Famous Turkish Songs

Turkey is central point between Europe and Asia, and you can see that reflected in its music. Many of the most famous Turkish songs feature a mix of Western and Eastern sounds and elements, creating music that feels new and familiar to people elsewhere.

Here are some of the most famous Turkish songs of all time.

“Seviyorum Sevmiyorum” by Nil Karaibrahimgil

Song Year: 2009

Seviyorum Sevmiyorum is a somewhat unusual song about separation, emphasizing some of the confusion that can occur after separation. However, the focus of Nil’s lyrics is what she’s going to do with all of those feelings, and especially whether she’s going to let herself break after pushing someone else away.

On a secondary level, Nil devotes a few verses to talking about an ex’s new partner and how there’s a tendency to compare one’s previous lovers to their current one. However, Nil also points out that they’re not the same, and there’s no replacement for anyone in a relationship.

“Çakkıdı” by Kenan Doğulu

Song Year: 2006

Çakkıdı is a song about progressing relationships, with enough upbeat charm to at least tap your foot along to. In this song, Kenan discusses the desire to do better than other people, have an intimate relationship, and figure out some answers in a confusing world. The lyrics are just a little lewd, without going to the point of offensive.

“Her Gece” by Mirkelam

Song Year: 1995

Although the lyrics are relatively short, Mirkelam’s “Her Gece” is a somewhat mournful, introspective look at the past of a relationship, likely after a breakup. The lyrics mention the inability to forget things or throw away the relics of experiences gone by.

Although older than some other popular songs on this list, “Her Gece” remains a favorite thanks to its strong instrumentals and Mirkelam’s excellent vocal work.

“Kış Güneşi” by Tarkan

Song Year: 1994

Tarkan is one of Turkey’s most popular singers, and Kış Güneşi remains one of their top hits. The song is essentially a goodbye for a relationship, saying that there’s no turning back and begging won’t do anything to help.

Tarkan also uses an unusual motif, likening love to sunshine in winter. Although we usually think of the sun as a positive thing, the context in this song is that it’s both fleeting and doesn’t provide real warmth, driving home his point about relationships.

“Yaşandı Bitti” by Burak Kut

Song Year: 1995

Songs about love are always popular in Turkey, but not all of them are about happy events. “Yaşandı Bitti” is quite direct, talking about how a relationship can be over if someone discovers their partner cheating. They also mention not caring if someone else is telling the truth because they’re going to believe what they can see with their own eyes.

“Hercai” by Çelik

Song Year: 1995

“Hercai” is a fundamentally upbeat pop song where Çelik talks about waiting for his love to come. However, while he says that he doesn’t care when she doesn’t come, he makes repeated mentions of waiting for numerous nights. In other words, his actions are showing that words alone can be lies, which is an important thing for anyone to consider in life.

“Aya Benzer” by Mustafa Sandal

Song Year: 1997

Often known just as Musti, Mustafa Sandal is one of Turkey’s most influential pop singers of the last few decades. His hit song “Aya Benzer” is about what people can accomplish if they do things together.

Throughout the lyrics, Musti says that sometimes it’s okay to give up on the stars if you can have the moon instead, which he’s using as a metaphor for love and interpersonal relationships. The lyrics repeat several times, which makes this song easy to learn and follow along with even if you don’t speak Turkish.

“Aşk” by Sertap Erener

Song Year: 1999

“Aşk” (translating as “love”) is an exhortation in this song, where they’re asking for love to return and enter their lives. There are plenty of songs about finding love or feeling the pain of separation, but songs that specifically request its return are quite unusual.

Meanwhile, the instrumentals vary between a gentle melody and more up-tempo energy to match the lyrics. It’s not quite easy listening as you might suspect from the start of the song, but it’s a noticeable change from music that keeps a similar pace throughout.

“Acıtmıyor Sevdan” by Yaşar

Song Year: 2001

Yaşar’s 2001 hit talks about some of the complexities in relationships. The central element is how the world can be crazy as it spins, making it difficult to think and keep track of things. However, even within all of the chaos, love can endure without harm.

