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|Regions with significant populations|
|Dobrujan Tatar, Romanian|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Crimean Tatars, Nogais|
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Tatars of Romania (Romanian: Tătarii din România), Dobrujan Tatars (Crimean Tatar: Dobruca tatarları) or Nogay Tatars are a Turkic ethnic group that have been present in Romania since the 13th century. According to the 2011 census, 20,282 people declared themselves as Tatar, most of them being Crimean Tatars and living in Constanța County. But according to the Democratic Union of Tatar Turkic Muslims of Romania there are 50,000 Tatars in Romania. They are one of the main components of the Muslim community in Romania.
The roots of the Crimean Tatar community in Romania began with the Cuman migration in the 10th century. Even before the Cumans arrived, other Turkic peoples like the Huns and the Bulgars settled in this region. The Tatars first reached the Danube Delta in the mid-13th century during the power peak of the Golden Horde. In 1241, under the leadership of Kadan, the Tatars crossed the Danube, conquering and devastating the region. The region was probably not under the direct rule of the Horde, but rather, a vassal of the Bakhchisaray Khan. It is known from Arab sources that at the end of the 13th century and the beginning of the 14th century, descendants of the Nogai Horde settled in Isaccea. Another Arab scholar, Ibn Battuta, who passed through the region in 1330 and 1331, talks about Baba Saltuk (Babadag) as the southernmost town of the Tatars.
The Golden Horde began to lose its influence after the wars of 1352–1359 and, at the time, a Tatar warlord Demetrius is noted defending the cities of the Danube Delta. In the 14th and 15th centuries the Ottoman Empire colonized Dobruja with Nogais from Bucak. Between 1593 and 1595 Tatars from Nogai and Bucak were also settled to Dobruja. (Frederick de Jong)
Early modern period
After the Russian annexation of Crimea in 1783 Crimean Tatars began emigrating to the Ottoman coastal provinces of Dobruja (today divided between Romania and Bulgaria). Once in Dobruja most settled in the areas surrounding Mecidiye, Babadag, Köstence, Tulça, Silistre, Beştepe, or Varna and went on to create villages named in honor of their abandoned homeland such as Şirin, Yayla, Akmecit, Yalta, Kefe or Beybucak.[when?]
Late modern period
From 1783 to 1853 tens of thousands of Crimean Tatars and Nogais emigrated to the Rusçuk region which subsequently became known as "Little Tartary". Following the Russian conquest of 1812, Nogais from Bucak also immigrated to Dobruja. Tatars who settled in Dobruja before the great exodus of 1860 were known as Kabail. They formed the Kabail Tatar squadron in the Nizam-ı Cedid (New Order) army of sultan Selim III. They played a key role in Mahmud II's struggle with Mehmet Ali Pasha of Egypt, suppressed rebellions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kurdistan, and the Arab provinces and served with the Ottomans during the Crimean War.
Tatars together with Albanians served as gendarmes, who were held in high esteem by the Ottomans and received special tax privileges. The Ottoman's additionally accorded a certain degree of autonomy for the Tatars who were allowed governance by their own kaymakam, Khan Mirza. The Giray dynasty (1427 - 1878) multiplied in Dobruja and maintained their respected position. A Dobrujan Tatar, Kara Hussein, was responsible for the destruction of the Janissary corps on orders from Sultan Mahmut II.
From 1877-1878 it is estimated that between 80,000 and 100,000 Crimean Tatars emigrated from Dobruja to Anatolia, which continued in smaller numbers until World War I. The reasons for the emigration were several: In 1883 the Romanian government enacted laws requiring compulsory military service for all Romanian subjects including Tatars who were concerned that serving a Christian army was not in accord with their Muslim identity. Other reasons included the 1899 famine in Dobruja, a series of laws from 1880 to 1885 regarding confiscation of Tatar and Turkish land, and the World War I (1916–18) which devastated the region.
