Aslı Yayak
Bursa Technical University, Turkey

Abstract
The aim of this study is to investigate the identity and cultural characteristics of the Pomak community. In the Balkan peninsula, which was one of the most nonuniform areas of the world in terms of language, religion, race and culture, the Balkan War (1912-1913) broke out and World War I broke out in 1914. Among the minorities that lived in the Balkans, the people who suffered the most from persecution, oppression, assimilation and genocide have been Pomak Turks. During the conquest of Bulgaria by the Ottoman Empire, Kipchak (Kuman) Turks living in Bulgaria since the 11th century helped the Ottoman conquest of Bulgaria by accepting Islam in the 14th century. For this reason, they received the name “pomaga” which means helper and took their place on the pages of history as Pomak Turks. It is a historical fact that the Pomak Turks came from the descendants of the Kipchaks who came to the Balkans in the 11th century. The Kipchaks adopted Islam since it resembled the old Turkish belief and united with the Ottomans. The Pomak Turks lived in the 19th century between the Rhodope and the Eastern Macedonian under Ottoman rule. The advent of Pomak Turks to Turkey has intensified after the Russo-Turkish War in 1878 and with the immigration in the following years. Pomaks who migrated to Turkey mostly settled in Balikesir, Bursa, Canakkale, Edirne, İstanbul, İzmir, Kırklareli, Kocaeli, Kütahya, Samsun, Tekirdag and Muğla.