Turks in Kosovo
|30,0001 to 50,0002
(about 1-2% of Kosovo's population3)
|Regions with significant populations|
|Mamuša · Prizren · Pristina · Vučitrn|
Turkish settlement into Kosovo began in the early fourteenth century after the medieval Serbian state lost the Battle of Kosovo and the territory came under Ottoman rule. Substantial waves of Turkish colonisers began from 1389-1455 when, during the Ottoman conquest, soldiers, officials, and merchants began to make their appearance in the major towns of Kosovo.4 However, the Ottoman Turks lost control over Kosovo in 1912, and Kosovo joined the Kingdom of Serbia. From this point, Kosovo as a political entity was discontinued as the region was divided among new administrative units within Serbia's framework. Following the Austrian and Bulgarian occupation during World War I, Serbia became part of the newly created Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in 1918. When the Axis powers occupied Yugoslavia in 1941, the former territory of Kosovo became part of Albania, which was itself controlled by Italy. With the defeat of the Axis powers, Yugoslavia, then ruled by Communists led by Josip Broz Tito, regained control over the region. In 1946, Kosovo returned to maps when a region baring the name Kosovo and Metohija was granted autonomous status within FPR Yugoslavia. Meanwhile, Turks officially became a recognised minority by Yugoslavia; as a result, the number of registered Turks in Kosovo jumped from a mere 1,313 (or 0.2% of the population) in 1948 to 34,343 (4.3% of Kosovo's population) in the 1953 census. However, many Turkish inhabitants began to emigrate to Turkey until 1958 on the basis of a bilingual contract between Yugoslavia and Turkey.5
|Turks in Kosovo according to official censuses6|
|Year of census||Turks||% of total population|
In 1993, the Human Rights Watch stated that there was approximately 20,000 Kosovan Turks, constituting about 1% of Kosovo's population.7 More recent estimates suggest that there are now about 30,000 to 50,000 Turks living in Kosovo, forming between 1-2% of Kosovo's total population.32
The Turkish minority mainly live in Prizren and in the neighbouring villages, 8 some of which are purely Turkish, such as Mamuša. They constitute roughly 4% of Prizren's population, and the town remains the historical, cultural and political centre of the Kosovan Turkish community.1 In the Gnjilane municipality, the Turkish community resides mostly in the town of Gnjilane and in the villages of Livoç i Epërm/Gornji Livoč and Dobërçan/Dobrčane, constituting between 0.9-1.1% of the total population of the municipality.1 Kosovan Turks living in Kosovska Mitrovica amount to roughly 1.5% of its total population; in the southern part of the town, Kosovan Turks live scattered in the city, while those who live in northern region reside in the "Bosniak Mahalla" neighbourhood.1 In Vučitrn Turks constitute about 0.9% of the total population, and live scattered throughout the urban areas. In the Pristina region, they are concentrated in the urban areas of the city, and constitute roughly 0.4% of the total municipal population, and in the rural settlements of Janjevo and Banullë/Bandulić in the Lipljan municipality, where they amount to 0.5% of the population.1
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
- Turkish Democratic Party of Kosovo (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 (Çevren) since 1973
- Avalanche (Çığ)
- Bird (Kuş) since 1974
- Pearl (İnci)
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, Mamuša, Pristina, Gnjilane, Đakovica and Vučitrn, there are 3 kindergartens, 11 primary schools, 6 colleges and the Pristina University where on the whole 2,532 Turkish students attend lectures.
- Yemişçi Hasan Pasha
- Sultanzade Mehmed Pasha
- Fahrettin Durak
- Soner Özbilen
- Mustafa Presheva
- Naci Şensoy
- Güner Ureya
- Mahir Yağcılar
See also the Mosque of Muderis Ali Efendi
- Baltic, Nina (2007), Theory and Practice of Human and Minority Rights under the Yugoslav Communist System, MIRICO: Human and Minority Rights in the Life Cycle of Ethnic Conflicts.
- Cole, Jeffrey (2011), Ethnic Groups of Europe: An Encyclopedia, ABC-CLIO, ISBN 1-59884-302-8.
- Elsie, Robert (2010), Historical Dictionary of Kosovo, Scarecrow Press, ISBN 0-8108-7231-5.
- Human Rights Watch (1993), Open Wounds: Human Rights Abuses in Kosovo, Human Rights Watch, ISBN 1-56432-131-2.
- Mertus, Julie (1999), Kosovo: How Myths and Truths Started a War, University of California Press, ISBN 0-520-21865-5.
- O'Neill, William G. (2002), Kosovo: An Unfinished Peace, Lynne Rienner Publishers, ISBN 1-58826-021-6.
- OSCE (2010), "Community Profile: Kosovo Turks", Kosovo Communities Profile, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.