Early 20th century to WWII
A unique Crimean Tatar national identity in Dobruja began to emerge in the last quarter of the 19th century. When Ismail Gasprinski, considered by many to be the father of Crimean Tatar nationalism, visited Köstence (Constanţa) in 1895 he discovered his newspaper Tercüman was already in wide circulation. However, it was the poet Mehmet Niyazi who is most credited with spreading nationalist ideas among the Tatars of Dobruja. In the wake of the fall of the Crimean Tatar government, Dobruja became the foremost place of refuge for Tatars from Crimea. Many of these refugees were inspired to join the Prometheus movement in Europe which aimed for the independence of Soviet nationalities. During this period Mustecip Hacı Fazıl (later took the surname Ulkusal) was the leader of community in Dobruja. In 1918, when he was 19 he went to Crimea to teach in Tatar schools and published the first Tatar journal in Dobruja, Emel from 1930 to 1940. He and other nationalists protested Tatar emigration from Dobruja to Turkey, believing resettlement in Crimea was preferable.
In the 1920s Dobruja persisted as the primary destination for refugees escaping the Soviets. The Tatars were relatively free to organize politically and publish journals founded on nationalist ideas. During World War II many Tatars escaped from Crimea and took refugee with Crimean Tatar families in Dobruja who were subsequently punished harshly by Communist Romania. The refugees who attempted escape by sea were attacked by Red Army aircraft, while those who followed land routes through Moldavia managed to reach Dobruja before the Red Army captured and deported most of them to Siberia on May 18, 1944. Necip Hacı Fazıl, the leader of the smuggling committee was executed and his brother Müstecip Hacı Fazıl fled to Turkey.
In 1940 Southern Dobruja was given to Bulgaria and by 1977 an estimated number of 23,000 Tatars were living in Romania. According to Nermin Eren that number increased to around 40,000 by the 1990s. In 2005 The Democratic Union of Turkish-Muslim Tatars of Romania claimed that there are 50,000 Tatars in Romania, believing the census estimate is artificially low because most Tatars identified themselves as Turks. Nermin Eren also estimated the number of Tatars in Bulgaria to be around 20,000 in 1990s. The Bulgarian sources estimate it to be around 6,000, though they are aware that most Tatars intermarry Turks or identify themselves as Turks. Between 1947-1957 Tatar schools began operating in Romania and in 1955 a special alphabet was created for the Tatar community. In 1990 the Democratic Union of Muslim Tatar-Turks was established. Currently Romania respects the minority rights of Tatars and does not follow any policy of Romanianization.
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- Taner Murat
- Ismail H. A. Ziyaeddin
Dobrujan Tatar or Romanian Tatar (Tatarşa or Tatar tílí; Romanian: limba tătară) is the Tatar language of Romania. It includes Crimean Tatar and Nogai dialects, but today there are no more longer sharp distinction between this dialects and it's mostly seen as a one language. This language belongs to Kipchak Turkic languages, specifically to Kipchak-Nogai and is influenced by Turkish and Romanian.
- Dobruja Tatar, the Kîrîm or Bozkîr dialect (Şól tílí) spoken by about 70% of Romanian Tatars. Dobrudja Tatar is spoken mainly in the south and center of Constanța and has been heavily influenced by Oghuz.
- Dobruja Nogai, the Nogay dialect (Nogay tílí) spoken by about 20% of Romanian Tatars. Dobruja Nogai is spoken in Tulcea, near and far north of Constanța, and is the most conservative in preserving Kipchak elements.
- Dobruja Tat, the Yalîbolu dialect (Yalîbolu tílí) spoken by about 10% of Romanian Tatars. Dobruja Tat is spoken around the cities of Hacıoğlu Pazarcık (Dobrich) and is the closest to Oghuz languages.
They differ mainly in pronunciation, and to some extent in vocabulary.
