The Karamanlides (Greek: "Καραμανλήδες"; Turkish: "Karamanlılar"), or simply Karamanlis, are a Greek Orthodox, Turkish-speaking people native to the Karaman and Cappadocia regions of Anatolia. Today, a majority of the population live within Greece, though there is a notable diaspora in Western Europe and North America. There is an ongoing debate as to the ethnicity and cultural heritage of the Karamanlides. One side of the debate asserts that Kramanlides are Christian Turks, who converted their religion from Tengriism to Christianity. The other side of the debate asserts Karamanlides are Turkified Greeks. However, there are very few Greek words in the language of the Karamanlides; they share their Turkish dialect with the Eastern Turkomans.

Before their expulsion from Turkey, only a small portion of the Karamanlides saw a relation between themselves and the Greek people. Only within modern times, through efforts of the Greek State, has Hellenization been carried out. [Richard Clogg, "A Concise History of Greece", Cambridge University Press, 2002. ISBN 0-521-00479-9]


Karamanlides is an umbrella term used to describe all Greek Orthodox Christians in Central Anatolia who had adopted Turkish as their primary language. It is derived from the 13th century Beylik of Karamanoğlu. They were the first Turkish kingdom to adopt Turkish as its official language and originally the term would only describe the inhabitants of the town of Karaman or from the region of Karaman. Christians who had undergone forced Turkification would often borrow local Turkish places for their last name.Fact|date=July 2008 Because there is no significant presence of established Christians in the area, the title is now most often used as a label for the local Muslim inhabitants.


The Karamanlides were speaking a dialect of the Turkish language same with Anatolian Turkomans. Its vocabulary drew overwhelmingly from Turkic words with only minimal Greek loan words. The language should not be confused with Cappadocian Greek, which was spoken in the same region during the same timeframe, but is derived from the Greek language.

During the latter part of the 20th century, the language is still spoken in Anatolia by the Muslim Turkomans. Also a small, but unknown number of older speakers in Greece remain. The younger generation has become fully integrated within Greek society and have not collectively retained their ancestral language. Additionally, the dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas saw a further dwindling of the usage of Karamanlı Türkçesi in Greece due to the strict laws which forbade the use of the Turkish language in public. This was an instance of forced assimilation to cut the ties of Turkish cultural influence over the Greeks. The Lingua franca of the diaspora remains Turkish despite the disappearance of the language from its native homeland. [fr icon [http://www.istanbulguide.net/istguide/people/ethnies/turcsortho/diaspora.htm http://www.istanbulguide.net/istguide/people/ethnies/turcsortho/diaspora.htm] ]

Origin and history

According to one theory, Karamanlides are the direct descendants of indigenous Anatolian peoples who had adopted the Greek language, Greek culture, and the orthodox religion. After the Battle of Manzikert, and the subsequent invasion of Anatolia by Turkish peoples, they adopted the language and customs of the aristocratic overlords, but maintained their Christian religion. This would not have been uncommon in ancient Islamic empires, as the "people of the book" were allowed to remain Christians. Evidence suggests that because they spoke the Turkish language, but wrote it with Greek characters, and the fact that under Ottoman Sharia law conversion from Islam was illegal and punished by death, that they were actually of Greek heritage.

According to another theory, Karamanlides descend from Turkic tribes who had fled to Anatolia from the Mongolian invasion of Central Asia and Persia during the 13th century. They were then converted to orthodoxy under the rule of the Byzantine Empire. They may have numbered in the several hundred thousands and migrated to the Karaman and Cappadocia regions of what is now central Turkey. Fact|date=February 2007

In the population exchanges that took place during the summer of 1924, Turkey and Greece agreed to transfer their minority populations based on religious background, rather than on ethnicity or language. With some exceptions, the Muslims of Greece (such as the Epirus and Cretan Turks) were deported to Turkey, while the Orthodox Christians were moved to Greece,including the Karamanli.N-The transfer of religious minorities from Turkey to Greece did not include ethnic Armenians who, although they did not belong to Greek Orthodoxy, were among the minority orthodox populations. The Karamanli did not speak Greek, but were a part of the "Greek Orthodox" church. Some exceptions to this policy were Christians and Muslims living in Thrace and some of its surrounding islands.] The total number of Karamanlides who were expelled from Turkey is difficult to ascertain, but estimates are that slightly under 100,000 Orthodox Christians were driven from Central and Southern Anatolia. [Blanchard, Raoul. "The Exchange of Populations Between Greece and Turkey." Geographical Review 15.3 (1925): 449-56.] However, these may also have included Christians in the same geographical area who continued to speak the Greek language. N-An excerpt from the journal Geographical Review:]


The distinct culture that developed among the Karamanlides blended elements of Orthodox Christianity with an Ottoman-Turkish flavor that characterized their willingness to accept and immerse themselves in foreign customs. From the 14th to the 19th centuries, they enjoyed an explosion in literary refinement. Karamanli authors were especially productive in philosophy, religious writings, novels, and historical texts. Lyrical poetry in the late 19th century describes their indifference to both Greek and Turkish governments, and the confusion they felt as a Turkish-speaking people with a Greek ethos. This would later manifest itself in their isolation when they were forced out of their homeland and brought to Greece, only to have their language suppressed and identity shattered.

