Between 1960 and 1976 the country implemented a policy of forced name change against the Muslim Pomaks
(5) and Turks.
During the 1990s an influx of more than 300,000 Pomaks
and ethnic Turks fleeing the persecution of the then-Communist regime in Bulgaria were also quickly absorbed within the immigration and citizenship policy framework.
Using Bulgarian and Greek sources, Todor Simovski estimated 1,073,549 inhabitants of Aegean Macedonia just before the Balkan Wars: 326,426 'Macedonians', 40,921 'Muslim Macedonians' (Pomaks
), 289,973 'Turks', 4,240 'Christian Turks', 2,112 'Cherkez' (Circassians), 240,019 'Christian Greeks', 13,753 'Muslim Greeks', 5,584 'Muslim Albanians', 3,291 'Christian Albanians', 45,457 'Christian Vlachs', 3,500 'Muslim Vlachs', 59,560 'Jews', 29,803 'Roma', and 8,100 'others' (Simovski 1972:61).
The party also highlights diversity among their deputies in an effort to have representative voices for all identities, with Armenian, Yazidis, Arameans (Syriacs), Bosnians and Pomaks
along with Turks and Kurds.
In principle, Greece does not officially recognize the existence of ethnic and language communities other than Greek in the country, although under the Treaty of Lausanne (1923) the Muslims of Western Thrace (Turks, Pomaks
and Gypsies) enjoy protection and rights, and are allowed to maintain their own religious institutions.
"So far, pomaks
voted for liberal party Movement for rights and Freedoms (DPS) in regions like the Rhodope Mountains.
In order to explain the oppression on the minorities by the Greek government, the State Department says that Athens refers to ethnic Turks, Pomaks
(Slavs professing Islam) and Roma as "Muslim minority" and statistically recognizes a number of 150,000.
of the ensemble "Sun" from the village of Kocan-Goce Delcev, Bulgaria, performed a set of songs from their homeland, the women's ensemble "Goricanki" represented Mala Prespa, Albania, the ensemble "Faruk Band" represented Brod in Kosovo and a number of singers performed representing Macedonia.
Besides the Turkish Sunni settlers, there are Laz from the Black Sea region and Bulgarian Turks and Pomaks
. It would be naE[macron]ve to assume that each was not consciously aware of their own distinct cultural identity -- in fact, as naE[macron]ve as it would be to deny their existence.Aa
In early 1980s Bulgaria started assimilation campaign against 1.5 million people including Turks, Pomaks
Ethnic Turks and Pomaks
-- Slavs who converted to Islam under Ottoman rule -- are shocked and dismayed at accusations that they aim to create autonomous enclaves and that some of their villages are nests for radical Islam.
(12) This region was characterized by an intensive process of Islamisation among the local population leading to the appearance of a large Slavic-speaking Muslim population (Pomaks
) (13) that still lives there.