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Turks in Bulgaria

Ethnic group
GroupTurks in Bulgaria
Population date588,318 (2011 census in Bulgaria) 326,000 - 480,817 (in Turkey) 10,000 - 30,000 (in the Netherlands) 2,000 - 10,000 (in Turkish North Cyprus) 2,620 (in Ghent Belgium)
Significant populationsKardzhali   Razgrad   Silistra   Targovishte   Shumen

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The Turks ( ) in Bulgaria ( ) number 588,318 people and constitue 8.8% of those who declared their ethnic group and 8.0% of the total population according to the 2011 Bulgarian census. 605,802 persons or 9.1% of the population pointed Turkish language as their mother tongue. They are also the largest minority group in the country. The Turks in Bulgaria are descendants of Turkic settlers who came from Anatolia across the narrows of the Dardanelles and the Bosporus following the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans in the late 14th and early 15th centuries, as well as Bulgarian converts to Islam who became Turkified during the centuries of Ottoman rule. It has also been suggested that some Turks living today in Bulgaria may be direct ethnic descendants of earlier medieval Pecheneg, Oğuz, and Cuman Turkic tribes. The Turkish community became an ethnic minority when the Principality of Bulgaria was established after the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78. This community is of Turkish ethnic consciousness and differs from the majority Bulgarian ethnicity and the rest of the Bulgarian nation by its own language, religion, culture, customs, and traditions. DNA research investigating the three largest population groups in Bulgaria: Bulgarians, Bulgarian Turks and Gypsies confirms with Y-chromosomal STR haplotype analysis that there are significant differences between the three ethnic groups. The study revealed a high number of population-specific haplotypes and a low degree of haplotype sharing between the three ethnic communities.

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