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Nationalities Papers, Vol. 28, No.

1, 2000


Hugh Poulton

During the nineteenth century, the Ottoman Empire retreated from the Balkans, and underwent a steady decline culminating in its nal demise in the early part of the twentieth century. Sizeable communities of Muslims, derived both from those who had arrived with the Ottomans and from indigenous inhabitants who had converted to Islam, remained in the new successor states of southeast Europe. With the exception of Albania, where the Muslims formed the majority of the population, these communities became established as minorities within the new states. Upheld as ethno-national states each based on one dominant nation, the new states suffered from irredentism on the one hand, and internal tension between majority and minority populations on the other. Tension was particularly evident in the relations between the new Orthodox Christian rulers and their Muslim minority populations, which were seen as undesirable relics from the Ottoman past. In spite of such attitudes and the continuing waves of emigration, however, these Muslim communities remain an integral part of the present-day Balkans. In spite of claims to the contrary,2 all the Balkan states are new states, the earliest of which only appeared at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The nationalist ideology that penetrated the Balkans from western and central Europe in the course of the nineteenth century, and which contributed to the demise of the Ottoman Empire, was essentially a secular ideology. However, the close correlation between religion and ethnic or national identity in in the Balkan context, which can be seen as a legacy of the Ottoman millet system, issued in an entwining of nationalism and religion, and of national and religious identities. This was especially so in the case of Orthodox Christianity, and is apparent even today in Greece, where Orthodoxy, ethnicity, and citizenship are often confused.3 Furthermore, the Balkan peninsula is very mountainous and communications have in the past been dif cult. This geography has historically contributed to a situation where communities tend to be inward looking and compartmentalised, rather than outward looking and uni ed. The Muslim communities of the Balkans are predominately Sunni. However, the heteredox Bektashi Su sect4 was widespread among Albanians in the south central regions, and the associated K z lbash sect has been evident in the Dobrudzha region. 5 While the penetration of Islam had already begun before the Ottoman invasion, 6 this brought large numbers of Muslims from Anatolia and other parts of the Empire into the Balkans. While most of these were Turkish speakers, they also
ISSN 0090-5992 print; 1465-3923 online/00/010045-2 2 2000 Association for the Study of Nationalities


included other Turkic groups, Circassians, and other Muslim groups. Traces of these groups do remain, but on the whole they have gradually become assimilated into the three main linguistic branches of Balkan Islam: the Turkish, Albanian, and Slavic speaking concentrations. Following on the Ottoman invasion, sizeable groups of indigenous inhabitants converted to the religion of their new rulers. These included the majority of the Albanians, the Pomaks (Islamicised Slavs) of the Rhodope mountains, and SerboCroat-speaking Slavs in Bosnia-Hercegovina and the Sandzak. In addition, many Greeks, Slavs, and Vlachs7 in what is present-day Greece converted to Islam, but were expelled to the Republic of Turkey during the 1920s, following the defeat of Greece by the forces of Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk) in 1922. In these population exchanges some 390,000 Muslims emigrated to Turkey and some one million Orthodox people left Turkey, of whom some 540,000 settled in Greek Macedonia along with about 100,000 more Greek refugees who had come before 1920. In these exchanges, due to the in uence of the millet system (see below ), religion not ethnicity or language was the key factor, with all the Muslims expelled from Greece seen as Turks, and all the Orthodox people expelled form Turkey seen as Greeks regardless of mother tongue or ethnicity. Ottoman rule in the Balkans was essentially non-assimilative and multinational in spirit. It also lacked the technological and institutional facilities for integrating and unifying subject peoples: in contrast, in western Europe states were for the most part able to transcend regional loyalties and lay the foundations for the new nation states. As a result the peoples of the Balkans were able to retain their separate identities and cultures. Many were also able to keep alive a sense of a former glorious history, when they had controlled a particular territorial area. During the national awakenings of the nineteenth century such claims were revived, often at the expense of neighbours who made similar historical claims to the same territory.8 The Millet System The arrival of Islam in the Balkans through the Ottoman conquest was of particular signi cance, as the Empire was ruled in theory by Islamic precepts for most of its existence. In line with these, the Empire was divided not along ethno-linguistic lines but by religious af liationthe millet system; 9 this system remained in place until changes beginning with the Tanzimat reforms from the mid nineteenth century. In accordance with traditional Islamic beliefs that uphold them as People of the Book, the Christian and Jewish populations were readily accepted; Muslim tolerance was illustrated by the acceptance of large numbers of Jews, for example, as in the case of the Ladino-speaking Sephardic Jews who were expelled from Spain in the late fteenth and sixteenth centuries, many of whom settled in Salonika, which became predominately Jewish. Within the Islamic Ottoman state the millet system achieved a separation of the different religious groups, with speci c regulations governing, for



example, the colour and type of clothing Jewish and Christian subjects were permitted to wear. Leaders of the various millets enjoyed wide jurisdiction over their members, who were bound by their own regulations rather than the Shariat (Islamic Law). The Ottoman state treated the millets like corporate bodies. It encouraged the perpetuation of their own internal structures and hierarchies by dealing exclusively with their leaders as opposed to the individual members. These structures included educational systems speci c to each religious community. The millet became established as the prime focus of identity outside of family and locality, bequeathing a legacy of a confusion in modern times between concepts of citizenship, religion, and ethnicity. Furthermore, as the millet system placed control of education and much of the millets internal affairs in the hands of the millet hierarchy, and hence beyond of cial state control, it proved ideally suited to the transmission of the new ideology of nationalism intruding from the West. This was especially so in the case of the Christian millets in spite of frequent tension between the traditional millet leaders and the new nationalist radicals. The system was also an ideal tool for assimilating different Orthodox people into a single national body, and the Greek Patriarchate in Istanbul controlled the millet into which the Orthodox Balkan populations were organised. Until the nineteenth century, when the Bulgarian Exarchate Church was nally established (see below), only the Serbs escaped Greek spiritual tutelage for the majority of the period under Ottoman rule, due to the granting of the autocephalous patriarchate in Pec in 1557. The autocephalous Archbishopric of Ohrid, demoted from a patriarchate following Samuils defeat by Basil II, had become a Greek institution, ceasing to be head of an autocephalous church in 1772. For centuries the non-Greek Orthodox populations (i.e., Slavs, Albanians, Vlachs, Roma) under the control of the Phanariot Greeks and the Istanbul Patriarchate were (consciously or not) subject to being Hellenicised. The Bulgarian case illustrates clearly the implications of the fact that the millet system permitted control of Christian populations by a speci c church. Following the Ottoman invasion, the separate Bulgarian church and its corresponding educational system were placed under the control of the Greek Orthodox Church, and the Greek Patriarch in Istanbul. Prior to the Bulgarian national revival in the nineteenth century, it can thus be argued that the Bulgarians faced as serious a threat of assimilation from the Greeks, who controlled religious services and education, both of which were held in Greek, as they did from the Ottoman Turks. As far as the Christian Bulgarians were concerned, the illiterate peasants in the countryside spoke the Slav vernacular, while the urban educated became Hellenicised and spoke Greek. While the Christian population hence faced a threat of ethnic assimilation arising out of the nature of the millet system itself, Muslim populations in the Ottoman Empire clearly faced a parallel threat of Turki cation. It is important to note, however, that the Ottoman state recognised no of cial differentiation by language or ethnicity among its Muslim citizens: the modern notion of being a Turk was until



