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Nationalities Papers, Vol. 28, No.

1, 2000
TURKS AND TATARS IN BULGARIA AND THE
BALKANS
Ali Eminov
The Koran and the Bible are God’s grace
Which is what all four holy Books embrace;
To scorn and segregate this or that race
Would be the darkest stains on one’s face.
As)ik Veysel
Nationalist movements everywhere aim to create “territorially bounded political units
(
states
)
out of homogeneous cultural communities
(
nations
)
.”
1
Unfortunately, ethnic,
linguistic, religious, political, and personal identities rarely coincide with geograph-
ical boundaries that enclose nation states. There are always groups within nation
states whose identities are different from the majority. The leaders of nation states
often see the presence of multiple ethnic communities within a single nation state as
a sign of tension and instability, a threat to the integrity and indeed the very survival
of a nation state. Consequently, they seek ways to culturally homogenize the nation
so that the state and the nation come to coincide with one another.
Attempts at cultural homogenization can take various forms: a state can try to
maintain the illusion of cultural homogeneity by denying the existence of minorities
on its territory; it can recognize the existence of minorities, grant them certain rights,
and try to integrate them into society; it can try to assimilate minorities into the
majority culture; or it can try to get rid of minority populations through population
exchanges, expulsion, or, in extreme cases, genocide. One or more of these strategies
have been used by all Balkan states in dealing with their minority populations.
In this article I describe and evaluate the historical experience of Turks in
Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, and Romania and Tatars in Bulgarian and Romanian
Dobruca.
2
In all Balkan countries, but especially in Bulgaria and Greece, the Turks
have been imagined as the alien Other: Muslim, barbaric, cruel, and without history
while the Self
(
Bulgarian, Greek, etc.
)
is imagined as Christian, civilized, and with
a long and rich historical past. The construction of identities as oppositional
structures is based mostly on subjective experience of difference and not on any
objective criteria. Changes in subjective experience of difference result in changes in
one’s perception of the Other. Identity construction serves to maintain boundaries
between different groups and the extent of change in identities depends to a great
extent on how rigid or permeable these boundaries are. This means that identities are
socially constructed and historically contingent.
ISSN 0090-5992 print; 1465-3923 online/00/010129-36
Ó
2000 Association for the Study of Nationalities
A. EMINOV
Historical Background
The present ethnic and religious mosaic in the Balkans is the product of millennia
of migratory invasions. The central location of the Balkans as a gateway between
Europe, Asia, and Africa and the existence of a well-developed road system
for carrying military, administrative, commercial, and cultural trafc since
ancient times facilitated such movements. Like other powers before them, the
Ottoman Turks conquered the Balkans by securing and controlling these important
arteries.
Turkic groups that have passed through or settled in Bulgaria and the
Balkans include the Huns, Avars, Bulgars, Pechenegs, Oguz, Uz, Cumans, Tatars,
Turcomans, and Turks, among others. As Poulton observes, most of these groups
had little long-term impact upon the cultural, religious, and political landscape of
Bulgaria and the Balkans. They either returned to their original homelands or
were gradually assimilated into local populations, contributing to the formation
of the three main linguistic branches of Balkan Islam: the Turkish, Albanian, and
Slavic speaking concentrations.
3
Of all the Turkic groups that have passed
through or settled in Bulgaria and the Balkans, the Turks were the major players in
reshaping the ethnic, religious, and politico-economic landscape of Bulgaria and the
Balkans.
The conquest of the Balkans by the Ottoman Turks set in motion important
population movements which modied the ethnic and religious composition of the
conquered territories.
4
This demographic restructuring was accomplished through
Ottoman colonization of strategic areas of the Balkans with Turkish-speaking settlers
from Asia Minor and Anatolia.
The greatest impact of Ottoman Turkish colonization was felt in the urban centers.
Many towns in Bulgaria and the Balkans became major centers for Turkish control
and administration, with most Christians gradually withdrawing to the hinterlands.
5
Many urban centers in the southern Balkans achieved Muslim majorities or had
sizeable Muslim minorities by early sixteenth century.
6
The problem of explaining the roots of a signicant Muslim presence in the
Balkans within a century and a half of the Ottoman conquest remains unresolved.
Historians in Turkey and other Balkan countries frame the problem of origins quite
differently. Turkish historians generally emphasize the colonization of strategic areas
of Bulgaria and the Balkans by Turks from Asia Minor and Anatolia as the most
important source of Muslims in the Balkans. To them Ottoman success in the
Balkans was made possible by migrations, voluntary and forced, of masses of Turks
into the Balkans
(
Barkan’s thesis
)
. As Todorova notes, “In this interpretation the
conscious and planned colonization of the Balkans on the part of the Sultan’s
government held a central place.” Balkan historians, on the other hand, have
attempted “to refute, or rather relativize, the essential signicance of Ottoman
colonization in explaining both the success of the Ottoman conquest, and the
130
TURKS AND TATARS
signicant size of the Muslim population by the last centuries of Ottoman rule. This
attempt has centered on the process of conversions to Islam as chiey responsible for
the growth of the Muslim population in the Balkans.”
7
Even though each interpret-
ation is problematic, both have been used by various Balkan countries for political
purposes, “to prove the ‘blood kinship’ of the contested groups to the larger nations
in the area,” to justify anti-Muslim or anti-Turkish policies in a number of Balkan
countries on the one hand and to lay “claim to a direct ethnic connection” and as “a
justication for and, at times, overactive, even aggressive, policy on the part of
different political circles in Turkey” on the other.
8
Although the settlement of Turks from Asia Minor and Anatolia and from other
parts of the Empire continued throughout the Ottoman period, a demographic
balance between Christians and Muslims was achieved by the early sixteenth
century. This demographic balance began to be reversed in the aftermath of the
Russo-Turkish war of 1877–1878. During and following the war, large numbers of
Turks and other Muslims
(
most of the Tatars and almost all the Circassians
)
left the
Balkans with the retreating Ottoman armies, initially to areas in the southern Balkans
still under Ottoman control, and later to Turkey. As a result of massive emigration
of Turks and other Muslims from Bulgaria and the Balkans there was a precipitous
decline in the proportion of Muslims, especially in urban areas, and a corresponding
increase in the proportion of Bulgarian Orthodox, both in absolute numbers and in
percentages.
9
Intermittent emigration of Turks and other Muslims from Bulgaria and
other Balkan countries to Turkey has further depleted their numbers. Nevertheless,
signicant Turkish and other Muslim communities remain in Bulgaria, Macedonia,
northeastern Greece, and Romanian Dobruca.
Before presenting a more detailed discussion of Turks and Tatars in different
Balkan countries an important caveat is in order. Ofcial gures provided by
most Balkan countries about the size of minority populations are suspect. Manipu-
lation of demographic statistics to strengthen ethnic claims to disputed territories
has a long history in the Balkans. As King notes, “One of the most valid claims
… a nation-state can make to a contested territory is that the inhabitants of the
area are of the same nationality as the majority of the state making the claim.
Such governments have not hesitated to alter census data in order to ‘prove’
their position.”
10
The manipulation of census statistics about the ethnic composition
of Macedonia by Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria, and Turkey to strengthen their ethnic
claims to the region early in the twentieth century is a case in point.
11
Similarly,
census gures within Balkan states often combine different nationalities with the
dominant nationality in order to give the impression of high degree of ethnic
homogeneity and “to create a staatsvolk.”
12
The ofcial position of the Bulgarian
government between 1984 and 1989 that all citizens of Bulgaria, including those of
Turkish descent, were Bulgarians and the continued insistence of the Greek govern-
ment that there are no ethnic minorities in Greece but only a Muslim minority are
examples of this.
131
A. EMINOV
The Settlement of Tatars in Dobruca
The earliest movement of Tatars to Dobruca coincided with the crumbling of the
Empire of the Golden Horde during the fourteenth century. Sporadically over the
next several centuries groups of Tatars from Russia, the Crimea, and the Caucasus
would continue to arrive and settle in Dobruca. The Crimean War
(
1853–1856
)
precipitated a general exodus of Tatars from the Crimea and northern Caucasus,
many of whom settled in Dobruca.
The wars between the Ottomans and the Russians from 1768 to 1829 were
largely fought in Dobruca. These wars were disastrous for the agricultural economy
and the population of the area. By the end of these wars large areas of Dobruca
became depopulated. In the 1850s the Ottoman government felt a need to advertise
in European newspapers for potential immigrants to settle in Dobruca, “promising
them land for agriculture, tax exemptions, and a variety of religious and cultural
incentives.”
13
The response to these appeals came from an unexpected quarter,
Crimea.
Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula in the late eighteenth century led to
deterioration of the situation of Crimean Tatars. The Russians, who saw the Tatars
as a hostile element in the newly conquered territory, encouraged their emigration
and sought to colonize the areas vacated by Tatars with foreigners
(
such as Orthodox
Bulgarians
)
considered more friendly to the Russians. After the declaration of war on
Russia by the Ottoman Empire in 1853, the Russian civil and military authorities in
Crimea were faced with the question of what to do with a population whose loyalty
to the Russian regime was suspect. One of the measures being seriously considered
was to move Tatars either out of Crimea altogether or at least to the interior of Russia
where they could not be in a position to aid the Ottoman Turkish forces in any way.
14
Some Tatars emigrated to the Ottoman Empire early in the war but the bulk of Tatar
emigration took place later “in conjunction with allied military operations” and
immediately after the war. The total number of Tatars who emigrated during and
immediately after the war is estimated at 30,000 to 40,000.
15
After the Peace of Paris
(
1856
)
which ended the war, the attitude of the Russian
government towards the Tatars of Crimea became known very quickly. To the
Russian Emperor Alexander II, emigration of Tatars, either clandestine or open,
should be encouraged, “since this emigration would rid the country of a ‘harmful
element’.”
16
Also at the end of the Crimean war “The Porte decided to assist those
wishing to emigrate; … a commission to handle their transportation and settlement
had been established … The Porte promised the newcomers free land, draft animals,
and aid in procuring seed and agricultural implements.”
17
According to Ottoman
sources, between 1854 and 1864, “a total of 595,000 immigrants, mostly from
Crimea, plus a few from Kazan found refuge in Ottoman lands. Of these approxi-
mately 120,000 were settled in Dobruca.”
18
To settle large numbers of immigrants over a short period of time the Ottoman
132
TURKS AND TATARS
authorities called for the establishment of an entirely new town, the town of
Mecidiye
(
Medgidia in Romania today
)
, in Dobruca “specically to accommodate
refugees from Crimea and to serve as a center for the economic development of
central Dobruca.”
19
Additional accommodation for the new immigrants was built in
villages around Mecidiye in present-day Romania as well as in the eyalet
(
province
)
of Silistre and in the sancaks of Vidin, Tirnova
(
Tirnovo
)
, and Islimye
(
Sliven
)
, all
in present-day Bulgaria.
20
The emigration of Tatars from Crimea and the northern Caucasus as well as
Circassians from the Caucasus changed the ethnic composition of Dobruca consider-
ably. Even prior to the Crimean war the population of Dobruca was largely Muslim.
The settlement of Tatars from Crimea and Circassians from the north Caucasus
during and following the Crimean War strengthened the Muslim element in Dobruca
even further. According to the 1866 Ottoman census Muslims made up 98.5% of the
population of Mecidiye, 93.3% of Mangalia, and 70% of Babadag
21
and according
to the Salname
(
Ottoman statistical yearbook
)
of 1875, 88.1% of Kyustendza, 72.9%
of Harsovo, and 62.9% of the nahiye of Isakca.
22
According to the Ottoman census of 1866, like cities in Romanian Dobruca, most
cities in Bulgarian Dobruca had Muslim majorities: Ruse with 53%, Shumen 52.6%,
Razgrad 69.6%, Silistre 64.3%, Balchik 77.4%, Provadia 71.4%, Osman Pazar
81.2%, Eski Dzhumaja 64.4%, and Hacioglu Pazardzhik with 84.7%.
23
Although the
ethnic breakdown of the Muslim population is not available, Tatars made up a
signicant portion of Muslims. Todorov notes that over 97% of the immigrants from
Crimea and north Caucasus were settled in Dobruca. Towns in Dobruca in which
immigrants made up over 10% of the population included Mecidiye
(
95.7%
)
,
Hacioglu Pazardzhik
(
48.5
)
, Mangalia
(
31.8
)
, Provadia
(
19.4
)
, Osman Pazar
(
12.4
)
,
and Varna
(
11.8%
)
.
24
Georgeoff, using data from Encyclopedia Britannica published
in 1891, indicates that in 1870 there were between 80,000 and 100,000 Tatars living
in the Danubian province of the Ottoman Empire.
25
During and immediately after the
Russo-Turkish war of 1877–1878 large numbers of Tatars left Bulgaria with the
retreating Ottoman armies.
26
During the twentieth century the number of Tatars and Turks in Romania has
uctuated considerably due primarily to two factors: the fate of the contested region
of southern Dobruca, and the emigration of Turks and Tatars to Turkey.
27
Southern
Dobruca, with a predominantly Turkish and Tatar population at the beginning of the
twentieth century, changed hands several times between Romania and Bulgaria. It
was granted to Romania by the Treaty of Bucharest in 1913. Bulgarian forces
captured it in 1916 but the area was returned to Romania in 1918. Southern Dobruca
remained in Romanian hands until 1940 when it was ceded to Bulgaria by the Treaty
of Craiova, which established the present-day frontier between the two countries.
