Turkish

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If you thought Turkey was only about charming landscapes, storied history, ancient towns, magnificent ruins, splendid culture and towering mountains, you are highly mistaken. Strategically located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Turkey commands significant geostrategic importance. Also, it is one of the foremost reasons for the country’s unique culture and heritage. Amidst all the history and greatness of Turkey, one cannot really forget the role of Turkish people in helping their country stand tall on the world forum.
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 1 
Suleiman The Magnificent
(10th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire)
Suleiman The Magnificent
64
Birthdate: November 6, 1494
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Trabzon, Turkey
Died: September 6, 1566
Suleiman The Magnificent ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1520 to 1566 and was instrumental in the empire’s expansion, leading the conquests of Belgrade, Rhodes, and Hungary. He was a patron of art and culture, and a talented poet and goldsmith himself. He married Roxelana, a Christian-turned-Muslim from his harem.
 2 
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
(Founder of the Republic of Turkey,)
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
41
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: May 19, 1881
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Thessaloniki
Died: November 10, 1938
Kemal Atatürk, known as the founding father of the Republic of Turkey, was its first president. He unified Turkey into a secular country and invested in education and women’s rights. He also popularized the Latin-based Turkish alphabet and made minorities speak Turkish in public. His policies are known as “Kemalism.” 
 3 
Mehmed II
(Sultan of the Ottoman Empire)
Mehmed II
12
Birthdate: March 30, 1432
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Edirne, Rumelia Eyalet, Ottoman Sultanate
Died: May 3, 1481

Mehmed II reigned as the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire on two separate occasions; from 1444 to 1446 and again from 1451 to 1481. During his first reign, Mehmed II defeated the military expedition led by John Hunyadi. During his second reign, Mehmed II strengthened the Ottoman navy and conquered Constantinople at age 21, which ended the Byzantine Empire. 

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 4 
Rumi
(Persian Poet)
Rumi
47
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: September 30, 1207
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Balkh, Afghanistan
Died: December 17, 1273

Rumi was a Persian poet and Sufi mystic whose spiritual legacy has been attracting praises for the past 800 years! Often described as the best-selling and most popular poet in the US, Rumi's poems are widely read today in many countries. His poetry has influenced the literary traditions of many languages, such as Pashto, Urdu, Chagatai, and Ottoman Turkish.

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 5 
Osman I
(Political Leader)
Osman I
25
Birthdate: 1258 AD
Birthplace: Söğüt, Turkey
Died: August 1, 1326

Osman I was the founder of the Ottoman dynasty, which ruled the Ottoman Empire between 1299 and 1922. One of the most important historical figures in Turkey, Osman I is often depicted in popular culture. Interestingly, he is also one of the least documented leaders of the Ottoman Turks, making the factual information of his biographies questionable.

 6 
Ertuğrul
(Turkish Chieftain Who was the Father of Osman I, the Founder of the Ottoman Empire)
Ertuğrul
11
Birthplace: Ahlat, Turkey
Died: 1280 AD
 7 
Hande Erçel
(Actress)
Hande Erçel
41
Birthdate: November 24, 1993
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bandirma, Balikesir, Turkey
 8 
Hayreddin Barbarossa
(Ottoman Navy Admiral )
Hayreddin Barbarossa
10
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: 1478 AD
Birthplace: Paleokipos, Greece
Died: July 4, 1546
Remembered as the Pirate of Algiers and Redbeard, legendary Hayreddin Barbarossa from Lesbos, along with his brother Oruç, plundered ships and ports, terrorizing the Mediterranean coast. His exploits led him to become the admiral of the Ottoman Navy. His victory at Preveza remains his most celebrated one.
 9 
Mahmud of Ghazni
(Sultan of the Ghaznavid Empire from 998 to 1030)
Mahmud of Ghazni
27
Birthdate: November 2, 0971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ghazni, Afghanistan
Died: April 30, 1030

Mahmud of Ghazni was the sultan of the Ghaznavid Empire on two separate occasions. He first ascended the throne upon the death of his father, Mahmud, in 1030. However, he was soon overthrown by his twin brother Ma'sud I. Years later, he was reinstated as sultan but was soon executed by his nephew Maw'dud. His entire family was also killed. 