the end of the nineteenth century alien to the Ottoman elites, who regarded themselves as Ottomans rather than Turkish. In fact the term Turk had the connotation of being an uneducated peasant. Ottoman Turkish, the language of state, was not the vernacular of the mass of the Turkish-speaking population, and along with being a Muslim, knowledge of it was a requirement of high of ce in the Ottoman state.10 Ethnicity per se was not a factor in this respect and many Grand Vezirs and high of cials were originally from Albanian, Muslim Slav, or other Ottoman Muslim populations. Indeed when the devs irme systemwhereby the subject Christian populations had to give up a number of their most able sons, who were then educated and raised as Muslims to run the Empire in both civilian and military capacitieswas still in operation (it fell into abeyance in the seventeenth century and had disappeared by the eighteenth) the state of cials were necessarily from non-Turkish Christian backgrounds. In spite of this, however, vernacular Turkish became widespread as the mother tongue among the Muslim populations (and even the Christian populations) of Anatolia, although this process was less pronounced in the Balkans. Muslim Identity A crucial legacy of the millet system has been to raise questions concerning the national/ethnic identity of Muslims in the Balkans. A consistent thread in recent Balkan history has been the change from Muslim identity solely based upon Islam, to one in which an ethnic content has become an important factor. It is noticeable that in the main the new Muslim political elites couch their programmes in terms and language that are essentially secular. However, such a shift has been relatively easy for groups like ethnic Turks or Muslim ethnic Albanians whose identity is differentiated from Orthodox Christians by language as well as by religion and religious customs. Additionally both these groups have kin states in the regions to provide both emotional and at times material support, and, as shown below, there has been a tendency for these groups to assimilate smaller Muslim groups cohabiting with them. For others, especially Muslim Slavs who share the language with the respective majority Christian population, the situation is very different. The situation of the Slav Muslims in Bosnia-Hercegovina and the Sandzak and how their separate identity has evolved and strengthened are detailed below. Another example illustrative of changes in national identity, especially of minorities whose distinctiveness from the majority is based almost exclusively on their religious adherence and traditional related customs, is the situation of the Bulgarian Pomak community of Islamicised Slavs living predominately in the central Rhodope mountains. The state has oscillated between viewing them on the one hand as aliens who should be encouraged to go to the Ottoman Empire (Turkey), and on the other as a group who should be assimilated, forcibly if necessary, into the Bulgarian nation. During the Balkan Wars there were forcible conversions of Rhodope Pomaks to



Orthodox Christianity as well as massacres. This policy of forced conversion and name changing from Islamic forms to Bulgarian ones was soon abandoned. In the 1920s and 1930s there was a movement among some of Bulgarias intellectuals to view religion as not being of paramount importance and thus to view the Pomaks as part of the national body, and Rodina, a cultural-educational organisation, was set up in 1937 to further this aim. The Koran was translated into Bulgarian and a Rhodope Mufti separate from the central Turkish one was set up. In 1942, the practice of forcibly christening all new-born children with Bulgarian names was introduced and the National Assembly introduced a law to facilitate the changing of names of adults: many Rhodope Pomaks, either voluntarily or under pressure, changed their names. The Communists initially changed all this and in October 1945 a decree restored old Muslim names.11 However, following the rise of Todor Zhivkov in the 1950s, Communist Bulgaria progressively pursued a policy of homogenisation of its minorities and the Pomaks were subject to severe pressure to assimilate and become part of the uni ed Bulgarian socialist nation. At the same time, in the eastern Rhodope, where the Pomak and the ethnic Turkish communities overlap, the Bulgarian Communist Partys policy was to view the Pomaks in these areas as essentially standard bearers of Bulgarian identity among the Turkish mass, and correspondingly the Pomaks there were given a privileged position (most party bosses and factory heads in these areas were Pomaks rather than ethnic Turks). This has led, despite the millet legacy which would encourage intermarriage and assimilation, to a separation of the two communities. Since the fall of Zhivkov and the end of the Communist era, the Pomak community, estimated to number some 250,000, has displayed different tendencies at different times. In the early 1990s there was a strong movement of Pomaks in the western Rhodope (where they did not cohabit with Turks) to self-identify as Turks. This has declined in recent years along with the beginnings of a possible move towards the creation of a separate Pomak identity12 similar to that which has occurred in Bosnia with the adoption of the term Bosniak to denote Slav Muslims there.13 The basis for this view seems to be the large numbers65,000 as per the 1992 censuswho declared themselves as Muslims, Pomaks, Bulgarian Mohammedans, and the like. On the other hand, the use of terms like Bulgarian Mohammedansa term used by the Zhivkov regime to denote Pomaks (and later ethnic Turks as well) and one that a practising Muslim would be very loathe to useperhaps merely illustrates the present temporary confusion over national selfidenti cation of such groups, rather than a process like that in Bosnia where a larger and more dominant group had previously been recognised as a separate nation of Yugoslavia and whose identity has been cemented during the course of a war.14 Balkan Nationalism and the Creation of the Modern State The dynamics of nationalism in the Balkans appear to correspond to a paradigm of change from pre-modern agrarian systems to those based on idealised nation states,



as put forward by Ernest Gellner.15 This model stresses in particular the role of culture and education, distinguishing in pre-modern societies between the of cial high culture of the state and its rulers, and the low cultures of the general population, which were often very local in nature and varied considerably. Gellner argues that a modern economy depends both on mobility and on communication between individuals, which can be realised only if the people have been socialised into a single high culture, thereby enabling them to communicate properly with each other. Only a relatively monolithic education system can achieve this socialisation. 16 Thus, for Gellner, nationalism is essentially the general imposition of a high culture on society, where previously low cultures had taken up the lives of the majority, and in some cases the totality of the population. This necessitates the generalised diffusion of a school-mediated, academy supervised idiom. As mobility of labour is essential in a modern society with individuals required if necessary to move from one occupation to another within a single lifespan due to constant innovation, what is needed is [t]he establishment of an anonymous, impersonal society, with mutually substitutable atomised individuals held together by a shared culture of this [high] kind, in place of a previous complex structure of local groups, sustained by folk cultures reproduced locally and idiosyncratically by the microgroups themselves. 17 In contrast, nationalists usually claim the reverse, maintaining that they are acting in the name of a putative, often imaginary, folk culture. This accounts for the ransacking of history which nationalists tend to indulge in. Indeed Gellner sees the intelligentsia as the prime movers, who often invent the past completely to t the requirements of the imagined community. In this context, it should be noted that such inventions and distortions are not the prerogative of nationalists alone, as shown by Hobsbawm and others,18 who demonstrate how similar methods have been used by a variety of people and interest groups to help forge or strengthen a common identity or allegiance. The term imagined here refers to the imagined community as coined by Benedict Anderson.19 In the Ottoman context, for the mass of the population the real community was the village whose inhabitants one personally knew, while the imagined one was the religious community as per the millet system. In the post-Ottoman period the nation (however de ned) competed for the allegiance of the religious imagined community. Gellner posits the high cultures of the agrarian age as the minority accomplishments of privileged specialists. These were differentiated from fragmented, uncodi ed, majority folk cultures, and tended and indeed aimed to be trans-ethnic and transpolitical, and frequently employed a dead or archaic idiom with no interest whatsoever in ensuring continuity between its mode of communication and that of the majority. In contrast with the privileged specialists, the mass of the people were excluded both from power and from the high culture, being tied to a faith and a church rather than to a state and a pervasive culture.20 The case of the Ottoman



Empire ts in well with this view. As shown above, the population was divided by religion, and the language of the state elite was sharply differentiated from that of the masses by being a mixture of demotic Turkish, Arabic, and Persian which was dif cult to understand and use. By contrast an industrial high culture is no longer linkedwhatever its historyto a faith or a church, and it requires the resources of a state co-extensive with society rather than merely those of a church superimposed on it.21 However, as indicated above, the Orthodox Church in states like modern Greece has tended to become intimately entwined with the idea of the nation and thus in such cases the pre-modern imagined community has become confused with the modern onei.e. the nation.

