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Pomaks

Pomaks , who live in the provinces of Xanthi and Rhodope in Greece , are probably the descendants of Agrianes, a Thracian tribe of the Rhodope Mountains . Anthropologists believe that ancient Thracians were probably a blond or red haired, blue eyed people who inhabited the vast area extending from north of the Aegean Sea to what is now the Czech Republic . Indeed, many Pomaks present these traits even nowadays, something which seems to confirm the abovementioned view. Of course, many Greeks , Slavs and Turks intermingled with Pomaks, but perhaps they were a minority.

Pomaks were converted to Islam during the rule of the Ottoman Empire . But, as was the case for other Bulgarians and Greeks , they must have been Christians before the Ottomans conquered Southeastern Europe.

They speak a dialect of the Bulgarian language which contains many Turkish and Greek borrowings. Even the grammar and syntax of Pomak has been influenced by these two languages. It doesn't have a standard written form, and Arabic , Cyrillic , Latin or Greek alphabets have occasionally been used for writing Pomak.

Now Pomaks carry a semi-nomadic, agricultural or pastoral life, and study in Turkish schools in Xanthe and Komotini. Turks consider Pomaks, as well as other Muslim populations of Greece, to be of Turkish origin. This is true for the majority of Muslim populations in Greece, but that seems not to be the case with Pomaks.

----- Pomaks are also Bulgarian descendants of Christians who converted to Islam under the Ottomans . Their name roughly means "collaborators." They do not speak Turkish and generally do not mix with the country's ethnic Turks . Bulgaria does not recongnize Pomaks as a separate ethnic group and has tried to integrate them forcibly into society.

----- Muslim Slavs in Macedonia are also called Pomaks as well as Torbesh es or Poturs. Authorities fear that they may support ethnic Albanian nationalism.

 

 

 

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