Eastern Thrace

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The area of ​​ancient Thrace within today's state territories
Eastern Thrace

Eastern Thrace or European Turkey (also Turkish Thrace , Turkish Doğu Trakya or Trakya Bölgesi; Bulgarian Източна Тракия Iztotschna Trakija or Одринска Тракия Odrinska Trakija , Edirne Thrace '. To bulg Odrin Одрин, Edirne'; Greek Ανατολική Θράκη Anatoliki Thraki ) is the geographic Part of Turkey , which is located on the Balkan Peninsula and thus on the European continent (about 3% of the country's area). The name is derived from the ancient indigenous population, the Thracians . The region is the eastern part of the historical Thrace landscape .


In ancient times the region was one of the contested border regions of the Hellenic and Persian world. Later it became the heartland of the kingdom of the Thracian tribe of Odrysen until the Roman conquest .

During the time of the Eastern Roman, Byzantine Empire , the region belonged to the immediate hinterland of Constantinople . During this time it was combined in the areas of Macedonia and Thrace . The late antiquity and the early Middle Ages are numerous incursions and destruction of Celtic , West goten , Ostrogoths , Avars , Bulgars etc. documented. Throughout the Middle Ages, membership of the region was fought over between the Bulgarian and Byzantine empires . In Eastern Thrace, more than 700 sites from antiquity and the Middle Ages were documented by evaluating the richly preserved literary, archaeological, art-historical and landscape sources as well as the toponymy .

During the Ottoman Empire, the European part of the Turkish Republic was called Rumelia ("Land of the Romioi" = "Land of the (Eastern) Romans", i.e. the Greeks ), in contrast to Anadolu, today Anatolia (from the Greek for "land in the east ”), that part of Turkey that belongs to the Middle East. In August 1903 some of the central fighting of the Ilinden-Preobraschenie uprising , which was directed against Turkish rule and led to the proclamation of the short-lived Strandscha republic , took place there. During the First Balkan War in 1912, the Bulgarian army managed to conquer almost all of Eastern Thrace (with the exception of Constantinople and the Dardanelles). After the First World War , the area was assigned to Greece in the Treaty of Sèvres ; However, Constantinople remained with Turkey. As a result of the Greco-Turkish War that broke out shortly thereafter , Eastern Thrace fell back to Turkey in the Treaty of Lausanne .

Modern borders and provinces

Today's borders follow the borders and coastlines of the Turkish state. In the north the region borders Bulgaria and Northern Thrace , in the west the Mariza river forms the natural border with Greece and Western Thrace . In the south the region borders on the Sea of ​​Marmara and in the east on the Black Sea .

Eastern Thrace today includes the Turkish provinces of Kırklareli , Tekirdağ , Edirne and the European parts of Istanbul and Çanakkale .

province Area
(2007 census)
Population density
(per km²)
Edirne 6,279 396,462 63.1
Kırklareli 6,550 333.256 50.8
Tekirdağ 6.218 728.396 117.1
sub-total 19,047 1,458,114 76.5
İstanbul (European part) 3,421 8,183,969 2392.2
Çanakkale (European part) 1,296 56,745 43.7
Total 23,764 9,698,828 408.1

The most important cities in the Turkish part of Thrace, with the exception of Istanbul , which is located on two continents, are (data from 2000):


Up until the Second Balkan War (1913), many Bulgarians ( Thracian Bulgarians ) lived there and until the beginning of the 20th century (see also Teşkilât-ı Mahsusa ) and until the pogrom of Istanbul (1955) Greeks who were expelled. In the summer of 1934, the Jewish population in Eastern Thrace fell victim to collective violence, after which they were expelled in a pogrom . Local authorities ordered the Jews to conduct business and vacate their homes within a few days, which they did. Many left their property behind or had to sell them to local Turks at bargain prices; some were able to take their movable possessions with them. The number of displaced people was estimated at up to 10,000 people; official Turkish data claimed 3,000 displaced persons.

Today, Turkish Thrace is predominantly inhabited by Balkan Turks as well as ethnic Albanians and Bosnians. The majority of the Turks are Macedonia Turks from the Greek region of Macedonia who were resettled under the Treaty of Lausanne and the Turks who were resettled in Crete . These settled in the area around Gelibolu . Turks from Bulgaria are mainly found in Edirne and the Kirklareli province. The city of Babaeski is the center of this population group. Pomaks (Muslims from Bulgaria) are also resident there. Crimean Tatars and Circassians (Çerkezköy) live on the Black Sea coast around Kumköy .

The Turkish 1st Army is stationed in Eastern Thrace.



  1. Andreas Külzer: Eastern Thrace (Eurōpē)
  2. ^ Turkish Statistical Institute (2007): Page no longer available , search in web archives: 2007 Census, population by provinces and districts, December 26, 2007.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link / www.tuik.gov.tr
  3. Lyubomir Miletich : Разорението на тракийскитеѣ българи презъ 1913 година (. Bulg Razorjawaneto na trakijskite Balgari prez 1913 godina ) Publisher Balgarski bestseller, Sofia, 2003, p 303, ISBN 954-9308-14-6 .
  4. Federal Agency for Civic Education (2014): The expulsion of Turkish Jews from Thrace in 1934.