 10 
Ahmed I
(Ottoman Emperor)
Ahmed I
14
Birthdate: April 18, 1590
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Manisa, Turkey
Died: November 22, 1617
Ahmed I reigned as the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1603 till 1617. He ended the Ottoman tradition of royal fratricide upon taking over the throne. He constructed the iconic Blue Mosque of Turkey. He also patronized art, especially calligraphy, and wrote poems under the pseudonym Bahti.
 11 
Abdul Hamid II
12
Birthdate: September 21, 1842
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Constantinople, Constantinople Vilayet, Ottoman Empire
Died: February 10, 1918
 12 
Selim I
(ottoman Sultan)
Selim I
10
Birthdate: October 10, 1470
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Amasya, Ottoman Empire, Turkey
Died: September 22, 1520

Selim I reigned as the ninth Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Although his reign lasted only eight years, Selim I is credited for the vast expansion of the Ottoman Empire; his conquest of the entire Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt is widely regarded as his best achievement. A hardworking ruler, Selim was one of the most respected emperors of the Empire.

 13 
Burak Ozcivit
(Film actor)
Burak Ozcivit
12
Listed In: Fashion
Birthdate: December 24, 1984
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Istanbul, Turkey
 14 
Hurrem Sultan
7
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: 1502 AD
Birthplace: Rohatyn, Ukraine
Died: April 15, 1558
 15 
Arda Turan
(Footballer)
Arda Turan
14
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: January 30, 1987
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Istanbul
 16 
Constantine XI Palaiologos
(The Last Byzantine Ruler Who Died Defending Constantinople against the Turks)
Constantine XI Palaiologos
3
Birthdate: February 8, 1405
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Istanbul, Turkey
Died: May 29, 1453

The fourth son of Emperor Manuel II, Constantine XI Palaiologos was the last Byzantine emperor. He died in combat, while defending the city of Constantinople against the Ottoman Turks. In Greek folklore, he is known as the Marble Emperor, referring to a legend that he had turned into marble after his death.

 17 
Ibn Taymiyyah
(Scholar)
Ibn Taymiyyah
5
Birthdate: January 22, 1263
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Harran, Turkey
Died: September 26, 1328
 18 
Kivanc Tatlitug
(Film actor)
Kivanc Tatlitug
4
Birthdate: October 27, 1983
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Adana, Turkey
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Engin Altan Duzyatan
8
Birthdate: July 26, 1979
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Karşıyaka, İzmir Province İzmir, Turkey
 20 
Caracalla
(Roman emperor)
Caracalla
3
Birthdate: April 4, 0188
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lugdunum
Died: April 8, 0217
 21 
Kösem Sultan
(Chief Consort and Legal Wife of the Ottoman Sultan Ahmed I)
Kösem Sultan
1
Birthdate: 1589 AD
Birthplace: Greece
Died: September 2, 1651
 22 
Uğur Şahin
(He is the CEO of BioNTech, which developed one of the major vaccines against COVID-19)
Uğur Şahin
9
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: September 19, 1965
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: İskenderun, Hatay Province, Turkey
 23 
Tuba Büyüküstün
12
Birthdate: July 5, 1982
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Istanbul, Turkey
 24 
Beren Saat
(Turkish Actress Known for Her Role as ‘Bihter Yoreoglu Ziyagil’ in the TV Series ‘Aşk-ı Memnu’)
Beren Saat
8
Birthdate: February 26, 1984
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ankara, Turkey

Beren Saat is a Turkish actress who has received critical appreciation for her acting since the beginning of her acting career. Some of the awards which she has won include Latina Turkish Awards and Golden Butterfly Awards. From 2008 to 2014, she was the highest-paid Turkish actress. Also known for her philanthropic efforts, Saat works closely with many charity organizations.

 25 
Hazal Kaya
(Actress)
Hazal Kaya
7
Birthdate: October 1, 1990
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Istanbul, Turkey
 26 
Murad III
(Ottoman Sultan)
Murad III
7
Birthdate: July 4, 1546
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Manisa, Turkey
Died: December 31, 1595
Murad III, son of Şehzade Selim and Nurbanu Sultan, was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1574 to 1595. He was dominated by his mother and his harem, particularly by his favorite wife, Safiye Sultan. He also fought wars with the Safavid Empire and was an art connoisseur.
 27 
Salt Bae
(Restaurateur)
Salt Bae
37
Listed In: Food Experts
Birthdate: August 9, 1983
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Erzurum, Turkey
 28 
Mehmed III
(Sultan of the Ottoman Empire)
Mehmed III
4
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: May 26, 1566
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Manisa
Died: December 22, 1603

Mehmed III reigned as the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 16 January 1595 until his death on 22 December 1603. He is best remembered for his role in the Long Turkish War, where he successfully led his army at the all-important Battle of Keresztes. Also remembered for his diplomacy, Mehmed III established communications with the court of Elizabeth I. 