The Break-up of the Ottoman Empire: Muslims in Orthodox Christian National States The Orthodox Christian national states arising from the Ottoman Empire were Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro, and Serbia. However, after the First World War, the latter two became incorporated into the multinational, multi-religious Yugoslav state. The gradual loss of Ottoman control in the Balkans in the nineteenth century was witnessed by the emergence of small states at the periphery of the peninsula. First to break away were Serbia in the north and Greece in the south; but these were joined later by Romania and Bulgaria, as well as well as Montenegro. All these new national states followed policies of aggressive expansion to enlarge themselves, and to incorporate their perceived fellow nationals. Initially, this expansion was at the expense of the decaying Ottoman Empire, but by the early twentieth century expanding states like Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia were directly competing with each other for some regionsmost notably Macedonia. In the aftermath of the establishment of the new Bulgaria following the RussoTurkish War of 18751878, large numbers of Muslims emigrated to the rump Ottoman Empire. This process, which was not con ned to Bulgaria alone, has continued, with sizeable groups of Muslims (Slavs and Albanians as well as Turks) later emigrating to what became the Republic of Turkey. After 1953, Titos Yugoslavia permitted the extensive emigration of Turks, a term that in practice extended to Muslim Albanians and Slavs as well as ethnic Turks, to Turkey. Non-Turkish elements in this ongoing stream of migrants quickly became assimilated into the new Turkish identity propagated since the establishment of the Kemalist state in Turkey. Turks in Greece have continuously emigrated to Turkey; this process has been facilitated by Article 19 of the current Greek Nationality Law which the Greek state has used to deny re-entry to Turks, and to deprive ethnic Turks who leave the country, even for temporary periods, of their Greek citizenship.22 There remain close connections between Turkey and Muslim communities in the Balkans, many of which are themselves made up from ethnic Turks. Turkey also has



an interest in maintaining close ties with Turkish Muslims who have emigrated from Turkey to western Europe.23 In spite of the considerable emigration of Muslims from the Balkans to Turkey, sizeable Muslims communities remained in the new states. In Bulgaria, for example, a large number of Turks remained in the southern part of the country around Kardzhali, as well as in the northeast. Large numbers of Turks also remained in what became Yugoslavia, concentrated predominately in Macedonia, as well as in Greece in western Thrace. The latter were exempted from the forced population transfers (of Christians to Greece from Asia Minor, and Muslims from Greece to Turkey) following Mustafa Kemals victory over the Greeks in Anatolia in 1922. Alongside Turks, Albanians also formed a signi cant Muslim group. There were also regional concentrations of Slavs who had been Islamicised, most notably in BosniaHercegovina but also in the Sandzak plus the Pomaks of the Rhodope mountains in what became Bulgaria and Greece. Other Pomaks, known as Torbeshi, resided in Macedonia. Finally a large percentage of the numerous Roma (Gypsy ) population, who originated in northern India and were dispersed throughout the peninsula, were also Muslim. These latter have traditionally suffered from indigenous prejudice and at times outright racism. As such, many Roma have tended to self-identify in successive censuses not as Roma but as members of other groupsusually Christian Roma will identify with the majority Christian group, while Muslim Roma will identify with the majority Muslim group (Turkish, Albanian, or Slav, depending on geography ). Recently some Roma in Kosovo and western Macedonia identi ed themselves as Egyptians rather than be stigmatised as Roma.24 The new successor states were essentially ethnic states based on one dominant nation. Consequently, they suffered from the associated problems of irredentism on the one hand, and of how to treat their minorities on the other, and these problems have continued to the present. Together with the relative newness of these states, their subsequent turbulent history of internecine wars with neighbours over disputed territory and the resulting expansion and contraction of boundaries has prolonged feelings of insecurity. These feelings have intensi ed as a result of the end of the stagnant stability of the Cold War era, plus the bloody wars in former Yugoslavia. In many ways the legacy of the Ottoman millet system has endured, as religion continues to be an important differentiating factor among people. Minorities who shared the Orthodox religion of the new state have tended to be more easily assimilated into the mass of the new nation. This was especially so for nonterritorial minoritiesi.e. those without a mother nation with its own state to provide support. Such minorities were the Vlachs and, as mentioned above, the Roma: Orthodox Christian Vlachs and Roma tended to join the relevant majority groupBulgarians in Bulgaria, Greeks in Greece, etc. In some cases, even if a mother state did exist, assimilation of Orthodox minorities took place on a large scale. This is illustrated by the Orthodox Albanians in Greece; the mother state in this case (Albania) was especially weak. In contrast, it was much more dif cult for



the Orthodox majorities to assimilate Muslim minorities.25 There was, however, a tendency for smaller Muslim groups to be assimilated by the dominant Muslim minority within a particular country. This phenomenon was clearly assisted by the legacy of the millet system, as well as the concept of Islam as a transnational community of believers. In Bulgaria and northeast Greece, for example, small Muslim groups including especially Turkic-speaking and Caucasian groups who arrived during the Ottoman period tended to be drawn into the mass of Muslim Turks. Similarly, on Macedonias borders in the western Balkans, small Muslim minorities in Macedonia tended to be drawn into the great Albanian mass. While Arabic is the language of the Koran, the language used by hodzhas and in mosque schools has no doubt facilitated this process. 26 Muslims in Multinational States: The Muslim Slavs of Bosnia-Hercegovina and the Sandzak The experience of Serbo-Croat-speaking Muslims in Bosnia-Hercegovina and the Sandzak has been different from that of Muslim communities in the other Orthodox Christian national states. Serb statesmen in the mid nineteenth century considered Bosnia-Hercegovina and the Sandzak to be areas into which the new Serbian state would naturally expand, with the aim of achieving union with perceived Serbian co-nationals. The Sandzak, for example, separated Serbia from what it construed as the fellow Serbian state of Montenegro. Russias defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the Russo-Turkish War of 18751878 was followed by a Russian attempt to construct a large Bulgaria, made up of all Orthodox Christian parishes that had opted by a two-thirds adult male majority for the Bulgarian Exarchate Church: this was the so-called San Stefano Bulgaria,27 named after the San Stefano Treaty. This attempt was aborted, however, due to pressure from the other Great Powers, notably Britain and Austria-Hungary, who feared that such a Russian client state with areas on both the Black and Aegean Seas would dominate the Balkans. In its place instead a severely truncated Bulgaria emerged as a result of the Treaty of Berlin (1878). This treaty also established the administration of Bosnia-Hercegovina and the garrisoning of the Sanjak of Novibazar (the Sandz ak) by Austria-Hungary. Although theoreti cally still subjects of the Ottoman Sultan, the Serbo-Croat-speaking Muslims of Bosnia-Hercegovina and the Sandzak experienced a transfer from the control of the multiethnic and multidenominational Ottoman Empire to the similarly multiethnic and multidenominational Hapsburg Monarchy. In spite of erce Muslim resistance to the new Austro-Hungarian rulers, the Hapsburg government did not dispossess the Bosnian Muslim elites: instead it allowed them to retain many of their former privileges, and indeed coopted them. Although many Bosnian Muslims remained in village communities, the continuance to the present day of a Muslim urban elite marked the Bosnian Muslims out as different from other Balkan Muslim groups (outside of Turkey in Europe) who



