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


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


Gizem means mystery and comes from the word Giz.


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 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.


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


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.


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


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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8 Responses to “International Girl Names: Turkish delights”

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elifsu Says:

December 28th, 2016 at 3:38 am

Oh god my language mistakes…. I am sorry for them, but you know my first language is Turkish not English lol. By Woohyun Myungeun made me laugh because obviously it is not my own name and just there because I am a huge Kpop fan I use that name. I hope you like the names Nameberry 🙂

jalila13 Says:

December 28th, 2016 at 3:21 pm

Loved the post Elifsu! A lot of really interesting and beautiful names. I especially like Zeynep, guess that’s why it’s so popular ;). I can’t say I really noticed any mistakes, so you’re good with that. Especially with English not being your first language. Great job!

linda Says:

December 28th, 2016 at 4:49 pm

Would you like to replace it with your real name?

Ruanne Says:

December 29th, 2016 at 12:02 am

Janset and Miray are both lovely. I like Nehir as well. 🙂

Megan_Janaya Says:

December 29th, 2016 at 10:40 am

Ada is absolutely beautiful. It’s definitely my favourite out of the list.

Alara is quite pretty and I do like the meaning.

Iris, Hazal, Miray & Su are nice as well.

tfzolghadr Says:

December 30th, 2016 at 9:45 am

Thank you soooo much for this post! My husband and I have been struggling to find any girl’s names we both like. When I brought up Alara, he said “Oh, I forgot about that one! I love it so much I hope we have another girl just so we can use it!” He’s never had such a strongly positive reaction to a name before. THANK YOU!
A question about Alara… DH is Azeri from Iran, and he pronounces Alara more like Elara (with an eh sound, like in Edmund or ever or Ezra). Is this the same pronunciation as in Turkey?

Haids1987 Says:

January 10th, 2017 at 10:30 am

I love the international name lists; it is so amazing to see what traditions and customs other cultures follow in naming their children. Alara is just beautiful, I can see why you wanted to give it to your sister. 🙂 And as soon as I read Zeynep I was like “How pretty!” Then I read that it is the most popular name right now and I’m not at all surprised.

Great list! Thank you for compiling it.

penelope_lynson Says:

July 8th, 2019 at 3:20 am

Benim favorim her zaman Tuna, kız ya da erkek için 🙂

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