Turks in Kosovo

Turks in Kosovo

Infobox Ethnic group
group = Turkish Kosovan
poptime = 20,000 [ [http://www.pacificnews.org/jinn/stories/5.10/990520-turks.html [05-20-99 Thomas Goltz, Minority Within a Minority- For Ethnic Turks, Serbian War is Another Chapter in a 600 Year Old Story ] ]
langs = Turkish
rels = Sunni Islam

Turks in Kosovo are an ethnic minority group.


The Ottomans brought Islamisation with them, particularly in towns, and later also created the Vilayet of Kosovo as one of the Ottoman territorial entities. Kosovo was taken by the Austrian forces during the Great War of 1683–1699 with help of 5,000 Albanians and their leader, a Catholic Archbishop Pjetër Bogdani. The archbishop died of plague during the war. In 1690, the Serbian Patriarch of Peć Arsenije III, who previously escaped a certain death, led 37,000 families from Kosovo, to evade Ottoman wrath since Kosovo had just been retaken by the Ottomans. The people that followed him were mostly Serbs and Albanians abandoned—but they were likely followed by other ethnic groups. Due to the oppression from the Ottomans, other migrations of Orthodox people from the Kosovo area continued throughout the 18th century. It is also noted that some Serbs adopted Islam, while some even gradually fused with other groups, predominantly Albanians, adopting their culture and even language.

Between 1389 and 1913, Turks, being members of the predominant nation, lived peacefully in Kosovo. After 1912 however they had to endure many assimilation measures first from Serbians, and then from Albanians. Serbia, which obtained its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1878 with the Berlin Treaty, began to “slav-ise” its new territories, including Kosovo after 1913. The “slavisation” meant to force by every possible means those, who qualified themselves as “Ottoman”, “Turk” or “Muslim” to immigrate into the frontiers of the retreating Ottoman Empire

The Turks in the post-communist Balkans were faced with one of two difficult experiences in the 1990s. They were between the nationalism of the majority and or the major minority, as in Kosovo and the Republic of Macedonia or they were relieved of ethnic tension and benefited from the overall democratization of the country as in Bulgaria and Romania. [Turks of Kosovo - Şule Kut]


According to the Kosovo Figures 2005 Survey of the Statistical Office of Kosovo, [ [http://www.ks-gov.net/esk/esk/pdf/english/general/kosovo_figures_05.pdf Kosova n shifra 2004 ] ] [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4385768.stm BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Muslims in Europe: Country guide ] ] [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/country_profiles/3524092.stm BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Country profiles | Regions and territories: Kosovo ] ] Kosovo's Turkish population is 1% of the total population.

The Turkish minority mainly live in Prizren (15-29%)and Mitrovice (14%). The village of Mamuša north of Prizren was the only settlement in Kosovo with a Turkish majority, according to the last legal census of 1981. It had 2752 people, with Turks making up around three-quarters of that number.

Turks in Kosovo’s political and social life

There are three Turkish political parties in Kosovo:

*Turkish Public Front- under the leadership of Sezai Saipi
*Turkish Democratic Union- under the leadership of Erhan Köroğlu, centred in Pristina
*Kosovo Turkish Democratic Party (KTDP)- under the leadership of Mahir Yağcılar, centred in Prizren (the only registered Turkish party of Kosovo)

There are also two cultural and artistic Turkish associations in Kosovo: Right Way (Doğru Yol) and Truth (Gerçek). The purpose of these two associations is to keep the Turkish culture alive in Kosovo.


The main newspaper of Kosovo Turks was weekly Dawn (Tan), published under State control from 1969 until the end of the Kosovo conflict (1998-99). Before 1969, Kosovo Turks had no independent Turkish press. Another Turkish newspaper, the famous Unity (Birlik), published in Skopje by Macedonia Turks since 1944, also dealt with Kosovo Turks. After 1999, the first independent Turkish newspaper appeared: New Period (Yeni Dönem).

Other important Turkish newspapers are:
*Our Voice (Sesimiz), the official newspaper of KTDP
*Your Environment (Cevren) since 1973
*Avalanche (Cig)
*Bird (Kus) since 1974
*Pearl (Inci)

Radio broadcasting in Turkish started as early as in 1951; as to television broadcasting in Turkish, it started by 1974. By civil initiative, Kosovo Radio-Television agreed to broadcast 5-minutes-long news and another 40-minutes-long program in weekends in Turkish. Along with Kosovo Radio, which transmitted 2-hours-long programs in Turkish, another two Turkish radios were founded: New Period Radio in Prizren and Kent FM Radio in Pristina. Since the 1st of February, 2003, the New Period Radio broadcasts in four languages: 21 hours in Turkish, 3 hours in Albanian, Bosnian and Roman. This is the first radio, which broadcasts in four languages in Kosovo.


After 1913, Serbia banned the Turkish education in Kosovo except some religious schools in Pristina and Prizren. By 1943, Turkish education completely disappeared from Kosovo. The judicial existence of the Turkish minority in Kosovo was recognised as late as in 1951. After the foundation of the Yugoslavian Federation in 1945, every minority obtained the right of education in their own language; however, Turks had to study in Serbian in schools until 1945, after that year they were forced to study in Albanian. The right of education in Turkish was granted to the Turkish minority with a delay of six years. By the 5th of September, 1951 only Turks had the right to build their own schools where there was a majority.

Today Kosovo Turks have their own schools in every educative level. In Prizren, Mamusha, Pristina, Gnjilane, Djakovica and Vucitrin, there are 3 kindergartens, 11 primary schools, 6 colleges and the Pristina University where on the whole 2,532 Turkish students attend lectures.

See also



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