remained in essentially peasant communities only. Bosnia-Hercegovina came under the administration of the Joint Ministry of Finance, which was one of the three ministries that owed allegiance to the Hapsburg crown rather than to either of the two halves of the empire.28 The Muslims of Bosnia quickly established that their survival depended on maintaining good relations with the central authorities. Their strategy in this respect continued after the collapse of Austria-Hungary in the First World War and the incorporation of Bosnia-Hercegovina and the Sandzak into what became the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (19181941), which was effectively another multinational, multiethnic, and multidenominational state (albeit in reality dominated by Serbs29). In the Kingdom of Yugoslavia the Muslim elites continued with their efforts to be coopted by the central authorities. The main Serbo-Croat Muslim political organisation, the Yugoslav Muslim Organisation (JMO) led by Mehmed Spaho, was a regular coalition partner throughout the life of this rst Yugoslav state. While this state was obviously multinational, it tended in its rst form to be Serb dominated. The Serbs considered the Serbo-Croat-speaking Muslims to be ethnically Serbs, while the Croats viewed them as ethnically Croat. Consequently they were not considered to be alien in this state.30 The survival strategy was continued in the post-1945 era. In the initial Communist period, the ethnic identity of the Serbo-Croat Muslim Slavs remained unde ned. In the 1948 census they were classi ed as indeterminate Muslims (neopredeljeni muslimani), in the 1953 census as indeterminate Yugoslavs (neopredeljeni Jugoslaveni). From the 1960s onwards the Tito regime attempted to end the competition between Serbs and Croats over the ethnic ownership of the Bosnian Muslims by constructing the term Muslim as referring to a separate ethnic group. In the 1961 census they were referred to as Muslims in the ethnic sense (Muslimani u etnickom smislu) while in the census of 1971 they were de ned as Muslims in the sense of nationality (Muslimani u smislu narodnosti ), until nally in 1981 they were of cially recognised as one of the Nations of Yugoslavia.31 It should be noted that religious observance in Bosnia-Hercegovina as measured in an opinion poll in 1985 was lowonly 17%32and thus the identity of the Muslims rested more on customs and culture and the millet legacy than on religious observance. However, the Islamic religious community (IZ ) was, for most of former Yugoslavias life, dominated and controlled by the Sarajevo Muslim Slavs; and the prevalence among Yugoslavias Muslim Albanians of Su sects like the Rufai of Prizren, as opposed to the orthodox Sunnism of the IZ, can on one level be seen as expressions of ethno-national differences within Yugoslav Islam.33 By the late 1980s the IZ began to change and attempted to become less Bosnian dominated, culminating in the unanimous election of Jakup Selimovskia Macedonian and the rst ever non-Bosnianas Reis-ul-Ulema in November 1989. The new line, while condemning Albanian irredentism showed solidarity with the Kosovo Muslims, and gave an increasing emphasis on supranational Islamic identity uniting Yugoslav and



east European Muslims, but supported individual national identities. In line with this the IZ joined the SDA (Party of Democratic Action) in calling on Bosnian Muslims to give their mother tongue as Bosnian rather than Serbo-Croat in the 1991 census. 34 Regarding the language issues, although many Croats have for some time insisted that Croatian is a separate language from Serbian, linguistically this claim has been somewhat tenuous as even the main ijekavian dialect used by Croats (as opposed to the ekavian one that was more prevalent in the eastern part of former Yugoslavia) is shared by many Serb areas. Recently the Croatian state has encouraged the use of pure Croatian words at the expense of the former vocabulary in an attempt to distance Croatian from Serbian. There is now similarly an attempt by the Bosnian Muslims (who now call themselves Bosniaks) to create a Bosnian language distinct from both Croatian and Serbian, with the introduction (or reintroduction ) of Turko-Arabic word forms. The question of intermarriage, which has only occurred since after the Ottoman period, is prone to be overemphasised. In the 1980s intermarriage was about 12% and equivalent to that of Yugoslavia as a whole and less than in Vojvodina (28% ) and Croatia (17% ), while Sarajevo, the Bosnian ag bearer for multiculturalism, with 28% lagged behind some Croatian towns like Pakrac (35% ) and Vukovar (34%). Moreover, in Bosnia-Hercegovina mixed marriages were essentially a feature of the urban elite and manual workers, and were most frequent between Serbs and Croats. 35 However, it is indisputable that mixed marriages were a feature in Bosnia-Hercegovina while Albanian-Slav marriages in Kosovo and Macedonia were not. However, the slowly growing sense of national consolidation based on religious customs (if not actual religious belief) which was evident in the 1980s was only allowed to develop within the con nes of the Tito and post-Tito Communist system. Any form of perceived Islamic fundamentalism was until the great changes of 19891990 seen as being party to a conspiracy to make Bosnia-Herceogovina an ethnically pure Islamic Republic. The most striking example of this was the trial in mid 1983 of 13 Muslims accused of hostile and counter-revolutionary acts derived from Muslim nationalism. The main defendant was Alija Izetbegovic, a lawyer and retired director of a building company (later to become President of independent Bosnia-Hercegovina), then aged 59. He was found guilty by the Sarajevo district court and sentenced to 14 years imprisonment, reduced on appeal to 11 years. Four of the 13 on trial including Izetbegovic had been convicted in the late 1940s for membership of the Young Muslims. In the indictment Izetbegovic was accused of claiming that Muslims had suffered considerably at the hands of Communists when partisans entered their villages at the end of World War II and that the Young Muslims and other similar organisations were set up to counter this. The main charge centred on a 50-page treatise written by Izetbegovic in 1970 entitled 36 The Islamic Declaration. Parts of this treatise had been legally published in Yugoslavia some ten years previously. The prosecution mentioned that it indicated



