Concept

Turkish Cypriots

Summary
Turkish Cypriots or Cypriot Turks (Kıbrıs Türkleri or Kıbrıslı Türkler; Tourkokýprioi) are ethnic Turks originating from Cyprus. Following the Ottoman conquest of the island in 1571, about 30,000 Turkish settlers were given land once they arrived in Cyprus. Additionally, many of the island's local Christians converted to Islam during the early years of Ottoman rule. Nonetheless, the influx of mainly Muslim settlers to Cyprus continued intermittently until the end of the Ottoman period. Today, while Northern Cyprus is home to a significant part of the Turkish Cypriot population, the majority of Turkish Cypriots live abroad, forming the Turkish Cypriot diaspora. This diaspora came into existence after the Ottoman Empire transferred the control of the island to the British Empire, as many Turkish Cypriots emigrated primarily to Turkey and the United Kingdom for political and economic reasons. Standard Turkish is the official language of Northern Cyprus. The vernacular spoken by Turkish Cypriots is Cypriot Turkish, which has been influenced by Cypriot Greek as well as English. Although there was no settled Muslim population in Cyprus prior to the Ottoman conquest of 1570–71, some Ottoman Turks were captured and carried off as prisoners to Cyprus in the year 1400 during Cypriot raids in the Asiatic and Egyptian coasts. Some of these captives accepted or were forced to convert to Christianity and were baptized; however, there were also some Turkish slaves who remained unbaptized. By 1425, some of these slaves helped the Mamluke army to gain access to Limassol Castle. Despite the release of some of the captives, after the payment of ransoms, most of the baptized Turks continued to remain on the island. The medieval Cypriot historian Leontios Machairas recalled that the baptized Turks were not permitted to leave Nicosia when the Mamlukes approached the city after the battle of Khirokitia in 1426. According to Professor Charles Fraser Beckingham, "there must therefore have been some Cypriots, at least nominally Christian, who were of Turkish, Arab, or Egyptian origin.
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