20+ Turkish Last Names That Will Have You Booking A Trip To Istanbul

by Laura Grainger
Originally Published: 
Turkish last names

Last names connect us to our family’s past. Turkish last names are now prominent in the Middle East and even in the United States. However, Turkish citizens had no last names until the introduction of the Surname Law in 1934. All Turkish Citizens then had to take on an official surname. Most last names in Turkey now stem from male given names, as before the Surname Law many Turks used their father’s first name followed by the suffix ‘oğlu’ (‘son of’).

We’ve compiled a list of over 20 popular Turkish last names and their meanings. These names are patrilineal and some have roots in the Persian language. Take a look and see if you recognize any!

  1. Özdemir

Meaning: Pure iron.

  1. Aydın

Meaning: Enlightened or bright.

  1. Öztürk

Meaning: Pure or Core Turk.

  1. Aksoy

Meaning: White ancestry.

  1. Polat

Meaning: Steel.

  1. Kaya

Meaning: Rock.

  1. Yıldız

Meaning: Star.

  1. Erdoğan

Meaning: Brave warrior/fighter/hawk.

  1. Şahin

Meaning: Falcon.

  1. Demir

Meaning: Iron.


  1. Yıldırım/Şimşek

Meaning: Lightning.

  1. Yavuz

Meaning: Resolute or ferocious.

  1. Arslan

Meaning: Lion.

  1. Kaplan

Meaning: Tiger.

  1. Kılıç

Meaning: Sword.

  1. Köse

Meaning: Beardless.

  1. Bulut

Meaning: Cloud.

  1. Koc

Meaning: Little.

  1. Çetin

Meaning: Tough or robust.

  1. Doğan

Meaning: Hawk.

  1. Can

Meaning: Spirit, life or heart.

Related: 30+ Jewish Last Names That’ll Have You Toasting “L’Chaim”

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