a desire to create an ethnically pure Muslim state out of Bosnia-Herceogovina, Kosovo, and other Muslim areas. Izetbegovic and his codefendants, however, stressed that the declaration was concerned with the general emancipation of Muslims, not with Yugoslavia or Bosnia in particular, and that it was meant to apply to countries where the overwhelming majority of the population was Muslim.37 The defendants were also accused of having links with Iran. Despite the above-mentioned lack of active religious practice among Bosnian Muslims, the attitudes expressed by the Sarajevo Muslims (as the defendants became to be known) appear to have elicited strong support from the Muslim population in Bosnia. Izetbegovic was released in November 1988 and when political relaxation came to Bosnia-Hercegovina, as it came to other republics, he founded in May 1990 the Party of Democratic Action (SDA). Despite a split in the leadership of the SDA between Izetbegovic and Adil Zulkarpasic (a former leading gure of the emigre Muslim community who returned to Yugoslavia but who fell out with Izetbegovic over what he saw as the latters too rigid Islamic approach and instead founded a rival party, the Muslim Bosniak Organisation, on 21 September 1990), the SDA triumphed in the elections held in December 1990 and became the largest party with 86 of the 240 seats in both chambers of the assembly. However, a dangerous portent for the future was that the voting was predominately along national lines, with 72 seats for the Serbian Democratic Party and 44 for the Croatian Democratic Community. In all there were 99 Muslims, 85 Serbs, 49 Croats, and seven declaring themselves as Yugoslavs in the new assembly. Given this, it was not surprising that Izetbegovic (along with Macedonian leaders who similarly initially viewed the break-up of Yugoslavia as potentially disastrous) were among those who worked hardest at keeping the Yugoslav state together in some form or other. However, when Yugoslavia did fall apart, Izetbegovic went for independence. In this he was not unanimously supported within the Muslim camp. The controversial Fikret Abdic was a leading gure in the Agrokomerc nancial scandal in the 1980s. Agrokomerc was a huge agro-industrial combine which had greatly enriched the Bihac area and had helped to make Abdic extremely popular. He was jailed for his part in the fall of Agrokomerc, although his supporters claimed he had been framed by opponents in the Communist hierarchy who were jealous of his success. In the 1991 elections he was a candidate for the SDA and polled the largest number of votes1,010,618compared with Izetbegovics 847, 386. However, his position in the SDA was relatively weak and he allowed Izetbegovic to become Head of the Presidency of Bosnia-Hercegovina. The personal dimension aside, the Abdic affair can be seen as a con ict between two different points of view regarding the future of the Bosnian state. Izetbegovics position, nominally supported by the international community, was that Bosnia-Hercegovina constituted an indivisible independent state. In contrast, Abdic appeared prepared to have dealings with Serbia and Croatia, and to countenance a scenario whereby the Muslims would remain in some form of Yugoslavia. 38



While the concept of a Muslim (or Bosniak, as they now term themselves) national identity was perhaps weak within the lifespan of former Yugoslavia, it has become cemented by war and bloodshed when the very existence of the state and of the Muslims, its largest constituent people, representing in 1991 44% of the population, seemed at times to be in doubt. Increasingly the SDA has adopted Islamic insignia and symbols, and there has been a steady drift towards Islam as a basic source of identity in place of the more citizen-orientated multiethnic, multidenominational approach represented by Haris Silajdzic and others. The revival of Islamic faith and practice as a central pillar of Muslim identity in Bosnia-Hercegovina is a reality, and will have rami cations for Muslims throughout the Balkans.

Muslims as the Majority: The Albanian Case Albanias late arrival in the nineteenth-century race for territory from the ailing Ottoman Empire resulted from the fact that the majority of the population shared their faith with that of the Ottoman rulers, and hence were initially less susceptible to the new ideology of nationalism, as well as to external Western, Christian benefactors. Indeed it can be argued that the impetus for the Albanian national awakening, which signi cantly was initially led by Christian Albanians, arose out of a realisation that unless the Albanians claimed their own state there was a danger of being swallowed up by Greece from the south and Serbia and Montenegro from the north. The Bektashi Su sect became a major factor in southern Albania and the Albanian-inhabited areas of western Macedonia. Bektashism is a Su order (named after its founder Hac Bektash )which was widespread in the Balkans during Ottoman rule. Su organisations tended to absorb popular movements, and the Shiites in particular were forced, within the Sunni Ottoman Empire, to seek asylum within them. The heterodox Bektashi order gave this phenomenon its fullest expression. This situation also applied in relation to Christian communities in the Balkans which adopted Islam. The Su orders or tarikats indeed facilitated the conversion of non-Islamic peoples by allowing a certain symbiosis between Islamic and other religious beliefs and practices: the wandering dervishes who accompanied or followed in the wake of the conquering Ottoman troops were thus a crucial component in this conversion of large sections of the Christian Anatolian and Balkan populations. In the Albanian case, the presence of local power boss Ali Pasha of Janinna, who was a Bektashi himself, seemed to have been a major factor in spreading the sect in the areas under his control and those adjacent. Indeed by the end of the nineteenth century Albania had become the second largest Bektashi area after Anatolia. This process was no doubt also aided by the similarity between many Bektashi rites and Christian rites. Bektashism tolerated Christian saints and rights and many Bektashi saints were deliberately ambiguous: Christian pilgrimages were allowed and stimulated by the Bektashis.39



The rst Albanian state which emerged in 1913 was politically very weak. Indeed it was barely a functioning state and came increasingly under Italian control. Following the Second World War the Communist authorities under Enver Hoxha instituted an anti-religion campaign, severely persecuting all religious activity. Following this period of darkness, there appears to be a signi cant level of multi-religious tolerance in Albania today. Rare in the context of the Balkans, this can at least be partly attributed to the simple fact that all religious groups suffered equally under the Communist dictatorship, as well as perhaps to the in uence of the heterodox Bektashis. While all of the new Balkan states had sizeable minorities outside of their bordersas clear lines of demarcation between different population groups had failed to emergeAlbanias late arrival resulted in a situation where there were almost as many Albanians outside of the new state as there were within it. Many of these to the south in the new Greece were Orthodox Christian, and tended to become assimilated by the Greeks, who have pursued a consistent policy of attempted assimilation of all minorities. The Muslim Chams in northern Greece remained a distinct group, however. Their faith prevented them from absorption in the Greek identity, to which Orthodoxy is central. Following the Second World War, they were expelled en masse from Greece and their mosques were destroyed. The large majority of Muslim Albanians (and some Roman Catholics) remaining outside of the new Albania found themselves not in Greece but in Serbia or Montenegro, in what became Yugoslavia. The majority resided in Kosovo, which, under the Titoist system as it evolved through the 1960s and early 1970s, developed into a separate federal unit of the Yugoslav state. The destruction of this federal unit by the Milos evic regime and the ongoing acute repression of the Kosovo Albanians saw an end to this.40 In addition to Kosovo, many Albanians also resided in western and northwestern Yugoslav Macedonia, where they made up compact regional majorities. 41 The Albanians of former Yugoslavia continue to display an impressive sense of national solidarity which, especially in Kosovo where there is a sizeable Albanian Catholic community, to a large degree overrides religious divides. This is something of a rarity in the Balkans, where the millet heritage has tended to work in the opposite direction. Moreover, as Ger Duijzings convincingly shows, the rise in Albanian nationalism in the 1980s can be seen to be directly linked with the rise of Su tarikats in Kosovo and Macedonia (another rarity as elsewhere in the Balkans, the tarikats continued to decline) as the Muslim Albanians of former Yugoslavia sought to differentiate themselves from the Muslim Slav dominated Sunni community centred in Sarajevo.42 Minorities and the Balkan State The classic Balkan state emerging from the Ottoman Empire was essentially an ethnic state based on one dominant nation. Within these states minorities were



