East Thrace or Eastern Thrace (Turkish: Doğu Trakya or simply Trakya; Greek: Ανατολική Θράκη, Anatoliki Thraki; Bulgarian: Източна Тракия, Iztochna Trakiya), also known as Turkish Thrace or European Turkey, is the part of Turkey that is geographically a part of Southeast Europe.[1] It accounts for 3.4% of Turkey's land area but comprises 15% of its total population. The largest city of the region is Istanbul, which straddles the Bosporus between Europe and Asia. East Thrace is of historic importance as it is next to a major sea trade corridor and constitutes what remains of the once-vast Ottoman region of Rumelia. It is currently also of specific geostrategic importance because the sea corridor, which includes two narrow straits, provides access to the Mediterranean Sea from the Black Sea for the navies of five countries: Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, and Georgia. The region also serves as a future connector of existing Turkish, Bulgarian, and Greek high-speed rail networks.

East Thrace (blue) within Thrace
East Thrace (blue) within the Marmara Region of Turkey
East Thrace landscape in Edirne Province, Turkey

Population Edit

In East Thrace, the majority of the Muslim population are descendants of the Muhacir, such as Balkan Turks, Bulgarian Turks in Turkey, Amuca tribe, Albanians in Turkey, Bosniaks in Turkey, Gajal, Pomaks in Turkey, Megleno-Romanians, Vallahades, Crimean Tatars in Turkey, Circassians in Turkey, and Romani people in Turkey live there.[2]

Definition Edit

East Thrace sometimes refers to the eastern part of the historical region of Thrace. It is also used for the parts of Thrace that is inside Turkey. The area includes all the territories of the Turkish provinces of Edirne, Tekirdağ and Kırklareli, as well as those territories on the European continent of the provinces of Çanakkale and Istanbul. The land borders of East Thrace were defined by the Treaty of Constantinople (1913) and the Bulgarian-Ottoman convention (1915), and were reaffirmed by the Treaty of Lausanne.

Climate Edit

East Thrace has a hybrid mediterranean climate/humid subtropical climate on the Aegean Sea coast and the Marmara Sea coast, and an oceanic climate on the Black Sea coast. Summers are warm to hot, humid and moderately dry whereas winters are cold and wet and sometimes snowy. The coastal climate keeps the temperatures relatively mild.

Geography Edit

East Thrace has an area of 23,764 km2 (3.4 percent of Turkey's land area), slightly smaller than Sardinia; the population density is around 430 people/km2, compared to about 80 people/km2 for Asiatic Turkey, which is also called Anatolia or Asia Minor. However, densities are skewed by the metropolis of Istanbul. The two continents are separated by the Dardanelles, the Bosphorus (collectively known as the Turkish Straits) and the Sea of Marmara, a route of about 361 km. The southernmost part of Eastern Thrace is called the Gallipoli peninsula. European Turkey is bordered on the west by Greece for 212 km and on the north by Bulgaria for 269 km, with the Aegean Sea to the south-west and the Black Sea to the north-east.[3][4]

River Maritsa (Turkish: Meriç), which forms the land border between Greece and Turkey, also forms the natural border between Western Thrace and East Thrace.
Province (part) Area
(2012 census)[5]
(2012 census)
(2019 est.)
Istanbul Province (European side) 3,421 8,963,431 2620.1 10,067,617**
Tekirdağ 6,218 852,321 137.1 1,055,412**
Kırklareli 6,550 341,218 52.1 361,836
Edirne 6,279 399,708 63.7 413,903
Çanakkale (European) 1,296 64,061 49.4 62,570
East Thrace (sum) 23,764 10,620,739 446.9 11,961,338**
% of national 3.09% 14.2% 461% 14.4%**
  • ** Disclaimer: Sources may modify and/or release updated data, this will not be automatically reflected in these tables, additionally the refugee crisis' vast floating migrants have seriously complicated data collection, especially since 2013. Estimates and Census use different methodology and are not directly comparable. Source: Citypopulation.de mirroring data from: State Institute of Statistics, Republic of Turkey (web).

History Edit

East Thrace was the setting for several important events in history and legend, including:

The mass killings and displacement of Thracian Bulgarians in 1913 and the 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey ethnically cleansed the Orthodox populations. Jews were ethnically cleansed as a result of 1934 Thrace pogroms.