28
While southern Dobruca was under Romanian rule the Romanian authorities at-
tempted to change the ethnic composition of the territory, which was largely
Turkish/Tatar and Bulgarian, in favor of Romanians by encouraging and helping
133
A. EMINOV
Romanians to settle there. This attempt was largely unsuccessful. King notes that “by
the time of the 1930 census, after several years of Romanian rule, the two southern
districts of Dobruca contained only 21 percent Romanians, as against 38 percent
Bulgarians and 34 percent Turks.”
29
Political instability in Dobruca during the rst half of the twentieth century
precipitated several episodes of emigration of Turks and some Tatars from Romanian
Dobruca to Turkey. Between 1913 and 1930 some 36,000 people, mostly Turks,
emigrated to Turkey. According to the 1930 Romanian census there were 150,773
Turks and 22,092 Tatars in Romanian Dobruca, making up 21.2% of its population.
30
The pace of emigration of Turks from Romania picked up in the 1930s, precipitated
by the expropriation of Turkish landholdings, the worsening of the economic
situation brought on by the worldwide depression, and the generally negative
political climate for most minorities in Romania at that time. The signing of the
Turkish–Romanian Convention in 1936 to facilitate emigration of Turks and Tatars
to Turkey precipitated widespread emigration of Turks and Tatars. Within a very
short period of time, 1937–1939, some 130,000 to 150,000 people emigrated to
Turkey. Included among these emigrants were most of the Alevi/Kizilbash
(
Shiite
)
population of northern Dobruca.
31
By the end of World War II the combined Turkish
and Tatar population of Romania had been reduced to about 55,000, comprising
6–7% of the population of Dobruca compared with 21% in 1930. In the 1948 census
the combined total of Turks and Tatars was only 28,782.
From the end of World War II until the 1960s emigration of Turks from Romania
to Turkey virtually ceased, a reection of the generally unfriendly relations between
Turkey and communist Romania. One consequence was a steady increase in the
Turkish and Tatar populations in Romanian Dobruca—from 14,329 Turks in 1956 to
18,046 in 1966, 23,303 in 1977, and 29,832 in 1992. The Tatar population registered
similar increases—from 20,469 in 1956 to 22,151 in 1966, 23,107 in 1977, and
24,596 in 1992.
32
At present most of the Tatars and Turks in Romania live in the towns and villages
of the province of Constanta and the city of Constanta itself. Also “concentrations of
Turks and Tatars are found in the province of Tulcea and outside Dobruca in the
towns of Braila, Cluj, Craiova, Drobeta-Turnu Severin, Iasi, Orsova, Slatina, and
Timisoara.”
33
Until after World War II what little education Tatar and Turkish children received
was in private, essentially religious schools.
34
The teachers who taught in these
schools were graduates of the religious college
(
medrese
)
in Mecidiye. In 1949 Tatar
and Turkish schools were established in accordance with the constitutional provision
mandating that members of non-Romanian nationalities be provided education in
their mother tongue. Soon after, the Romanian government initiated a policy of
separate development for the Tatars. Most Turkish schools were designated as Tatar
schools. A Tatar teacher training college was established in Constanta. Books in
Kazan-Tatar were imported from the Soviet Union to replace the previously used
134
TURKS AND TATARS
Turkish books. A special Tatar alphabet was created and a number of publications
appeared using this alphabet.
However, these experiments worsened the already low educational standards in
these schools, prompting Tatar parents to send their children to Romanian public
schools instead of Tatar schools. Declining enrollments in Tatar schools led to the
closing of most of these schools. By the late 1950s only a handful of these schools
remained open. In 1957 all the remaining Tatar- and Turkish-language schools were
closed, less than ten years after their establishment, and a process of Romanizing the
Tatars and Turks was begun.
35
However, the Romanization policies of the govern-
ment were quite mild when compared with those of Bulgaria. Both religious and
secular publications in Turkish and Tatar could be imported from Turkey or the
Soviet Union, and occasional works in Turkish and Tatar continued to be published.
After 1989 it again became possible to offer classes in minority languages. So far
Turkish classes are offered only at the pre-school level. During the 1990–1991
school year 40 children were enrolled in Turkish pre-school classes with two
teachers. By the 1993–1994 school year enrollment had increased to 156 children
with seven teachers.
36
In 1900 Islam was thriving in Romania. There were 260 mosques open to worship
in Romanian Dobruca. The most important center of Islamic learning was the
religious college
(
medrese
)
at Babadag. This college trained religious teachers
and other religious personnel to meet the needs of the Islamic community.
37
The
medrese was “supported by several thousand hectares of land established as a
vakif. In 1901 … the medrese was transferred to Mecidiye. In the same year,
most of the mosques on Romanian soil were allotted ten hectares of land for their
maintenance. This provision was later formally embedded in the ‘Land Law’ of 17
July 1921.”
38
The school remained in operation until 1964, when it was closed
down by the government, ostensibly for lack of interest in religious education on the
part of young Turks and Tatars. Beginning in the 1970s, restrictions on Islam
were eased. Romania, in an attempt to improve its relations with the Islamic
world, began to emphasize “the presence of a ourishing Muslim minority on its
territory.”
39
The closing down of the only theological school in the country in 1964 meant that
by the 1980s the number of imams who performed “the functions of muezzin and
hatib concomitantly” had decreased considerably because of lack of qualied
candidates and because the Romanian authorities were not endorsing appointment of
new imams by the mufti. Lack of adequately trained religious personnel meant that
mosques in many villages were not open to worship.
40
Imams were appointed only
to those mosques deemed to “have historical or artistic value.” Moreover, attendance
at mosques that remained open, even on special occasions such as the two major
Muslim festivals, was sparse, consisting mainly of men over 60 years of age. Lack
of religious instruction, shortage of well-trained religious personnel, scarcity of
functioning mosques, and anti-religious propaganda combined to create a generation
135
A. EMINOV
of Tatars and Turks ignorant about the fundamental principles of their religion. This
was a genuine threat to the preservation of Islam in Romania.
41
Nevertheless an organizational infrastructure of Islam remained in place. At the
top of this infrastructure was the mufti, the highest Muslim ofcial in Romania. In
1982 Iacub Septar Mehmet, who had been appointed in 1947, was still in ofce. In
theory, the mufti was charged with the administration of the affairs of the Muslim
community in Romania through a High Muslim Council, consisting of 23 persons
“elected by the members of the Muslim community by secret ballot.” At the
community level, smaller councils, which always include the prayer leaders, the
imams, were supposed to administer the funds of pious foundations
(
vakifs
)
to take
care of community needs. For practical purposes, however, during communist rule,
the mufti, the High Muslim Council, and the local councils were not important in the
lives of most Muslims in Romania. The mufti and the members of his administrative
staff were salaried state employees and, as such, spokespersons for state policy. The
mufti’s appointments and decisions were subject to conrmation of the powerful
Department of Religious Cults. They represented the ofcial version of Islam to the
outside world, which often had no resemblance to the realities on the ground.
42
Since World War II the mufti and the members of his administrative staff have all
been Tatars. One reason why government authorities have tried to privilege Tatars
over Turks in matters of education and religion is that Tatars, to a much greater
degree than the Turks, “tend to look upon themselves primarily as Romanian
citizens, and only secondly as Muslims or Tatars.”
43
They consider Romania their
homeland, identify strongly with it, and wish to remain in Romania and do not have
a strong desire to emigrate. The Turks, on the other hand, have a stronger
identication with Turkey than with Romania. Many consider Turkey their true
homeland and hope to return there eventually. To them Turkey is a kin state which
will come to their aid when needed. One consequence of this is that Turks outside
of Turkey have not developed strong identities with the countries in which they live.
This is interpreted by authorities in Romania and elsewhere as a sign of unreliability
and potential disloyalty. The Tatars, whose ancestors came from Crimea, may
consider Crimea their homeland, but Ukraine is certainly not a kin state to them.
Ukraine does not want Tatars to return to Crimea, and it has no interest in the fate
of Crimean Tatars living outside Ukraine.
Tatars in Bulgaria
The rst census carried out after Bulgarian independence from Ottoman rule in 1881
(
results published in 1884
)
shows that, even after large-scale emigration of Tatars
and Turks from Dobruca during and after the Russo-Turkish war, in six out of seven
districts in northeast Bulgaria Muslims were still in the majority.
44
It is not possible
to estimate the proportion of Tatars within this population because information on
the ethnic composition of the Muslim population is lacking. The 1893 Bulgarian
136
TURKS AND TATARS
census records only 16,920 Tatars in the entire country, which by this time also
included Eastern Rumelia, annexed in 1885. This compares with an estimate of
between 80,000 and 120,000 Tatars in 1870. Emigration of Tatars continued during
the rst two decades of the twentieth century so that by the 1926 census their
numbers had been reduced to 6,191 Tatars. Since then the number of Tatars in
Bulgaria has remained relatively stable at between 5,000 and 6,000. In the 1992
census 4,515 Bulgarian citizens identied their ethnic afliation as Tatar.
45
Tatars in Bulgaria live in areas that are predominantly Turkish in population.
During the twentieth century they have been assimilating into the Turkish-speaking
population linguistically, socially, and culturally. In the early 1960s the Bulgarian
government was concerned enough about this trend that it took measures to
counteract it. In April 1962 the Politburo approved “Measures against the Turkish
Self-Identication of Gypsies, Tatars and Bulgarians Professing the Mohammedan
Religion,” and recommended steps to encourage Bulgarian identity formation among
Tatars and Muslim Gypsies.
46
The Politburo called for “a systematic ideological and
political struggle against the Turkish religious and chauvinistic propaganda and its
pan-Turkish and pan-Islamic aims and aspirations.”
47
The specic recommendations
included developing detailed instructions for people working in registry ofces “that
religion and personal names are not criteria for nationality. It must also be made clear
that intermarriage does not lead to change of nationality of the spouses. The children
of intermarried couples can be registered as Bulgarians completely voluntarily and
with the explicit agreement of the parents.”
48
Citizens of non-Bulgarian descent were
to be informed that they could change their names and register themselves and their
families as Bulgarians by a simplied procedure that did not require court permission
or a written application. More specically, steps should be taken to minimize the
interaction between Turks, Tatars, Bulgarian-speaking Muslims, and Gypsy Mus-
lims.
The Ministry of Education and Culture and the regional people’s councils must take
measures so that the Turkish language is not taught to the children of Gypsies, Tatars, and
Bulgarian Muslims. These children must be taught in Bulgarian. The appointment of
Turkish teachers at schools where the children of Gypsies, Tatars, and Bulgarian Muslims
predominate must be avoided. The children of Bulgarian Muslims and Gypsies must not
be allowed to live in hostels or study in the same groups with Turkish children whenever
this is possible.
49
The Politburo recommended that the practice of homogeneous Muslim labor battal-
ions in the armed forces should be discontinued. Turkish clergymen should not be
appointed to villages with compact Bulgarian Muslim, Gypsy Muslim, and Tatar
populations. In any case, Muslim clergymen were to refrain from propaganda in
favor of the Turkish afliation of non-Turkish Muslims. The expectation of volun-
tary compliance with most of these measures turned out to be naive. All Muslim
groups were subjected to forced assimilation campaigns and forced replacement of
137
A. EMINOV
Turkish/Muslim names with Bulgarian names. Tatars, along with Turks, were
subjected to this indignity during the winter of 1984–1985.
Since the reversal of the forced assimilation policy in late 1989 most have
reclaimed their Muslim names. For most of the period since the Russo-Turkish War
of 1877–1878 those Tatars who remained in Bulgaria have lived among Turkish
speakers, have gone to Turkish language schools, have prayed in the same mosques,
and have intermarried with Turkish speakers. Such close interaction has led to the
assimilation of Tatars into the Turkish-speaking population. The Bulgarian govern-
ment’s attempt to reverse this trend during the 1960s failed because the govern-
ment’s alternative to Turkication was Bulgarianization. Given the small number of
Tatars in the country, the government was not willing to invest in Tatar language
schools or to support Tatar cultural institutions. Although a few thousand Bulgarian
citizens identify themselves as Tatar today, there is not much to distinguish them
culturally, linguistically, or religiously from Turkish speakers.
Turks in Bulgaria
Turks may have begun to settle in the Balkans as early as the thirteenth century;
however, the more widespread settlement of Turks in Bulgaria and the Balkans
coincides with the beginning of Ottoman conquests in the Balkans during the
fourteenth century. Turkish settlement activity continued throughout the Ottoman
period, reaching a peak during the mid nineteenth century, when large numbers of
Tatars from Crimea and Circassians from the Caucasus were settled in present-day
Romania and Bulgaria.
With the uprisings against Ottoman rule in Bulgaria and elsewhere in the Balkans
in the late nineteenth century, and especially during and immediately after the
Russo-Turkish war of 1877–1878, the direction of Turkish migrations was reversed.
Large numbers of Turks and other Muslims began to migrate, initially to areas in the
southern Balkans still under Ottoman control and later to Asia Minor and Anatolia.