inevitably considered to be alien and objects of suspicion. The fact that all of these states, with the exception of Albania, had majority Christian populations made the position of Muslim communities within them especially problematic. The differentiation of these communities from the majority along ethno-linguistic as well as religious lines in certain cases merely intensi ed perceptions of otherness. As the only Balkan state with a Muslim majority, Albania stands out as an exception, characterised by a very low level of antagonism between its different religious communities. 43 In a hostile Balkan environment the demands of Albanianism apparently produced a united front out of the different Albanian religious groups, helped along by the sense of solidarity engendered by Enver Hoxhas blanket repression. Even here, however, where the religious divide coincides with an ethnic one, as in the case of the wholly Orthodox Greek minority44 that resides in the south of the country, the same problems arise as elsewhere in the Balkans. These problems have been further aggravated by the dominant nationalisms which have led the emergence of the classic Balkan state to be characterised by a high degree of centralisation. The ideology that the state is the natural territory of one dominant national group has tended to result in power being exclusively wielded by that group within a centralised state where they control the central apparatus and where little decision making is devolved to the regions where the minorities tend to reside. The exception to this Balkan centralist model is the post-1945 Communist Yugoslav state. Although even here the history of the Communist state can be seen as one of swinging from centralisation (during the Rankovic period, for example) to decentralisation (the case of the 1974 Constitution for example). In this context, centralisation tended to be equated with dominant Serb nationalism. The states break-up can indeed be seen as a reaction to the return to acute centralisation, led this time led by Slobodan Milosevic, who rode to power on a wave of aggrieved Serbian nationalism over Kosovo. The successor states to Titos Yugoslavia have generally tended to revert to the classic Balkan model of centralisation, leading to an exacerbation of the frictions with minorities which this model brings. This is evident both in Franjo Tudjmans Croatia and in the new Macedonian state (FYROM). In the latter the large Muslim Albanian minority that predominates in the western and northwestern areas points with some justi cation to the fact that its regional democratic majorities mean little more than the power to sweep the streets, as all crucial decisions are made at the centre.45 Conclusion The entire period in the Balkans from the break-up of the Ottoman Empire to the present can be seen as corresponding to Gellners model. As demonstrated earlier, minorities within the state who share the religion of the dominant nation have in the main been assimilated: this has been most evident in the Balkans in the case of Orthodox Christianity. Mass education has been employed by state elites to instil a



uni ed high culture based on what is perceived to be the essence of the dominant nation (and thus almost by de nition with high nationalist content). The instilling of such uni ed high cultures has been particularly marked since the Second World War, as mass education has become a reality for the regions countries.46 A crucial aspect in the success of this process has been the states monopoly over the means for propagating the relevant high culture in the Balkan context. Until very recently the state in the Balkans has been virtually the exclusive actor, not only in education but also in radio and television. It has also made exclusive and effective use of censorship and other pressures. This situation is changing, however, due to the communications revolution,47 which has had a profound effect. Greece and Bulgaria, for example, are no longer able to isolate themselves from the outside world, or to pursue policies of forced assimilation of their minorities, including Turks and other Muslims, and in the case of Greece Orthodox Slav Macedonians also. During the infamous forced assimilation campaign of 19841989, Zhivkovs Bulgaria attempted to completely seal off from outside in uences the areas inhabited by Muslims and Turks. The advent of glasnost in the USSR made this policy unfeasible, however. The ethnic Turks made use of the meagre opportunities afforded by the new climate, including in particular the unjamming of foreign radio stations like Radio Free Europe, which could hence be broadcast into Bulgaria. The use of such media by the ethnic Turks to coordinate their opposition to the assimilation campaign directly led to the defeat of this policy. 48 Moreover satellite television broadcasts from Turkey helps to preserve and develop Turkish culture among Muslims in Greece, where locals can receive Turkish TV channels with as much ease as Greek ones. The only way to combat this is to ban satellite dishes. This demonstrates how, far from creating a uni ed world culture,49 the global communications revolution can actually play a crucial role in preserving and strengthening cultural differences. Furthermore, the world community has nally become aware of minority problems. While the League of Nations (established after the First World War) had a number of provisions regarding the rights of minorities in east and southeastern Europe, these were largely ignored by the states concerned, with little or no sanction from outside. The explosion of German nationalism under Hitler which led to the appalling destruction of the Second World War produced a revulsion towards all forms of nationalism, which extended even to provisions for minorities. In the post-war period minority rights were generally ignored in favour of individual human rights. The dynamics of the Cold War issued in a further emphasis on individual rights as both sides used different aspects of these in the ideological struggle, with the Soviet camp stressing economic and social rights while the West stressed civil and political ones. In the late 1980s with the ending of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet bloc, minority rights once more came on the human rights agenda. Since then the international community has moved towards standardisation and codi cation of minority rights, leading to the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of



Persons belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, adopted by the U.N. General Assembly Resolution 47/135 of 18 December 1992, and the Council of Europes Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities: the rst legally binding international instrument devoted to the plight of minorities. This has been followed by various regional declarations. While there remains little real sanction against offenders, and even a European Union member like Greece can apparently continue to deny the existence of any minorities within its borders apart from religious ones,50 it can at least be said that no European country appreciates being accused of trampling on minority rights by its peers. It seems likely that a countrys minority record will increasingly come under scrutiny, and offenders will face increasing censure in the international arena. Hence there is reason to argue that the attempt in the Balkans (and elsewhere for that matter) to create homogenised nation states (i.e. monocultural, monoethnic, and monoreligious, all based on the attributes of the dominant nation) is nally running its course. Indeed the current tragedy in Bosnia-Hercegovina can be construed as the nal attempt at such forced homogenisation in the Balkans. The location of this attempt can be explained on the basis of the observation that, as noted above, up until the break-up of Yugoslavia, Bosnia-Hercegovina had remained as a substantial element in multinational polities, from the Ottoman Empire through Austria-Hungary to the two Yugoslav states. It had thus avoided the classic Balkan state route. This, it must be stressed, does not mean that nationalism is a diminishing force in the Balkans. On the contrary, the break-up of Yugoslavia has seen an intensi cation of various nationalisms throughout the region. What it does perhaps show is that the idealised nation state can now be created only by genocide or by mass expulsion. Total assimilation is a thing of the past, as the states no longer totally monopolise the means of propagating culture. While the process of homogenisation in the Balkans has been markedly successful in, for example, transforming multiethnic peasants in Greece into Greek citizens, it has failed miserably when faced with the need to bridge the gulf between Orthodox communities on the one hand and Muslim ones on the other. Even in the case of the Orthodox Slavs in northern Greece this policy has met with a militant minority who refuse to abandon their perceived ethnicity in order to merge into the majority Greek one. The more pressure the Greek state applies to this minority, the more the policy proves to be counter-productive. While hitherto and in accordance with Gellners analysis, an attempt was made to obliterate low peasant cultures and to replace them with a uni ed high culture, this situation may well be changing. The new possibilities created by mass communications and satellite dishes, plus the growing ability of the private sphere to effectively challenge central dominance as a result of a general trend of economic privatisation, appear to permit some erstwhile low cultures to develop into sustainable middle cultures and even into rival regional high cultures. That this process is taking place in an atmosphere of heightened nationalist feeling following the collapse of Yugoslavia unfortunately increases the possibilities of further violence.



