Turkish Romans and Turks of Roman descent

The Roma people in Turkey call themself official since the 1990's Romanlar (singularRoman, male Rom, female Romliye) and not Roma, but the Turkish designations like Çingene (Gypsy), Esmer Vatandaş, Kıpti and many other names also in use,[1] but some used Çingene, or selfname Manuş (Human) and Şopar (Gypsy kid) in East Thrace. In English they are named "Turkish Gypsy". The Word Gypsy is not pejorative for them.[2] There are a number of subgroups, all named after their old professional jobs or only Xoraxane. There Religion is Sunni Muslim of Hanafi school and some are Members of a Sufism Tarika.[3] Engagement's, marriage's, and circumcision of the boys (Sünnet party)'s,[4] are big festivals.

Turkish Roma dancers

The Roma people in Turkey speak the Turkish language as first language. Most do not speak the Romani language anymore, many hide there Romani Background designate themselves as Turks and didn't want to be call as Roma.[5] The majority live in East Thrace and Istanbul, this is why East Thrace is jokily called Gypsy County' (Şoparistan). They have Turkish citizenship and adopted the Turkish culture, they havent Romanipen (a special Romani culture-code etc.), like christian roma in europe. The muslim turkish-speaking romanlar distance themselves from the christian roma groups from europe, especially those from romania.[6] They are closer to Turks as to any christian Roma Groups of Europe. They also havent an Minority status, and they didnt want to be called as Minority. Some of the Turkish Romani came as Guest worker to Germany and Austria in the 1960-70's. None of them was looked as Roma by the Host Population, only as Turks,[7] where some of the Turkish-Romani Men married with German or Austrian Womans. The Offsprings of this Marriages called in Turkish Çingene melezi or Didikai, a Romani language term for people with mixed Romani blood[8],[9] In Turkey, the Romanlar do all kind of low Jobs, but also as flower sellers, basketmaker etc.[10]


According Ottoman and Turkish historians and linguists, the Romanlar in Turkey are the descendants of mixed Ancestry, the so called Chingan, who once came from Hindustan, trough trading relationships at the Silk Road with the Byzantine Empire, from the Indian subcontinent[11] into Egypt, who was at that time a part of the Byzantine Empire.[12] They settled in Koptos (Qift) at the Nile for a while.[13] Later, when the Muslim Arabian made fight with the Byzantine Empire, the Romanlar went with them as Camp followers to Asia Minor and settled first in Phrygia,[14] from there they went to Thrace in Europe at 800 AD. The Greeks called them Atsingani.[15][16]. The oldest sedentary settlment of Romanlar was in Sulukule in Istanbul, dating back to 1054 AD.[17] The Ottoman Historian Evliya Çelebi described in his Book Seyhatnâme, the language and Background of the Roma people, that after the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, Sultan Mehmed II settled irreligous Roma from Sanjak Gümülcine (Komotini), and quasi Muslims from Bayat village Aydın Province and Sanjak of Menteşe to Istanbul, whit the time the Gümülcine went back, and the Anatolian Roma stays in Istanbul and became Dancers and Musicians.[18],[19]. At the time of Ottoman Empire they got their own Sanjak (district) in East Thrace in 1530 by the Order of Suleiman the Magnificent.[20]. Turkish speaking Muslim Roma also settled from Anatolia in the Balkans under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Today in Bulgaria, Greece (West-Thrace) and Romania (Dobruja)[21] there live a Turkish speaking Muslim Roma minority.[22] Many Romanlar live in Istanbul , Edirne and İzmir.[23]

Genetic studies showed that Turkish Gypsys have lower similarity to Gypsys from Punjab (Pakistan)[24], because Gene flow from Turks and Southeast Europe's people into the Turkish Gypsys population in the Ottoman Empire , happend trough the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans and Byzantine Empire.[25]

About Paspati in his Book of the Turkish Gypsy's from 1860-1863, he mentioned that Ottoman Turkish Men sometimes married Gypsy woman, and arround 200.000 Muslim Roma live in Turkey.[26]

At the Greek War of Independence 1821–1829, Crimean War 1853–1856, Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878), Balkan Wars 1912-1913, World War I 1914-1918, and the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, many Turkish speaking Xoraxane-Roma together with other Non-Romani Muslims was expelled from Bulgaria and Greece and other parts of the Balkans, who once belonged to the former Ottoman Empire, to settle in Turkey.[27][28][29]

Music and DanceEdit

The Romanlar in Turkey are wellknown of there Music and Dance, and play for Weddings, Sünnet partys and Kirkpinar-Festival (Oil wrestling), also for Non Romani People. Belly dance is performed in there own special style.[30]


Kakava is the name of the celebration of there own Male Saint Baba Fingo.[31], its hold every year on 5-6 May at Edirne. Its an old Folk Believe by the Romanlar[32],[33]


Many Romanlar in Turkey belong to the Sufism Hindiler Tekkesi of the Qadiri-Tarika was founded in 1738 by Sheykh Seyfullah Efendi El Hindi in Selamsız, a Romani quarter at Üsküdar in Istanbul.[34] He was original a Muslim from Hindustan. His Members became the Romani people. Anyway the Romanlar are Muslims, the old Folk believe of Baba Fingo is present.[35]


  25. Bánfai, Zsolt; Melegh, Béla I.; Sümegi, Katalin; Hadzsiev, Kinga; Miseta, Attila; Kásler, Miklós; Melegh, Béla (13 June 2019). "Revealing the Genetic Impact of the Ottoman Occupation on Ethnic Groups of East-Central Europe and on the Roma Population of the Area". Frontiers in Genetics. 10: 558. doi:10.3389/fgene.2019.00558. PMC 6585392. PMID 31263480.