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In Ahtopol, a well developed urban centre at the time, the settlers were accommodated in
the Greek residential area in the houses of the families that left for Greece in accordance with the
agreements for exchanging population, but this was another temporary and, as it turned out, a
rather short-lived solution. The Greek residential area and its buildings, which housed the refugees,
largely from the village of Yana, burned down and the settlers had to start from scratch again.
That was the policy then. The Greeks had to leave Ahtopol and the Bulgarians were
to arrive in their place. But the Greeks would not leave and in the winter of 1913-1914 the
Bulgarians remained without shelter, literally in the field. Some of them set off towards Burgas
and Varna. They were around 4,000 people, those families. 400 families... Quite a few of them
set off towards Varna and settled around there, others remained closer, in the Burgas region ...
but the great majority stayed in Ahtopol and they were the poorer, more ... farmers ... mainly
farmers. They did not get any land here, they did not get anything, so to speak, because the
Greeks were no farmers. More seafaring, trade, and vines, to an extent
(from an interview
with G.D., 2009).
The situation of migrating towards the majority in Ahtopol has been emphasised by the
descendants of settlers with a version of the story about the selective mobilisation at the time of
WW2 because the ‘locals’ were envious of the ‘newly arrived Bulgarians’.
Most stories told by the descendants of refugees in Tsarevo featured Strandzha. The
mountain is the symbolic centre of the familial that instrumentalises the Thracian heritage: it is
the cultural capital of the ancestors to appropriate this space and make it their own in spite of the
difficulties of living there. In this sense, in the biographical strategies of the descendants, Tsarevo
is an ‘extension’ of the mountain rather than a sea town. It is the municipal centre and people work
in administrative structures; it develops tourism; it is also the place where the industry and the
secondary schools are.
4. Physical space and social borders – making the town one’s own
4.1. Biographical strategies of the migrants from Bulgaria into Edirne
With the last large-scale out-migrant wave from Bulgaria to Turkey in 1989-1990, the
majority of people were directed by the Turkish state towards places where they would get
financial aid and jobs.
In the majority of cases, the Turks from Bulgaria, who settled in Edirne in
1989-1990, were accommodated in blocks of flats built for them in the Şükrü Paşa residential area.
43 This story was told by the descendants of refugees and recorded by Georgi Dolapchiev (Dolapchiev 2001), a
local ethnographer, who has published several books on Ahtopol.
44 A similar story is being recollected with reference to the other group of resettlers, the Turks from Bulgaria.
When they moved to Turkey after 1989, the ‘local Turks’ were envious because they were able to integrate, were very
industrious, even the women went to work and, as a result, had greater income.
45 In the aftermath of socialism, there was hardly any industry left so the majority of the population in Tsarevo
returned to the resources of the mountain: timber production, bee-keeping or farming in the near-by villages.
46 On the housing policies and social practices of populating urban spaces with Bulgarian out-migrants from
Turkey, see Maeva 2006, Memoglu-Suleymanoglu 2010.