In the light of these developments, and given its proven historical success as a civilisation-building religion, Islam appears destined to remain a major component in the Balkan mosaic. This is already evident in the increasing number of new contacts being established between Muslim Balkan communities and Muslim countries beyond the Balkans. One big question remains. This relates to the nature of the political development of these communities. A consistent thread in recent Balkan history has been the change from Muslim identity solely based upon Islam to one where an ethnic content has become an important factor. It is noticeable that in the main the new Muslim political elites couch their programmes in terms and language that are essentially secular. This is surely a result of the peculiar history of these communities in the last two centuries and their relationship with the Balkan state. Whether this will continue or there will be a return to a more rigidly Islamic mode of political discourse remains to be seen. The tragic events in Bosnia-Hercegovina perhaps show that, faced with a continuation of the traditional Balkan state model of intolerance to minorities, and the attendant homogenisation, Muslims will be forced to revert to the latter line. In the long term, however, continual confrontation cannot be the optimum solution.

NOTES 1. This paper is a thoroughly revised version of Islam, Ethnicity and State in the Contemporary Balkans, which rst appeared in H. Poulton and S. Taji-Farouki, eds, Muslim Identity and the Balkan State (London: Hurst, 1997). 2. For example, Greeces claims to continuity to ancient Greece, and Bulgarias to 1,300 years of existence. 3. In Greece today the Muslim populations are regarded as suspect and are not considered to be true citizens of the state. Furthermore, this also applies to non-Orthodox Christian groups, like Baptists, Roman Catholics, and Jehovahs Witnesses. This is clear from statements like that of the public prosecutor of Naxos, who described Roman Catholic Greeks as foreigners getting their orders from the Pope. It is also illustrated by the arrest of large numbers of Jehovahs Witnesses for proselytising: 67 have been sentenced to between four and six months imprisonment since 1983. See D. Kunz, Greece Accused on Minorities Rights, Le Monde, 14 December 1994. 4. Bektashism is a Su order (named after its founder Hac Bektash) that was widespread in the Balkans during Ottoman rule. On Bektashism and the Albanians, see below. 5. The Shiite K z lbash s (literally red-heads) were so named after their distinctive head wear. The Dobrudzha is the area south of the Danube delta, from Tulcea in Romania to Varna in Bulgaria. 6. See H. Norris, Islam in the Balkans: Religions and Society between Europe and the Arab World (London: Hurst, 1994). 7. Vlachs were prominently pastoral peoples living south of the Danube who practised transhumance and spoke a form of Romanian. While some were Islamicised, most remained Orthodox. Many were prominent supporters of Hellenism. They remain especially evident in the Pindus mountains in Greece and in southern Albania. See H. Poulton, The Balkans: Minorities and States in Con ict (London: MRG, 1993).



8. This was most noticeable in the competition for Macedonia at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century. For a full study of the Macedonian Question see H. Poulton, Who Are the Macedonians? (London: Hurst, 1995). 9. Uncertainty remains uncertainty over the origins of this system. Many trace the system back to the appointment by Mehmed II, conqueror of Istanbul, of Patriarch Gennadias, Bishop Yovakim of Bursa, and Rabbi Capsali as presumed hereditary leaders of the Greek, Armenian, and Jewish communities, respectively. In contrast, other scholars (including Benjamin Braude) maintain that the term millet was used to refer to various mainly local arrangements which differed from one place to another. They point to the substantial evidence suggesting that the authority vested in the leaders of the millets was personal (rather than hereditary/institutionalised), and varied signi cantly in its territorial extent. Thus, the Greek Patriarchates of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch retained their autonomy at least in canon law, while for the Armenians the see of Istanbul became over the centuries a sort of de facto patriarchate, but its ecclesiastical legitimacy was grudgingly recognized, if at all. See Benjamin Braude and Bernard Lewis, Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1982), pp. 7282, and the review article by Andrew Mango, Remembering the Minorities, Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 21, No. 4, 1985, pp. 118140. 10. At least as far as Anatolia is concerned, modern scholarship gives credit to the Karamanids for the rst establishment of Turkish as the basis of the of cial language. In the thirteenth century the Karamanids created a strong polity on the ruins of the Seljuk Sultanate. See M. Onder, Turkcenin Devlet Dili Ilanini Yildonumu, Turk Dili, Vol. 10, 1961, p. 507, quoted in David Kushner, The Rise of Turkish Nationalism 18761908 (London: Frank Cas, 1977), footnote to p. 90. However, this was not the same as the demotic Turkish spoken by the mass of the population. 11. See Boriana Panaiotova and Kalina Bozeva, The Bulgarian Muslims (Pomaks ), in The Committee for the Defence of Minority Rights, Minority Groups in Bulgaria in a Human Rights Context (So a: The Committee for the Defence of Minority Rights, 1994). 12. Ibid. 13. A crucial factor here is the terrible persecution the Bosnian Muslims have suffered in the recent war due to being Muslima factor that has immeasurably helped to cement a national consciousness. 14. War has often been a crucial factor in promoting national identity. 15. Ernest Gellner, Nations and Nationalism (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1983). 16. Ibid. p. 140. 17. Ibid. pp. 57. 18. See Eric Hobsbawm et al., The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983 ). 19. Anderson, op. cit. 20. Gellner, op. cit., p. 141. 21. Ibid. 22. Article 19 of Law 3370 of 1955 stated, A person who is of foreign origin leaving Greek territories without the intention of returning may be deprived of Greek citizenship. This has been used mostly against Muslims from western Thracethe only of cial minoritywho have been deprived without being consulted of their actual intentions, while even immigrants who are ethnic Greek are normally recognised without problem despite years or even generations of absence. (Article 19 has also been used against ethnic Macedonians, who also suffer from the application of Article 20, which allows for stripping of citizenship from those who commit acts contrary to the interests of Greece for the bene t of a foreign state). From the time this law was introduced, more than 60,000 Muslimspredominately ethnic Turks




24. 25.


27. 28. 29. 30.