 29 
Çağatay Ulusoy
9
Listed In: Fashion
Birthdate: September 23, 1990
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bakırköy, İstanbul, Turkey
 30 
Ali Kemal
(Minister of the Interior of the Ottoman Empire in 1919)
Ali Kemal
3
Birthdate: September 7, 1867
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Fatih, Turkey
Died: November 6, 1922

Ali Kemal was a Turkish journalist, poet, newspaper editor, government official, and liberal-leaning politician. He is best remembered for his brief service as the Minister of the Interior of the Ottoman Empire in 1919. During the Turkish War of Independence, Ali Kemal was assassinated by paramilitary officers.

 31 
Emre Mor
(Footballer winger or a forward)
Emre Mor
3
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: July 24, 1997
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brønshøj, Copenhagen, Denmark
 32 
Neslihan Atagül
6
Birthdate: August 20, 1992
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Istanbul, Turkey
 33 
Barıs Arduc
(Turkish Actor Best Known for His Role as ‘Tekin Atan’ in the TV Series ‘Racon: Ailem İçin’)
Barıs Arduc
11
Birthdate: October 9, 1987
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Münsterlingen, Switzerland

Barış Arduç is a Swiss-born Turkish actor best known for his portrayal of Ömer İplikçi in the romantic drama TV series Kiralık Aşk for which he won a couple of Golden Butterfly TV Awards. Also a humanitarian, Arduç has been serving as a goodwill ambassador for an organization called Life Without Cancer Society of Turkey since 2016.

 34 
Mehmed IV
(Sultan of the Ottoman Empire)
Mehmed IV
4
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: January 2, 1642
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Istanbul
Died: January 6, 1693

Mehmed IV reigned as the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 8 August 1648 to 8 November 1687. After ascending the throne at age six following the dethronement of his father in a coup, Mehmed IV went on to become the second-longest reigning emperor in the history of the Ottoman Empire after Suleiman the Magnificent.

Ibrahim of the Ottoman Empire
1
Birthdate: November 4, 1615
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: İstanbul, Turkey
Died: August 18, 1648
 36 
Cenk Uygur
(Political Commentator & Creator and Host of 'The Young Turks')
Cenk Uygur
9
Birthdate: March 21, 1970
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: İstanbul, Turkey

Cenk Uygur is a Turkish-American journalist, attorney, media host, and political commentator. He is credited with creating a commentary and sociopolitical news program titled The Young Turks (TYT). He is also credited with co-founding Justice Democrats, a progressive political action committee in the United States.

 37 
Meryem Uzerli
(Turkish Actress Known for Her Role as 'Hürrem Sultan’ in the TV Series 'Muhteşem Yüzyl’)
Meryem Uzerli
8
Birthdate: August 12, 1983
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kassel, Germany

Turkish-German actor and model Meryem Uzerli soared to fame playing Hürrem Sultan in the Turkish series Muhteşem Yüzyıl, a role that earned her a Golden Butterfly Award. She has also appeared in German series such as Notruf Hafenkante and films such as Journey of No Return.

 38 
Cedi Osman
(Basketball player)
Cedi Osman
4
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: April 8, 1995
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ohrid, North Macedonia Macedonia
 39 
Murad II
(Ottoman Sultan)
Murad II
1
Birthdate: 1404
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Amasya
Died: February 3, 1451
 40 
Bayezid I
(Sultan of Ottoman Empire)
Bayezid I
4
Birthdate: 1354 AD
Birthplace: Edirne, Turkey
Died: March 8, 1403

Bayezid I reigned as the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1389 to 1402. He is credited with building one of the largest armies of the world, with which he defeated the Crusaders at Nicopolis in 1396. His only defeat at the Battle of Ankara, which turned out to be fatal, became a subject for writers, painters, and composers.

 41 
Selim II
(Sultan of the Ottoman Empire)
Selim II
12
Birthdate: May 28, 1524
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Topkapi Palace Museum, İstanbul, Turkey
Died: December 15, 1574

Known as a generous Ottoman monarch, Selim II was the successor of the empire’s longest-reigning sultan, Suleiman I. His reign saw his navy decisively defeated by the Holy League in the Battle of Lepanto before the Ottomans regained control of Tunis from Spain. Selim, who was married to Nurbanu Sultan, was noted for helping his subjects during a severe famine.

