı Trakya Türk Federasyonu, Avrupa Batı Trakya Türk Federasyonu, retrieved 8 May 2021, Avustralya ve Amerika Birleşik Devletleri, Kanada gibi uzak ülkelerin dışında aralarında Hollanda, İngiltere, İsveç, Fransa, Belçika ve Avusturya gibi ülkelerde de sayısı yadsınamayacak bir Batı Trakyalı Türk kitlesi yaşamaktadır. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  18. ^ Arif, Nazmi (2018), Yunanistan'da, Batı Trakya Türklerinin dış ülkelere göçü endişe ve kaygı verici boyutlara ulaştı., TRT, archived from the original on 14 February 2021, retrieved 12 November 2020
  19. ^ a b Rumeli Türkleri Brüksel'de Bir Araya Geldi, CHA Haberler, 2012, retrieved 9 May 2021 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  20. ^ Catalina Andreea, Mihai (2016), Cultural resilience or the Interethnic Dobrujan Model as a Black Sea alternative to EuroIslam in the Romanian Turkish-Tatar community, University of Bergamo, p. 150
  21. ^ Kıbrıslı Türklerden AB protestosu, Hürriyet, 2012, retrieved 9 May 2021, Belçika’nın başkenti Brüksel’de bir araya gelen yüzlerce Kıbrıslı Türk, Avrupa Birliği'nin protesto etti. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  22. ^ Blommaert & Verschueren 1998, 43
  23. ^ Gailly 1997, 149.
  24. ^ State 2004, 279.
  25. ^ Koutroubas, Vloeberghs & Yanasmayan 2009, 73
  26. ^ Taras, Raymond (2012), Xenophobia and Islamophobia in Europe, Edinburgh University Press, p. 160, ISBN 978-0748654895, It follows that large Muslim minorities like the Turks – who total over 200,000 in Belgium
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  28. ^ "Centre socioculturel alévi de Bruxelles" (PDF), Moniteur belge (in French), Brussels: Kingdom of Belgium, November 13, 2003.
  29. ^ "Centre culturel alévi de Charleroi", Moniteur belge (in French), Brussels: Kingdom of Belgium, January 21, 1999.
  30. ^ "Liège Alevi Kültür Derneği - Association culturelle Alévi de Liège" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-01-24.
  31. ^ "Foyer culturel alévi de Liège" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-01-24.
  32. ^ Fédération unions des Alévis en Belgique - Belçika Alevi Birlikleri Federasyonu
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  • Akgündüz, Ahmet (2008), Labour Migration from Turkey to Western Europe, 1960-1974: A Multidisciplinary Analysis, Ashgate Publishing, ISBN 978-0-7546-7390-3
  • Avramov, Dragana; Cliquet, R.L. (2005), Integrated Policies on Gender Relations, Ageing and Migration in Europe, Garant, ISBN 90-441-1728-9.
  • Blommaert, Jan; Verschueren, Jef (1998), Debating Diversity: Analysing the Discourse of Tolerance, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-19138-6.
  • Cohen, Robin (1995), The Cambridge Survey of World Migration, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-44405-5
  • Fitzmaurice, John (1996), The Politics of Belgium: A Unique Federalism, C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, ISBN 1-85065-209-0
  • Gailly, A (1997), "Turkish Immigrants in Belgium", in Al-Issa, Ihsan; Tousignant, Michel (eds.), Ethnicity, Immigration, and Psychopathology, Springer, ISBN 0306454793
  • Kasaba, Reşat (2008), The Cambridge History of Turkey, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-62096-3.
  • Kaya, Ayhan; Kentel, Ferhat (2007), Belgian-Turks A Bridge or a Breach between Turkey and the European Union? (PDF), King Baudouin Foundation, ISBN 978-90-5130-587-6, archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-06-26
  • King Baudouin Foundation (2008), Turkish communities and the EU (PDF), King Baudouin Foundation, archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-02-25
  • Koutroubas, Theodoros; Vloeberghs, Ward; Yanasmayan, Zeynep (2009), "Political, Religious and Ethnic Radicalisation Among Muslims in Belgium", in Emerson, Michael; Roy, Olivier (eds.), Ethno-Religious Conflict in Europe: Typologies of Radicalisation in Europe's Muslim Communities, CEPS, ISBN 978-9290798224
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  • Moutsou, Christina (2006), "Merging European Boundaries: A Stroll in Brussels", in Stacul, Jaro; Moutsou, Christina; Kopnina, Helen (eds.), Crossing European Boundaries: Beyond Conventional Geographical Categories, Berghahn Books, ISBN 1-84545-150-3.
  • Musterd, Sako; Ostendorf, W.J.M.; Breebaart, Matthijs (1998), Multi-ethnic Metropolis: Patterns and Policies, Springer, ISBN 0-7923-4854-0.
  • Nielsen, Jørgen (2004), Muslims in Western Europe, Edinburgh University Press, ISBN 0-7486-1844-9.
  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2001), Trends in International Migration: Continuous Reporting System on Migration. 25th annual report, 2000 Edition, OECD Publishing, ISBN 92-64-18612-3.
  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2008), International Migration Outlook: SOPEMI 2008, OECD Publishing, ISBN 978-92-64-04565-1.
  • Rose, Arnold (1969), Migrants in Europe, University of Minnesota Press, ISBN 0-8166-0542-4.
  • State, Paul (2004), Historical Dictionary of Brussels, Scarecrow Press, ISBN 0-8108-5075-3.
  • Timmerman, Christiane (2004), "When Tradition Becomes Fashionable: The Case of Young Turkish Women in Belgium", in Diedrich, Maria; Cook, Theron; Lindo, Flip (eds.), Crossing Boundaries: African American Inner City and European Migrant Youth, LIT Verlag Berlin-Hamburg-Münster, ISBN 3-8258-7231-9
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Further reading[edit]

  • Caprioli, Nathalie, ed. (January 2007), "Aux pays des Alévis", Agenda Interculturel (in French), Brussels: Centre bruxellois d'action interculturelle (249), archived from the original on 2008-06-02.
  • Koksal, Mehmet; Manço, Ural; de Tapia, Stéphane; Goban, Tanju; Lambert, Pierre-Yves; et al. (September 2004), "Marche turque", Agenda Interculturel (in French), Brussels: Centre bruxellois d'action interculturelle (225), archived from the original on 2009-04-14.
  • Koksal, Mehmet; Daoudov, Murat; Lambert, Pierre-Yves; Vanrie, Pierre; et al. (October 2004), "Voyage au Turkbeekistan", Politique (in French), Brussels (36), ISSN 1372-908X.
  • Khoojinian, Mazyar (February 14, 2009). "Les Communistes turcs en Belgique (1972-1989)" (PDF) (in French). CArCoB – Archives Communistes. p. 21. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
  • Lebrecht, Michaël (1997), Alévis en Belgique. approche générale et étude de cas, Sybidi (in French), Louvain-la-Neuve: Academia-Bruylant, ISBN 978-2-87209-466-0
  • Wets, Johan (March 2006), "The Turkish Community in Austria and Belgium: The Challenge of Integration", Turkish Studies, 7 (1): 85–100, doi:10.1080/14683840500520600, S2CID 144525781.
  • Khoojinian, Mazyar (2018). Les Turcs à la mine : l'immigration turque dans l'industrie charbonnière belge (1956-1970). Louvain-la-Neuve: EME. ISBN 9782806636362.

External links[edit]

  • Info-Türk (Turkish Progressive news agency based in Brussels)