Reliable statistics on Turkish emigration from Bulgaria, especially during and
immediately following the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878, are not available. One
source estimates that, in addition to 500,000 Ottoman casualties during the war,
one-and-a-half million Turks and other Muslims emigrated from Bulgaria to other
areas of the Balkans still under Ottoman control.
50
The Balkan Wars and World War
I precipitated another wave of Turkish emigration. Unfortunately no reliable statistics
on emigration are available covering the 1913–1922 period. Turkish sources estimate
that during the Balkan Wars alone some 440,00 Turks emigrated from Bulgaria and
other areas of the Balkans to Turkey. Overall some 1.5 to 2 million Turkish and other
Muslims have emigrated from Bulgaria to Turkey since 1878. Emigration continues
today.
As a result of these migrations the number of Turkish speakers in Bulgaria was
reduced from more than one-third of the Bulgarian population prior to the Russo-
138
TURKS AND TATARS
Turkish War to less than 15% in 1900. It fell under 10% by 1934 and continued to
fall fractionally during the subsequent decades but started to climb again during the
1960s and 1970s.
51
The authorities found this increase sufciently alarming to
initiate a forced assimilation campaign against Turks and Muslims. This campaign
culminated in the forced replacement of Turkish/Muslim names with Bulgarian
names during the 1984–1985 winter and the insistence of the Bulgarian government
over the next ve years that Bulgaria was a single-nation
(
Bulgarian
)
state.
According to the 1992 census the Turkish speakers in Bulgaria were concentrated
in the southeastern and northeastern regions of the country. In the district of
Kurdzhali in southeastern Bulgaria they were in the majority, with 65.7% of the
district population. In the district of Razgrad in northeastern Bulgaria they made up
47.4% of the district population. Other districts with signicant Turkish populations
included Silistra
(
33.5%
)
, Turgovishte
(
32.8%
)
, Shumen
(
30.3%
)
, Dobrich
(
14.7%
)
,
Burgas
(
13.8%
)
, Ruse
(
13.0%
)
, Haskovo
(
11.4%
)
, and Blagoevgrad
(
11.3%
)
. The
1992 census also showed that Turkish speakers were predominantly rural, with more
than two-thirds
(
68.5%
)
living in villages.
52
Below I discuss in some detail the experience of Turks in Bulgaria during the
second half of the twentieth century in three main areas: the status of Turkish
language education, the status of Islamic institutions and Islamic practice, and the
participation of Turks in the political process.
Prior to World War II Turkish children in Bulgaria were educated almost
exclusively in private schools controlled by the Turkish community. These schools
provided limited education—little beyond religion and the three Rs—to a small
percentage of school-age children—almost exclusively male. They were poorly
funded and poorly maintained. Teachers who taught in these schools were poorly
trained.
53
Only about 50% of school-age children ever enrolled in elementary
schools. Many of these students dropped out before completing their elementary
education. Of those who managed to complete elementary school, very few contin-
ued beyond. As a result the Turkish population in Bulgaria remained largely
illiterate. According to Mishkova, at the turn of the century
(
1905
)
the literacy rate
for Turks in Bulgaria was only 4%. This compares with over 30% for Armenians.
54
Only the Gypsies were worse off than the Turks. No signicant improvement took
place on this front over the next four decades.
The 1947 constitution of Bulgaria recognized the existence of national minorities
in the country and provided for their education in their mother tongue in Article 79:
“National minorities have a right to education in their vernacular and to develop
their national cultures, while the study of Bulgarian is compulsory”
55
(
emphasis
added
)
. Community-controlled Turkish schools were nationalized in 1946 and
became part of the public school system in Bulgaria.
56
The nationalization of
Turkish-language schools brought about a complete revamping of the education of
Turkish children. Although the language of instruction in these schools remained
Turkish, a uniform nationwide curriculum with an overt ideological and atheistic
139
A. EMINOV
orientation was imposed on these schools and the compulsory study of Bulgarian was
implemented. Strict enforcement of attendance requirements meant that, for the rst
time, all school-age children were attending school.
In order to provide education for all school-age children, old schools were
renovated, some religious schools were turned into secular schools, and scores of
new schools were built. To meet the stafng needs of these schools Turkish teachers
colleges
(
pedagoji
)
were established in Stara Zagora, Kurdzhali, Soa, and Razgrad,
and a Department of Turkish Philology was established at the University of Soa. A
boarding high school for women was opened in Ruse. Within a few short years the
number of Turkish-language elementary and middle schools, the number of students
attending these schools, and the number of teachers teaching in these schools
increased signicantly. For example, during the 1943–1944 school year there were
424 Turkish schools of all types in Bulgaria with an enrollment of 37,335 students
and 871 teachers. During the 1949–1950 school year the number of Turkish-
language schools stood at 1,199 with an enrollment of 105,376 and 3,037 teachers.
57
Thriving Turkish-language education, Turkish-language publications, Turkish-
language radio broadcasts, professional and amateur Turkish theaters, and so on
created the impression that a renaissance of Turkish culture was underway.
Several ambitious goals were behind the nationalization and secularization of
Turkish educational institutions as well as support of other Turkish cultural institu-
tions. First the government wanted to improve the dismal state of education among
Turkish speakers. Second, by making the study of Bulgarian compulsory in the
nationalized Turkish language schools, the authorities sought to increase uency in
Bulgarian among a largely monolingual population in order to ease their integration
into Bulgarian society. Third, the government sought to create a secular Turkish-
speaking intelligentsia and to use it to effect a shift from primary Muslim identity
among Turkish speakers to ethnic Turkish identity. Finally, this secular Turkish-
speaking intelligentsia was expected to take the lead in facilitating a nal shift of
identity from parochial ethnic Turkish identity to an identity with the socialist
Bulgarian nation.
Some of these goals were realized quite rapidly; others not. Educational conditions
among the Turkish population, as indicated above, improved signicantly. Literacy
rates among young Turks rose, approaching the national average. Compulsory study
of Bulgarian in Turkish schools led to high rates of bilingualism among the young.
Support of Turkish pedagogical institutes, the Department of Turkish Philology at
Soa University, a Turkish branch at Narodna Prosveta Publishing House, and
Turkish professional and amateur theaters encouraged the development of a native
Turkish intelligentsia. As discussed in more detail later on, anti-religious propa-
ganda, especially anti-Islamic propaganda, banning of religious instruction, the
persecution of religious leaders, and the replacement of religious leaders with secular
leaders all contributed to the emergence of ethnic Turkish identity as the primary
identity among most Turkish speakers. This was especially true for the young, whose
140
TURKS AND TATARS
worldview was inuenced considerably by their exposure to anti-religious, secular
education in Turkish-language schools. However, Turkish speakers saw no contra-
diction between being a Turk and a Muslim. Therefore, a shift of emphasis from
religious to ethnic identity was not problematic for most of them. The attempts of the
government to replace parochial ethnic identities with a socialist identity during
the 1970s and the attempt to impose a Bulgarian identity on Turkish speakers
during the 1980s were strongly resisted because Turkish speakers considered these
identities alien to their historical experience.
The authorities soon realized that the strengthening of Turkish ethnic self-con-
sciousness was undermining the main goal of socialism—the merger of different
ethnic groups into a single socialist nation whose members would share a single
language, literature, art, culture, and customs. Beginning in the late 1950s
(
after the
1958 plenum of the Central Committee of the Bulgarian Communist Party
)
, privi-
leges provided to members of the Turkish minority began to be curtailed. The rst
step in this process was the merger of Turkish schools with Bulgarian schools.
Turkish-language classes in Bulgarian high schools were eliminated in 1955–1956.
After the 1959–1960 school year all Turkish-language high schools, vocational
schools, and teacher training schools were merged with Bulgarian schools. The
Department of Turkish Philology at Soa University was replaced with a Department
of Arabic Studies. Turkish-language instruction in Bulgaria was effectively ended.
Turkish books disappeared from bookstores and libraries, even those published in
Bulgaria. Turkish radio broadcasts ended. The few remaining Turkish-language
newspapers began to appear in bilingual editions until early 1985, when they began
to appear in Bulgarian only. With the brutal conclusion of the forced assimilation
campaign among Turks between November 1984 and March 1985, the government
condently announced, “There are no Turks in Bulgaria! Bulgaria is a single-nation
state.”
The Bulgarian authorities justied assimilation by arguing that the Turks in
Bulgaria were the descendants of Bulgarians who had been forced to convert to Islam
by the Ottoman authorities and not the descendants of Turks who had migrated to
Bulgarian lands during Ottoman times. By changing the names of people and through
other means the authorities said they were helping to restore these people to their
proper Bulgarian roots, “completely disregarding aspects of self-perception and
self-consciousness.”
58
Unfortunately for the Zhivkov regime almost all Turks repudiated the imagined
history of their origin put forth by Bulgarian ideologues to justify assimilation. It is
possible and likely that some Turkish speakers today are the descendants of
Bulgarians who converted to Islam centuries ago and became Turkied. However,
exactly who and how many Turkish speakers have Bulgarian ancestry is impossible
to determine. What is more important is that today Turkish speakers in Bulgaria
consider themselves Turks and are recognized as such by their Bulgarian neighbors.
Moreover, the belief on the part of the Bulgarian authorities that by changing the
141
A. EMINOV
names of a people they could instantly reinvent them as Bulgarians as if they were
immune to the centuries that formed them turned out to be extremely unrealistic.
Subsequent events in Bulgaria were to prove that one cannot legislate identity; that
attempts at repression of cultures precipitate resistance and attempts to preserve
them. It has been shown that when the public use of a language is ofcially banned
(
e.g., Catalan in Franco’s Spain, Turkish in Zhivkov’s Bulgaria
)
, the banned lan-
guage gains remarkable power. It becomes a secret weapon to its speakers. Now
speaking it becomes an act of rebellion and speakers resort to frequent use of it to
challenge the repressive system and to assert and defend their identity. Banning the
use of Turkish in public acted as a powerful ethnic consolidating force, strengthening
cultural, religious, and familial bonds.
59
The widespread repression of Turkish culture beginning in late 1984 led to the
formation of an underground resistance movement among the Turks, which managed
to survive for several years and organized several anti-government protests in the
spring of 1989 demanding the restoration of Turkish names and other cultural rights.
One response of the Zhivkov regime to these demonstrations was an attempt to solve
Bulgaria’s “Turkish problem” once and for all by expelling all those who considered
themselves Turks to Turkey. In the resulting mass exodus over 350,000 Turks left for
Turkey between June and mid August 1989. These events contributed to the ouster
of Zhivkov from power in November 1989.
The new reform-minded communist government formed after the ouster of
Zhivkov quickly reversed the forced assimilationist policy, announcing on 29
December 1989 that it had been a grave political error, and pledged itself to the
defense of human rights. With the formal end of the assimilation campaign, it
became possible to restore the rights that had been denied to Turkish and other
Muslims in Bulgaria for so long. A priority item for the emerging leaders among
Turkish speakers was the reintroduction of Turkish-language classes in public
schools in ethnically mixed areas.
Although the constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria adopted in July 1991 does
not recognize the existence of a Turkish minority or any other national minority, it,
nevertheless, recognizes the existence of individual citizens of non-Bulgarian origin
and guarantees them certain rights. One such right is recognized in Article 36
(
2
)
:
“Citizens whose mother tongue is not Bulgarian shall have the right to study and use
their own language alongside the compulsory study of the Bulgarian language.”
60
The Movement for Rights and Freedoms, an organization formed to represent the
interests of Turks and other Muslims, took the lead in working to implement this
provision of the constitution in public schools. After a period of foot dragging by the
ruling Bulgarian Socialist
(
formerly Communist
)
Party, limited Turkish-language
instruction was introduced in municipal schools during the second half of the
1991–1992 school year. However, the program put in place in 1992 fell far short of
expectations. Turkish classes remained optional and were not part of the normal
school curriculum. Turkish classes were held after normal schools hours, inconve-
142
TURKS AND TATARS
niencing both students and their parents. Parents were required to formally request
that school authorities enroll their children in Turkish classes, and a minimum level
of demand needed to be met before Turkish classes could be offered. Moreover,
successive governments between 1991 and 1997, mostly socialist dominated, found
ways to obstruct the realization of this constitutional right.
61
The overwhelming
defeat of the socialists in the 1997 national elections created a more positive
atmosphere to improve the educational situation of Turkish speakers in Bulgaria.
Plans are underway to make Turkish-language classes compulsory for all Turkish
children, starting with the 1999–2000 school year.
From the beginning, the Communist Party ideologues in Bulgaria saw religion as
a competing ideology to communism and sought to replace it with a socialist
ideology. Islam was a special target for several reasons. It was an “alien” religion
brought to Bulgaria by the Ottomans, who were said to have imposed it on segments
of the Bulgarian Orthodox population by force; Islam was seen as a serious obstacle
to the integration of Turks and other Muslims into Bulgarian society; the loyalty of
Turkish and other Muslims was suspect and the perpetuation of Muslim identity a
danger to Bulgarian society. Consequently, government authorities undertook “a
concerted effort to undermine the religious afliation of the Turkish and Muslim
population, and to transform the traditional elements in their daily life and their
Islamic customs.”
