On municipal level
On settlement level
|77,959 (2002 census) |
3.8% of total population
|Regions with significant populations|
|Part of a series of articles on|
Turks in North Macedonia, also known as Turkish Macedonians and Macedonian Turks, (Macedonian: Македонски Турци, romanized: Makedonski Turci, Turkish: Makedonya Türkleri) are the ethnic Turks who constitute the third largest ethnic group in the Republic of North Macedonia. According to the 2002 census, there were 77,959 Turks living in the country, forming a minority of some 3.8% of the population. The community forms a majority in Centar Župa and Plasnica.
The Turkish community claim higher numbers than the census shows, somewhere between 170,000 and 200,000. There are additionally roughly 100,000 Torbeš and some of them still maintain a strong affiliation to Turkish identity.
See also: Ottoman Vardar Macedonia
Macedonia came under the rule of the Ottoman Turks in 1392, remaining part of the Ottoman Empire for more than 500 years up to 1912 and the Balkan wars. Ali Rıza Efendi - Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's father comes from Kodžadžik, in Centar Župa Municipality, where there is a memorial house. There is a sizeable amount of Turkified Albanians in Ohrid who originate from the cities of Elbasan, Durrës and Ulcinj. A significant part of the Muslim Albanian population of Kumanovo and Bitola was also Turkified during Ottoman rule.
A sizeable part of the Turkish community in Prilep was of Albanian origin. Serbian historiographer Jovan Hadži-Vasiljević writes that: '
The Bulgarian researcher Vasil Kanchov wrote in 1900 that many Albanians declared themselves as Turks. In Skopje, Bitola, Resen, Ohrid, Struga, Tetovo and Gostivar, the population that declared itself Turkish "was of Albanian blood", but it "had been Turkified after the Ottoman invasion, including Skanderbeg", referring to Islamization. Jordan Ivanovi, professor at the University of Sofia, wrote in 1915 that Albanians, since they did not have their own alphabet, due to a lack of consolidated national consciousness and influenced by foreign propaganda, declared themselves as Turks, Greeks and Bulgarians, depending on which religion they belonged to. Albanians were losing their mother tongue in Bitola, Ohrid, Struga and Skopje. The researcher Dimitar Gađanov wrote in 1916 that Gostivar was populated by 4,000 Albanians "who were Turkified", 100 Orthodox Albanians and 3,500 Bulgarians, while the surrounding area was predominantly Albanian.
German linguist Gustav Weigand describes the process of Turkification of the Albanian urban population in his 1923 work Ethnographie Makedoniens (Ethnography of Macedonia). He writes that in the cities, especially noting Skopje and Bitola, many of the Turkish inhabitants are in fact Albanians, being distinguished by the difference in articulation of certain Turkish words, as well as their clothing and tool use. They speak Albanian at home, however use Turkish when in public. They refer to themselves as Turks, the term at the time also being a synonym for Muslim, with ethnic Turks referring to them as Turkoshak, a derogatory term for someone portraying themselves as Turkish.
Once the Ottoman Empire fell at the beginning of the 20th century, many of the Turks fled to Turkey. Many left under Yugoslav rule, and more left after World War II. Others intermarried or simply identified themselves as Macedonians or Albanians to avoid stigma and persecution.
During the Skopje communist party conference held on August 12-13 1945, Kemal Sejfula, a representative of the Turkish minority and future mayor of Skopje (1951-54), although himself of Albanian origin from Kaçanik, declared that: "In the cities there are some regroupings - differentiations between Turks and Albanians. As it is known that the great Serbian policy towards the Albanian masses was a policy of physical liquidations. While the policy towards the Turks - was more tolerant, for which a very large part of the Albanians became Turks - were assimilated." A policy of Turkification of the Albanian population was employed by the Yugoslav authorities in cooperation with the Turkish government, stretching the period of 1948-1959. A commission was created to tour Albanian communities in Macedonia, visiting Tetovo, Gostivar, Debar, Kičevo, Struga, Kumanovo, Gjorče Petrov and Resen. Starting in 1948, six Turkish schools were opened in areas with large Albanian majorities, such as Tearce, Gorna Banjica, Dolna Banjica Vrapčište as well as in the outskirts of Tetovo and Gostivar. In 1951-52, a total of 40 Turkish schools were opened in Debar, Kičevo, Kumanovo, Struga, Resen, Bitola, Kruševo and Prilep.
