20+ Popular Turkish Last Names And Their Meanings

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

February 11, 2020 Updated December 9, 2020

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.
  2. Aydın
    Meaning: Enlightened or bright.
  3. Öztürk
    Meaning: Pure or Core Turk.
  4. Aksoy
    Meaning: White ancestry.
  5. Polat
    Meaning: Steel.
  6. Kaya
    Meaning: Rock.
  7. Yıldız
    Meaning: Star.
  8. Erdoğan
    Meaning: Brave warrior/fighter/hawk.
  9. Şahin
    Meaning: Falcon.
  10. Demir
    Meaning: Iron.

    Turkish last names
  11. Yıldırım/Şimşek
    Meaning: Lightning.
  12. Yavuz
    Meaning: Resolute or ferocious.
  13. Arslan
    Meaning: Lion.
  14. Kaplan
    Meaning: Tiger.
  15. Kılıç
    Meaning: Sword.
  16. Köse
    Meaning: Beardless.
  17. Bulut
    Meaning: Cloud.
  18. Koc
    Meaning: Little.
  19. Çetin
    Meaning: Tough or robust.
  20. Doğan
    Meaning: Hawk.
  21. Can
    Meaning: Spirit, life or heart.

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