Turks of Romania

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Turks of Romania
Total population
28,226 (2011 census)[1]
est. 55,000[2] to 80,000[3]
Regions with significant populations
Northern Dobruja
Languages
Religion
Islam
Distribution of Turks in Romania (2002 census)

The Turks of Romania (Turkish: Romanya Türkleri, Romanian: Turcii din România) are ethnic Turks who form an ethnic minority in Romania. According to the 2011 census, there were 28,226 Turks living in the country, forming a minority of some 0.15% of the population.[1] Of these, 81.1% were recorded in the Dobruja region of the country's southeast, near the Black Sea, in the counties of Constanța (21,014) and Tulcea (1,891), with a further 8.5% residing in the national capital Bucharest (2,388).[4]

History[edit]

Turkic settlement has a long history in the Dobruja region, various groups such as Bulgars, Pechenegs, Cumans and Turkmen settling in the region between the 7th and 13th centuries, and probably contributing to the formation of a Christian autonomous polity in the 14th century.[5]

The existence of a strictly Turkish population in the territories of modern Romania can possibly be tracked down to the 13th century. In 1243, the Seljuk Turks in Anatolia (most of modern Turkey) were defeated by the Mongols in the Battle of Kösedağ. The Mongols subordinated the Seljuk Turks and divided their lands between two brothers, Kilij Arslan IV and Kaykaus II. Kaykaus II, having been forced to obey his brother, opposed this, for which he had to leave Anatolia together with a large group of partisans and look for refuge in the Byzantine Empire.[6] He and his partisans were settled by Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos in a region between Varna and the Danube Delta which is known as Dobruja today. Later, Kaykaus II would attempt an unsuccessful rebellion in the Byzantine Empire and went into exile in Crimea, but his partisans remained in Dobruja and he would be succeeded as leader by Sarı Saltık.[7] In 1307, some of the Dobrujan Seljuk Turks would return to Anatolia.[6] Nevertheless, some would stay in the area, and while they kept their language, they would convert to Christianity.[7] It has been suggested that these Seljuk Turks eventually evolved into the modern Gagauz people, the name of which would supposedly come from Kaykaus II.[8]

Another important event in the history of the Turkish population in Romania was the Ottoman conquest of the region in the early 15th century. Hence, by the 17th century most of the settlements in Dobruja had Turkish names, either due to colonisations[5] or through assimilation of the Islamised pre-Ottoman Turkic populations. In the nineteenth century, Turks and Tatars were more numerous in Dobruja than the Romanians.[9]

Turks (dark purple) in Northern Dobruja (1903)
Demographic history in Northern Dobruja
Ethnicity 1880[10] 1899[10] 1913[11] 19301[12] 1956[13] 1966[13] 1977[13] 1992[13] 2002[13] 2011[14]
All 139,671 258,242 380,430 437,131 593,659 702,461 863,348 1,019,766 971,643 897,165
Romanian 43,671 (31%) 118,919 (46%) 216,425 (56.8%) 282,844 (64.7%) 514,331 (86.6%) 622,996 (88.7%) 784,934 (90.9%) 926,608 (90.8%) 883,620 (90.9%) 751,250 (83.7%)
Bulgarian 24,915 (17%) 38,439 (14%) 51,149 (13.4%) 42,070 (9.6%) 749 (0.13%) 524 (0.07%) 415 (0.05%) 311 (0.03%) 135 (0.01%) 58 (0.01%)
Turkish 18,624 (13%) 12,146 (4%) 20,092 (5.3%) 21,748 (5%) 11,994 (2%) 16,209 (2.3%) 21,666 (2.5%) 27,685 (2.7%) 27,580 (2.8%) 22,500 (2.5%)
Tatar 29,476 (21%) 28,670 (11%) 21,350 (5.6%) 15,546 (3.6%) 20,239 (3.4%) 21,939 (3.1%) 22,875 (2.65%) 24,185 (2.4%) 23,409 (2.4%) 19,720 (2.2%)
Russian-Lipovan 8,250 (6%) 12,801 (5%) 35,859 (9.4%) 26,210 (6%)² 29,944 (5%) 30,509 (4.35%) 24,098 (2.8%) 26,154 (2.6%) 21,623 (2.2%) 13,910 (1.6%)
Ruthenian
(Ukrainian from 1956)
455 (0.3%) 13,680 (5%) 33 (0.01%) 7,025 (1.18%) 5,154 (0.73%) 2,639 (0.3%) 4,101 (0.4%) 1,465 (0.1%) 1,177 (0.1%)
Dobrujan Germans 2,461 (1.7%) 8,566 (3%) 7,697 (2%) 12,023 (2.75%) 735 (0.12%) 599 (0.09%) 648 (0.08%) 677 (0.07%) 398 (0.04%) 166 (0.02%)
Greek 4,015 (2.8%) 8,445 (3%) 9,999 (2.6%) 7,743 (1.8%) 1,399 (0.24%) 908 (0.13%) 635 (0.07%) 1,230 (0.12%) 2,270 (0.23%) 1,447 (0.16%)
Roma 702 (0.5%) 2,252 (0.87%) 3,263 (0.9%) 3,831 (0.88%) 1,176 (0.2%) 378 (0.05%) 2,565 (0.3%) 5,983 (0.59%) 8,295 (0.85%) 11,977 (1.3%)