 42 
Pliny the Younger
(Author, Lawyer)
Pliny the Younger
2
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: 0061 AD
Birthplace: Como
Died: 0112 AD

Pliny the Younger was an author, lawyer, and magistrate of Ancient Rome. Although Pliny the Younger wrote several letters, only 247 of them have survived and are of great historical value as they provide an insight into the relationship between provincial governors and the imperial office at that time.

 43 
Fahriye Evcen
(Actress)
Fahriye Evcen
6
Birthdate: June 4, 1986
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Solingen, Germany
 44 
Elçin Sangu
(Turkish Actress Best Known for Her Role in the TV Series 'Kiralık Aşk')
Elçin Sangu
9
Birthdate: August 13, 1985
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Izmir, Turkey

Elçin Sangu is a Turkish model and actress best known for her portrayal of Defne Topal in a romantic drama TV series titled Kiralık Aşk, for which she received several awards, including three Golden Butterfly Awards. Over the course of her career, Elçin Sangu has appeared in several TV advertisements and campaigns and is one of the highest-paid actresses in Turkey.

 45 
Esra Bilgiç
(Actress)
Esra Bilgiç
14
Birthdate: October 14, 1992
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ankara, Turkey
 46 
Mehmed V
(Ottoman King)
Mehmed V
4
Birthdate: November 2, 1844
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Topkapi Palace Museum, İstanbul, Turkey
Died: July 3, 1918

Mehmed V was the 35th and penultimate Ottoman Sultan who reigned from 1909 to 1918. One of the sons of Sultan Abdulmejid I, he succeeded his brother Abdul Hamid II after the Young Turk revolution. His reign was marked by the loss of the empire’s many territories and witnessed the Ottoman Empire’s entry into World War I.

 47 
Saint Barbara
(Christian Saint and Martyr)
Saint Barbara
6
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: 0273 AD
Birthplace: Nicomedia
Died: November 30, 0306

Saint Barbara was an early Christian Lebanese and Greek saint and martyr. She is also known as the Great Martyr Barbara in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Not much is known about her life and work as there is no mention of her in the authentic early Christian writings. She is considered one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers in Roman Catholicism. 

 48 
Orhan Pamuk
(Turkish Novelist and Recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature)
Orhan Pamuk
6
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: June 7, 1952
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Istanbul, Turkey

Orhan Pamuk is a Turkish novelist, screenwriter, and academic. He is the recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature. One of the best-known writers from Turkey, he has sold over 13 million books in 63 languages. He began writing in the 1970s and is the author of several novels and non-fiction works in both English and Turkish. 

 49 
Mahmud II
(Sultan of Ottoman Empire)
Mahmud II
5
Birthdate: July 20, 1785
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: İstanbul, Turkey
Died: July 1, 1839

Mahmud II reigned as the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1808 to 1839. His reign was marked by the extensive military, administrative, and fiscal reforms which he initiated. The reforms that he initiated eventually led to the formation of the modern Turkish Republic. He is also credited with rebuilding a strong naval force for the empire.

 50 
Abdülmecid I
(Sultan of the Ottoman Empire)
Abdülmecid I
2
Birthdate: April 23, 1823
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: İstanbul Eyaleti
Died: June 25, 1861

Abdülmecid I reigned as the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 2 July 1839 until his death on 25 June 1861. During his reign, Abdülmecid I tried to set up alliances with France and the United Kingdom. He also played an important role in the Crimean War against the Russians.

Be it founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey Mustafa Kemal Ataturk or religious leader Haci Bektas¸ Veli, founder of the Bektashi dervishes, Mevlana, author of the epic Mesnevi and founder of the Mevlevi dervishes or reverend literary figure Yunus Emre or Katip Celebi, traveller Evliya Celebi or journalist Sinasi, Turkey have been the address of many prolific people from various genres. But these are just the handful of the famous Turks including architect Sinan, miniaturist Abducelil Celebi Levni, painter Bedri Rahmi Eyuboglu or composers Ulvi Cemal Erkin. Interestingly, Turkish people have left an indelible mark on everything, right from history to culture, literature to science, politics to economics and so on. Know more about famous Turks and their role in the advancement of their nation with this section below.