During the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878) and the Balkan Wars (1912–1913), Muslim Muhacir of various ethnic groups from the former Ottoman territories in the Balkans, were forced to flee toward Eastern Thrace through expulsions, violence and massacres, followed by further emigration caused by the 1923-24 Population exchange between Greece and Turkey.[6]

Prior to that the distribution of ethnoreligious groups in the local sanjaks was as follows:

Ottoman Official Statistics, 1910[7]
Sanjak Turks Greeks Bulgarians Others Total
Edirne 128,000 113,500 31,500 14,700 287,700
Kırk Kilise 53,000 77,000 28,500 1,150 159,650
Tekirdağ 63,500 56,000 3,000 21,800 144,300
Gelibolu 31,500 70,500 2,000 3,200 107,200
Çatalca 18,000 48,500 2,340 68,840
Istanbul 450,000 260,000 6,000 130,000 846,000
Ecumenical Patriarchate Statistics, 1912

The Muslim millet was recorded as Turkish, while the church members of the Ecumenical Patriarchate were recorded as Greek.

In the past century, modern East Thrace was the main component of the territory of the Adrianople Vilayet, which excluded the Constantinople Vilayet, but included West Thrace and parts of the Rhodopes and Sakar. A publication from December 21, 1912 in the Belgian magazine Ons Volk Ontwaakt (‘Our Nation Awakes’) estimated 1,006,500 inhabitants in the vilayet:[8]

21st century East Thrace constitutes what remains of Turkish Rumelia, which once stretched as far north as Hungary and as far west as Bosnia. Rumelia was lost piecemeal from 1699 onwards, until in 1912 the bulk of it was lost in the First Balkan War. Some small regains were made during the Second Balkan War. The current borders were set forth in the Treaty of Constantinople (1913) and the Bulgarian-Ottoman convention (1915), and were reaffirmed in the Treaty of Lausanne.

Attractions and festivals Edit

Some tourist attractions are the Edirne Museum, Complex of Sultan Bayezid II Health Museum, Treaty of Lausanne Monument and Museum, Kırklareli Museum, and the Edirne Palace. There are several historical religious buildings, such as the Selimiye Mosque, Üç Şerefeli Mosque, Old Mosque, Muradiye Mosque, and the Grand Synagogue of Edirne. There are also historical bridges, such as the Fatih Bridge, Meriç Bridge, and Uzunköprü Bridge.

Natural attractions include the Lake Gala National Park, İğneada Floodplain Forests National Park, Lake Saka Nature Reserve, and Dupnisa Cave.

Since 1360, the oil wrestling tournament Kırkpınar is held annually near Edirne; usually in late June. The Romani festival Kakava is held annually in Edirne and Kırklareli.

Gallery Edit

Literature Edit

  • The Yurta-Stroyno Archaeological Project. Studies on the Roman Rural Settlement in Thrace. P. Tušlová – B. Weissová – S. Bakardzhiev (eds.). Prague: Charles University, Faculty of Arts, 2022. ISBN 978-80-7671-068-9 (print), ISBN 978-80-7671-069-6 (online: pdf)

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ "Thrace GoTürkiye Destinations". gothraceturkiye.com. Retrieved 14 May 2023.
  2. ^ "Trakya Halkları - trakyanet". Retrieved 14 May 2023.
  3. ^ "Inland fisheries of Europe". Retrieved 14 May 2023.
  4. ^ "Turkey - Geography". countrystudies.us. Retrieved 14 May 2023.
  5. ^ "Turkish Statistical Institute. Registered population as of 2012". Archived from the original on 2012-10-10.
  6. ^ "Expulsion and Emigration of the Muslims from the Balkans". EGO(http://www.ieg-ego.eu). Retrieved 14 May 2023.
  7. ^ Pentzopoulos, Dimitri (2002). The Balkan exchange of minorities and its impact on Greece. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. pp. 31–32. ISBN 978-1-85065-702-6.
  8. ^ Published on December 21, 1912 in the Belgian magazine Ons Volk Ontwaakt (Our Nation Awakes) - view the table of Vilajet Manastir: Skynet GodsdBalkan Archived 2012-08-31 at the Wayback Machine

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