Contemporary analysis described cases of resistance to the Turkish schools in the Polog area, with Albanian speaking students and teachers refused to attend Turkish schools. In Tetovo, none of the native teachers wanted to give lessons in Turkish, so substitutes from Skopje were brought in instead. Another notable case happened in Gostivar, where a teacher from Banjica, who according to the committees analysis: "even though he was born in the same village and his mother tongue is Turkish, when the Turkish school was opened he refused to teach in Turkish and had asked to work in Albanian villages ...". Thus the Yugoslav committee characterized the local population as having adopted a "Greater Albanian political worldview". Resistance against the opening of Turkish schools was most prevalent in Tetovo and Gostivar. In 1952, on the night of Eid al-Adha, the local Tetovo political leader Mehmet Riza Gega distributed flyers imploring Albanian parents from sending their children to Turkish speaking schools. In Gostivar the nationalist activist Myrtezan Bajraktari was detained and interrogated by the Yugoslav secret police (UDBA). During his interrogation he stated he openly opposed the Turkish schools, and that he does so "just so Albanians can feel like patriots and not allow themselves to be Turkified."
In the 1953 census, large portions of Albanians declared themselves as ethnic Turks:
After 1953, a large emigration of Turks based on an agreement between the Republic of Turkey and Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia took place— around 80,000 according to Yugoslav data and over 150,000 according to Turkish sources. Of the 203,087 Turks in Macedonia in 1953, 15.88% or 32,392 gave Macedonian as their mothertongue, and 13.28% or 27,086 gave Albanian as their mothertongue.
|Population of Macedonian Turks according to national censuses|
|Census||Turks||Total population of North Macedonia||% Turks|
See also: Turkish language
Macedonian Turks speak the Turkish language and secondly Albanian in the west and Macedonian in the east. Turkish is spoken with Slavic and Greek admixtures creating a unique Macedonian Turkish dialect. However, Macedonian is also widely used amongst the community. Per the 2021 census, 62,623 individuals declared Turkish as their mother tongue, compared to 70,961 declaring Turkish ethnicity.
See also: Islam in the Republic of Macedonia
According to the 2002 census, Turks make up 12% of the total Muslim population in Macedonia.
Turkish population in Macedonia according to the 2021 census (Turkish majority in bold):
|Mavrovo and Rostuša||1,555||30.8%|
Since the 1960s, Macedonia Turks have migrated to several Western European countries. For example, there is approximately 5,000 Macedonian Turks in Sweden; around 90% (or 4,500) live in Malmö. In 1973 they formed the Turkish-Swedish KSF Prespa Birlik football club. There are also Turkish Macedonian communities in other European countries, including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany Italy, the Netherlands, Slovakia, and Switzerland.
In addition, Turkish Macedonian communities have also been formed in North America. In 1960, the Macedonian Patriotic Organization reported that a handful of Turkish Macedonians in the United States "have expressed solidarity with the M.P.O.'s aims, and have made contributions to its financial needs."
The Turks in Macedonia also have an own national day, the Day of Education in Turkish Language. By a decision of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia in 2007, December 21 became a national and non-working day for the Turkish community in the country.
There are both radio and television broadcasts in Turkish. Since 1945, Macedonian Radio-Television transmits one hour daily Turkish television programs and four and a half hours of Turkish radio programs. Furthermore, the newspaper Birlik is published in Turkish three times a week.