In 1956 is a Latin alphabet developed by the Institute of Linguistics of the Romanian Academy for the Tatar language in Romania, with the letters Á á, Č č/Ç ç, Ğ ğ/C c, Î î/I ı, Í í/Ĭ ĭ, Ñ ñ, Ó ó/Ö ö, Ș ș, Ț ț/Ts ts, Ú ú/Ü ü. The sounds for the letters î, ș and ț are from the Romanian alphabet. The sounds for the letters č, ğ, j, ñ, w and y are from a variety of languages. A new orthography was developed in 2010, which is now used by UDTTMR. Other alphabets was used by the writer Taner Murat. The Latin alphabet that he did use was from the Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures from the University of Bucharest, with the letters Á, Ç, Ğ, Ñ, Î, Í, Ó, Ş, Ú. He did also use the Cyrillic script including the letters Ә, Җ, І, Ң, Ө, Ү, Ў. Also the Old Turkic script and the Perso-Arabic script, with the letter ڭ.
|Latin character||Name||Sound description and pronunciation|
|A a||A||This letter represents the low unrounded RTR or hard vowel /ɑ/ as in ana [ɑṉɑ] 'mother'.|
|Á á||Hemzelí A||This letter occurring in a limited number of Arabic and Persian loanwords represents the near-low unrounded ATR or soft vowel not belonging to authentic Tatar language /æ/ as in sát [s̶æ̶t̶] 'hour', 'clock'.|
|B b||Be||This letter represents two distinctive consonantal sounds: the hard voiced bilabial stop /ḇ/ as in bal [ḇaḻ] 'honey' and the soft voiced bilabial stop /b̶/ as in bel [b̶el̶] 'waist'.|
|Ç ç||Çe||This letter represents two distinctive consonantal sounds: the hard voiceless palato-alveolar affricate /ç̱/ as in ça-ça [ṯ͡ʃ̱ɑṯ͡ʃ̱ɑ] 'cha-cha' and the soft voiceless palato-alveolar affricate /ç̶/ as in çeçen [t̶͡ʃ̶et̶͡ʃ̶en̶] 'chechen'.
Common to Turkic languages, these sounds are quasi non-existent in Tatar spoken in Dobruja where they have shifted from «Ç» to «Ş». Therefore, although authentic, these sounds could be equally treated as academic.
|D d||De||This letter represents two distinctive consonantal sounds: hard voiced dental stop /ḏ/ as in dal [ḏaḻ] 'branch' and the soft voiced dental stop/d̶/ as in deren [d̶er̶en̶] 'deep'.|
|E e||E||This letter represents the mid unrounded ATR or soft vowel /e/ as in sen [s̶en̶] 'you'.|
|F f||Fe||This letter occurs only in loanwords for it represents sounds that do not belong to authentic Tatar language. In authentic reading the foreign sound is naturalized and the letter reads as letter «P». In academic reading it represents two distinctive consonantal sounds: the hard voiceless labio-dental fricative [f̱] as in fal [f̱aḻ] 'destiny' and the soft voiceless labio-dental fricative [f̶] as in fen [f̶en̶] 'technics'.|
|G g||Ge||This letter represents the soft voiced palatal stop [ɟ̱] as in gene [ɟ̱en̶e] 'again', 'still' with its allophone the soft voiced velar stop /g/ as in gúl [gu̶l̶] 'flower', 'rose'. It also represents the hard voiced uvular fricative /ʁ/ as in gam [ʁɑm] 'grief'.|
|Ğ ğ||Ğe||The letter represents two distinctive consonantal sounds: the hard voiced palato-alveolar affricate/ḏ͡ʒ̱/ as in ğar [ḏ͡ʒ̱ɑṟ] 'abyss' and the soft voiced palato-alveolar affricate/d̶͡ʒ̶/ as in ğer [d̶͡ʒ̶er̶] 'place', 'ground'.|
|H h||He||Representing sounds that do not belong to authentic Tatar language this letter occurs only in loanwords. Most often, in authentic reading, when it reproduces the Arabic or Persian ه it is a silent letter or, if it is located at the beginning or end of the word, the sound is usually naturalized and the letter reads as letter «K». When it reproduces ح or خ the sound is usually naturalized as /q/. In academic reading it represents two distinctive consonantal sounds: the hard voiceless glottal fricative /h/ as in taht [ṯɑhṯ] 'throne' and the soft voiceless uvular fricative /χ/ as in heşt [χeʃ̶t̶] 'eight'.|
|I i||I||The letter represents the hight unrounded ATR or soft vowel /i/ as in biñ [b̶iŋ] 'thousand'.|
|Í í||Hemzelí I, Kîska I, Zayîf I||This letter represents the hight unrounded half-advanced ATR or soft vowel /ɨ/ as in bír [b̶ɨr̶] 'one' is specific to Tatar.
