Turkish Minority in Bulgaria

November 20, 2005 by  
Filed under News, Research

The Turks are the largest minority group and at the same time the one with the highest degree of ethnic consciousness. They are basically concentrated in two regions – in northeastern Bulgaria and in the Rhodopes region at the Turkish frontier. The Turkish population is mostly rural: 68 out of 100 people live in villages and 32 in cities. The Turkish community in Bulgaria is conditioned by two opposite factors: a birth-rate higher than the national average and numerous, massive emigration waves. The first emigration of Turkish people occurred after Liberation from the Turkish yoke. In the 1878-1912 period, Bulgaria saw the exodus of 350,000 Muslims (Turks, Bulgarian Muslims, Circassians, and Tartars). Roughly 100,000 of them had emigrated by 1884, 250,000 after unification of Eastern Romenlia and the Bulgarian Principality from 1885 till World War I. Until 1934, the average annual number of emigrants was 10,000, and after the nationalistic coup d’etat in 1934 it became 20,000. The next massive wave of emigration occurred at the beginning of the 1950’s: 155,000 persons. Another 115,000 left the country after the signing of the Bulgarian-Turkish Agreement on reuniting separated families in 1968. The emigration peak was in 1989-1992 when more than 300,000 left the country.