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TURKISH POMAKS - Pomak weaving

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POMAK DOKUMALARIYLA MODERN TASARIMLAR

CREATING MODERN DESIGNS WITH POMAK WEAVING

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Kaplan:
Pomak Turks

1. INTRODUCTION:

Pomak Turks, an inseperable part of Turks, mostly live in Bulgaria and some of them live in the "forbidden zone" on Rodop Mountains in West Thrace.

Pomak Turks, whom Bulgarians wanted to assimilate by massacres are face to face with the same plans of Greeks in Western Thrace since 1960.

In the Balkans especially between 1877-78, this Turkish tribe experienced severe cruelity by Russians and Bulgarians. They are the dynamic factor of the Turkish minority in Bulgaria and West Thrace.

2. HISTORY :

a. Thrace:

Thrace which takes its name from its first inhabitants Thracs have been a scene for important wars and developments in the history. The struggle between Tracs, who came from North to the region in 2000 B.C., and Persians , Macedons, Romans and Greeks had continued for a long time.

In Thrace, in III. century when obligatory christianism had begun and IV. century when Got attacks had begun, Hun Turks and in V. century Avar and Bulgarian Turks emerged as dynamic powers in the region. The state which is known as "Tuna Bulgarian State" in the history ended in the year 864 as the leader of Bulgarian Turks, Bogoris Han accepted officially to be an Ortodox.

The efforts to settle in the Balkans started in the beginning of 860s with the migration of Peçenek, Uz(Oğuz) and Kuman-Kıpçak and continued until XI. century. History puts it forward that the Turks were the dominant people in the Thrace, Balkans, Macadonia and Doburca aftr V. century. (1)

During the sovereignity of Byzantians, Aydınoğlu Umur Bey helped the Byzantians to resolve the conflicts for the throne. This formed the essential base for Ottoman sovereignity in the region.

Ottoman Turks started to conquer Balkans in 1360s and their sovereignity lasted in the region until the begining of the 20. century.

b. Pomak Turks :

Bulgarians claim that Pomak Turks are "Moslem Bulgarians" and Greeks claim that they are "Moslem Greeks", actually they are from the Kuman-Kıpçak Turkish Tribe who came from North to the region. (2)

They could not been destroyed although they had fell into soverignity of Bulgarians and Byzantians for a while.


The name "Pomak" means "the helper" and was given by Slavs to this tribe.

Bulgarians used the name insultingly to mean "the helper of Ottomans"


According to Greeks, Pomaks are the sons of Alexander the Great and had been forced to become Moslems by Greeks. These arguments are far from reality.

Interstingly the name "Pomak" was extensivley used in XIX. century at the same time with the emergence of the term "Kurd" and "Armenian Problem". This was not a coinicidence, but used deliberatley to seperate Turkish Nation and Ottoman Empire..

c. Western Thrace :

As Ottoman Sovereignity started in the Balkans, Kuman and Peçenek Turks had become Moslem and taken important official positions in the frontiers.

Western Thrace is a region full of mountains.It consists of Dedeağaç, Gümülcine, İskeçe and is approximately 8578 square kilometers.

The pitiful developments in Western Thrace had started especially in 1877-78 Ottoman-Russian war. As Ottoman was defeated in the war, new states bearing the name "Turk" emerged in the region although they lasted only for a short while.The most important of these is "Western Thrace Turkish Republic". During the foundation of these states Pomak Turks had very important contributions and helps. This shows their acceptance of liberty as their ancestors Pecenek and Kuman Turks.

Pomaks helped Ottomans to stop the rebellions in the region, and hence given the name "Pomak" which means the "Helper"


After The World War I, and Balkan Wars, Bulgarians had soverignity in the regions where Pomaks live with Bucharest Treaty. pomak Turks preserved their culture despite the pressure of Bulgarians until 1919. Allied Forces took the region from Bulgarians by Neully Treaty in 1919 and then gave it to Greece with Sevr treaty in 1920.


After the victory in Independence War under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal, The minority rights of Pomak Turks had been assured by Lozan Treaty. Pomak Turks actually were not minority in the region but they were dominant both in number and land.

During World War II, Bulgarians tried to assimilate Pomak Turks.
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After 1967, the junta of Colonels applied the same assimilation police aginst Turks. This policy did not change with the civil goverment after 1974.

Greeks argue that there are no Turks in Western Thrace rather there are Helenic Moslems.


Pomaks in Greece especially live in Iskece, Gümülcine and Dimetoka. Pomaks have a language which contains 60% Turkish words.