At the end of the word it is pronounced with half open mouth undergoing dilatation "Keñiytúw" and becoming mid unrounded half-advanced ATR or soft /ə/, also known as schwa, as in tílí [t̶ɨl̶ə] 'his tongue'.
|Î î||Kalpaklî I, Tartuwlî I||This letter represents the hight unrounded RTR or hard vowel /ɯ/ as in îşan [ɯʃ̱ɑṉ] 'mouse'.
At the end of the word it is pronounced with half open mouth shifting through dilatation "Keñiytúw" to mid unrounded RTR or hard /ɤ/, close to schwa, as in şîlapşî [ʃ̱ɯḻɑp̱ʃ̱ɤ] 'trough'.
|J j||Je||This letter represents two distinctive consonantal sounds: the hard voiced palato-alveolar affricate /ʒ̱/ as in taj [ṯɑʒ̱] 'crown' and the soft voiced palato-alveolar affricate /ʒ̶/ as in bej [b̶eʒ̶] 'beige'.|
|K k||Ke||This letter represents the soft voiceless palatal stop /c/ as in kel [cel̶] 'come!' and its allophone the soft voiceless velar stop /k/ as in kól [kɵl̶] 'lake'. It also represents the hard voiceless uvular stop /q/ as in kal [qɑḻ] 'stay!'.|
|L l||Le||This letter represents two distinctive consonantal sounds: the hard alveolar lateral aproximant /ḻ/ as in bal [ḇɑḻ] 'honey' and the soft alveolar lateral aproximant /l̶/ as in bel [b̶el̶] 'waist'.|
|M m||Me||This letter represents two distinctive consonantal sounds: the hard bilabial nasal /m̱/ as in maga [m̱ɑʁɑ] 'to me' and the soft bilabial nasal /m̶/ as in men [m̶en̶] 'I'.|
|N n||Ne||This letter represents two distinctive consonantal sounds: the hard dental nasal /ṉ/ as in ana [ɑṉɑ] 'mother' and the soft dental nasal /n̶/ as in ne [n̶e] 'what'.|
|Ñ ñ||Eñ, Dalgalî Ne||This letter represents two distinctive consonantal sounds: the hard uvular nasal /ɴ/ as in añ [ɑɴ] 'conscience' and the soft velar nasal /ŋ/ as in eñ [eŋ] 'most'.|
|O o||O||This letter represents the mid rounded RTR or hard vowel /o/ as in bo [ḇo] 'this'.|
|Ó ó||Noktalî O||This letter represents the mid rounded half-advanced ATR or soft vowel /ɵ/ as in tór [t̶ɵr̶] 'background'.|
|P p||Pe||This letter represents two distinctive consonantal sounds: the hard voiceless bilabial stap /p̱/ as in ğap [ḏ͡ʒ̱ɑp̱] 'close!' and the soft voiceless bilabial stop /p̶/ as in ğep [d̶͡ʒ̶ep̶] 'pocket'.|
|R r||Re||This letter represents two distinctive consonantal sounds: the hard alveolar trill /ṟ/ as in tar [ṯɑṟ] 'narrow' and the soft alveolar trill /r̶/ as in ter [t̶er̶] 'sweat'.|
|S s||Se||This letter represents two distinctive consonantal sounds: the hard voiceless alveolar fricative /s̱/ as in sal [s̱ɑḻ] 'raft' and the soft voiceless alveolar fricative /s̶/ as in sel [s̶el̶] 'flood'.|
