Probably, the title of the article might seem strange to readers. An obvious question can be asked: how and why do we draw such a parallel between Turkey, calling it Muslim America. And what does that even mean? Let’s figure it out …
It’s no secret that the United States of America is a country that was formed thanks to migrants from all over the world. Since the discovery of the American continent by Christopher Columbus in 1492, people from all over the world began to come to America in search of a better life. And conditionally, these waves of migration can be divided into several groups:
The core of the future American nation was precisely the migrants from the Old World: British, Scots, Germans, Spaniards, French, and especially the Irish. Most likely, the reason for migration was both material motives (improving one’s financial condition) and deeply sacred and ideological ones. After all, it is no secret that Europe of that time was a continuous absolutist-monarchist substrate, based on feudal relations, which, in turn, entailed uprisings and constant indignation of the common people.
It is obvious that such emigration over the centuries was, one might say, a compromise between the state, which, by allowing emigration, mainly dissatisfied with the life of the population, would “unload” their countries from the potential threat of uprisings; and the common people who wanted to emigrate to build a completely new identity based on equality and fundamental freedoms.
From 1525 to 1866, according to researchers from Emory University, 12.5 million people were taken to America from Africa.
The vast majority of African Americans today are descendants of people from Angola, Ghana and Senegal. Angolans were the largest: 5 million people, almost half of the total number of all slaves brought into the New World. About a quarter of the slaves brought to North America were from Angola.
For nearly three centuries, Africans remained as slaves and an unwitting labor force until, in early 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, a decree to abolish slavery throughout the country. All “persons held as slaves” in the states of the Confederation were declared free people. The final abolition of slavery occurred with the adoption of the 13th and 14th amendments to the Constitution. The 14th Amendment, passed in 1866, granted all former slaves US citizenship.
And although today’s Afro-Americans cannot be classified as a “migrant”, they are one of the cornerstones in the formation of the American nation.
3. The last category of migrants are people who came to the United States after World War II, including a large number of natives of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, who, to this day, arrive in the United States for permanent residence.
But what is the connection between the above – the emigrant America and Turkey.
In fact, Turkey, centuries ago and today, is a motley substrate of many ethnic groups and peoples who took refuge in it after the seizure of their countries of residence.
So, in the period from 1783 to 1917, about 1.8 million Crimeans emigrated from the Crimea to the Ottoman Empire. The same figure applies to the muhajirs (migrants) from the Caucasus: Circassians, Vainakhs, Dagestanis, Ossetians and Abkhazians.
The second category of emmigrants was representatives of the Rumeli region (Balkans). After the devastating wars between the Ottomans, Russia and European countries, hundreds of thousands of residents of Bosnia, Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece emigrated to the heart of the Ottoman Empire, and now modern Turkey – to Anatolia (Anadolu in turkish. Ed.).
It was Anatolia, which can be translated from Turkish as “native land”, that became the fulcrum for millions of Muslims and non-Muslims from different parts of the former empire.
And today, it is not surprising when you come to Turkey and meet the locals, you find out that many are ethnically non-Anatolians or there are in the genealogy that go back to emigrants from the Balkans, Crimea, Caucasus or another regions.
Such a variegated substrate of peoples and ethnic groups in Turkey makes it a unique country, the common ideals of which have united millions of migrants and local residents into a common Turkish political nation.