62
These efforts involved the undermining of the nancial and
organizational infrastructures of the Muslim community in Bulgaria. The nancial
basis of the Muslim community was undermined by the conscation of the properties
of pious foundations
(
vakif
)
. The institutional basis of the Muslim community was
undermined by the decisions taken during the April 1956 plenum of the Central
Committee of the Bulgarian Communist Party. One such decision was the directive
to local party organs to work actively to reduce the already depleted number of
hodzhas
(
religious teachers, prayer leaders, community leaders
)
working in Turkish
and Pomak communities. Statistics suggest the success of this effort. Prior to 1944
there had been about 15,000 hodzhas in Bulgaria. By the mid 1950s their numbers
had been reduced to about 2,700. Three years after the decisions of the April 1956
plenum were implemented in 1958, there were less than 600. Their numbers would
be reduced further to about 400, serving a community of over one million Muslims.
Moreover, the functions of the remaining hodzhas would be drastically curtailed to
merely leading Friday prayers at mosques.
Intense anti-religious propaganda was accompanied by the actual banning of
Muslim activities, beginning with a ban on teaching of the Koran in 1952. Later on,
during the 1970s and especially during the 1980s, banned activities would extend to
almost all areas of Turkish and Muslim life. Fasting during the month of Ramadan
was banned. The slaughtering of rams during the Feast of Sacrice was prohibited.
The washing of corpses prior to burial and the internment of the dead in Muslim
cemeteries were banned. Muslims were required to bury their dead in Bulgarian
cemeteries according to a new “socialist” funerary ritual. In Muslim cemeteries
143
A. EMINOV
gravestones with Turkish or Arabic writing were defaced or destroyed. Chanting of
the mevlit
63
was banned. Parents who allowed their young sons to be circumcised and
the person performing the rite were liable to arrest and imprisonment for two to ve
years. Young Turkish and other Muslim boys were inspected periodically to make
sure that they had not been circumcised. Parents of new-born boys, while they were
still in the maternity hospital, were required to sign a document promising not to
circumcise their sons. Traditional wedding customs and ceremonies could no longer
be carried out. During weddings the participants were not allowed to sing Turkish
songs and dance Turkish dances. After 1984 the participants could not even speak
Turkish. The wearing of traditional clothes by Muslim women was banned.
By the early 1980s the number of functioning mosques in Bulgaria had been
signicantly reduced. Many were closed to worship and fell into ruin. Others were
converted to alternative uses—museums, warehouses, stores, and restaurants. The
crescent and star, symbol of Islam, were removed from the top of minarets. Between
1984 and 1989 the closure of the remaining mosques accelerated. There were several
instances where mosques and/or minarets were actually destroyed. All of these
anti-Islamic activities were justied on the grounds that Islam was a serious obstacle
to the integration of Turks and other Muslims into Bulgarian society. Moreover,
Islamic beliefs and practices were portrayed in the press as signs of backwardness
and superstition; as outdated and anti-modern; as promoting religious fanaticism, and
so on.
64
In the late 1980s there was a conspicuous absence of mosques in the great majority
of villages and city neighborhoods where Muslims lived. Even in mosques open to
worship, the voice of the muezzin calling the faithful to prayer was silenced. The
disappearance of mosques from Muslim villages and city neighborhoods removed an
important focus of community activity and solidarity. During the 1980s an observer
traveling through the predominantly Muslim areas of southeastern and northeastern
Bulgaria would have been struck by the changes in the architectural landscape of
these regions, and hard pressed to guess that Muslims had been living in these areas
for more than 600 years.
Even though secularization affected the ability of Turks and other Muslims to
practice their religion and signicantly eroded the strength of religious belief,
especially among the young, nevertheless religion remained important, especially
among older Muslims. Surveys on religious observance carried out during the 1970s
found out that religious observance was twice as high among Turks as among
Bulgarians. Even after the ban, Turks and other Muslims continued to celebrate
religious holidays in private and conduct funerary ceremonies in the traditional
manner.
After 1989 all restrictions on religious rights imposed arbitrarily by the communist
regime were removed. 1990 was a watershed year for renewed Islam in Bulgaria.
Islamic schools closed during the communist era reopened and new religious schools
were established. In 1990, with help from Turkish pious foundations, an Islamic
144
TURKS AND TATARS
Theological Institute was inaugurated in Soa with a freshman class of 45 students.
An Islamic secondary school in Shumen, Medresetun Nuvvab, which had been
turned into a secular high school during the 1947–1948 school year, reopened its
doors to students of religion. Another religious school was established in Mom-
chilgrad. The right of Muslims to repair old mosques and to build new ones was
restored. Since 1989 hundreds of old mosques have been repaired and scores of new
ones built. At the end of 1992 there were close to 1,000 mosques open for religious
services: an increase from about 300 in 1989.
65
The restriction on the publication,
importation, and distribution of Korans and other religious texts was lifted. The
Koran has been translated into Bulgarian and Turkish. Muslims are freely celebrating
important religious holidays and carrying out traditional funerary and marriage
rituals without overt government interference. Although circumcision of young
Muslim boys was allowed after 1989, initially, religious specialists were not admitted
to hospitals to carry out the requisite religious rites during the operation. Hence many
Muslim parents resorted to circumcision outside hospitals, under unsanitary condi-
tions. Only in 1998, for the rst time in 50 years, did the authorities allow the public
performance of circumcision rituals. On September 1998, more than 30 Muslim boys
were circumcised in the Tekke Mosque in Dobrich in northeastern Bulgaria.
Another problem, which was not resolved until recently, was the question of who
should lead the Muslim community in Bulgaria. The socialist
(
formerly communist
)
governments between 1990 and 1996 continued to support Nedim Gendzhev, who
had been appointed as Chief Mufti and head of the High Muslim Council by
the communist regime in 1988. In 1992 a rival Muslim council selected Fikri Sali as
the new Chief Mufti but the government refused to recognize his selection.
66
The
existence of rival chief muftis and Muslim councils divided the Muslim community,
which may have been the intention of the socialists all along. After the defeat of the
socialists in the 1997 elections, the way was open for reconciliation. In August 1997,
Nedim Gendzhev, the head of the High Muslim Council, and Fikri Sali, the head of
the High Spiritual Council, signed a declaration agreeing to hold a joint conference
to unify the two councils and to elect a new Chief Mufti. Both decided not to run
for election. At the unication conference, held on 23 October 1997, a new High
Muslim Council was formed and a new Chief Mufti, 35-year-old Mustafa Alish
Hodzha, was elected.
In the 1990s positive attitudes toward religion have increased among Muslims and
Christians alike in Bulgaria. The shared experience of enforced restrictions on the
practice of Islam during the 1970s and 1980s has rallied the Turks and other Muslims
to their faith even more than Christians. There indeed appears to be a genuine revival
of Islam as indicated by the renovation of hundreds of old mosques and the building
of new ones, reopening old religious schools and the establishment of new ones, the
ready availability of Korans and other religious texts, the revival of once prohibited
religious rituals, and so on. However, these developments have to be interpreted
cautiously because evidence also indicates that patterns of behavior established
145
A. EMINOV
during the last 50 years have not undergone a signicant transformation to support
a genuine revival of Islam. The results of a sociological survey on religious attitudes
in Bulgaria suggest a very gradual but steady recovery of Islam in Bulgaria.
67
Some
conservative religious leaders nd these modest gains unsatisfactory. They want to
recreate the overarching Muslim identity that existed in the past and to establish the
primacy of religious principles governing the lives of Muslims in Bulgaria. Members
of the secular Turkish intelligentsia view such a possibility with alarm. They point
to the inwardness and the isolation of the Muslim community from the larger
Bulgarian society prior to World War II. Such isolation, they argue, resulted in a
community that was largely illiterate, culturally impoverished, economically poor,
and politically isolated. To them, the success of Turks and other Muslims in Bulgaria
depends on their full participation in the civic institutions of Bulgarian society. One
would hope that religious and secular leaders among Muslims in Bulgaria would
work to create the conditions that allow for freedom of religious expression and full
participation in the institutions of civil society.
The participation of Turkish and other Muslims in the political process in Bulgaria
after independence from Ottoman rule in 1878 was limited. The extent of partici-
pation and the effectiveness of parliamentarians representing the Muslim community
were dependent on the attitudes of Bulgarian rulers. At times, for example during the
decade following the authoritarian coup d’e´tat in 1934, the participation of Turkish
and other Muslims in the political process was severely curtailed. During the
communist period Turkish and other minorities “had no public voice, no organiza-
tional infrastructure, few shared visible symbols of community and history.”
68
During this period there were Turkish and other Muslim parliamentarians in the
National Assembly but they did not represent a particular constituency. Their
foremost allegiance was to the Communist Party. Many of them supported, perhaps
involuntarily, the forced assimilationist policies of the Zhivkov regime against
Turkish and other Muslims.
The period since 1989 has “seen the emergence and empowerment of an ethnic
political movement, the rise of politicized Turkish ethnicity, and the construction of
a sense of a national Moslem community.”
69
To empower Turkish and other Muslims
and to mobilize them for political action, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms
(
MRF
)
was formed in January 1990. Although the Movement was open to all
Bulgarian citizens, it drew its support laregely from Turkish and other Muslims.
Over 90% of ethnic Turks, about 50% of Bulgarian-speaking Muslims
(
Pomaks
)
, and
about a third of Muslim Roma supported it in the multiparty elections in 1990 and
1991.
70
The Movement was immediately labeled as an “ethnic Turkish party” and its
legitimacy was challenged on constitutional grounds. Article 11
(
4
)
of the Consti-
tution prohibits the formation of “political parties on ethnic, racial or religious
lines”
71
After several unsuccessful attempts to ban the party in the lower courts, the
case reached the Bulgarian Constitutional Court in 1992. The Court rejected this
latest attempt to ban the Movement and left it to function as a political party.
72
The
146
TURKS AND TATARS
language in the Law on Parties approved by Parliament in 1990 was also intended
to make the mobilization of Turks for political action difcult. The Law on Parties
stipulates that candidates running for political ofce must conduct their campaigns
and other political activities in the Bulgarian language. The insertion of this
particular language into the Law was to prohibit the use of Turkish in political
campaigns. Nevertheless, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms was able to
overcome these obstacles and has participated in all of the national and local
elections held so far and has been quite successful in electing members to Parlia-
ment, with 23 members in Parliament in 1990, 24 in 1991, 15 in 1994, and 19 in
1997. The Movement has been even more successful at the local level, electing
hundreds of village headmen and municipal council representatives and scores of
mayors in areas with ethnically mixed populations.
However, the Movement suffers from factionalism within its ranks. Two splinter
parties, one secular, another religious, were formed in 1994 to run their own
candidates in opposition to the Movement’s candidates in the 1994 parliamentary
elections and the 1995 local elections. Although neither party was successful, they
siphoned enough votes from the Movement to reduce its representation in Parliament
from 24 to 15 deputies. Just prior to the 1997 national elections some of the
opponents of the leadership of the Movement formed an Initiative Council for
Renewing the Movement of Rights and Freedoms. The founder of the Initiative
Council, Guner Tahir, won a seat in Parliament running on the list of United
Democratic Forces. At a national conference held in December 1998 the Initiative
Council was transformed into a new political party, the National Movement for
Rights and Freedoms
(
NMRF
)
. This will further erode the support of the main MRF
among Turkish and other Muslims.
The Movement has followed a moderate course, timid some say, distancing itself
from controversial positions. It has emphasized its secular character by consistently
maintaining that it is not a religious party. Its cultural demands also have been
limited. These moderate positions, while contributing to keeping the peace between
different ethnic communities in Bulgaria, are viewed by the critics of the Movement
as signicant weaknesses. Nevertheless, for the rst time since Bulgarian liberation
from Ottoman rule, Turkish and other Muslims have a genuine opportunity to
participate in the political process on their own terms. They have their own party.
They are free to vote for candidates that they feel will best represent their interests
at both the local and national level. So far most of them have chosen to vote for the
candidates of the Movement. That is likely to change.
Turks in Greece
The earliest settlements of Turks in the Balkans occurred in what is today northern
Greece, Macedonia, and Albania along the ancient road, Via Egnatia, that connected
Constantinopol e with the Adriatic port of Durazzo, present-day Durres in Albania.
147
A. EMINOV
Greece was also the earliest country in the Balkans to gain its independence from
Ottoman rule
(
1830
)
. Initially it was a small state comprising what is today southern
Greece. Between 1881 and 1920 it gradually expanded to its present boundaries. The
Greek state inherited a substantial non-Orthodox population from the Ottoman
Empire, primarily Muslim—Turks, Bulgarian-speaking Muslims, and Albanians.
From the beginning Muslims were considered to be foreign elements within the
Greek nation state, thus, ineligible for Greek citizenship and targets of discrimi-
nation. Under such conditions, Turks and other Muslims emigrated rst to other
areas of the Balkans still under Ottoman control and after 1923 to the Turkish
Republic. Population exchanges between Greece and Turkey regulated by a protocol
signed between the two countries in 1923 reduced the number of Muslims in Greece
considerably. Over 400,000 Muslims, mostly Turkish speakers from Greece, were
sent to Turkey and about 1.2 million Orthodox Christians, mostly Greek speakers,
were sent to Greece.
