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A Turkish name consists of an ad (given name; plural adlar) and a soyadı (surname). Turkish names exist in a "full name" format. While there is only one soyadı (surname) in the full name, there may be more than one ad (given name). The soyadı is written as the last element of the full name, after all given names (except that official documents often use the format "Soyadı, Ad Ad").
At least one name, often two, rarely more, are given to a person just after he or she is born. Most names are gender-specific (Oğuz strictly for males, Tuğçe only for females) but many modern given names (Deniz, "Sea"; Ülkü, "Ideal" – the noun) are meaningful and are given to newborns of either sex.
Among the common examples of the many unisex names in Turkey include, Aytaç, Deniz, Derya, Evren, Evrim, Özgür, and Yücel. And unlike English unisex names, most Turkish unisex names have been traditionally used for both genders. However some unisex names are used more for one gender (for example, Derya is used more for girls whereas Özgür is used more for boys). Names are given to babies by their parents and then registered in "The Central Civil Registration System" (MERNIS) while preparing the baby's identity document at the birth registration office of the district's governorship.
Turkish names are often words which have specific meanings in the Turkish language. These names are almost always pure Turkish names that derive from Turkish words. These names may either be modern names or be derived from Turkic mythology.
Most Turkish names can easily be differentiated from others, except those of other Turkic nations particularly Azerbaijan, especially if they are of pure Turkic origin. The Law on the Adoption and Implementation of the Turkish Alphabet of 1928, in force as decreed by article 174 of the Constitution of Turkey, prescribes that only Turkish letters may be used on birth certificates. As the Turkish alphabet has no Q, W or X, many common Kurdish names cannot be officially given unless they are transliterated.
Giving a second name in (romanized) Arabic to signify their religion is distinguishable in Turkey. Ideological concerns of the families also affect naming behaviour. Those Arabic names are the names of important figures in the religion of Islam such as Muhammed, and Ali. Many of these names are Turkified i.e. "Mehmet" (derived from Muhammed).
Until the introduction of the Law on Family Names in 1934, as part of Atatürk's Reforms, most Muslim Turks had no surname. The law required all citizens of Turkey to adopt an official surname. Before that, male Turks used their father's name followed by -oğlu ("son of"), or a nickname of the family, before their given name (e.g. Mustafa-oğlu Mehmet, Köselerin Hasan) before the modern era. Turks descended from a ruling house used -zade ("descendant in the male line") (e.g. Sami Paşazade Mehmet Bey).
The surname (soyadı, literally "lineage name" or "family name") is an ancestry-based name following a person's given names, used for addressing people or the family. The surname (soyadı) is a single word according to Turkish law. It is not gender-specific and has no gender-dependent modifications. The soyadı is neither patronymic nor matronymic. Surnames in Turkey are patrilineal: they pass in the male line from father to his legal children without any change in form. Turkey has abolished all notions of nobility; thus, there is no noble form or type of surname.
In contemporary Turkish Civil Law, when a man and woman marry, the wife takes her (new) husband's surname, but if she wants, she may continue to use her maiden name in front of her new surname, which is the official family name. When they divorce, the woman returns to her pre-marriage surname. The court may grant a woman the right to keep their ex-husband's surname (or her double surname) after divorcing; the court's decision must consider both the man's and the woman's situations. A woman may have only two surnames due to marriage. Thus, a woman who continues to use double surname after divorcing, cannot take a third surname by marrying again. The child of a family takes the "family name", which is his or her father's surname. A child with no father takes their mother's surname.
A selection of the most common male given names found in Turkey, are as follows:
A selection of the most common female given names found in Turkey, are as follows:
A selection of the most common surnames found in Turkey, are as follows: