Geoffrey Summers summers at metu.edu.tr
Tue Apr 3 20:33:24 UTC 2001

Some time back there were questions about the Polish village in Asiatic
Turkey. I have just obtained a well illustrated booklet by Lucyna
Antonowicz-Bauer entitled Poloezköyü : Adampol, published in 1992 by the
Touring and Automobile Association of Turkey in Istanbul.

According to this booklet the colony was established in 1842 by Prince
Adam Czartoryski (hence Adampol) on land owned by the Lazarite Order.
The Lazarites and the Prince shared the costs and the former expected
the Polish settlers, many of whom had been redeemed from Turkish
bondage, to labour on the land for poor rations. The early settlement
comprised 12 colonists, mainly soldiers who had fled the Russian army,
on five farms.

In short, the Poles became Turkish citizens living on Lazerite land
which was leased to the Prince. This arrangement, it is stated, afforded
the settlement French protection.

The colony received new waves of Polish colonists as one disaster
followed another in the 19th century.

According to the booklet (in which pages are not numbered and bits of
text have gone missing during the production) Polish marriages ensured
that children would be brought up speaking the Polish language, thus
"such Polish was often archaic". I can only assume that sufficient
Polish women came to join their menfolk for the Poish character to have
been maintained.

On the last page of text it says: "...though the eventual granting to
the settlers of the right to dispose of thier land caused the colony to
loose some of its Polishness. Some of the inhabitants sold their land
and left Adampol, while others became intergrated with their Turkish
surroundings". The date of the legal change is not given, but, from
another part of the text, it looks as though it could have been in or
soon after 1960 when the village was transformed from being an
agricultural settlement into a tourist attraction.

Rather strange circumstances that led to the foundation of this singular
colony of Poles on French owned land, the preservation of its Polish
character (including language and religion) and, in contrast to nearby
Greek villages, its incorporation into the Turkish Republic. It perhaps
provides little evidence that is helpful in terms of theory concerning
language survival in ancient times because it has to be set against the
wider events of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Nevertheless, from the colour photographs the village appears to be a
delightful place.


Geoffrey SUMMERS
Dept. of Political Science & Public Administration,
Middle East Technical University,
Ankara TR-06531, TURKEY.

Office Tel: (90) 312 210 2045
Home Tel/Fax: (90) 312 210 1485
The Kerkenes Project Tel: (90) 312 210 6216

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