Turks in Romania

The Turks (Romanian: Turci) are an ethnic minority in Romania, numbering 32,596 people according to the 2002 census and hence making up 0.2% of the total population. The majority of Turks live in the historical region of Northern Dobruja (Turkish: Dobruca), particularly in Constanţa County, where they number 24,246 and make up 3.4% of the population, Tulcea County with 3,334 (1.3%) and Bucharest with 2,473 (0.1%). As an officially-recognised ethnic minority, Turks have one seat reserved for them in the Romanian Chamber of Deputies.

As the entire Balkan Peninsula become an integral part of the emerging Ottoman Empire (a process which concluded with the fall of Constantinople to Sultan Mehmed II in 1453), Wallachia became engaged in frequent confrontations and, in the final years of Mircea the Elder's reign, became an Ottoman subject. In the two Danubian Principalities, Ottoman suzerainty had an overall reduced impact on the local population, and the impact of Islam was itself much reduced. Wallachia and Moldavia enjoyed a large degree of autonomy, and their history was punctuated by episodes of revolt and momentary independence. After 1417, when Ottoman domination over Wallachia first became effective, the towns of Turnu and Giurgiu were annexed as kazas, a rule enforced until the Treaty of Adrianople in 1829 (the status was briefly extended to Brăila in 1542). Alongside Dobruja, a part of present-day Romania under direct Ottoman rule in 1551-1718 was the Eyalet of Temeşvar (the Banat region of western Romania), which extended as far as Arad (1551-1699) and Oradea (1661-1699). The few thousand Muslims settled there were, however, driven out by Habsburg conquest. The presence of Muslims in the two Danubian Principalities was also attested, centering on Turkish traders and small communities of Muslim Roma. It is also attested that, during later Phanariote rules and the frequent Russo-Turkish Wars, Ottoman troops were stationed on Wallachia's territory.

Islam in Romania is followed by only 0.3 percent of population, but has 700 years of tradition in Northern Dobruja, a region on the Black Sea coast which was part of the Ottoman Empire for almost five centuries (ca. 1420-1878). According to tradition, Islam was first established locally around Sufi leader Sari Saltik during the Byzantine epoch. The Islamic presence in Northern Dobruja was expanded by Ottoman overseeing and successive immigration, but has been in steady decline since the late 19th century. After Northern Dobruja became part of Romania following the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878, the community preserved its self-determining status. This changed during the communist regime, when Romanian Muslims were subject to a measure of supervision by the state, but the group again emancipated itself after the Romanian Revolution of 1989. Its interests are represented by the Muftiyat (Muftiyatul Cultului Musulman din România), which was created as the reunion of two separate such institutions. The Islamic religion is one of the 16 rites awarded state recognition.


Anonymous said...

Dear Romanian friends,

Thank you for your information.

Greetings from Turkey

Süer Eker