According to Ottoman records, the village Sahin is founded by Lala Şahin Paşa. This village is the cultural center of Pomak Turks.

d. Bulgarian and Pomak Turks :

Bulgarians claim that Pomak Turks are Bulgarians using the small differences in their language. They try to show Turkish Population less.

Their main argument is the language but Pomak language is %30
Ukrain Slav, %25 Kuman-Kıpçak, % 20 Oguz Turkish, % 15 Nogayca and % 10
Arabian.

After 1877-78 Ottoman-Russian War, Turks were reffered as "Turkish Minority". Between 1950-1965 they were reffered as "Turkish Inhabitants". Between 1965-1976 they were reffered as " Bulgar Citizen with Turkish Background", after 1976 they were reffered as "Bulgarian Turks". After 1984 the name "Turk" is totally eleminated and they are referred as "Moslem Bulgarians".

(1) Operations against Turks during the Balkan Wars:

The Bulgarian Goverment wanted to eleminate Turkish presence and they thought thjat it would be easier to do this by seperating the Turkish Public. They started with the propoganda of saying that Pomaks were not Turks.

During Balkan Wars, Bulgarian General Sarafof had ordered to make all the Turks in the macadonia and Rodops Bulgarian and to kill the ones who had refused. This order had been executed by

a. Forcing Turks to become Christians
b. Changing their names with Bulgarian names
c. To destroy Turkish-Islamic Culture and Civilization.
d. Turkish genocides.

Mustafa Kemal had notified the Bulgarian Goverment to stop these actions in 1914 and had positive results.

However, Turks were forced to leave their lands but most of them resisted to change land. Until 1950 no serios migration to Turkey took place.

(2) Operations After 1945

After 1945, genocide aginst Moslem Turks had continued. All of the Turks had been force to change their names. With the decesions in 1948,1951, 1964, 1969 operations to create a "Bulgarian-Slav" Public had continued.

In the campaign of Assimilation to make Bulgarians between 1968-1972, same operations had been performed in all the regions. The following operations were made:

a.All of the applications to change name and nation were mass printed.
b.Dates were writtend elibrately old.
c.100 Leva was collected from the Turks for expenses.
d.Torture was applied to the ones who refused to change nation and name.

Thousands had been killed since they did not accepted to chage nation and religion. A public grave containing 1000 dead bodies was found in Meric Dam. Between 1968-1972 , 8-10.000 Turk were killed.
558.325 Moslem Turks were forced to change name and 48073 people wwere fired since they did not change names. These operations have continued after 1984.

3. SOCIAL-CULTURAL STRUCTURE OF POMAK TURKS :

Birth has an important place in Pomaks as in all other Turkish Tribes. Mother stays home for 40 days to protect her child from evil eyes. On the 40th day, the mother and the child take a bath and go out. This is an important Turkish tradition.

The age for marriage is between 17-22 for boys and 17 for girls. They do not marry their relatives. Single marriage is a principle.

They speak a Turkish dialect called "Pomakca". They can also speak Modern Turkish and Greek if obligatory.

4. CONCLUSION :

The efforts to assimilate Pomak Turks by Greece and Bulgaria as a result of their policy of applying pressure on minorities, still continues.

Greece tries to show Pomaks as Slavs and to change their language and culture in their own interest to cut their relationship between Bulgarian Goverment tries to prevent the Pomak children from taking Turkish Language Courses.

Bulgarian Turks are under the influence of several Christian Missionaires after 1990. Bulgarian Goverment shows special interest on the subject for Pomak turks and Moslem Gipsies.

A book named " Moslem People in the Balkans and Bulgaria" is published in 1997. This book shows proofs that that the Bulgarian claim that Pomaks are Bulgarians who had been forced to become moslem,is not true.

Greece has operations to destroy the unity of Turkish Minority in Wetern Thrace. They always refer to Turkish minority as "Moslem Minority". Their military officals declare that they work on the Pomak culture and try to show Pomak Culture seperate from Turkish culture.


There is a web site which contains information to assure that Pomaks are Greek origin. This site is prepared by Greek Secret Service.

Both Greeks and Bulgarians try to create artificially a Pomak Nation witha differetn culture and language. They do not want to accept them as Turks.

Especially after 1950, many Pomaks migrated to Turkey. 23,000 of the Turks who came from Turkey from Bulgaria are Pomaks and they live in Çanakkale, Edirne, Eskişehir, Bursa and Balıkesir.

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