|Ş ş||Şe||This letter represents two distinctive consonantal sounds: the hard voiceless palato-alveolar fricative /ʃ̱/ as in şaş [ʃ̱ɑʃ̱] 'spread!' and the soft voiceless palato-alveolar fricative /ʃ̶/ as in şeş [ʃ̶eʃ̶] 'untie'.|
|T t||Te||This letter represents two distinctive consonantal sounds: the hard voiceless dental stop /ṯ/ as in tar [ṯɑṟ] 'tight', 'narrow' and the soft voiceless dental stop /t̶/ as in ter [t̶er̶] 'sweat'.|
|U u||U||This letter represents the hight rounded RTR or hard vowel /u/ as in un [uṉ] 'flour'.|
|Ú ú||Noktalî U||This letter represents the hight rounded half-advanced ATR or soft vowel /ʉ/ as in sút [s̶ʉt̶] 'milk'.
In the vicinity of semivowel y, which occurs rarely, its articulation shifts to high rounded ATR or soft /y/, close to Turkish pronunciation, as in súymek [s̶ym̶ec] 'to love'.
|V v||Ve||This letter occurs only in loanwords for it represents sounds that do not belong to authentic Tatar spoken in Romania. In authentic reading the foreign sound is naturalized and the letter reads sometimes as «W», sometimes as «B». In academic it represents two distinctive consonantal sounds: the hard voiced labio-dental fricative /v̱/ as in vals [v̱ɑḻs̱] 'waltz' and the soft voiced labio-dental fricative /v̶/ as in ve [v̶e] 'and'.|
|W w||We||This letter represents two distinctive consonantal sounds: the hard labio-velar semivowel /w̱/ as in taw [ṯɑw̱] 'forest', 'mountain' and the soft labio-velar semivowel /w̶/ as in tew [t̶ew̶] 'central', 'fundamental'.|
|Y y||Ye||This letter represents two distinctive consonantal sounds: the hard palatal semivowel /y̱/ as in tay [ṯɑy̱] 'foal' and the soft palatal semivowel /y̶/ as in yer [y̶er̶] 'place', 'ground'.|
|Z z||Ze||This letter represents two distinctive consonantal sounds: the hard voiced alveolar fricative /ẕ/ as in taz [ṯɑẕ] 'bald' and the soft voiced alveolar fricative /z̶/ as in tez [t̶ez̶] 'quick'.|
Crimean Tatars were brought to Dobruja by the Ottomans following the increasing power of the Russians in the region and its annexation of Crimea in 1783. However, after the independence of Romania in 1877-1878, between 80,000 and 100,000 Crimean Tatars moved to Anatolia, a migration which continued afterwards. As such, the number of Tatars in Northern Dobruja decreased from 21% in 1880 to 5.6% in 1912. In 2002, they formed 2.4% of the population.
The Nogai component of the Tatar population are not separately enumerated in Romanian censuses. Most have emigrated to Turkey but it is estimated that a few thousand Nogais still live in Dobruja, notably in the town of Mihail Kogălniceanu (Karamurat) and villages of Lumina (Kocali), Valea Dacilor (Hendekkarakuyusu) and Cobadin (Kubadin).
