The Surname Law of the Republic of Turkey was adopted on June 21, 1934. The law required all citizens of Turkey to adopt the use of surnames. Turkey's Christian and Jewish citizens were already using surnames, but Muslims generally did not use Western-style surnames. The Surname Law of 1934 aimed to change this.
Muslims in the Ottoman Empire carried titles such as "Pasha", "Hoca", "Bey", "Hanım", "Efendi", etc. These titles either defined their formal profession (such as Pasha, Hoca, etc.) or their informal status within the society (such as Bey, Hanım, Efendi, etc.). Ottoman prime ministers (Sadrazam/Vezir-î Azam or Grand Vizier), ministers (Nazır/Vezir or Vizier) and other high-ranking civil servants also carried the title Pasha. Retired generals/admirals or high-ranking civil servants continued to carry this title in civilian life. A "Pasha" did not become a "Bey" after retiring from active military or political service.
The surname law also forbid certain surnames that contained connontations of foreign cultures, nations, tribes, and religions. As a result, many ethnic Armenians, Greeks, and Kurds were forced to adopt last names of a more Turkish rendition.