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Roma in Turkey facts for kids

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The Roma people in Turkey call themself Romanlar (singular roman). They are the oldest subgroup of Roma people in Europe. They are Sunni Muslim of Hanafi school. Engagement, marriage, and male circumcision are big festivals. They speak the Turkish language as a first language. Most do not speak the Romani language. They live in East Thrace and Aegean Sea in Turkey. They have Turkish citizenship, and called themselves Roman Kökenli Türk, or Turks of Romani Background.


The Romanlar in Turkey, are the descendants of merchants of the Vaishya caste, who once came from the 1st century AD - 2nd century AD, trough trading relationships with the Roman Empire, from different parts of the Indian subcontinent, to Roman province Egypt, mentioned in the Periplus Maris Erythraei. They settled in Koptos (Qift) at the Nil, and the Red Sea coast, in the Port citys like Berenice Troglodytica, Myos Hormos and Ptolemais Theron (Aydhab). Later, when the Muslim Arabian made fight with the Byzantine Empire, the Romanlar went with them as Camp followers to Asia Minor and settled first in Phrygia.

The Romanlar in Turkey said, they are named after the Roman Empire. But they also used the English Word Gypsy for themselves. At the time of Ottoman Empire they got their own Sanjak (district) in East Thrace.

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