Burak Yilmaz's deflected first-half strike had looked set to inflict the World Cup semi-finalists' first-ever home reverse in a European Championship qualifier, and leave their automatic qualification hopes in tatters.
Defeat in Amsterdam would have been the third for Hiddink's side in their opening five matches of this campaign, but Huntelaar's late intervention saved them.
Without leading lights Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben and Kevin Strootman, the Netherlands failed to break down Fatih Terim's well-drilled visitors until the closing moments of the match.
Hiddink - who had said he would quit if his side failed to beat Latvia in their previous qualifier, a match they won 6-0 - must have been wondering how long his second spell in charge of the national team was likely to last when Huntelaar got a decisive touch on Wesley Sneijder's long-range shot in the 93rd minute.
For long periods on Saturday, even a point had looked beyond the Dutch.
The absence of their talismanic attacking trio did not prevent the hosts from enjoying almost exclusive possession in the opening 15 minutes, but it was Turkey who created the best early chance.
Caner Erkin showed a fine turn of pace to burst down the left and cut back for Yilmaz, only for the striker's placed effort to be blocked on the line by a retreating Bruno Martins Indi.
That chance knocked the Netherlands out of their rhythm and they failed to create an opening of note for the remainder of the first half, despite enjoying more than 70 per cent possession.
They were punished for that lack of cutting edge in the 37th minute, when Turkey took the lead.
Terim's side had been growing into the game before Volkan Sen pulled down Gokhan Tore's hanging cross and squared for Yilmaz. The striker shifted the ball out of his feet before unleashing a powerful drive from 15 yards, which beat Jasper Cillessen with the aid of a deflection.
The Netherlands went close to equalising before half-time, but Babacan did well to pluck Stefan de Vrij's flick-on off the line before Huntelaar was denied by a block in the area.
Hiddink introduced Luciano Narsingh at the break and the midfielder had a great chance to pull his team level just eight minutes after coming on.
He could only drag his shot wide from the edge of the box, though, with Babacan out of position having failed to get enough distance on a clearing punch.
Ibrahim Afellay forced a more convincing save from the goalkeeper after 60 minutes with a stinging half-volley from 25 yards.
That seemed to inject some life into the Netherlands' attack, and Sneijder almost marked his 112th cap - a record-equalling total for a Dutch outfield international - with a goal from a long-range free-kick, but his 30-yard drive finished just outside the post.
But just as the Netherlands appeared to be running out of ideas, launching high balls into the box, they finally got their breakthrough.
Sneijder was teed up 20 yards from goal and took aim from distance, with his shot taking a deflection off the head of Huntelaar before finding the net to rescue Hiddink's side.
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