have been stripped of their citizenship, including an of cial gure of 50 people in 1997. Most of those affected were forced to stay in Turkey or Germany, although some 1,000 continued to live as stateless people in Greece without identity papers and the commensurate bene ts this in contravention to the U.N. 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons. On 17 December 1997, the authorities nally decided to provide such people with identity and travel documents, and by early 1998 some 100 had bene ted. Article 19 was nally abolished without retroactivity in mid June 1998. The role of Turkey thus as a potential kin state for Muslims of different ethnic groups in the Balkans and Cyprus, and the relationship between Muslim Turkish workers in western Europe and Turkey is discussed in Hugh Poulton, Top Hat, Grey Wolf and Crescent: Turkish Nationalism and the Turkish Republic (London: Hurst, 1997). See H. Poulton, Who Are the Macedonians? (London: Hurst, 1995), pp. 141143. The same applied in the case of Jewish minorities; many of the Jews in the Balkans had ed to the Ottoman Empire from persecution by intolerant regimes in western Europe. While Jews had lived in the Balkans since antiquity, Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazi Jews eeing persecution in central and western Europe ed to the Balkans even before the Ottoman period. These new arrivals tended to overwhelm the ancient original Jewish population, but were in turn overwhelmed after 1492 by Ladino-speaking Jews expelled from Spain, who made Salonika the spiritual and economic metropolis of the Jews in southeastern Europe; see H. Poulton, Who Are the Macedonians?, pp. 2223. On the Pomaks of Bulgaria see Yulian Konstantinov, Strategies for Sustaining a Vulnerable Identity: The Case of the Bulgarian Pomaks, and on the pressures on the smaller Islamic groups, like the Pomaks of Greece, the Muslim Roma, and non-Albanian Muslim groups in Macedonia to assimilate into larger cohabiting Muslim groups see H. Poulton, Changing notions of National Identity among Muslims in Thrace and Macedonia: Turks, Pomaks and Roma, both in H. Poulton and S. Taji-Farouki, eds, Muslim Identity and the Balkan State (London: Hurst, 1997). This comprised modern Bulgaria together with what became Yugoslav Macedonia, large parts of Greek Macedonia, and Thrace. It even extended into modern Albania. Robert J. Doina and John V. A. Fine, Bosnia-HercegovinaA Tradition Betrayed (London: Hurst, 1994), p. 96. See Ivo Banac, The National Question in Yugoslavia; Origins, History, Politics (Ithaca, NY, Cornell University Press, 1984). This did not apply as much to other Muslim groups in Royalist Yugoslavia, however. The Slavs of Macedoniawhich included both Christians and a smaller Muslim community were regarded as southern Serbs, and a policy of forced assimilation was employed against them. The Muslim Albanians, who of course are not Slavs, were viewed with acute distrust by the rst Yugoslav stateYugoslavia of course means land of the South Slavs. See Banac, op. cit. In post-1945 Yugoslavia the Communist authorities nationality policy, which always of cially espoused the slogan Brotherhood and unity, evolved from upholding a Serb-orientated polity during the period when Aleksander Rankovic headed the all-powerful security apparatus, to a three-tier system of national rights which was enshrined in the 1974 Constitution. This system divided the population in descending order of recognised rights into: (a) the six Nations of YugoslaviaCroats, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Muslims, Serbs, and Sloveneseach with a national home based in one of the republics; (b) the Nationalities of Yugoslaviathe largest being the Albanians (more numerous than some of the nations, but whose national home was outside the country and so they were not eligible for the status of a nation of Yugoslavia), Bulgarians, Czechs, Hungarians, Italians, Roma, Romanians, Ruthenians, Slovaks, and Turkswhich were legally allowed a variety of



32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38.


40. 41.

42. 43. 44. 45. 46.

language and cultural rights; and (c) Other Nationalities and Ethnic Groups, which made up the remaining ethnic groupsAustrians, Germans, Greeks, Jews, Poles, Russians, Ukrainians, Vlachs, and others, including those who classi ed themselves as Yugoslavs. This was lower than in Kosovo (44% ), Croatia (33% ), Slovenia (26% ), and Macedonia (19% ), but higher than in Serbia (11% ) and Vojvodina and Montenegro (both 10% ). Interview, Belgrade, 28 March 1986. See Ger Duijzings, Religion and the Politics of Identity in the Balkans (London: Hurst, forthcoming ), although Duijzings warns that this is somewhat simplistic, and is careful not to fall into the trap of ethno-reductionism. Cornelia Sorabji, Islam and Bosnias Muslim nation, in Frank Carter and Harry Norris, eds, The Changing Shape of the Balkans (London: UCL, 1996), pp. 5758. X. Bougarel, Bosnie: anatomie dun con ict (Paris: Editions la Decouverte, 1996), p. 87. For the full text see South Slav Journal, Spring 1983. It is somewhat ironic that such a situation has become more likely in Bosnia-Hercegovina with the effective partition by the Dayton agreement, which, if the Serbian Republika Srpska splits off, will leave the state with a convincing Muslim majority. In 1994 Abdic declared the creation of his own quasi-state, the Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia, and was consequently expelled from the Bosnian government. Bitter inter-Muslim ghting ensued; the 5th Brigade loyal to Sarajevo defeated Abdics rebels, many of whom ed to Croatia. In November 1994, when the Muslim 5th Brigade broke out of the Bihac pocket and achieved notable victories over the Serbs, the inevitable Serb counter-attack was aided both by Serbs from Croatia and by some 5,000 of Abdics supporters. The Bihac pocket was surrounded by Serb-held positions in both Croatia and Bosnia. Its natural geography between rivers and Abdics manoeuvrings and deals with both the Serbs and Croats facilitated its survival. Despite being viewed as a traitor by the SDA Sarajevo leadership, Abdic has recently made something of a political comeback in his power base of Velika Kladusa in the Bihac pocket. Additionally the elite praetorian guard of the Ottoman Empirethe Janissarieshad been a stronghold of Bektashism for centuries up to their violent dissolution by Mahmud II in 1826. The Janissaries were initially formed from those Christian youths taken by the devsirme system to Istanbul, circumcised and brought up as the Muslim slave elite, and the tolerance and similarities in Bektashism of many Christian rights must surely have been a factor in the strength of Bektashism in the Janissaries. See H. Poulton and M. Vickers, The Kosovo Albanians: Ethnic Confrontation with the Slav State, in H. Poulton and S. Taji-Farouki, eds, Muslim Identity and the Balkan State (London: Hurst, 1997). Their relationship with the new Macedonian state, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM ), itself based on the relatively new concept of a separate Macedonian nation fostered by the Tito regime, is explored in H. Poulton, Who Are the Macedonians?, Chapters 7 and 9. Sheikh Xemali of the Rifai tarikat in Prizren has been a key gure in this. See Ger Duijzings, Religion and the Politics of Identity in the Western Balkans: The Case of Kosovo (London: Hurst, forthcoming). Although it is likely that what remains of Bosnia-Hercegovina will also have a Muslim majority if the Serb areas remain outside. It should be noted that while the Greek minority in Albania is solidly Orthodox, many Orthodox Christians in Albania are ethnically Albanian. H. Poulton, Who Are the Macedonians?, p. 187. In Greece, for example, anthropologists studying the Slav Macedonian minority in the northern part of the country have noted that the rate of assimilation has accelerated sharply since the Second World War. Personal communication with Anastasia Karakasidou.



47. This particularly covers the expansion of satellite TV sets and other means of transnational communication which has occurred in the last few years. 48. See H. Poulton, The Balkans, p. 155. 49. This view rests on the argument that there is a general tendency for differing states/cultures to copy a particular model of what is perceived as modern. This can be seen in the apparently universal appeal of blue jeans and trainers and Western pop music (Michael Jackson, Madonna, etc.) in youth culture, along with the penetration of domestic economies by multinationals so that even eating and drinking habits become homogenised, with the growing universality of brand names like McDonalds and Coca Cola. Such cultural invasions go hand in hand with a parallel uni cation of modern architectural styles, regardless of indigenous cultures, so that, for example, all modern airports and hotels tend to resemble each other. In this view the rise of this global culture, facilitated by the ongoing revolution in electronics and the media (especially satellite broadcasts), signals the end of classic nationalism as a driving force on the world stage. 50. Likewise France, which represents the classic model of territorial or civic nationalism as opposed to the German ethnic model (see Anthony Smith, Theories of Nationalism (London: Duckworth, 1971), also refuses to recognise minorities within its borders and even refused to sanction Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which deals with guaranteeing minority rights (and which Greece has not rati ed). However, citizens in France do not face the same penalties for declaring themselves separate from the majority as they do in Greece. For a discussion of minority rights in Europe see Hugh Miall, ed., Minority Rights in Europe: The Scope for a Transnational Regime (London: Chatham House Papers, RIIA, Pinter, 1994). 51. See H. Poulton, Who Are the Macedonians?, pp. 165171.