See also

*Antiochian Greeks
*Karamanli Turkish for works published by the Karamanlides
*Gagauz people

External sources

[http://www.mirekoc.com/mirekoc_documents/mirekoc_projects/2005_2006_17.pdf (full text) Borders of belonging in the "exchanged" generations of Karamanlis] , 2006, Elif Renk Özdemir,

[http://www.mirekoc.com/mirekoc_eng.cgi Migration Research Programme, Koç University, İstanbul]
* [full-text] Aytac, Selenay. (2007). How to Catalog Karamanli (Karamanlidika) Works? Bibliographic Descriptions of one of the Indigenous Literatures from Academic Library OPACS, The "Symposium on Information Management in the Changing World," organized by the Department of Information Management of Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey, from 24-26 October 2007.Abstract: This study addresses the current problems with cataloging and classification of Karamanli (Karamanlidika) works, and seeks to provide guidance on how to improve existing bibliographic records of these unique works, which are already in many academic libraries all over the world. The Karamanli works, also known as Karamanlidika, refer to those works written in Turkish language but printed in Greek characters according to the usage of Karamanli language or Karamania in Asia Minor (Anatoli) during the Ottoman Empire. Qualitative analysis through academic library online catalogs and the OCLC’s WorldCat indicates that there is no consistency among bibliographic descriptions of Karamanlidika works due to lack of standards relating to the description of these special works. In order to provide seamless access to this indigenous literature: (1) one should use new subject headings and a Library of Congress call number, (2) assign a new ISO639-2 language code for Karamanli language, and (3) digitally preserve such resources.
* Balta, E. (1987a). Karamanlidika additions (1584-1900): bibliographie analytique. Athens.
* Balta, E. (1987b). Karamanlidika: XXe siécle: bibliographie analytique. Athens.
* Balta, E., & Salaville, S. (1997). Karamanlidika: nouvelles additions et compléments. Athens.
* Clogg, R. (1999). A millet within a millet: the Karamanlides. D. Gondicas & C. Issawi (Eds.), In Ottoman Greeks in the age of nationalism: politics, economy, and society in the nineteenth century (pp. 115-142). Princeton: The Darwin Press.
* Eski harfli Türkçe basma eserler bibliografyası 1584-1986. (2001). [CD-ROM] . Ankara: Nuvis.
* Haralambous, Y. (1999). From Unicode to typography, a case study: the Greek script. Actes de International Unicode Conference XIV, Boston, 1999, pp. B.10.1-- B.10.36 Retrieved July 15, 2007 from http://omega.enstb.org/yannis/pdf/boston99.pdf.
* Kappler, M. (2002). Turkish language contacts in South-Eastern Europe. Istanbul: Isis Press.
* Miller, Michael Grimm. (1974). The Karamanli-Turkish texts: the historical changes in their script and phonology, Thesis (Ph. D.) Indiana University, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
* Misailidis, E. (1986). Seyreyle dünyayı: temaşa-i dünya ve cefakar-u cefakeş (R. Anhegger & V. Günyol, Eds.). İstanbul: Cem [An example of a Karamanlidika Work] .
* Salaville, S., & Dalleggio, E. (1958). Karamanlidika: bibliographie analytique d'ouvrages en langue turque imprimés en caractères grecs. I, 1584-1850. Athens: Center for Asia Minor Studies.
* Salaville, S., & Dalleggio, E. (1966). Karamanlidika: bibliographie analytique d'ouvrages en langue turque imprimés en caractères grecs. II, 1851-1865. Athens: Center for Asia Minor Studies.
* Salaville, S., & Dalleggio, E. (1974). Karamanlidika: bibliographie analytique d'ouvrages en langue turque imprimés en caractères grecs. III, 1866-1900. Athens: Center for Asia Minor Studies.
* Salaville, S., Dalleggio, E., & Balta, E. (1987). Karamanlidika: bibliographie analytique d'ouvrages en langue turque imprimés en caractères grecs. 1958-1987. Athens: Center for Asia Minor Studies.


::"In Asia Minor the exodus progressed regularly throughout the year 1924: 50,000 Greeks have left Cilicia, 8500 the Angora region, 31,000 the northern mountains. Those from the Diarbekr region obtained permission from France to pass through Syria. In October last I myself saw the trains of refugees in Cilicia."

::Combining those numbers, it is estimated that 89,500 Christian "Greeks" had been forciablly removed from their homes.


External links

* [http://www.kappadokes.com/english/home_en.htm Kappadokes.com]
* [http://www.megarevma.net/Karamanlides.htm From Cappadocia]
* [http://www.stegi-karvalis.gr/English/stegi.htm Centre for Cappadocian Studies]
* [http://www.guzelyurt.gov.tr/eng/ Civilization History of Guzelyurt]

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