73
However, the Turks of Western Thrace and the Greek speakers
of Istanbul and the islands of Imbros
(
Go¨kceada
)
and Tenedos
(
Bozcaada
)
were
exempt from the exchange. The Lausanne Convention spelled out the rights of the
Muslim community in Greece and the Greek Orthodox community in Turkey. The
two countries promised to protect, fully and completely, the life and liberty of all of
their citizens “without distinction of birth, nationality, language, race and religion;”
to allow their citizens “free exercise of any creed, religion, or belief” without
governmental interference; to guarantee full civil and political rights to minorities
and equality before the law; that there would be no restrictions on the free use of
“any language in private intercourse, in commerce, religion, in the press or publica-
tions of any kind or at public meetings;” that each country would guarantee minority
populations “equal right to establish, manage, and control at their own expense, any
charitable, religious and social institutions, any schools and other establishments for
instruction and education, with the right to use their own language and to exercise
their own religion freely therein;” and that in areas with signicant minority
populations both governments would “grant adequate facilities for ensuring that in
primary schools the instruction shall be given to the children … through the medium
of their own language” although the teaching of the ofcial national language could
be made obligatory. The treaty also stipulated that the national, regional, and local
state bodies should provide an equitable share of public funds for minority educa-
tional, religious, or charitable institutions.
74
The purpose of these requirements was
to insure the preservation of the ethnic and religious character of the Turkish-
speaking minority in Greece and the Greek-speaking minority in Turkey. Ever since
1923 relations between Greece and Turkey have been colored by debates over to
what extent each country has lived up to its promise.
Angelopoulos claims that population exchanges between Greece and Turkey under
the Lausanne Convention of 1923 and emigration of Turkish and other Muslims
since then have created an ethnically homogeneous Greek state. In his words, “there
is no Slav community nor any other alien community except for the small Moslem
148
TURKS AND TATARS
one. Thus there no longer exists any substantial ethnological question in Greece.”
75
He goes on to claim that “Greece represents in Europe, a country with practically
ideal ethnic, linguistic and religious homogeneity and unity.”
76
Those who express
doubts of the ofcial version court danger.
77
The ofcial version insists that there is
no ethnic Turkish minority or any other ethnic minority for that matter, but only a
Muslim minority. Assertions of the existence of an ethnic Turkish minority, in the
words of Karakasidou, “clash with the uncompromising supremacy of the Greek
national idiom. In effect they provoke the full force of the Greek penal code which
condemns them for creating rifts in the sacred homogeneity of the population and
inciting citizens to violence.”
78
Prominent religious and secular leaders from among
the Muslim minority in Greece have been prosecuted for speaking about the
existence of a Turkish minority or acting in its behalf.
79
Nationalist intellectuals who
produce pseudoscienti c articles and books in support of the ofcial position are not
only praised by the Greek authorities but are extended special recognition as heroes
and patriots. This is an example of how historians and other intellectuals in nation
states create imagined communities that legitimate national interests. In the process
of nation building the existence of the Other is ignored, if not denied altogether, even
though the facts on the ground indicate otherwise.
The Greek censuses of 1928, 1940, and 1951 collected statistics on the linguistic
and religious breakdown of the population. 191,254 Greek citizens in 1928, 229,075
in 1940, and 179,895 in 1951 identied their mother tongue as Turkish.
80
However,
not all who identied their mother tongue as Turkish were ethnic Turks. Many were
Orthodox Greeks from Turkey who had settled in Western Thrace after 1922. These
Greek Orthodox Christians had lived for generations among Turkish speakers in Asia
Minor and had become linguistically Turkied while continuing to adhere to their
Orthodox faith. After settling in Greece they continued to identify their mother
tongue as Turkish. In the 1928 census 16,773 Greek citizens identied their mother
tongue as Bulgarian, most of whom were Muslim
(
Pomak
)
.
81
In the 1940 and 1951
censuses the Greek authorities created a new, non-existent language for them,
Pomacian, in order to make the case that they were not ethnically Bulgarian;
therefore, Bulgaria could not lay a claim to an ethnic Bulgarian minority in Greece.
The 1928, 1940, and 1951 Greek censuses also provided statistics on the religious
breakdown of the population, which provide a better clue to the size of the Turkish
minority in Greece. 126,017 Greek citizens in 1928, 141,090 in 1940, and 112,665
in 1951 identied themselves as Muslim.
82
Since 1951 the Greek authorities have not
provided any ofcial gures on the ethnic makeup of the population of Greece.
From unofcial sources it is clear that high emigration rates of Turkish and other
Muslims from Greece to Turkey and to EU countries, especially Germany, have kept
their numbers virtually unchanged since 1923, at between 100,000 and 120,000
Muslims of various kinds. Christidis gives an estimate of 114,000 Muslims in
Western Thrace in 1993. In addition to Western Thrace there “are thought to be some
35,000 Muslims in Athens, and another 15,000 in Rhodes and Chios.”
83
That would
149
A. EMINOV
bring the total of Muslims in Greece to about 164,000. One of the major reasons
behind emigration has been discrimination against Turkish and other Muslims in
Western Thrace. Such discrimination has discouraged the development of a strong
sense of identity with Greece among Muslims.
The relations between Greece and Turkey have greatly affected the treatment of
the Muslim minority in general and the Turkish minority in particular. As Bahcheli
observes, “When those relations [have] been smooth—and there was a time when
those relations were not too bad—the conditions for the community [were] good, too.
This was the case roughly between 1930 and 1955.”
84
During the late 1940s and the
early 1950s, as a result of rapprochement between Greece and Turkey as members
of NATO and tense relations with the newly established communist regimes in
Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, Greece relaxed its “traditional antipathy towards the use of
ethnic labels to refer to ethnic minorities in Western Thrace and upheld the entire
Muslim minority as … a national Turkish minority.”
85
After 1955, in response to the Cyprus problem, Greece reverted back to its
traditional distrust of Turkey, and the conditions of the Turkish minority in Western
Thrace began to deteriorate. The onset of civil strife between Greek and Turkish
Cypriots in 1963, the 1967 coup by the colonels in Greece and their active support
of Enosis or union of Cyprus with Greece, and the Turkish military intervention in
Cyprus in 1974 all contributed to serious curtailment of the rights of the Turkish
minority in Thrace. In the words of Poulton, “active discrimination against the
Turkish/Muslim minority became the norm.”
86
More importantly, these events
brought about a fundamental shift in ofcial perception of the Muslim community.
The Turkish character of the Muslim minority was denied altogether. Attempts were
made, not unlike in Bulgaria, to support the notion that Turkish speakers in Greece
were not of ethnic Turkish origin but descendants of ethnic Greeks who had been
converted to Islam and Turkied. But unlike in Bulgaria in the 1980s, Greece did not
attempt to impose a Greek identity upon Muslims.
Since the mid-1950s the ofcial position of the Greek government has been that
there are no ethnic minorities in Greece but only a small Muslim minority. This
position has had near unanimous support from Greek intellectuals and the Orthodox
Church hierarchy.
87
If pressed, Greek authorities will admit that there are Turco-
phone and Slavophone Muslims in Greece but adamantly insist that the former are
not ethnically Turkish and the latter are not ethnically Bulgarian. Ofcially they are
not ethnically Greek either because, according to Greek national idiom, they lack
Greek national consciousness, which can only be “established on the basis of
common racial origin, often but not always common language and religions, and
especially common history and ideals.”
88
Persons with Greek national consciousness
are also Greek Orthodox. Being a Muslim, therefore, automatically implies being a
non-Greek As such, Turkish and other Muslims are not entitled to the same
citizenship rights as ethnic Greeks. The ambiguity about the exact status of Muslims
in Greece has been exploited by various governments since the mid-1950s to
150
TURKS AND TATARS
discriminate against them and to interfere in their educational, cultural, and religious
institutions. Discrimination against Turkish and other Muslims increased substan-
tially under the rule of the military junta between 1967 and 1974.
The return to democracy in 1974 did not reverse these discriminatory practices. A
Helsinki Watch mission to Western Thrace in 1990 conrmed reports of human
rights abuses. Alleged violations included the arbitrary deprivation of citizenship;
restrictions on movement of ethnic Turks and other Muslims within Western Thrace;
restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of religion; restrictions on the
rights of Muslims to buy land, to repair old homes or build new ones, to repair old
mosques or build new ones, to buy or sell businesses; restrictions on obtaining
licenses to operate farm machinery, and even driver’s licenses; restrictions on
political freedoms; discrimination in public sector and civil service employment;
underfunding of infrastructure projects in Muslim areas; degrading treatment of
Muslims by government ofcials; and most fundamental of all the denial of the
ethnic identity of Turkish and other Muslims.
89
Two follow-up reports since then,
one in 1992 and another in 1998, note some improvements in the situation of ethnic
Turks and other Muslims. By 1992 restrictions on buying and selling of houses and
land, repairing and building houses and mosques, obtaining car, truck and tractor
licenses, operating small businesses, and so on had been eased.
90
By 1998 the Greek
government had taken additional steps to improve the situation of Muslims. For
example, in 1994 the government discontinued the traditional practice of appointing
governors and municipal councils in Western Thrace. From then on these individuals
would be elected directly by the voters. It appears that direct election of governors
and mayors of municipalities makes these individuals more responsive to the needs
of their constituents and more willing to use development funds to improve the long
neglected infrastructure projects in the region. In 1995 restrictions of movement into
and out of Pomak areas along the Greek–Bulgarian border were lifted. Also in 1995,
the government took steps to improve the dismal state of education in minority
schools and established a university quota for graduates from minority schools.
91
However, the 1998 report concludes that important problems remain. I discuss some
of these problems in greater detail below.
One serious problem is the arbitrary and discriminatory application of certain laws
to the detriment of Greek citizens of Turkish origin. Greek jurisprudence distin-
guishes between those citizens who have Greek national consciousness and those
who do not have Greek national consciousness. Citizens who lack Greek national
consciousness, such as Turks, could be deprived of Greek citizenship under the
application of Article 19 of the Greek Nationality Law. Article 19 stated that “A
person of non-Greek ethnic origin who leaves Greece without the intention of
returning, may be declared as having lost Greek nationality.”
92
Between 1955 and
1998, this article was frequently and arbitrarily used by Greek authorities “to deny
re-entry of Turks and to deprive ethnic Turks who leave the country, even for
temporary periods, of their Greek citizenship.”
93
Under this article some 60,000
151
A. EMINOV
Muslims, mostly ethnic Turks, were deprived of Greek citizenship. Article 19 was
was nally repealed in 1998, but the repeal was not retroactive.
There have been three main factors that have inuenced identity formation among
Muslims in Greece during the twentieth century: Islam, Turkish national ideology,
and the discriminatory, at times repressive, policies of Greek governments towards
members of the Muslim minority.
Islam emphasizes the transnational nature of personal identities. The focus is on
membership in a community of faith, Umma, not on the particular ethnic identities
of its members. Historically Islam has worked against the construction of national
identities. The notion of transnational identity became institutionalized in the Ot-
toman millet system. As Malcomson observes, “From the Ottoman point of view
ethnic tribalism was, at best, a very regrettable human tendency, one that made
governing their vast empire unnecessarily difcult.”
94
Indeed, it was ethnic tribalism
or nationalism that eventually led to the break-up of the Ottoman Empire. National
ideology, on the other hand, focuses on the nation as the primary source of personal
identities. This idea, alien to Islam, was slow to penetrate countries and communities
that were largely Muslim. It was only after the establishment of the Turkish Republic
in 1923 that Turkish national ideology began to make signicant inroads in Muslim
communities in Bulgaria, Greece, and elsewhere in the Balkans.
After 1923 there arose two competing notions of identity among Muslims in
Greece in response to radical changes in Turkey under the leadership of Mustafa
Kemal Atatu¨ rk. One group, led by conservative Islamicist leaders, wanted to
maintain the traditional transnational character of Muslim identity. They repudiated
both Turkish national ideology and the Kemalist reforms and waged an intense
propaganda war against these. A second group, led by young secular nationalists,
wholeheartedly embraced the Kemalist reforms. They formed an Association of
Turkish Youth in 1928 and used it as the main vehicle to introduce many of the
Kemalist reforms to Muslims in Greece, including the Latin script.
The experience of Muslims under the repressive military junta between 1967 and
1974 persuaded religious and secular leaders within the Muslim community to work
closely together to strengthen the afnity of all Muslims with the Turkish nation.
After 1974 the process of the development of Turkish ethnic consciousness among
most Muslims regardless of their ethnic background accelerated. By the 1990s
Turkish ethnic consciousness had become the dominant identity among Muslims in
Greece, not only among ethnic Turks but also among most Pomaks and Muslim
Roma. Over a relatively brief period of time, “membership in the religious Muslim
community was transformed into membership in the Turkish national collectivity.”
95
Ethnic Turkish self-consciousness among many Pomaks and Muslim Roma has
reached a point where, especially to outsiders, they “even deny their ethnolinguistic
origin in the belief that being called ‘Pomaks,’ or ‘Romas’ is merely a state artice
to suppress them.”
96
Turkish-language instruction in minority schools in Greece has
been instrumental in transforming the traditional transnational Muslim identify into
152
TURKS AND TATARS
ethnic Turkish identity not among only ethnic Turks but also Bulgarian-speaking
Muslims
(
Pomaks
)
and Muslim Roma. Turkish teachers in these schools have been
the primary agents of Turkish national ideology.
