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Kurbet language, Cypriot Turkish in Cyprus and North Cyprus, Vlax Romani language, Albanian language, Serbian language and Balkan Gagauz Turkish in the Balkans, also Crimean Tatar language in Crimea.
Cultural Muslims, Serbian Orthodox Church

Gurbeti (also Kurbet or Kurbat) are a sub-group of the Romani people living in Cyprus and North Cyprus,[1] Turkey, Crimea, Albania, Serbia and former Yugoslavia[2][3] whose members are Eastern Orthodox and predominantly Muslim Roma.[4][5] The Gurbeti make up approximately two thirds of the population of Roma in Macva, many of whom work in agriculture.[4] In Kosovo, other Romani groups viewed the Gurbeti negatively.[6]

Muslim Gurbeti at Cyprus[edit]

In the 1960 Constitution of Cyprus they were considered as part of the Turkish Cypriot community.[7] Once the Gurbeti lived all over Cyprus. After 1975, with the Third Vienna Agreement they migrated, along with the majority of the Turkish Cypriots to Northern Cyprus. Immigration to the United Kingdom and Turkey has also taken place. They describe themselves as Turkish in terms of ethnicity and speak Kurbet language and Cypriot Turkish.[8] In the 17th century, some migrated to Ottoman Rumelia.[9] In the Republic of Cyprus most live in the area of Agios Antonios in Limassol, and in the villages of Makounta, Stavrokonnou and Polis-Chrysochou in Paphos.[7] Persons belonging to the Roma community remain social and economically marginalised despite some government efforts.[10]

Gurbeti in the Balkans[edit]

In Vuk Stefanović Karadžić's Serbian dictionary, the word Gurbet means "Gypsy foreign workers". The word is derived from Turkish gurbet, meaning "emigrate".[11] The first mentions of nomadic Roma attributed as Gurbeti ancestors, from Ottoman Cyprus, is from the 17th century.[9] In 1941, most of the Yugoslav Roma settled permanently, with the exception of the Gurbeti in Montenegro.[3]

However, other sources about the Gurbeti have said that their Ancestors once came from Moldova and Wallachia, at the end of the 1850s after Slavery in Romania and settled in the Balkan, and speak a Vlax dialect.[12]

In other parts at the Balkans like in Bulgaria, Albania, North Macedonia, Serbia and Greece, the Gurbet are called Pečalbarstvo.[13]


Ottoman sources from 16th century mentioned from Gurbet a Turkoman Clan clan who lived in Dulkadiroğlu, Kahramanmaraş.[14]


The Gurbeti in the Balkans share some cultural features with the Kalderaš, but also with other Xoraxane, who adopted Turkish culture since the Ottoman time. The majority of Gurbeti are Cultural Muslims while others belong to the Serbian Orthodox Church , and partly assimilated into society. They speak Kurbet language and Cypriot Turkish in Northern Cyprus, and Vlax Romani language, Albanian language, Serbian language and Rumelian Turkish at the Balkans.


There is a Gurbeti diaspora, such as in Austria and German; these were recent migrants, mostly as Gastarbeiter unskilled workers, have since integrated into Austrian and German society. Some of Gurbeti men married Austrian and German women. The Host population didnt saw them as Roma, only as Yugoslavian[12]


Their Kurbet is a variety of Para-Romani.[15] In Kosovo, the Gurbeti speech have either a dominant Serbian substratum, or Albanian substratum. The Džambazi (Acrobatics and Horse trading) nomadic Muslim Romani group, speak a sub-dialect of Kurbet. The origin of the Romani loan words in Croatian are most likely from Gurbeti, who settled predominantly from Bosnia and Herzegovina.[16] Rade Uhlik translated the Gospel of Luke into Bosnian Gurbeti as O keriben pal e Devleskre bičhade. This was published by the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1938, and published in Belgrade.


While the Early Romani people traces back to the Indian Subcontinent,[17] also Gene flow from the Ottoman Turks spilled over and established a higher frequency of the Y-haplogroups J and E3b in Balkan Roma Groups.[18] The Greek Doctor A. G. Paspati made the statemant in his Book, that Turks married often Roma Woman.[19] Greeks and Slavs DNA also influenced the Balkan Roma people.[20] Also, the genetics of Peoples of the Caucasus influenced the Genetic impact of Roma people.[21]