Localities with the highest Tatar population percentage
- Constanța County
- Ciocârlia — 11.18%
- Valu lui Traian — 9.81%
- Techirghiol — 9.22%
- Independența — 8.68%
- Comana — 8.37%
- Medgidia — 8.07%
- 23 August — 7.89%
- Mereni — 7.85%
- Topraisar — 6.48%
- Agigea — 6.39%
- Murfatlar — 5.5%
- Cobadin — 4.86%
- Amzacea — 4.71%
- Grădina — 4.47%
- Tuzla — 4.38%
- Eforie — 3.55%
- Castelu — 3.37%
- Mangalia — 3.25%
- Mihail Kogălniceanu — 3.23%
- Ovidiu — 3.01%
- Lumina — 2.98%
- Limanu — 2.85%
- Siliștea — 2.69%
- Constanța — 2.59%
- Albești — 2.39%
- Bărăganu — 1.7%
- Cumpăna — 1.41%
- Pecineaga — 1.41%
- Democratic Union of Turkish-Muslim Tatars of Romania, a political party representing Tatars in Romania
- Islam in Romania
- Dobrujan Tatar
- Klaus Roth, Asker Kartarı, (2017), Cultures of Crisis in Southeast Europe: Part 2: Crises Related to Natural Disasters, to Spaces and Places, and to Identities (19) (Ethnologia Balkanica), p. 223
- ...After the Crimean War some 180,000 Nogay Tatars emigrated to Ottoman-ruled southern Bessarabia...; Encyclopedia of Ukraine
- The Nogay Tatar are part of a very small population of Tatar peoples living in Romania.; Bethany World Prayer Center
- Uyğur, Sinan (2011). Dobruca Tatar Türklerinde abece ve yazım sorunu. Karadeniz Araştırmaları, Yaz 2011, Sayı 30, sayfa: 71-92
- Önal, Mehmet Naci (1997). Dobruca Rüekleri'nin bilmeceleri | 21 Ekim 2012. folklor/edebiyat, 1997, sayı: 10, sayfa: 83-107.
- Önal, Mehmet Naci (2010). Romanya Dobrucası Tatar halkının sözlü edebiyatları 4 Mart 2016. Problemı Filologii Narodov Povolzvya Sbornuk Smameu, Moskova, sayfa: 204-209.
- Stănciugel et al., p.44-46
- Stănciugel et al., p.147
- Romanian Tatars' Site
- THE TURKISH LANGUAGE SPOKEN BY THE TURK-TATAR COMMUNITY LIVING IN ROMANIA
- "Общие сведения о татарах Добруджи". Академия наук Республики Татарстан. Archived from the original on 2022-01-19. Retrieved 2022-01-19.
- "Дунайские или румынские татары. Откуда взялись и как живут в настоящее время" (in Russian). Archived from the original on 2022-01-18. Retrieved 2022-01-19.
- "Танер Мурат: Добруджа татарларының ун яшьлек балалары татарча иркен сөйләшә белә" (in Tatar). Tatar-inform. 24 April 2018.
- Ismail, Nilghiun. "Romanian Tatar language communication in the multicultural space".
- The Sounds of Tatar Spoken in Romania: The Golden Khwarezmian Language of the Nine Noble Nations (Academia.edu)
- Eker, Süer (2006). Ekstra küçük bir dil olarak Romanya "Tatar Türkçesi" Archived 2012-04-17 at the Wayback Machine
- Ismail H. A. Ziyaeddin; Ali Cafer Ahmet-Naci; Nida Ablez; Risa Iusein (2015). ALFABE. Constanța: Editura Imperium. p. 78. ISBN 978-606-93788-8-5.
- The translation of the book "Luceafărul" (Mihai Eminescu) by Taner Murat with this scripts
- Latin alphabet used by Taner Murat
- Robert Stănciugel and Liliana Monica Bălaşa, Dobrogea în Secolele VII-XIX. Evoluţie istorică, Bucharest, 2005
- Website of The Democratic Union of Turkish-Muslim Tatars of Romania
- Website of The Cultural Union of Tatars from Romania
- Website of The Democratic Tatar Union
- Website of The Miras Virtual Museum
- As an Extra Small Language Romanian Tatar Turkish
- Romanian Tatar language communication in the multicultural space
- The Turkish Language Spoken by the Turk-Tatar Community living in Romania
- Implementation of the Tatar Language in the Schools of Romania