Minority schools in Greece were established in accordance with the provisions of
the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923. Article 40 of the Lausanne Treaty stipulates that the
Muslim minority in Greece would have the authority to “establish, administer, and
supervise” schools in which the education would be in the language of the minority.
Both Greece and Turkey interpreted this treaty language to mean that the medium of
instruction in these schools would be Turkish. Bilateral agreements were signed
between Greece and Turkey stipulating that these schools would be staffed with
teachers from Turkey and that ethnic Turkish students from Greece would be
allowed to go to Turkey to attend teacher training colleges.
97
The Greek government
was obligated to help establish and maintain minority
(
Turkish
)
primary and
secondary schools in Western Thrace. The Greek authorities were to provide an
equitable share of public funds for the running of these schools. Scores of Turkish-
language primary schools were established as stipulated in the Lausanne Treaty and
operated according to the provisions of bilateral agreements signed in 1951 and 1968
between Greece and Turkey. The deterioration of Greek–Turkish relations over the
Cyprus problem in the mid-1950s and the harsh treatment of Muslims under the rule
of the military junta between 1967 and 1974 put the affairs of the Turkish minority
into a period of crisis which has persisted to this day. After 1967 “the administrators
of the special [minority] schools began to be appointed by the Greek authorities
rather than being elected by the parents, and the textbooks that had been being
brought from Turkey under the 1951 agreement were no longer considered accept-
able.”
98
Minority schools remained open but government meddling in the administra-
tion of these schools increased.
Since 1967 the Greek authorities have assumed increased control over administrat-
ive and instructional decisions concerning the operation of these schools. Since the
late 1960s the Greek authorities have severely limited the hiring of teachers from
outside Greece. In 1968 a special teacher training academy was set up in Salonica
to prepare teachers for Turkish primary and secondary schools in Greece. Since 1968
only the graduates from this academy could be hired to teach in Turkish schools. The
primary purpose of the establishment of this school was to limit contact between
Turks in Greece and Turks in Turkey as well as to minimize the inuence of Turkish
culture on Turks living in Greece. According to Poulton, “This academy takes much
of its intake from Greek secondary schools and, its critics claim, relied on an
outdated religious curriculum deliberately to create an incompetent Hellenized
education system in Western Thrace isolated from the mainstream of modern Turkish
culture.”
99
Moreover, history books used in minority schools “portray Turks as crude
stereotypes and while Turkish pupils are allowed some books from Turkey, there
have been inexplicable delays resulting in outdated textbooks having to be used.”
100
Christidis reports that during the 1992–1993 school year, “there were 232 primary
153
A. EMINOV
schools, 2 secondary schools and two religious schools
(
medrese
)
serving the
minority.” There were 9,050 minority students in primary schools and 1,602 in
secondary schools. Of these 678 “were enrolled in minority secondary schools and
medreses, and 924 at non-minority secondary schools.” A total of 432 teachers were
employed in Muslim minority schools during the 1992–1993 school year. More than
half of these teachers
(
210
)
were graduates of the teacher training academy in
Salonica, 98 had diplomas from colleges in Turkey, 97 were graduates of Islamic
schools in Western Thrace, 11 had diplomas from secondary schools, and seven were
graduates of primary schools.
101
What is striking in these gures is the fact that for
a minority population that is estimated to be between 100,000 and 120,000, there
were only two secondary schools with 1,602 students. One of these secondary
schools has not graduated any students for several years while the other has averaged
six graduates a year between 1985 and 1990.
102
The lack of sufcient schools to meet
the needs of the Muslim community and the poor quality of education offered in the
existing schools are reected in the extremely high illiteracy rate among the Turks
of Western Thrace. According to Oran, during the late 1980s, the illiteracy rate
among Turks in Western Thrace was around 60%. This compares with a rate of
14.2% for the population of Greece as a whole.
103
Despite the inferior education that minority schools in Western Thrace provide, a
small number of graduates from these schools have managed to continue their
education and obtain university degrees, many from universities in Turkey. These
university graduates have formed the nucleus of a professional class with Turkish
national ideology who are in a position to help Turks and other Muslims in Western
Thrace to deal more effectively with Greek bureaucracy. More surprisingly, to the
consternation of the Greek authorities, they have also managed to use Turkish
national ideology to transform “a heterogeneous Muslim minority into an increas-
ingly consolidated group with Turkish national consciousness. ”
104
Turkish Speakers in Macedonia
Turks in the former Yugoslavia were found primarily in the Kosovo province of
Serbia and Macedonia.
105
Here I will focus on the Turkish speakers who live in
Macedonia. Prior to the Balkan Wars the majority of the Macedonian population was
Muslim—Turks, Slavic-speaking Muslims, Albanians, and so on. However, the
states that coveted Macedonia—principally Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece—engaged
in heated claims and counterclaims about the “true” nationality of the population of
Macedonia.
With the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of nation states in the
Balkans during the nineteenth century, Macedonia became a region contested
between Bulgaria, Greece, and Serbia. Taking advantage of the chaotic situation in
the area, each country attempted to consolidate and expand at the expense of
154
TURKS AND TATARS
Macedonia. In support of their territorial claims on Macedonia, each country
advanced various historical, linguistic, dialectal, religious, ethnic, educational, and
other arguments, produced ethnic maps, and published census gures.
Around 1900 all the claimants to Macedonian territory produced census gures—
Bulgaria
(
1900
)
, Greece
(
1904
)
, Serbia
(
1889
)
, and the Ottoman Empire
(
1905
)

showing widely divergent gures for the ethnic composition of the population of
Macedonia. According to the Bulgarian census gures, 52.3% of the population of
Macedonia were Bulgarians, and Turks with 22.1% were a distant second; according
to Greek gures the Greeks were in the majority with 37.8%, followed by Turks with
37%, and Bulgarians with 19.3%; in the Serbian census 71.3% of the population of
Macedonia were Serbs. The Ottoman census of 1905 showed that Muslims were in
the majority with 51.8%, followed by Bulgarians with 30.8%, and Greeks with
10.6%.
106
Looking at these gures, one is hard pressed to believe that they refer to
the same population or the same country. Macedonians are not mentioned in any of
these censuses.
Ultimately the actual ethnic make-up of the Macedonian population did not matter.
The Bulgarians claimed that “Macedonians were Bulgarians, or hellenized Bulgars if
they spoke Greek, while the Greeks claimed that they were slavicized Greeks
(
and
annexed southern Macedonia
)
, while Serbia declared the northern section of Mace-
donia to have been the part of a medieval Serbian ‘state’ and annexed most of the
northern section in 1912–13.”
107
Only Bulgaria, as the loser in the Second Balkan
War in 1913, was deprived of its claim to a large part of Macedonia.
The number of Turkish speakers in Macedonia has uctuated considerably during
the second half of the twentieth century as indicated in Yugoslav censuses. Wide
uctuation in the number of Turkish speakers in Macedonia in the rst four post-war
Yugoslav censuses was inuenced by both internal and external events. After World
War II the loyalty of Turkish speakers in Macedonia was suspect. To escape
persecution, many Turkish speakers identied themselves as Albanians in the 1948
census. With the Tito–Albania split in 1953, the loyalty of Albanians in Macedonia
became suspect. This, combined with Tito’s decision to allow emigration of Muslims
to Turkey, led many Albanians and Macedonian-speaking Muslims to identify
themselves as Turks during the 1953 census. One indication of this is that of the
203,938 Turks in the 1953 census “32,392 gave Macedonian as their mother tongue
and 27,086 gave Albanian. The number of declared Albanians fell from 179,389 to
165,524 in 1953.”
108
According to Yugoslav gures, between 1953 and 1966 some
80,000 Muslims, mostly ethnic Turks, emigrated to Turkey. The number of Turks in
Macedonia continued to fall in subsequent censuses. In the 1994 Macedonian census
82,976 Macedonians identied themselves as Turks, making up 4% of the population
of Macedonia.
109
Turkish speakers live throughout Macedonia but they are more numerous in
districts close to the Albanian and Kosovo borders. According to the 1994 Macedo-
nian census Turkish speakers made up over 30% of the population of the district of
155
A. EMINOV
Brod, and over 25% of the district of Debar. The districts of Krushevo, Gostivar, and
Resen also have substantial Turkish populations.
110
Turkish speakers were a recognized “nationality”
(
narodnost
)
in former
Yugoslavia and were allowed full cultural and political rights. As De Jong notes,
“Former Yugoslavia, and now Macedonia and truncated Yugoslavia are the only
countries in the Balkans where the Turkish minority has ourished.”
111
After 1944,
for example, the educational opportunities of the Turkish community in Macedonia
were expanded. During the 1944–1945 school year, “there were sixty primary
schools with 3,334 pupils, using Turkish as the language of instruction.”
112
Over the
next decade additional schools opened and enrollments rose. By the 1950–1951
school year there were over 100 primary schools with more than 12,000 students and
staffed with 257 teachers. Enrollment in primary schools reached a peak during the
1953–1954 school year, when more than 15,000 students were enrolled in Turkish
primary schools. During the 1950s this trend was reversed as a result of increased
emigration of Turks to Turkey. The total number of Turkish schools in Macedonia
had dropped to 27 by the 1958–1959 school year—26 primary schools and one
secondary school, “with just over 6,000 pupils and 219 teachers. While the number
of primary schools had increased to fty-three by 1988, the number of pupils
remained more or less the same.”
113
During the 1994–1995 school year there were
54 primary schools with 5,491 students and 274 teachers and four secondary schools
with 383 students and 67 teachers.
114
Turkish-language schools in Macedonia have
been instrumental in developing and maintaining a sense of Turkish identity among
Turkish speakers.
Even before the establishment of communist rule in Yugoslavia, Turkish and other
Muslims were allowed to practice their religion without government interference.
Prior to 1930 various Muslim groups in Yugoslavia—Albanian, Bosnian, Turkish—
had their separate governing organizations. In 1930 these separate Muslim groups
were “united under the authority of a single ulama, the Rais-ul Ulama, who enforced
Islamic religious and legal dogma and managed the affairs of the Islamic community.
Headquartered in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia’s Islamic community included about 3,000
religious leaders and 3,000 mosques in the 1980s. The only Islamic school of
theology in Europe was located in Sarajevo, and Islamic secondary schools operated
in Sarajevo, Skopje, and Pristina. A religious school for women, attached to the
Islamic secondary school in Sarajevo, had a capacity for 60.”
115
According to Curtis, “Relations of the postwar communist government with the
Islamic community were less troubled than those with the Orthodox or Roman
Catholic churches.”
116
Communist Yugoslavia was the only country in the Balkans
which did not pursue an anti-Islamic policy and allowed complete religious freedom.
The recognized nationalities were given considerable autonomy in managing their
own cultural and religious affairs. Such autonomy and self-government contributed
greatly to the maintenance and strengthening of ethnic identities in former
Yugoslavia.
117
During the 1960s and 1970s, “Tito used Yugoslavia’s Islamic com-
156
TURKS AND TATARS
munity to maintain friendly relations with oil-producing Arab countries because
Yugoslavia needed access to inexpensive oil.”
118
After the Iranian revolution in 1979
the concerns of the government about destabilizing contacts between Yugoslav
Muslims and fundamentalist governments in the Middle East were put to rest until
the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1991 as the ulama in Yugoslavia disavowed all
connection with pan-Islamic movements.
After the break-up of the former Yugoslavia, common Islamic leadership and
institutions for all Muslims living in successor states became impractical. Continuing
violent conicts in Bosnia and Kosovo also mitigated against such an arrangement.
Moreover, as each new successor state becomes strongly attached to its sovereignty
and guards it zealously, so too each ethnic community wants to assert its own
autonomy in exercising its cultural rights. What is emerging in the Republic of
Macedonia and other successor states of former Yugoslavia is the establishment of
ethnic-based cultural institutions and organizations.
Conclusions
Of the four countries discussed in this paper, in Bulgaria and Greece, to a much
greater degree than in Macedonia and Romania, identity construction among Turkish
speakers has has been a response to their treatment as the alien Other and to attempts
on the part of state authorities to deny or manipulate their identity.
The assimilation policies of the Zhivkov regime attempted to impose a Bulgarian
identity on ethnic Turks. These policies were reversed in late 1989. The rights of
Turks, Tatars, and other Muslims who had been targets of assimilation were restored.
The constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria adopted in 1991 recognizes the
existence of citizens of non-Bulgarian origin
(
but not national minorities
)
and
guarantees the right of these citizens to be educated in their mother tongue, to
develop their cultures in accordance with their ethnic self-identication, and to
practice their religion freely. Since 1989 considerable progress has been made in
translating these constitutional guarantees into action. Much still remains to be
accomplished. However, despite serious problems in the areas of education, politics,
religion, and the economy, most Turks and Tatars in Bulgaria today are more
condent about themselves and feel greater pride in who they are when compared
with the recent past. They have reclaimed most of their cultural and civil rights
without the violence that characterizes the relationships between ethnic groups in
many formerly communist states in Eastern Europe. However, the legal status of the
Turkish minority in Bulgaria is not entirely satisfactory. Bulgaria is the only country
in Eastern Europe whose postcommunist constitution and legal system does not
recognize the existence of national minorities or collective minority rights. This
maintains the ction that Bulgaria is a homogeneous, single-nation state.
