The History Of The Dobrujan Turks

The history of Dobrudja, this ancient stretch of land between the Danube and the Black Sea, the territory thereof rightfully has been noted as "an authentic ethnic blend", has along the centuries imposed a genuine model of co-habitation. Dobrudja was the trunk carrying the sap of the roots that pervaded the vast Eurasian steppe, that would proceed to feed the canopy and the fruit later to be noticed in South Europe; it was the promontory whereon, in the summer, but predominantly in the winter, century upon century, there would be no end to the human hosts. Under the administration of the Ottoman Empire, Dobrudja formed a sangeac governed by a mutesarif, with its residence set in Tulcea. The Tulcea sangeac was divided into 9 districts administered by the mudiri ('müdürler', i.e. managers), also known under the name of cazale or caimacami. Cazale were: Tulcea, Măcin, Hârşova, Babadag, Constanţa, Mangalia, Balcic, and Bazargic. On the territory of the latter there was a number of 356 villages with 15,764 families. The larger villages were governed by a mayor (mukhtar or subasha) appointed by government. In mixed-population localities, two or three mukhtar would be appointed. The sangeac mutesarif was assisted by a council of the representatives of the caimacam: mufti, cadi, muhasbei (i.e. 'tax collectors'), sakurat-müdürü ('secretaries'), and archivists. A council of elderly was placed into the service of the mukhtar. Tulcea, the largest city, had one Tabur-agasý ('police constable') in its employ, whilst in other urban settlements one mufetish ('commissary') was on the job. In each caimacam residence there would be one iuz-basha ('captain') holding command over several gendarmes (zapti). In the realm of justice, the court of first trial was in Tulcea (Medjilesi) and presided over by a mufti. Further, in each household, a judging house headed by a cadi could be found. The mola and the cadi were assisted by judges elect. At Silistra, a Court of Appeal presided over by a mola was in place. There was further a court for matters of mixed nature and commerce, compounded by 20 judges (of which 10 Muslims and 10 Christians). Also existent were correctional police councils with mirroring composition; these were in charge with the pursuit of crimes and offences committed by aliens on Turks and vice versa. Litigations between members of Christian communities and Hebrew ones were ruled upon by priests and rabbis; whenever there was discontent as a result of their ruling, the parties were free to refer the matter to the Muslim courts of justice. This administrative body was to be released in 1880 in compliance with the Law on the Organisation of Dobrudja, as drafted by the incumbent Mihail Kogălniceanu (in his capacity of Minister of Internal Affairs). At that time, Mihail Kogălniceanu was governed by two ideas: to enforce and maintain order on the territory of Dobrudja and to ensure the utmost freedom of worship, language, school, or thought for the indigenous population. Following the year 1990, the Turkish minority re-shuffles into the Democratic Turkish Union in Romania (abbreviated: UDTR). The primary objective of the organisation is to re-enliven and hand down the cultural and traditional values of the Turkish ethnics. Additionally, UDTR issues the paper Hakses and publishes a large number of volumes. According to the last census, the estimated number of Turks in Romania lies around 33,000. The majority thereof live in the counties Constantza and Tulcea, and the rest can be found in Bucharest, Calarasi, Braila, and Galatz.

by Ervin Ibraim