Yaşar has this song go on for a while as he repeats the lyrics, doing it more than you usually hear in songs. However, that reinforces the feeling he’s trying to convey, with things whirling around outside your control but not as bad as they can seem at first.

“Aman” by Eylem

Song Year: 2006

Aman is a song about moving on. In it, Eylem discusses her feeling that her life is her own and that it’s better to accept a new day and move on instead of being stuck in the past. Throughout the song, she argues that past things can be meaningless memories no matter how strong the feelings were.

However, the important thing to understand in this song is its emphasis on moving on. Letting go doesn’t mean staying in place, and Eylem underscores this with lyrics that change from focusing more on lost love in the first part to forgetting more in the second.

“… dan sonra” by Sıla

Song Year: 2007

Sıla cooperated with Kenan Doğulu for this pop hit whose fast, dense lyrics mean the song packs in much more than you’d expect from a tune of this length. This is an intensely personal song, focusing on improving after betrayal and not being answerable to the same people who hurt her.

Sıla also emphasizes her opinion that people who go back on their word are despicable, while others who are too confident in themselves should break down their pride. On top of that, she talks about how people can and should control their fates, continuing a theme of independence that runs through the whole song.

“Cumhuriyet” by Yalın

Song Year: 2007

“Cumhuriyet” is a song about finding answers. In it, Yalın asks questions about how a space in his heart feels and his uncertainty over what it truly means. The reality for many people is that emotions are deeply complicated and understanding them can take time.

“Git” by Candan Erçetin

Song Year: 2009

Git is fundamentally a farewell song, where Candan tells someone to leave before their presence continues hurting her. Emotions can be hard to control, and here, she’s saying that it can be better to end something quickly and early if you know it’s not going to work out. The alternative is something that can become all-consuming.

The focus on ending things quickly includes a range of specific points, including not leaving contact information or even a letter. Candan also has a few lines about shaming desirable things, including fortune itself if she’s reunited by chance.

“Kal” by Atiye

Song Year: 2009

Atiye collaborated with Teoman for this, framing the song as a conversation between two people. It’s a fundamentally optimistic tune, explaining how the listener can live their life, look forward to changes in the future, and pursue their dreams. This song is a good reminder for anyone who feels a little too stuck.

“Mikrop” by Serdar Ortaç

Song Year: 2010

Mikrop is another fundamentally encouraging song, discussing some of the circumstances of breakups and encouraging people to not trust everything they hear. Instead, Serdar suggests that it’s better to get rid of problems without holding back, and then find someone who genuinely deserves your time and affection.

“Superman” by Hadise

“Superman” by Hadise

Song Year: 2011

You don’t normally expect references to American comic book heroes in Turkish music, but Hadise worked that into this pop song about making a decision and parting from someone else. She says that even Superman couldn’t regain her respect after losing it so thoroughly, following that with commentary on making up her mind.

“Yakar Geçerim” by Ajda Pekkan

Song Year: 2011

Yakar Geçerim is a song full of advice for others, telling people that they shouldn’t drag things out if a relationship has become a problem. Here, Ajda is aggressive towards anyone who hurts people that care about them, with a distinctly blunt set of lyrics about crushing and burning such behavior.

This song is most valuable to anyone new to relationships. People with little experience often push too hard trying to make something work and only end up hurting themselves in the process. Being able to recognize something as captivity instead of love (as Ajda’s lyrics say) is a genuinely valuable trait.

“Atma” by Sinan Akçıl

Song Year: 2011

Featuring Hande Yener in this song, Sinan’s “Atma” is another song about breakups, which remains popular in many famous Turkish songs. The lyrics emphasize that after someone says a relationship is over, the other’s words can feel old and distant, and it’s better to relax and separate instead of forcing things back together.

Breakup songs are popular around the world, in part because they’re something almost everyone can relate to.

