We describe a system for recognizing unconstrained Turkish handwritten text. Turkish has agglutinative morphology and theoretically an infinite number of words that can be generated by adding more suffixes to the word. This makes lexicon-based recognition approaches, where the most likely word is selected among all the alternatives in a lexicon, unsuitable for Turkish. We describe our approach to the problem using a Turkish prefix recognizer. First results of the system demonstrates the promise of this approach, with top-10 word recognition rate of about 40% for a small test data of mixed handprint and cursive writing. The lexicon-based approach with a 17,000 word-lexicon (with test words added) achieves 56% top-10 word recognition rate.© (2003) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.