The Turks have 3 political parties in North Macedonia: Democratic Party of Turks (Türk Demokratik Partisi - TDP), Turkish Movement Party (Türk Hareket Partisi - THP) and Turkish National Unity Movement (Türk Millî Birlik Hareketi - TMBH). There is also the Union of Turkish NGOs in Republic of Macedonia (Makedonya Türk Sivil Toplum Teşkilatlar Birliği - MATÜSİTEB).
The first political party of the Turks in Macedonia is the Turkish Democratic Party (TDP). Because of political and economic changes in Macedonia, the Turks, like other communities, have decided to get organized in order to protect and develop their political rights. As a result, a political association named the Turkish Democratic Union was established on 1 July 1990. The association identified its major goal to defend national and moral interests of the Turks in Macedonia and launched activities in this direction. Such developments allowed the Turks to transform their association into a political party. The transformation was completed on 27 June 1992, when the Turkish Democratic Union was renamed the Turkish Democratic Party at the second extraordinary congress under the leadership Avni Engüllü in Skopje. Since its establishment, TDP has been protecting the rights and interests of Turks in Macedonia.
Moreover, several people of Turkish origin serve in high-ranking levels of Macedonian politics. Furkan Çako from the Turkish Democratic Party (TDP) serves as Minister without Portfolio in the Macedonian government. In the parliament, the Turks are represented by Kenan Hasip, TDP leader, and Enes İbrahim (THP). In addition, Salih Murat, an ethnic Turk, is a member of the Constitutional Court of North Macedonia.
The first school in Turkish language in Macedonia was opened in 1944.
See also: List of Macedonian Turks
Here I want to emphasize once again the fact that in cities, many so-called Turks, especially in Bitola and Skopje, are Albanians, which is also noticed by the emphasis they give to the articulation of Turkish words, such as. kàve instead of kave, mànda instead of mandà etc. In public they speak Turkish, while in families - Albanian; they call themselves "Turks", but in fact they mean Muhammadan, while the real Turks call them "Turkish ushak" (Turkish chimney). In the villages they are easily distinguished by the clothes, by the agricultural tools they use, by the carts (to the Anatolians the wheels are made of wooden washers). In all cases, the importance of Albanians in Northern Macedonia is greatly underestimated. It is difficult to give an accurate figure for their number due to the mix of population, so rightly many well-known countries, which are interested in this, express distrust of statistics. Since I have a trustworthy statistic like Cartes ethnographiques des vilayets de Selonique, Kossovo et Monastir, litographiées par i'Institut cartographique de Sofia, 1907, with some recent elaborations by Prof. Mladenov, as well as the corrections and additions, made under the care of Mr. Mit'hat bej Frashëri, will not hesitate to publish this material. "Of course, recent changes have not been reflected.
Furkan Çako, yurt dışında yaşayan Makedonya Türklerini, ülkedeki nüfus sayımına katılmaya ve kendilerini Türk olarak kaydettirmeye çağırdı. Diplomatımız, Twitter hesabından yaptığı çağrıda şu ifadeleri kullandı: Ülkemizde devam eden #NüfusSayımı2021 sürecine katılmak ve kaydınızı #Türk olarak gerçekleştirmek için yurtdışında yaşayan ve Türkiye, Slovakya, Çek Cumhuriyeti, Almanya, Avusturya, İsviçre, İtalya ve İsveç'te bulunan vatandaşlarımız aşağıdaki bilgilerden yararlanabilirler.
Officieel zijn ze met bijna 500.000 mensen aanwezig in Nederland, meer omdat Turken uit Bulgarije..., Griekenland..., Cyprus..., Macedonie... en bijvoorbeeld Turken die geen Turkse ntionaliteit meer habben of Turken uit Belgie en Duitsland die zich nu gevestigd hebben in Nederland. Hiermee zouden er bijna driekwart miljon tot een miljoen Turken in Nederland wonen.