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Turks in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Turks in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Total population
267 (1991 census)[1]
50,000 (academic estimates)[2][3]
Turkish and Bosnian
Sunni Islam

The Turks in Bosnia and Herzegovina, also known as Bosnian Turks, are ethnic Turks who form the oldest ethnic minority in Bosnia and Herzegovina.[4] The Turkish community began to settle in the region in the 15th century under Ottoman rule, however many Turks emigrated to Turkey when Bosnia and Herzegovina came under Austro-Hungarian rule.[4]


  • History 1
  • Culture 2
    • Language 2.1
    • Religion 2.2
    • Science and Literature 2.3
  • Demographics 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5


Due to the Ottoman colonisation process, a significant Turkish community arrived in the region when the Ottoman Empire conquered the Bosnian kingdom in 1463. The Turkish community grew steadily throughout the Ottoman rule of Bosnia; however, after the Ottomans were defeated in the Balkan Wars (1912–13), the majority of Turks, along with other Muslims living in the region, left their homes and migrated to Turkey as "Muhacirs" (refugees). First president of Bosnia and Herzegovina Alija Izetbegović was partly of Turkish descent.


In 2003 the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina adopted the Law on the Protection of Rights of Members of National Minorities. According to the Law, the Turkish minority's cultural, religious, educational, social, economic, and political freedoms are protected by the State.[5]


The Turkish language is officially recognized as a minority language of Bosnia and Herzegovina in accordance with the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, under Article 2, paragraph 2, of the 2010 ratification.[6]


The Turkish minority practice the Sunni branch of Islam but tend to be highly secular.[7]

Science and Literature

Aldin Mustafić - a member of the Turkish minority in Bosnia and Herzegovina - wrote a book on Serbian language in Arabic script entitled "The Epochs of Arabic phonetic thoughts and Arebica", as part of the influence of Turkish culture in the region - i.e. in Bosnia and Herzegovina.[8]


According to the 1991 population census there was 267 Turks living in Bosnia and Herzegovina;[1] however, current estimates suggest that the Turkish minority actually numbers 50,000.[2][3][9]

See also


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