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
(Sultan of the Ottoman Empire (1520-1566))
Suleiman The Magnificent
50
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
32
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.” 
Mehmed II
7
Birthdate: March 30, 1432
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Edirne, Rumelia Eyalet, Ottoman Sultanate
Died: May 3, 1481
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 4 
Rumi
(Persian Poet)
Rumi
38
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 
Ertuğrul
(Osman I's father)
Ertuğrul
8
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthplace: Turkey
Died: 1280 AD
 6 
Osman I
(Political Leader)
Osman I
20
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.

 7 
Hande Erçel
(Actress)
Hande Erçel
29
Birthdate: November 24, 1993
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bandirma, Balikesir, Turkey
 8 
Salt Bae
(Restaurateur)
Salt Bae
30
Listed In: Food Experts
Birthdate: August 9, 1983
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Erzurum, Turkey
 9 
Hayreddin Barbarossa
(Ottoman Navy Admiral )
Hayreddin Barbarossa
8
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.
 10 
Ahmed I
(Ottoman Emperor)
Ahmed I
9
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 
Mahmud of Ghazni
(Sultan of the Ghaznavid Empire (998-1030))
Mahmud of Ghazni
24
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. 

 12 
Uğur Şahin
(He is the CEO of BioNTech, which developed one of the major vaccines against COVID-19)
Uğur Şahin
8
Listed In: Business People
Birthdate: September 19, 1965
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: İskenderun, Hatay Province, Turkey
 13 
Burak Ozcivit
(Film actor)
Burak Ozcivit
7
Listed In: Fashion
Birthdate: December 24, 1984
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Istanbul, Turkey
 14 
Selim I
(ottoman Sultan)
Selim I
6
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.

 15 
Murad IV
(Ottoman Sultan)
Murad IV
6
Birthdate: July 26, 1612
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Constantinople, Ottoman Empire
Died: February 8, 1640

Murad IV, who ruled as the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1623 to 1640, was infamous for his cruelty. He took over the throne at 11 and subsequently came to be known for his exploits in the Ottoman–Safavid War, which changed the map of the Caucasus.

 16 
Kivanc Tatlitug
(Film actor)
Kivanc Tatlitug
1
Birthdate: October 27, 1983
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Adana, Turkey
Engin Altan Duzyatan
4
Birthdate: July 26, 1979
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Karşıyaka, İzmir Province İzmir, Turkey
 18 
Ibn Taymiyyah
(Scholar)
Ibn Taymiyyah
3
Birthdate: January 22, 1263
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Harran, Turkey
Died: September 26, 1328
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 19 
Arda Turan
(Footballer)
Arda Turan
12
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: January 30, 1987
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Istanbul
 20 
Caracalla
(Roman emperor)
Caracalla
3
Birthdate: April 4, 0188
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lugdunum
Died: April 8, 0217
 21 
Esra Bilgiç
(Actress)
Esra Bilgiç
9
Birthdate: October 14, 1992
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ankara, Turkey
 22 
Tuba Büyüküstün
11
Birthdate: July 5, 1982
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Istanbul, Turkey
 23 
Antinous
(Companion of Hadrian)
Antinous
5
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: 0111 AD
Birthplace: Bolu, Turkey
Died: October 30, 0130

Blessed with beguiling beauty, Antinous was quick to catch Roman emperor Hadrian’s attention, who took him as his lover. Antinous died shortly before turning 20, with some calling it a suicide and others suggesting it was a sacrifice. He was deified by Hadrian, who named a city in his honor.

 24 
Hurrem Sultan
6
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Birthdate: 1502 AD
Birthplace: Rohatyn, Ukraine
Died: April 15, 1558
 25 
Selim II
(Sultan of the Ottoman Empire)
Selim II
10
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.

 26 
Hazal Kaya
(Actress)
Hazal Kaya
5
Birthdate: October 1, 1990
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Istanbul, Turkey
 27 
Beren Saat
(Turkish Actress Known for Her Role as ‘Bihter Yoreoglu Ziyagil’ in the TV Series ‘Aşk-ı Memnu’)
Beren Saat
7
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.

 28 
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.
 29 
Çağatay Ulusoy
8
Listed In: Fashion
Birthdate: September 23, 1990
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bakırköy, İstanbul, Turkey
 30 
Ali Kemal
(Journalist)
Ali Kemal
3
Birthdate: September 7, 1867
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Fatih, Turkey
Died: November 6, 1922
 31 
Neslihan Atagül
3
Birthdate: August 20, 1992
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Istanbul, Turkey
 32 
Barıs Arduc
(Turkish Actor Best Known for His Role as ‘Tekin Atan’ in the TV Series ‘Racon: Ailem İçin’)
Barıs Arduc
10
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.

 33 
Mehmed III
(Sultan)
Mehmed III
4
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: May 26, 1566
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Manisa
Died: December 22, 1603
 34 
Kösem Sultan
(Ottoman sultana)
Kösem Sultan
1
Birthdate: 1589 AD
Birthplace: Tinos, Republic of Venice (currently the territory of Greece)
Died: September 2, 1651
 35 
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.

Ibrahim of the Ottoman Empire
0
Birthdate: November 4, 1615
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: İstanbul, Turkey
Died: August 18, 1648
 37 
Abdul Hamid II
11
Birthdate: September 21, 1842
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Constantinople, Constantinople Vilayet, Ottoman Empire
Died: February 10, 1918
 38 
Emre Mor
(Footballer winger or a forward)
Emre Mor
3
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: July 24, 1997
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brønshøj, Copenhagen, Denmark
 39 
Meryem Uzerli
(Turkish Actress Known for Her Role as 'Hürrem Sultan’ in the TV Series 'Muhteşem Yüzyl’)
Meryem Uzerli
6
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.

 40 
Cedi Osman
(Basketball player)
Cedi Osman
4
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: April 8, 1995
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ohrid, North Macedonia Macedonia
 41 
Mehmed IV
(Sultan)
Mehmed IV
3
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: January 2, 1642
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Istanbul
Died: January 6, 1693
 42 
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.

 43 
Murad II
(Ottoman Sultan)
Murad II
1
Birthdate: 1404
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Amasya
Died: February 3, 1451
 44 
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.

 45 
Polycarp
(Martyr)
Polycarp
4
Birthdate: 0069 AD
Birthplace: Smyrna, Turkey
Died: February 23, 0155

Polycarp was a Christian bishop of Smyrna. According to some sources,  he had been a disciple of John the Apostle, one of Jesus’ disciples. Along with Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch, he is regarded as one of three chief Apostolic Fathers. He died a martyr, according to the Martyrdom of Polycarp, and is considered a saint.

 46 
Elçin Sangu
(Turkish Actress Best Known for Her Role in the TV Series 'Kiralık Aşk')
Elçin Sangu
8
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.

 47 
Fahriye Evcen
(Actress)
Fahriye Evcen
6
Birthdate: June 4, 1986
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Solingen, Germany
 48 
Burak Yılmaz
(Football)
Burak Yılmaz
3
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: July 15, 1985
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Antalya, Turkey
 49 
Osman II
(Sultan)
Osman II
2
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: November 3, 1604
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Istanbul
Died: May 20, 1622
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. 

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.