International Girl Names: Turkish delights

From ancient to modern

By Woohyun Myungeun

The baby names of Turkey are a combination of the traditional and religious examples like Fatma, Ayshe and Hatice to the modern Alara, Kayra and Selin. Here are 20 stellar Turkish girl names representing that mix of the familiar and those that might be new to you.

Ada

Ada is an international name that is well used in Turkey. Ada means island in Turkish, making it a place/nature name. In other cultures it is defined as meaning noble.

Alara

Alara means red ornament and it is also a river name in Turkey. Alara was my favorite name for a long time and I proposed it for my younger sister but my parents didn’t go along with it.

Beril

Beril means generous and bountiful. It can also be a chemistry-related name via its similarity to the element Beryllium. Beril and Beryl have the same pronuniation

Cemre

Cemre means ember. In my culture, C is pronounced as j, not s or k. Cemre is also a week-long period in February when, according to folklore, three fireballs come from the heavens to warm the earth.

Deren

Deren means collector; you might say Deren is someone who collects people around her, bringing other people close to each other.

Ece

Ece means queen in modern Turkish but in old Turkish it was a name given to the oldest female in the family since she tended to have authority in the home.

Feza

Feza means universe, cosmos. and is a unisex name. It is also an astronomical term.

Gizem

Gizem means mystery and comes from the word Giz.

Hazal

Imagine a road covered with yellow, orange and red leaves during Autumn. That sort of beautiful scene is called Hazal in Turkish. With its similarity to Hazel, a name you’re familiar with, you won’t have problems with its pronunciation.

Iris

Iris is a name with which Nameberries are totally familiar, but while Western countries know it as a flower name, in Turkey it means ambassador of the Gods.

Janset

The Old Turkic alphabet didn’t have the letter J so we don’t have many J names, but this is one popular J name on our list. Janset is a Circassian name that means sunrise.

Kardelen

Kardelen is a flower that blooms while there is still snow on the ground and actually means snow digger—it’s a delicate flower that develops inside the cold snow and finally expose itself to warm sun.

Lâl

Lâl is a bright dark red colored gem known in English as the Garnet. The accent indicates that the a is meant to be pronounced softly.

Miray

Miray means someone who is born during the first months of the year. It is a combination of Mir and Ay, meaning leading to the moon.

Nehir

Nehir means river and is a very popular nature name. As you may have noticed, most Turkic names are nature names.

Pelin

Pelin is a spring flower with a pungent scent. And why is this name so popular? Because we love names that ends in Lynn/Lin as much as you do. There are also Aylin, Ceylin, Helin, Selin and Tülin.

Su

This two-letter name is the shortest on our list. Su simply means water. The reason that I include this name is because it happens to be my own name! Su makes a great middle name choice, but more modern and upscale families in Turkey use it as a first name without any middle.

Tuana

Tuana is probably an invented name, representing the first raindrop that fell from heaven. It was really popular when I was a child and there was an ocean of girls named Tuanas. That wild popularity died down, but that doesn’t make Tuana any less beautiful in my eyes.

Yaren

Yaren means friend or ally. I am guessing it has Arabic or Persian roots. but that doesn’t make Yaren less Turkish.

Zeynep

Another Arabic name, Zeynep means father’s ornament. It is officially the most popular girls’ name in Turkey and I see baby Zeyneps everywhere. In fact I recall meeting with three little girls with this name in the same day, making me feel like it was a huge mistake naming my sister Zeynep.

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