Romani people in Turkey

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Romani people in Turkey
Türkiye'deki Romanlar
Total population
at least 500,000-3,000,000
Regions with significant populations
Istanbul (Sulukule), East Thrace/Edirne
Balkan Romani, Turkish
Sunni Islam, Sufism
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Romani people
Flag of the Romani people

The Romani people in Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye'deki Romanlar). There are many subgroups, the majority group are the Şoparlar, who live in East Thrace. All subgroups in Turkey have in common, that they are Sunni muslims and speak Turkish.

There are officially about 500,000 Romani in Turkey.[1][2][3][4]



The Romani people in Turkey originate from Northern India,[5][6][7][8][9][10] presumably from the northwestern Indian states Rajasthan, Sindh[9][10] and Punjab.[9]

The linguistic evidence has indisputably shown that roots of Romani language lie in India: The language has grammatical characteristics of Indian languages and shares with them a big part of the basic lexicon, for example, body parts or daily routines.[11]

More exactly, Romani shares the basic lexicon with Hindi and Punjabi. It shares many phonetic features with Marwari, while its grammar is closest to Bengali.[12]

Genetic findings in 2012 suggest the Romani originated in northwestern India and migrated as a group.[6][7][13]

In February 2016, during the International Roma Conference, the Indian Minister of External Affairs stated that the people of the Roma community were children of India. The conference ended with a recommendation to the Government of India to recognize the Roma community spread across 30 countries as a part of the Indian diaspora.[14]

Migration to Turkey[edit]

There are records of the presence of the Romani people from the 9th century in Asia Minor, called by the Greek, Athinganoi, in Turkish called Çingene. The Romanlar in Turkey have their own Oral tradition who said there Ancestor's called Çangar/(Changar), once came from North-India as musicians and dancers, they arrived at the time of the Sasanian Empire, from Persia, through Sasanian Egypt, to the Byzantine Empire. With the expansion of the Ottoman Empire, Romani settled in Rumelia (Southeastern Europe) under the Ottoman rule. The name Roman/Romanlar got from Turkish Doğu Roman İmparatorluğu (Eastern Roman Empire). Sulukule in Istanbul is the oldest Romani settlement in Europe, record since 1054, in Edirne record since 1068. The majority of the Romani People in Turkey live in East Thrace. Unique in the Ottoman History, the Muslim Romani people, got their own Sanjak, the Sanjak of Vize. Romani People in Turkey speak Turkish as their first language, romani language is not longer in practise. Marriages with non Romani People are not seldom.

The descendants of the Ottoman Romani today are known as Muslim Roma. They are of Sunni Islamic faith of Hanafi madhab, and practise male Khitan (circumcision). In Edirne, the Kakava festival is held all year.[15]

Legal status[edit]

In modern Turkey, Xoraxane Romani do not have a legal status of ethnic minority because they are traditionally adherents of the Islamic faith, adherents of which, regardless of ethnicity or race, are considered part of the ethnic majority in Turkey. This goes as far back as the Treaty of Lausanne (1923), in which Section III "Protection of Minorities" put an emphasis on non-Muslim minorities.[16]

In popular culture[edit]

A group of Turkish Romani appears in the 16th century Ottoman Constantinople of the video game Assassin's Creed: Revelations.


Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "UNHCR - Document Not Found". Archived from the original on 2012-10-10. Retrieved 2014-06-17.
  2. ^ Schleifer, Yigal (21 July 2005). "Roma Rights Organizations Work to Ease Prejudice in Turkey". Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-07-29. Retrieved 2010-02-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-10-20. Retrieved 2010-03-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Hancock 2002, p. xx: ‘While a nine century removal from India has diluted Indian biological connection to the extent that for some Romanian groups, it may be hardly representative today, Sarren (1976:72) concluded that we still remain together, genetically, Asian rather than European’
  6. ^ a b Mendizabal, Isabel (6 December 2012). "Reconstructing the Population History of European Romani from Genome-wide Data". Current Biology. 22 (24): 2342–2349. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2012.10.039. PMID 23219723.
  7. ^ a b Sindya N. Bhanoo (11 December 2012). "Genomic Study Traces Roma to Northern India". The New York Times.
  8. ^ Current Biology.
  9. ^ a b c K. Meira Goldberg; Ninotchka Devorah Bennahum; Michelle Heffner Hayes (2015-10-06). Flamenco on the Global Stage: Historical, Critical and Theoretical Perspectives. p. 50. ISBN 9780786494705. Retrieved 2016-05-21.
  10. ^ a b Simon Broughton; Mark Ellingham; Richard Trillo (1999). World Music: Africa, Europe and the Middle East. p. 147. ISBN 9781858286358. Retrieved 2016-05-21.
  11. ^ Šebková, Hana; Žlnayová, Edita (1998), Nástin mluvnice slovenské romštiny (pro pedagogické účely) (PDF), Ústí nad Labem: Pedagogická fakulta Univerzity J. E. Purkyně v Ústí nad Labem, p. 4, ISBN 978-80-7044-205-0, archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04
  12. ^ Hübschmannová, Milena (1995). "Romaňi čhib – romština: Několik základních informací o romském jazyku". Bulletin Muzea Romské Kultury. Brno (4/1995). Zatímco romská lexika je bližší hindštině, marvárštině, pandžábštině atd., v gramatické sféře nacházíme mnoho shod s východoindickým jazykem, s bengálštinou.
  13. ^ "5 Intriguing Facts About the Roma". Live Science.
  14. ^ "Can Romas be part of Indian diaspora?". 29 February 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  15. ^ Elena Marushiakova, Veselin Popov (2001) "Gypsies in the Ottoman Empire", ISBN 1902806026University of Hertfordshire Press
    • Original: Елена Марушиакова, Веселин Попов (2000) "Циганите в Османската империя". Литавра, София (Litavra Publishers, Sofia).(in Bulgarian)
  16. ^ "Treaty of Lausanne - World War I Document Archive". Retrieved 15 December 2017.

External links[edit]

Media related to Romani people in Turkey at Wikimedia Commons