While Bulgaria, Romania, and Macedonia have made real progress on minority
issues since 1989, Greece, a democratic country and an EU member, has made the
157
A. EMINOV
least progress. The adage that in the Balkans truth and history are national consider-
ations, generated and reproduced by the academic establishment and church hier-
archy closely allied with government authorities, describes very aptly the discourse
on minority issues in Greece. Of the four countries discussed in this paper, Greece
is the only one where the government insists that there is no ethnic Turkish minority
or any other ethnic minority. Serious protests against government policies by Turkish
and other Muslims in Western Thrace in the late 1980s and early 1990s and the
heavy-handed response by the authorities to these protests brought the plight of the
Turkish minority to international attention. The Greek authorities responded by
easing some of the restrictions against members of the minority. However, serious
problems in minority education, government interference in Muslim religious affairs,
restrictions on freedom of expression, and so on remain. The status of some 60,000
ethnic Turks who were deprived of Greek citizenship under Article 19 is unresolved.
As long as the Greek government continues to deny the existence of an ethnic
Turkish minority a reconciliation between the Greek Orthodox and Muslim com-
munities is not possible.
In Romania the numbers of Tatars and Turks together are less than 55,000, about
0.2% of the total population. Although beginning in the 1960s Tatars and Turks
became targets of assimilation, these efforts were relatively benign when compared
with the policies of the Zhivkov regime in Bulgaria. Since 1989 all restrictions on
the Tatar and Turkish language and the practice of Islam have been lifted. Today the
desire of Tatars and Turks to speak their language and to practice their religion is not
seen as a threat to Romanian national security. Both groups have beneted from the
concessions to Romania’s largest minority, the Hungarian minority.
The status of the Turkish-speaking minority in Macedonia today remains quite
favorable. They are free to organize their lives according to their cultural preferences
unhindered by the state. In addition to having their own schools, they have their
“own newspapers, periodicals, radio and television programmes, schools and a
variety of cultural organizations.”
119
However, the ethnic-based politics of recent
years in Macedonia puts small minorities such as Turks in a perilous situation. Since
these minorities lack the numerical strength to form their own political parties and
to elect their own candidates to political ofce, their ability to maintain their cultural
institutions will depend on the goodwill of the two major groups, the Macedonians
and the Albanians, among whom they live.
The presence of sizeable Turkish and other Muslim minorities in the Balkans
remains a source of tension in the region. Fear, suspicion, and dislike of Turkish and
other Muslims among Balkan peoples, a residue of several centuries of Ottoman rule,
remain. The negative image of Islam and Muslims is perpetuated by history
textbooks, literature, folklore, and the mass media. Most Balkan historiography
continues to frame the Ottoman conquerors, and by extension all Muslims, as
bloodthirsty barbarians, cruel tormentors and oppressors, who brought only ruin in
their wake; ve centuries of the “Turkish yoke” in the Bulgarian formulation.
158
TURKS AND TATARS
Although these fears had diminished over the years, recent events in Bosnia and
Kosovo have been used by ethnic nationalists to resurrect these fears to mobilize
anti-Turkish and anti-Islamic sentiment for political purposes. One result is height-
ened and often violent conict, as we are witnessing in Kosovo today. However, all
is not dark and gloomy. Developments in Bulgaria since 1989 offer hope that
reconciliation between different ethnic, linguistic, and religious communities is
possible; that history can be demythologized; that the nation state can be reimagined
with room for diversity.
NOTES
1. Loring Danforth, “Nationalism in Eastern Europe: Nations, States, and Minorities,” Cultural
Survival, 1995, Vol. 19, No. 2, p. 3.
2. Refers to an area south of the Danube delta from Tulcea in Romania to Varna in Bulgaria.
Among the various spellings—“Dobruja,” “Dobrugea,” “Dobrudzha,” and “Dobruca” among
others—I’ve chosen the last, the Turkish spelling. In this spelling the letter “c” is pronounced
as “j” in the word “jam.”
3. Hugh Poulton, “Islam, Ethnicity and State in the Contemporary Balkans,” in Hugh Poulton
and Suha Taji-Farouki, eds, Muslim Identity and the Balkan State
(
New York: New York
University Press, 1997
)
, p. 15.
4. Some Turkish speakers may have begun to settle in the Balkans long before the beginning
of Ottoman conquests in the region, perhaps as early as the middle of the eleventh century.
See H. T. Norris, Islam in the Balkans: Religion and Society between Europe and the Arab
World
(
Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1993
)
, pp. 146–155. One such
group is the Turkish-speaking Orthodox Christians, the Gagauz. The origins of the Gagauz
are disputed. Over the years they have been regarded as the descendants of Greek, Bulgarian,
Albanian, or Wallachian Christians who had maintained their religion but had been Turkied
during the Ottoman period. A more popular traditional view held that they are of Anatolian
Turkish origin. The researches of T. Kowalski, Les Turcs et la Langue Turque de la Bulgarie
du Nord-Est
(
Krakow: Commission Orientaliste de l’Academie de Cracovie, 1933
)
and “Les
elements ethniques turcs de la Dobrudja,” Rocznik Orientalistyczny, Vol. 14, 1938, pp. 66–80,
in Dobruca established a close connection between the Turkish spoken by the Gagauz and
Anatolian Turkish. The researches of Paul Wittek, “Yazicioghly ‘Ali on the Christian Turks
of Dobruja,” BSOAS, Vol. 14, 1952, pp. 639–668 and “Les Gagaouzes—les gens de
Kaykaus,” Rocznik Orientalistyczny, Vol. 12, 1952, pp. 12–24; Wlodzimierz Zajaczkowski,
“Gagauz,” Encyclopedia of Islam, Vol. 2
(
Leiden, Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1965
)
, pp. 971–
972, and “K etnogenezu Gagauzov,” Folia Orientalia, Vol. 15, 1974, pp. 77–86
)
; Kemal
Karpat, “Gagauz’larin tarihi mensei u¨zerine kisa bir bakis,” I. Uluslararasi Tu¨rk Folklor
Kongresi Bildirileri, Vol. 1, 1976, pp. 163–177, and others support this hypothesis. However,
more recent analysis of historical and linguistic evidence indicates that the Gagauz are a
synthetic population, formed from the melding of Pechenegs, Uz, Cumans, and Anatolian
Turks. See Harun Gu¨ngo¨r and Mustafa Argunshah, Gagauz Tu¨rkleri: Tarih-Dil-Folklor ve
Halk Edebiyati
(
Ankara: Ku¨ltu¨r Bakanligi Yayinlari, 1991
)
, and Du¨nden Bugu¨ne Gagauzlar
(
Ankara: Elektronik Iletisim Ajansi Yayinlari, 1993
)
. There are an estimated 12,000 Gagauz
in Bulgaria, about 30,000 each in Greece and Romania. Most of the Gagauz today live in
Moldova and the Ukraine.
5. L. S. Stavrianos, The Balkans Since 1453
(
New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1958
)
,
p. 98; O
¨
mer Barkan, “Quelques observations sur l’organization economiques et sociales des
159
A. EMINOV
villes Ottomanes de XVI et XVII siecles,” Recueils de la Societe Jean Bodin, 1955,
pp. 292–293.
6. O
¨
mer Barkan, “Research on the Ottoman Fiscal Surveys,” in M. A. Cook, ed., Studies in the
Economic History of the Middle East from the Rise of Islam to the Present Day
(
London:
Oxford University Press, 1970
)
, p. 170.
7. Maria Todorova, “The Ottoman Legacy in the Balkans,” in Carl L. Brown, ed., Imperial
Legacy: The Ottoman Imprint on the Balkans and the Middle East
(
New York: Columbia
University Press, 1996
)
, pp. 62–63.
8. Ibid., p. 64.
9. For a discussion of demographic changes in Bulgarian towns following the Russo-Turkish
War of 1877–1878, see Richard Crampton, “The Turks in Bulgaria, 1878–1944,” in Kemal
Karpat, ed., The Turks of Bulgaria: The History, Culture, and Political Fate of a Minority
(
Istanbul: Isis Press, 1990
)
, pp. 43–78.
10. R. R. King, Minorities under Communism: Nationalities as a Source of Tension among
Balkan Communist States
(
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1973
)
, p. 91.
11. See Victor Friedman, “Observing the Observed: Language, Ethnicity, and Power in the 1994
Macedonian Census and Beyond,” in Barrett R. Rubin, ed., Toward Comprehensive Peace in
Southeast Europe: Conict Prevention in the Balkans
(
New York: Twentieth Century Fund
Press, 1996
)
, pp. 81–105, 119–128.
12. King, Minorities under Communism, p. 92.
13. Kemal Karpat, “Ottoman Urbanism: The Crimean Tatar Emigration to Dobruca and the
Founding of Mecidiye, 1856–1878,” International Journal of Turkish Studies, Vol. 3,
1984–1985, p. 3.
14. Mark Pinson, “Russian Policy and the Emigration of Crimean Tatars to the Ottoman Empire,”
Part I, Gu¨neydogÏu Avrupa Arastirmalari Dergisi, Vol. 1, 1972, pp. 42–43.
15. Ibid., p. 44.
16. Ibid.
17. Karpat, “Ottoman Urbanism,” p. 7.
18. Ibid., p. 8. See also Kemal Karpat, “Population Movements in the Ottoman State in the
Nineteenth Century: An Outline,” Collection Turcica, 1983, pp. 385–428, and “The Crimean
Emigration of 1856–1862 and the Settlement and Urban Development of Dobruca,” in Ch.
Remercier-Quelquejay et al., eds, Turco-Tatar Past, Soviet Present: Studies Presented to
Alexandre Bennigsen
(
Paris: Editions Peeters, 1986
)
.
19. Karpat, “Ottoman Urbanism,” p. 1.
20. Ibid., pp. 11–12.
21. Nikolai Todorov, “The Balkan Town in the Second Half of the 19th Century,” Etudes
Balkaniques, Vol. 2, 1969, p. 38.
22. Ibid., p. 33.
23. Ibid.
24. Ibid., p. 39
25. John Georgeoff, “Ethnic Minorities in Bulgaria,” in George Klein and Milan J. Reban, eds,
The Politics of Ethnicity in Eastern Europe
(
New York: Columbia University Press, 1981
)
,
p. 71.
26. The Russo-Turkish war of 1877–1878 was fought mostly on Bulgarian soil. Tatars, nursing
a hatred toward Russians who had forced them out of their homes in Crimea less than a
quarter century before, fought ferociously and mercilessly against the Russians and the
Bulgarians who supported the Russian war effort, taking no prisoners. Remaining in Bulgaria
after the war would have exposed the Tatars and their families to certain death at the hands
of the Russians and the Bulgarians. Most chose to leave with the retreating Ottoman armies.
160
TURKS AND TATARS
27. The most comprehensive description of the rich cultural life of Turkish and Tatar communi-
ties in Romanian Dobruca remains U
¨
lku¨sal’s Dobruca ve Tu¨rkler
(
Dobruca and the Turks
)
.
It was originally published in Constanta in 1940. After emigrating to Turkey, the author
rewrote, expanded, and updated the monograph and it was published in Ankara in 1966.
28. Frederick De Jong, “The Turks and Tatars in Romania: Materials Relative to Their History
and Notes on Their Present-Day Condition,” Turcica: Revue d’Etudes Turques, Vol. 28,
1986, pp. 170–171, 174.
29. King, Minorities under Communism, p. 48.
30. De Jong, “The Turks and Tatars in Romania,” pp. 171–172.
31. Ibid., p. 172. In Bulgaria the Shiites are known as Alevi, Aliani, or more generally as
Kizilbash
(
“red head”
)
after their traditional headgear with 12 stripes representing the 12
imams. Most of the Kizilbash settled in Dobruca in large numbers, either voluntarily or by
being deported there from Anatolia by the Ottoman authorities between the fteenth and
seventeenth centuries. Traditionally the Kizilbash were associated with various Su
orders active in the Balkans during the Ottoman period. Since the Kizilbash were con-
sidered “heterodox,” even heretical, by the majority Sunnis, they were subject to periodic
persecutions. In the face of such persecution, they have adopted the strategy of conceal-
ment in an attempt to maintain their true identity, “outwardly professing to be orthodox
Sunnis to their Turkish or Bulgarian neighbors, or alternately claiming to be Bektashis,
depending on who is addressing them”
(
H. T. Norris, Islam in the Balkans, p. 98
)
. Besides
concealment, village and confessional endogamy have helped them maintain their religious
identity and traditions. According to the 1992 census, there were 85,773 Shiites in Bulgaria,
accounting for 7.7% of the Muslim population in Bulgaria. For more information on
origins of the Kizilbash and their relationship to Su brotherhoods, see Frederick De
Jong, “Notes on Islamic Mystical Brotherhoods in Northeast Bulgaria,” Der Islam, Vol. 63,
1986, pp. 303–308, and “Problems Concerning the Origins of the Qizilbas in Bulgaria:
Remnants of the Saffaviya?” Academia Nazionale dei Lincei
(
Rome
)
, Vol. 25, 1993,
pp. 203–215.
32. Elemer Illyes, National Minorities in Romania: Change in Transylvania
(
Boulder: East
European Monographs, 1982
)
, pp. 34–52; Anuarul Statistic al Ramaniei
(
Bucharest: Comisia
Nationala Pentru Statistica, 1994
)
, p. 110.
