Friday, January 20, 2012

Focus on Afro-Turks

Edited by Azizi Powell
[Update: November 22, 2012]

This post provides general information about Afro-Turks, and features one video overview of Afro-Turks, and two videos of Afro-Turks vocalists Melis Sökmen & Mansur Ark.

The content of this post is presented for historical, folkloric, informational, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

Hat tip to for posting this video and alerting me to the fact that there are people of African descent in Turkey.

I'm no longer going to be surprised to learn that there are people of African descent everywhere in the world.

All copyrights remain with their owners.
Afro-Turks, African Turks, or Turkish Africans are people of African descent in Turkey. "Afro-Turk" is a neologism; they have been colloquially named as Arap (Arab) or zenci in Turkish, and are now also referred to as Afrika kökenli Türkler (Turks with African roots).

Beginning several centuries ago, a number of Africans, usually via Zanzibar and from places like Niger, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Kenya and Sudan came to the Ottoman Empire settled by the Dalaman, Menderes and Gediz valleys, Manavgat, and Çukurova...
Some came from Crete following the population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1923. They settled on the Aegean coast, mainly around İzmir. Afro-Turks in Ayvalık declare that their ancestors from Crete spoke Greek when they came to Turkey and learned Turkish later.

Ulcinj in Montenegro had its own black community – descendent of the Ottoman slave trade that had flourished there. As a consequence of the slave trade and privateer activity, a considerable number of Ulcinj inhabitants until 1878 were black.[6] The Ottoman Army counted thousands of Black African soldiers in its ranks. The army sent to Balkans during the Austro-Turkish War of 1716–18 included 24,000 men from Africa...
(These videos are posted in no particular order.)

Video #1: Face of Afro-Turkish people

Uploaded by DaBigSun on Nov 25, 2011

Example #2: Melis Sökmen - Özlediğim (1992)

danyaldenyo, Uploaded on May 25, 2011
albüm: Halis Melis
doksanlar (90lar) türkçe pop
Melis Sökmen is included on the Wikipedia page about Afro-Turk's list of notable Afro-Turks as "actress, musician (Guinean grandmother)"
Update November 26, 2012:
Thanks to danyaldenyo for sharing the following information about this song on that YouTube video's viewer comment thread:
"..."özlediğim" means "the one that i miss". Song is about her longing for past/childhood and most likely about her mother."

Video #3: Melis Sokmen_Gemiler_NARDIS Live

Uploaded on Mar 1, 2008

Nardis Jazz Club

Video #4: Mansur Ark - Maalesef

Uploaded by ReforceSlim on Mar 23, 2008

Inadi Birak
Mansur Ark is included on the Wikipedia page about Afro-Turk's list of notable Afro-Turks as "musician".

Video #5: Gazla Gitsin (Mansur Ark)

Uploaded on Feb 4, 2010

Gazla Gitsin (2004) - SEYHAN MÜZİK PROD.

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  1. Nice post Azizi, thanks for the link!

  2. You're welcome Afro-Europe.

    I appreciate your blog and hope more people check it out.