Demographics[edit]

Ottoman clock tower in Giurgiu

The majority of Turks live in the historical region of Northern Dobruja (Turkish: Dobruca), particularly in Constanța County, where they number 21,014 and make up 3.3% of the population, Tulcea County with 1,891 (0.94%) and Bucharest with 2,388 (0.14%). Dobromir, a commune in Constanța County, is the only one in Romania with a Turkish majority (61.93%). As an officially recognised ethnic minority, Turks have one seat reserved for them in the Romanian Chamber of Deputies, which has been held by the Democratic Turkish Union of Romania since 1992. An important Turkish community also used to live until 1970 on the island of Ada Kaleh.

After 1989, a significant number of Turkish entrepreneurs started investing and establishing business ventures in Romania, and a certain proportion chose to take up residence in Romania. Unofficial sources estimate there are 12 thousand Turkish citizens in Bucharest.[15]

Religion[edit]

The Romanian Census of 2011 counted 27,698 ethnic Turks, of which 26,903 were Muslims (or 97.1 percent). Around 505 Turks were Orthodox (1.8 percent), while 147 Turks (0.5 percent) belonged to other religions.[16]

Diaspora[edit]

Traditionally, large scale Turkish Romanian migration has been to the Republic of Turkey where most arrived as muhacirs ("refugees") during the First World War and the Second World War.

Furthermore, during the early 20th century, some Turkish Romanians also migrated to North America. According to Dr Eleanor Bujea, the early history of Turkish Romanians in Canada began in the 1910s and is similar to that of Jewish Romanians. Many initially homesteaded and raised their families on farms whilst some went into the grocery businesses or opened street carts. However, after the First World War, many of these people moved to large cities where some intermarried and assimilated.[17]

In more recent years, since Romania's admission into the European Union, the Turkish minority in Romania has decreased significantly due to the relaxation of travelling and migration regulations. Thus, since the first decade of the 2000s, Turkish Romanians have joined other Romanian citizens (e.g. ethnic Romanians, Tatars, etc.) in migrating mostly to Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.[18]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b National Institute of Statistics 2011, 10.
  2. ^ Phinnemore 2006, 157.
  3. ^ Constantin, Goschin & Dragusin 2008, 59.
  4. ^ National Institute of Statistics 2011, 6.
  5. ^ a b Brozba 2010, 48
  6. ^ a b Prof. Yaşar Yüce-Prof. Ali Sevim: Türkiye tarihi Cilt I, AKDTYKTTK Yayınları, İstanbul, 1991
  7. ^ a b Kate Fleet-Machiel Kiel:Cambridge History of Turkey Vol 1, Cambridge Press, ISBN 978-0-521-62093-2 p.141
  8. ^ Claude Cahen: Pre Ottoman Turkey (j.Jones Willims, Taplinger Publishing Co., New York, 1968, p.279
  9. ^ Boia 2001, 20.
  10. ^ a b G. Dănescu, Dobrogea (La Dobroudja). Étude de Géographie physique et ethnographique
  11. ^ Roman, I. N. (1919). "La population de la Dobrogea. D'apres le recensement du 1er janvier 1913". In Demetrescu, A (ed.). La Dobrogea Roumaine. Études et documents (in French). Bucarest. OCLC 80634772.
  12. ^ Calculated from results of the 1930 census per county, taken from Mănuilă, Sabin (1939). La Population de la Dobroudja (in French). Bucarest: Institut Central de Statistique. OCLC 1983592.
  13. ^ a b c d e Calculated from statistics for the counties of Tulcea and Constanța from "Populaţia după etnie la recensămintele din perioada 1930–2002, pe judete" (PDF) (in Romanian). Guvernul României — Agenţia Naţională pentru Romi. pp. 5–6, 13–14. Retrieved 2007-05-02.
  14. ^ 2011 census results per county, cities and towns "Populaţia stabilă pe sexe, după etnie – categorii de localităţi, macroregiuni, regiuni de dezvoltare şi judeţe" (XLS) (in Romanian). Institutul Național de Statistică. Retrieved 2015-11-20.
  15. ^ Turci at Noile minorități din București
  16. ^ Romanian Census 2011
  17. ^ Bujea, Eleanor (2009), Romanians in Canada, The Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America, p. 43, ISBN 9781929200146
  18. ^ Catalina Andreea, Mihai (2016), Cultural resilience or the Interethnic Dobrujan Model as a Black Sea alternative to EuroIslam in the Romanian Turkish-Tatar community, University of Bergamo
  19. ^ "Activitate parlamentară Fedbi Osman".
  20. ^ "Activitate CJC Fedbi Osman".

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]