  1. ^ "Roma flee Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus; anti-Gypsyism breaks out in the South". European Roma Rights Centre.
  2. ^ Guy, Will (2001). Between Past and Future. University of Hertfordshire Press. p. 52. ISBN 978-1-902806-07-5.
  3. ^ a b Ramet, Sabrina P.; Vjeran Pavlaković (2005). Serbia Since 1989. University of Washington Press. p. 383. ISBN 978-0-295-98538-1.
  4. ^ a b Cvorovic, Jelena (May–August 2006). "Gypsies Drown in Shallow Water: Oral Narratives among Macva Gypsies". Journal of Folklore Research. 43 (2): 129–148. doi:10.2979/JFR.2006.43.2.129. JSTOR 3814870. S2CID 144395001. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  5. ^ Rushton, J. Philippe; Jelena Čvorović; Trudy Ann Bons (January–February 2007). "General mental ability in South Asians: Data from three Roma (Gypsy) communities in Serbia". Intelligence. 35 (1): 1–12. doi:10.1016/j.intell.2006.09.002.
  6. ^ Etnološki pregled: Revue d'etnologie. Vol. 10–12. 1972. p. 30.
  7. ^ a b European Commission, Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers; Symeou, Loizos; Pelekani, Chryso (2019). Civil society monitoring report on implementation of the national Roma integration strategies in Cyprus: focusing on structural and horizontal preconditions for successful implementation of the strategy. Brussels: Publications Office of the European Union. p. 13. doi:10.2838/209345. ISBN 978-92-79-90574-2.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  8. ^ "KIBRIS'TAKİ GURBETLERİN GİZLİ DİLİ" (PDF). Rıdvan Öztürk. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 July 2017.
  9. ^ a b Helena Kanyar-Becker 2003: "In addition, in the XVIIth century, one begins to find mentions of nomadic Rroma, who were from Ottoman Cyprus - the ancestors of the present-day Gurbeti in Yugoslavia."
  10. ^ Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (2020). "Fifth Opinion on Cyprus". Council of Europe. Strasbourg: Secretariat of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities Council of Europe. p. 4.
  11. ^ Đura Daničić, Jugoslavenska akademija znanosti i umjetnosti 1891: "U Vukovu rječniku. GUBBET, m. Ciganin skitač, arap. tur. ghurbet, ise\avane. — isporedi gurbetaš, gurbetin."
  12. ^ a b "Gurbet [Rombase]".
  13. ^ Hristov Petko (January 2015). "The Balkan gurbet/pecalbarstvo - past and present". Glasnik Etnografskog instituta. 63 (3): 551–563. doi:10.2298/GEI1503551H. S2CID 188243396.
  14. ^ Yılgür, Egemen (January 2021). "Turcoman Gypsies in the Balkans: Just a Preferred Identity or More?". Romani History and Culture Festschrift in Honour of Prof. Dr. Veselin Popov / Hristo Kyuchukov, Sofiya Zahova, Ian Duminica.
  15. ^ Sabine Hornberg; Christian Brüggemann (2013). Die Bildungssituation von Roma in Europa. Waxmann Verlag. pp. 58–. ISBN 978-3-8309-7841-1.
  16. ^ Schrammel-Ambrosch-Halwachs 2005, p. 85
  17. ^ Melegh, Bela I.; Banfai, Zsolt; Hadzsiev, Kinga; Miseta, Attila; Melegh, Bela (2017). "Refining the South Asian Origin of the Romani people". BMC Genetics. 18 (1): 82. doi:10.1186/s12863-017-0547-x. PMC 5580230. PMID 28859608 – via ResearchGate.
  18. ^ Bánfai, Zsolt; Melegh, Béla I.; Sümegi, Katalin; Hadzsiev, Kinga; Miseta, Attila; Kásler, Miklós; Melegh, Béla (13 June 2019). "Revealing the Genetic Impact of the Ottoman Occupation on Ethnic Groups of East-Central Europe and on the Roma Population of the Area". Frontiers in Genetics. 10: 558. doi:10.3389/fgene.2019.00558. PMC 6585392. PMID 31263480.
  19. ^ Paspati, A. G.; Hamlin, C. (1860). "Memoir on the Language of the Gypsies, as Now Used in the Turkish Empire". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 7: 143–270. doi:10.2307/592158. JSTOR 592158.
  20. ^ Martínez-Cruz, Begoña; Mendizabal, Isabel; Harmant, Christine; De Pablo, Rosario; Ioana, Mihai; Angelicheva, Dora; Kouvatsi, Anastasia; Makukh, Halyna; Netea, Mihai G.; Pamjav, Horolma; Zalán, Andrea; Tournev, Ivailo; Marushiakova, Elena; Popov, Vesselin; Bertranpetit, Jaume; Kalaydjieva, Luba; Quintana-Murci, Lluis; Comas, David (2016). "Origins, admixture and founder lineages in European Roma". European Journal of Human Genetics. 24 (6): 937–943. doi:10.1038/ejhg.2015.201. PMC 4867443. PMID 26374132 – via ResearchGate.
  21. ^ Bánfai, Zsolt; Ádám, Valerián; Pöstyéni, Etelka; Büki, Gergely; Czakó, Márta; Miseta, Attila; Melegh, Béla (2018). "Revealing the impact of the Caucasus region on the genetic legacy of Romani people from genome-wide data". PLOS ONE. 13 (9): e0202890. Bibcode:2018PLoSO..1302890B. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0202890. PMC 6130880. PMID 30199533 – via ResearchGate.