33. De Jong, “The Turks and Tatars in Romania,” p. 175.
34. U
¨
lku¨sal, Dobruca ve Tu¨rkler, pp. 105–125, 155–163, 231–239, provides a wealth of infor-
mation on Turkish educational institutions and organizations, the Turkish press, and Turkish
cultural associations in Romania prior to World War II as well as information about the
impact of communist rule on these institutions.
35. De Jong, “Turks and Tatars in Romania,” pp. 178–179.
36. Anuarul Statistic al Ramaniei, pp. 274–277.
37. For a more detailed discussion of Islam in Romania prior to World War II, see U
¨
lku¨sal,
Dobruca ve Tu¨rkler, pp. 129–145.
38. De Jong, “The Turks and Tatars in Romania,” p. 169.
39. Frederick De Jong, “Muslim Minorities in the Balkans on the Eve of the Collapse of
Communism,” Islamic Studies, Vol. 36, 1997, p. 416.
40. For example, according to U
¨
lku¨sal there were 122 mosques in the province of Constanta and
29 in the province of Tulcea. During the 1980s there were about 50 mosques open to worship
in the entire Romanian Dobruca.
41. De Jong, “The Turks and Tatars in Romania,” pp. 180–181.
42. Ibid., pp. 182–183.
43. De Jong, “The Muslim Minorities in the Balkans,” p. 416.
44. Bilal Simsir, Contribution a l’Histoire des Populations Turques en Bulgarie, 1876–1880
(
Ankara: Tu¨rk Ku¨ltu¨ru¨nu¨ Arastirma Enstitu¨su¨ Yayinlari, 1966
)
, p. 9.
161
A. EMINOV
45. Natsionalen Statisticheski Institut, Rezultati ot Prebrojavaneto na Naselenieto: Demografski
Kharakteristiki, 1994, p. 106.
46. Helsinki Watch, Destroying Ethnic Identity: The Gypsies of Bulgaria
(
New York: Human
Rights Watch, 1991
)
, pp. 69–70.
47. Ibid., p. 71.
48. Ibid.
49. Ibid., p. 72.
50. Nedim Ipek, Rumeli’den Anadolu’ya Tu¨rk Go¨cleri, 1877–1890
(
Ankara: Tu¨rk Tarik Kurumu
Basimevi, 1994
)
, pp. 40–41. Crampton, “The Turks of Bulgaria,” pp. 43–78, provides a
detailed discussion of changes in the ethnic composition of the population of Bulgaria as a
whole, and especially of the urban population between 1878 and 1944.
51. Kiril Donkov, “Etnicheskijat sustav na naselenieto na Bulgarija,” Statistika, Vol. 36, 1994,
pp. 37–38.
52. Natsionalen Statisticheski Institut, Demografska Kharakteristika na Bulgarija
(
Rezultati ot
2% Izvadka
)
: Prebrojavane na Naselenieto I Zhilishtnija Fond kum 4 Kekemvri 1992 Godina
(
Soa: Natsionalen Statisticheski Institut, 1993
)
, p. 92.
53. Bilal Simisir, The Turks of Bulgaria, 1878–1985
(
London: K. Rustem & Brother, 1988
)
,
pp. 13–30.
54. Diana Mishkova, “Literacy and Nation-Building in Bulgaria, 1878–1912,” East European
Quarterly, Vol. 29, 1994, p. 86.
55. Jan F. Triska, ed., “Bulgaria,” in Constitutions of the Communist Party States
(
Stanford:
Hoover Institutions on War, Revolution, and Peace, 1968
)
, p. 163.
56. For a detailed discussion of the history of Turkish-language education in Bulgaria see Ali
Eminov, “The Education of Turkish Speakers in Bulgaria,” Ethnic Groups, Vol. 5, 1983,
pp. 129–150. For a detailed discussion of the linguistic effects of communist nationality
policy on colloquial and literary Turkish and recent development in Turkish-language
education in Bulgaria, see Ali Eminov, Turkish and Other Muslim Minorities in Bulgaria
(
London: C. Hurst, 1997
)
, pp. 138–166.
57. Simsir, The Turks of Bulgaria, p. 155.
58. Todorova, “Ottoman Legacy in the Balkans,” p. 64.
59. See Djeni Madjarov, “Adaptation—Reality and Image,” in The Ethnic Situation in Bulgaria
Today
(
Soa: Club ‘90, 1993
)
, pp. 104–121.
60. Soa Press Agency, The Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria
(
Soa, 1991
)
, p. 11.
61. See Wolfgang Ho¨pken, “From Religious Identity to Ethnic Mobilization: The Turks of
Bulgaria Before, Under and Since Communism,” in Hugh Poulton and Suha Taji-Farouki,
eds, Muslim Minorities and the Balkan State, p. 79.
62. Ibid., p. 65.
63. This is a long poem by Su¨leyman Celebi celebrating the birth of the Prophet Muhammad. It
is chanted either in memory of a dead person or to mark a special religious or other important
occasion.
64. For a more extended discussion of government attitudes to Islam and Muslims, see Eminov,
Turkish and Other Muslim Minorities, pp. 24–121, and Poulton, The Balkans, pp. 153–161.
65. Ilona Tomova and Plamen Bogoev, “Minorities in Bulgaria: A Report of the International
Conference on the Minorities, Rome 1991,” The Insider, Vol. 2, 1992, pp. 1–15.
66. Both chief muftis were Turkish speakers. The socialist governments supported Nedim
Gendzhev for two reasons: to reward a loyal supporter, and to punish Turkish speakers who
had voted overwhelmingly for non-socialist candidates in all of the elections held since 1989.
67. See Natsionalen Statisticheski Institut, Demografska Kharakteristika na Bulgaria, pp. 57–
113; Ho¨pken, “From Religious Identity to Ethnic Mobilization,” pp. 74–75.
162
TURKS AND TATARS
68. Daniel Bates, “What’s in a Name? Minorities, Identity, and Politics in Bulgaria,” Identities:
Global Studies in Culture and Power, Vol. 1, 1994, p. 202.
69. Ibid.
70. Daniel Bates, “The Ethnic Turks and the Bulgarian Elections of October 1991,” Turkish
Review of Balkan Studies, 1993.
71. Soa Press Agency, The Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria,
(
Soa: Soa Press
Agency
)
, p. 6.
72. East European Constitutional Review, “Turkish Party in Bulgaria Allowed to Continue,” Vol.
1, No. 2
(
Chicago: Centre for the Study of Constitutionalism in Eastern Europe at the
University of Chicago Law School, 1992
)
, pp. 11–12.
73. Poulton, “Changing Notions of National Identity among Muslims in Thrace and Macedonia,”
p. 83.
74. Human Rights Watch, Destroying Ethnic Identity: The Turks of Greece
(
New York: Human
Rights Watch, 1990
)
, pp. 47–50.
75. Ath. Angelopoulos, “Population Distribution of Greece Today According to Language,
National Consciousness and Religion,” Balkan Studies, Vol. 20, 1979, pp. 125–126.
76. Ibid., p. 129.
77. See Anastasia Karakasidou, “Politicizing Culture: Negating Macedonian Identity in Northern
Greece,” Journal of Modern Greek Studies, Vol. 11, 1993, pp. 1–28; “Sacred Scholars,
Profane Advocates: Intellectuals Molding National Consciousness in Greece,” Identities, Vol.
1, 1994, pp. 35–61.
78. Anastasia Karakasidou, “Vestiges of the Ottoman Past: Muslims under Siege in Contempor-
ary Greek Thrace,” Cultural Survival, Vol. 19, 1995, p. 71.
79. For specic examples of persecution of individuals who challenge the ofcial Greek position
on the ethnic identity of Muslims, see Human Rights Watch, Greece: The Turks of Western
Thrace.
80. Angelopoulos, “Population Distribution of Greece Today,” pp. 126–127.
81. The drawing of territorial boundaries after the Balkan Wars and World War I had split the
Bulgarian-speaking Muslim communities between Bulgaria, Greece, and Yugoslavia.
82. Angelopoulos, “Population Distribution in Greece Today,” p. 128.
83. Yorgos Christidis, “The Muslim minority in Greece,” in Gerd Nonneman, Tim Niblock and
Bogdan Szajakowski, eds, Muslim Communities in the New Europe,
(
Reading, UK: Ithaca
Press, 1996
)
, pp. 153–154.
84. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Turkish Minority in Western Thrace
(
Washington, 1996
)
, p. 4.
85. Poulton, “Changing Notions of National Identity,” pp. 85–86; Tatjana Seypel, “The Pomaks
of Northwestern Greece: An Endangered Balkan Population,” Journal, Institute of Muslim
Minority Affairs, Vol. 10, 1989, pp. 41–49. The Greek government embarked upon a policy
to assimilate the Bulgarian-speaking Muslims, the Pomaks, into the Turkish population by
requiring them to attend Turkish-language schools and forcing them to identify themselves
as Turks. This policy was embraced wholeheartedly by Turkish speakers in Greece as well
as by the Republic of Turkey. This practice was ended in the 1950s as the relations between
Greece and Turkey deteriorated over the Cyprus question. However, the consistent denial of
the Bulgarian ethnicity of Pomaks forced many Pomaks to draw closer to the Turkish
community, believing that Turkey as a kin state would protect the interests of all Muslims
in Greece. Consequently, over the years, most Pomaks in Western Thrace have come to
“manifest a Turkish national consciousness in part through enculturation and education in
minority [Turkish] schools and through intermarriage with ethnic Turks.” Karakasidou,
“Vestiges of the Ottoman past,” p. 71. This certainly was not the intention of the Greek
authorities.
86. Poulton, “Changing Notions of Identity,” p. 86.
163
A. EMINOV
87. The relationship between the Greek Orthodox Church and the Greek government is unique
among European Union member countries. Not only is the Greek Orthodox Church the
ofcial religion in Greece but it is so powerfully established in popular consciousness that
being a Christian and a Greek are synonymous. Moreover, the Church is in the vanguard of
Hellenism and Greek nationalism and has enormous inuence on government policies toward
its Muslim minority and toward Turkey. The messages of Archbishop Christodoulos are full
of the virtues of Hellenism and hard nationalism. He takes every opportunity to give vent to
his hostility toward the Turks, whom he calls “eastern barbarians,” calls upon Greeks to
mobilize to “liberate Constantinople,” and, on his visits to Western Thrace, urges Greeks to
defend Orthodoxy against Muslims, with weapons if necessary. See “Greece’s Nationalist
Archbishop,” The Economist, 12 December 1998, p. 53.
88. MRG Greece, “The Slavomacedonian Minority in Greece: A Case Study in Balkan National-
ism,’ in MRG Greece, James Pettifer and Hugh Poulton, eds, The Southern Balkans
(
London:
Minority Rights Group, 1994
)
, p. 18.
89. See Human Rights Watch, Destroying Ethnic Identity.
90. Human Rights Watch, “Greece: Improvements for Turkish Minority: Problems Remain,”
(
New York: Human Rights Watch, 1992
)
.
91. Human Rights Watch, Greece: The Turks of Western Thrace
(
New York: Human Rights
Watch, 1998
)
, pp. 10–11.
92. Human Rights Watch, Destroying Ethnic Identity, p. 11.
93. Poulton, “Islam, Ethnicity and State,” p. 19.
94. Scott Malcomson, Borderlands: Nation and Empire
(
Boston: Faber & Faber
)
, 1994, p. 74.
95. Karakasidou, “Vestiges of the Ottoman Past,” p. 72.
96. Human Rights Watch, Greece, p. 11.
97. Baskin Oran, “The Sleeping Volcano in Turco-Greek Relations: The Western Thrace
Minority,” International Journal of Turkish Studies, Vol. 6, 1992–1994, p. 124
98. Ibid.
99. Poulton, The Balkans, pp. 185–186.
100. Ibid., p. 186.
101. Christidis, “The Muslim Minority in Greece,” pp. 158–159.
102. Oran, “The Sleeping Volcano in Turco-Greek Relations,” p. 125.
103. Ibid.
104. Karakasidou, “Vestiges of the Ottoman Past,” pp. 73, 75.
105. See C. N. O. Bartlett, The Turkish Minority in Yugoslavia
(
Bradford, UK: University of
Bradford Press, 1980
)
.
106. Friedman, “Observing the Observed,” p. 85.
107. Kemal Karpat, “The Balkan National States and Nationalism: Image and Reality,” Islamic
Studies, Vol. 36, 1997, p. 347.
108. Poulton, “Changing Notions of National Identity,” pp. 96–97.
109. Statisticheski Godishnik na Republika Makedonija, p. 88.
110. Ibid., pp. 106–107.
111. De Jong, “The Muslim Minorities in the Balkans,” p. 417.
112. Poulton, “Changing Notions of National Identity,” p. 98.
113. Ibid.
114. Statisticheski Godishnik na Republika Makedonija, p. 57.
115. Glenn E. Curtis, Yugoslavia: A Country Study, 3rd edn
(
Washington: Government Printing
Ofce, 1992
)
, p. 112.
116. Ibid.
117. De Jong, “The Muslim Minorities in the Balkans,” p. 418.
118. Curtis, Yugoslavia, p. 112.
119. De Jong, “The Muslim Minorities in the Balkans,” p. 417.
164