“Sepet” by Demet Akalın

Song Year: 2012

Sepet is a song about effort and acceptance. Here, Demet talks about both people knowing something is wrong and needing to accept it. However, she also talks about making repeated efforts to make relationships work, only to have them fail. At this point, she argues, separating makes more sense than more effort to try and make it work.

“Bi Güzellik Yapsana” by Murat Dalkılıç

Song Year: 2012

Murat’s lyrics are complex here, starting with an explanation about being ready to love but going on from there about an unwillingness to hurt their partner. From there, they talk about boldness and claim they lack it, but move immediately into asking their lover to spend the night with them.

Actions often mean more than words alone, so there’s more to this song than is immediately obvious.

“Yatcaz Kalkcaz” by Gülşen

Song Year: 2013

Yatcaz Kalkcaz is an upbeat song emphasizing Gülşen’s powerful emotions. Here, she sings about mood changes and how work can bring her down, but through sheer feeling, she can get through to the time she wants to spend.

“Naber” by Hande Yener

Song Year: 2014

Unlike many other famous Turkish songs, “Naber” steps away from love. Instead, the lyrics are essentially a greeting, explaining Hande’s surprise at seeing someone she hasn’t met in a while and adding in her worry at not having heard from them.

In the lyrics, she acknowledges that life can be lonely and difficult. However, there’s also an undertone that leaving things this way is probably a mistake, so people should check up on each other and communicate regularly.

“Miş Miş” by Simge

Song Year: 2015

Miş Miş is technically a song about relationships, but it can apply to many similar situations without much trouble. In it, Simge asks people to simply drop their attitudes and be open when explaining things. She says it’s not a trap, but everything can get zig-zagged.

Simge also makes regular references to slalom through the lyrics here. Most people don’t associate Turkey with snow, but the country has numerous snow-capped mountains where winter sports are practical. It’s a good reminder that most countries are more complex than the basic things others tend to know about them.

“İstersen” by Buray

Song Year: 2015

Buray’s 2015 hit is a song about the complexities of love. In it, Buray talks about finding lost emotions, accepting something you know is a lie, and even how suffering can be okay if it’s from someone you love.

That’s not a sentiment everyone will agree with, but it does speak to the way that emotions can be remarkably powerful things that defy all logic and reason. Audiences seem to agree, as this song has racked up more than a hundred and fifty million listens on YouTube alone, never mind other platforms.

“Janti” by Murat Boz

Song Year: 2016

Murat Boz is one of the hottest Turkish singers in recent years. “Janti” starts with an upbeat tune, talking about a woman who captivated him with an intense look. After this initial feeling, he makes an offer, asking the woman to have fun with him as he promises to serve her faithfully.

However, Murat added some complexity to the lyrics, including an easily-missed line about losing control of his expression. His desires can be messy and contradictory, and that’s what makes them stand out so much.

“Adeyyo” by Ece Seçkin

Song Year: 2016

Adeyyo is another song about betrayal, starting with a discussion about how Ece prefers to believe what she sees instead of what she hears. Immediately afterward, though, she mentions that she heard about what was happening behind her back, then announces her intention to move on instead of simply accepting what happened.

Adeyyo is relatively long for its amount of lyrics, with some bold instrumental choices that help drive Ece’s point home.

“Cevapsız Çınlama” by Emrah Karaduman

Song Year: 2016

“Cevapsız Çınlama” is a complex but impressively popular song, with Emrah bringing in Aleyna Tilki as a featured singer to support the song’s design. The lyrics focus on some of the complexities in relationships, including the difficulty of forgetting others and a willingness to let others think she was.

Interestingly, this song doesn’t identify either character as male or female, though it may be written with a gender signifier when someone translates it into English. That means that rather than specifically being about a woman’s experience, this song can be interpreted as applying to any sort of couple.

Best Turkish Songs, Final Thoughts

Turkey is a surprisingly powerful country in the world of music, with a range of hits over decades that have garnered hundreds of millions of views. The frequent musical complexity of famous Turkish songs makes them a great option for any music lover to listen to, whether or not you need help interpreting the lyrics.

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