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Stoyan Shivarov (stoyan.shivarov (at) ottomanist.info)  Oriental Collections, Bulgarian National Library

Stoyan Shivarov (stoyan.shivarov (at) ottomanist.info)  Oriental Collections, Bulgarian National Library

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Published by Üntaç Güner
Stoyan Shivarov (stoyan.shivarov (at) ottomanist.info) Oriental Collections, Bulgarian National Library
Stoyan Shivarov (stoyan.shivarov (at) ottomanist.info) Oriental Collections, Bulgarian National Library

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Published by: Üntaç Güner on Mar 19, 2013
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Migrations of Muslims from present-day Bulgaria towards the lands still inpossession of Ottoman Empire started during the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1878.It did not cease after that peace treaty, but nevertheless the newly emergedPrincipality of Bulgaria managed to offer some security to all its subjects and the vastmajority of Muslims choose to stay in their homeland. Followed years of relativepeaceful, albeit at times quite tense, coexistence between the two states, which eventhe declaration of Bulgarian independence in 1908, did not destroy. Then with theBalkan wars of 1912-13 and the sharp increase of animosity towards minorities inboth countries, many were again forced to migrate, fearing their own security. As aresult the Christian Bulgarian population in Ottoman state virtually ceased to existand in Bulgaria, especially in the newly conquered territories, many Muslimsettlements were partially or completely abandoned and erased from the map.
In both countries the hostility towards the
internal enemies
 was based mostly onconfessional criteria and not that much on ethnicity. Here I will try to compare thehistorical fate and the consequent migrations of two communities, completely isolated and marginalized not only by the majority, but even by their coreligionists.These are the Pomaks of the Rhodope Mountains and the Bulgarians in the villagesin North Western Anatolia1.
The only significant contact these communities had witheach other was during a short cohabitation in the several of the
 village inNorth Western Anatolia. Though drawing information from various sources, thispaper is mainly based on the data collected during two consecutive field researchexpeditions in villages of North Western Anatolia, conducted in 2009 and 2010.2
The Bulgarians in AnatoliaEmigration of Muslims from Bulgaria to the
 villages in North
Stoyan Shivarov (stoyan.shivarov (at)ottomanist.info)
Oriental Collections, Bulgarian National Library 
Page 1/12
Bulgarians have always been an important ethnic component in the OttomanEmpire. Even after the creation of the modern Bulgarian state they continued to beso in Thrace and Macedonia regions. There were migrations to this new Balkan stateafter 1878, but the majority chose not to alter their place of residence and insteadhoped that these regions will soon be united. While Bulgarians in Thrace andMacedonia had never lost contact with their compatriots the so called AnatolianBulgarians were completely cut off from their original community. As their numbers were not great they were (and still are) also out of the interest of researchers,publications about their historical faith or ethnographic features are scarce at bestand are based almost entirely on secondary sources that offer only the Bulgarianperspective. Bulgarian historiography mentions around 20 predominantly Bulgariansettlements, but till the research expedition in 2009, with few exceptions, their exactlocation and / or current names were unknown. Curiously enough easily accessibleearly 20
century cartographic data has never been utilized.3
Though there is stillsome doubt about a couple of minor and somewhat temporary (
) settlementsand about villages considered to be Bulgarian, but apparently became Graecized atsome point, we were able to produce an accurate map of the Bulgarian settlements inNorth Western Anatolia.Slavic speaking Christian Bulgarians in Anatolia were not from the autochthonousinhabitants of the region. There are no primary sources that could answer how and when exactly they crossed the Straits and founded their settlements. The earliest veritable document that could give us some data on this topic is a plea to thegovernor of the Bulgarian port city of Varna from 1879.4
Three representatives fromthe villages of Bayramiç, Paun köy (
and Koca bunar
explaining that while they do not know when exactly their ancestors had settled in Asia Minor most probably this happened “100-120 years ago” seeking shelter from both constant harassment and overtaxation of Ottoman authorities and attacks by 
Emigration of Muslims from Bulgaria to the
 villages in North
Stoyan Shivarov (stoyan.shivarov (at)ottomanist.info)
Oriental Collections, Bulgarian National Library 
Page 2/12
 bandits. They state that are representing more than 1000 families from 12“completely Bulgarianvillages, with their inhabitants originally from Thrace,though do not mention any particular villages. Currently they experience difficultiesand constant harassment, mainly from Circassians6,
and are requesting help fromthe authorities of the Principality of Bulgaria for them to evacuate. Interesting fact isthat all three representatives were illiterate, although they mention that there areGreek schools in most of their villages.7
Bulgarian government did not pay that muchattention to this plea and full scale migration did not happen.The only information for the history of the Bulgarians settlements in North Western Anatolia prior 1878 is from foreign travellers that were keeping logs during their
settlements were outside the main roads and did not attract any attention. The firstpublished information about the presence of Bulgarians in this part of OttomanEmpire was an account of an Italian Salvatori, who in 1808 en route to Persia,
Other travellers like Tancoigne, Leake,Keppel, Vronchenko (
) also gave short, sometimes contradictory,
 village discovered by the end of the 19th century it was completely Graecized and
the Slavic character of their speech, heavily influenced by both Turkish and Greek.Not that much affected by the Balkan wars they stayed on Anatolian soil till 1921. InGreece they are known as
.9 As an exception we could point out the villages of Çataltepe, Urumçe (Nusretiye),Çeltik and Stengel köy (Iskenderköy) in Çanakkale province, where the data arecredible. These had been settled by Bulgarians from Ivaylovgrad (Ortaköy) regionaround 1850. Iskenderköy even later around 1875 with people from Kostur (Kesriye).
Emigration of Muslims from Bulgaria to the
 villages in North
Stoyan Shivarov (stoyan.shivarov (at)ottomanist.info)
Oriental Collections, Bulgarian National Library 
Page 3/12

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