Turks in the Balkans
The Balkan Turks refers to the Turkish people who have been living in the Balkans since the Ottoman rule as well as their descendants who still live in the region today. The Turks are officially recognized as a minority in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, the Republic of Macedonia, and Romania; in Greece the Turkish minority are recognized as "Greek Muslims". Furthermore, the Turkish language is an official language of Kosovo and has minority status in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Macedonia, and Romania. The Ottoman Empire conquered parts of the Balkans between the 14th and 16th century.
|Turkish communities in the Balkans|
|State or region||Community||Current status|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Bosnian Turks||The 1991 Bosnian census showed that there was a minority of 267 Turks. However current estimates suggest that there are actually 50,000 Turks living in the country.|
|Bulgaria||Bulgarian Turks||In the 2011 Bulgarian census, which did not receive a response regarding ethnicity by the total population, 588,318 people, or 8.8% of the self-appointed, determined their ethnicity as Turkish; while the latest census which provided answers from the entire population – the 2001 census - recorded 746,664 Turks, or 9.4% of the population. Other estimates suggests that there are 750,000 to up to around 1 million Turks in the country.|
|Albania||Albanian Turks||More than 2000 Turks live in the Albania. They can be found in Tirana, Shkodra and Elbasan. Yoruk Turks came in Elbasan region around 1480-1600. The majority use to speak Rumeli dialect of Turkish. From the population registration of 2011 in Albania, more than 800 people registered Turkish as their first language. |
|Croatia||Croatian Turks||According to the 2001 Croatian census the Turkish minority numbered 300. More recent estimates have suggested that there are 2,000 Turks in Croatia.|
|Rhodes (in Greece)
Kos (in Greece)
|Dodecanese Turks||Some 5,000 Turks live in the Dodecanese islands of Rhodes and Kos.|
|Kosovo||Kosovan Turks||There are approximately 50,000 Kosovar Turks living in Kosovo, mostly in Mamuša, Prizren, and Priština.|
|Republic of Macedonia||Macedonian Turks||The 2002 Macedonian census states that there were 77,959 Macedonian Turks, forming about 4% of the total population and constituting a majority in Centar Župa and Plasnica. However, academic estimates suggest that they actually number between 170,000–200,000. Furthermore, about 200,000 Macedonian Turks have migrated to Turkey during World War I and World War II due to persecutions and discrimination|
|Serbia||Serbian Turks||There were 647 Serbian Turks living in the country according to the 2011 census.|
|Slovenia||Slovenian Turks||There are very few Serbian Turks living in Slovenia.|
|Montenegro||Montenegrin Turks||There were 104 Montenegrin Turks according to the 2011 census. The majority left their homes and migrated to Turkey in the 1900s.|
|Dobruja (in Romania)||Romanian Turks||There were 28,226 Romanian Turks living in the country according to the 2011 Romanian census. However, academic estimates suggest that the community numbers between 55,000 and 80,000.|
|Western Thrace (in Greece)||Western Thrace Turks||The Greek government refers to the community as "Greek Muslims" or "Hellenic Muslims" and denies the existence of a Turkish minority in Western Thrace. Traditionally, academics have suggested that the Western Thrace Turks number about 120,000–130,000, although more recent estimates suggest that the community numbers 150,000. Between 300,000 and 400,000 immigrated to Turkey since 1923.|
Historically, from the Ottoman conquest up to and including the 19th century, ethnically non-Turkish, especially South Slavic Muslims of the Balkans were referred to in the local languages as "Turks". This usage is common in literature, for example in the works of Ivan Mažuranić and Petar II Petrović-Njegoš. However, during the 20th century it gradually fell out of favour. Today, the largest mainly Muslim Slavic ethnic group is known as the Bosniaks.
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