Many historical and new masonry minarets were damaged or collapsed during the 1999 earthquakes in Kocaeli and Duzce, Turkey. These and other recent earthquakes not only caused loss of property but also loss of many lives. The structural failures and resulting casualties have led to discussion and investigation of potential reasons for poor seismic performance of masonry minarets. The primary goal of this study is to review the construction practices for historical and new masonry minarets in Turkey and to discuss the seismic damage observed in those structures. The architectural and structural properties of contemporary and historical Ottoman minarets and their components are presented. For example, a very old special technique for reinforcing and linking adjacent stone blocks with iron pieces in the vertical and horizontal directions is discussed. The structural damage examples are used to better understand the reasons for the observed failure mechanisms. It is concluded that the transition region between the square minaret boot and cylindrical body was most vulnerable to damage, and the iron clamps used in historical minarets effectively prevented structural damage.