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Polonezköy-Polish Village of Istanbul

2716 Views 9 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Arpels

The settlements of the Polish travelers, which were in the territory of Vincent de Paulo Society that was called Lazarist, on the skirts of Alemdağ on the Anatolian edge of the Strait was called Adanköy by the Ottomans. Later, it was called “Polonez Karyesi”. During the first and second world wars (1923), it was officially called “Polonezköy” and it gains an ethnic identity.

From the second half of the 18th century, the Ottoman Empire had accepted the need of making some changes against the challenges of the Western Europe, especially Russia. Russia, who is making plans to conquer Istanbul, becomes the enemy of the Ottomans who share the same destiny with Poland. This fact that was of no importance at first, becomes more significant with the defeat of “November Mutiny” (1830-31) made against Russia in the Poland Kingdom and the efforts of Russia to remove the Ottomans from Caucasia. The first negotiations, about settling the migrants that were about a few thousand, whose majority had gone to France during the “Great Migration” in the Poland history, as a result of the November Mutiny, were made between Prince Adam Jerzy Czartoryski and Namık Pasha in Paris in February 1833. But the plans that were made at those times failed. When the Ottoman Empire starts the Westernization movements, the matter was again dealt with. The abolishment of Russian protection, that had been implemented during the Gülhane Hattı Hümayunu (1839) and the most important Hünkar İskelesi Agreement in 1833, with the London Straits Contract (June 13, 1841) caused Polish migrants to make attempts to continue their effects in the Ottoman Empire. Prince Adam J. Czartoryski establishes the main representatives of Poland East mission in 1841 and then he appoints Michael Czajkowski to represent him that will be known as the faithful leader by the Ottomans. The representative would be the center of the activities of the Polishes in the East and would resist against the Panislamism movements of the Russians, with the help of the Slavs in the Balkans within the borders of the Ottoman Empire. The representative was making the mission of providing information to both the Ottomans and to the Western countries by a network established from its sub-representatives. For this reason, it wouldn’t do anything that will provide benefit to the host country and without the approval of it. This political representative that took the place of diplomatic representative of Poland that was removed from the European map in the 18th century, was often exposed to the Russian attacks and also caused strong diplomatic conflicts in the host countries. To bring a solution to this situation, a mission was given to the representative that didn’t take part in diplomatic implementations. It will protect the Polishes living in the Ottoman Empire as a non-official establishment of a non-existing state. This matter had been negotiated in Paris and various solutions were recommended including the creation of a Poland settlement. However, the problems arose. Those were the matters that where could the Polishes, who want to live in the Ottoman Empire, could be found and how it could be achieved without making the Ottomans involved with the matter or without allowing Russia start a diplomatic attempt to the Ottoman Empire. It was found possible to establish a settlement where Polishes would live, however, it was thought that it would be better if it would be in a place under the French protectorate, not in the territories allocated to the emperor. The attention was focused on the regions in St. Vincent d’Asia (New Farm) of Lazarist, where French laws were accepted and where the Polished lived before the establishment of Adampol. Most probably, this issue had been negotiated before Michael Czajkowski moved to Istanbul, but taking an urgent measure couldn’t be accepted due to the financial problems of Prince Adam J. Czartoryski. The Prince was aware that the cost of this settlement would be very high for him. Although he was reluctant, he accepts the establishment of the settlement and the project was realized in his period. This project formed a base for activities of the representative in Istanbul and also a reasonable cause for the studies depending on the continuity of the settlement. The representative was dissolved 12 years later, in 1852 and the Ottoman territory began to be attractive for the Polishes who wanted to gain their freedom again with the contributions of the representative. On the contrary, the settlement that was thought to be a temporary one and whose population is formed from the Polishes survives.

The establishment of the village was officially realized after the signing of an agreement with Michael Czajkowski and Priest Leleu, the head of the Lazarist group in Istanbul, on behalf of Prince Adam J. Czartoryski, on March 3, 1842. The village is established as an agriculture settlement. The name “Adampol” appears as a result of combining the first name “Adam” of the Prince and the dream of establishing a free Poland (pol) in some place on earth. The aim of the establishers at this stage was to make the Adampol be a base for other similar settlements. It would have military duties besides its agricultural function and make the Polishes go to that place on the Strait.

The dream of Micael Czajkowski that many, even millions of Polishes would escape from the Russian army was far away from being realistic. On July in 1842, twelve Polish slaves many of them bought from Çerkez people by Lazarists settle on one part of the territory that is named St. Antonie by the Lazarists and Adampol by the Polishes. Those are the people who form the center of the Polonez village named Adampol.

The Polishes who wanted to live or find a temporary shelter had come to Adampol from different ways. The settlement has a territory of 5000 acres and is cleaned and ready for use. The events in Europe and old Republic of Poland affect the migration to this place. The failure of the Hungarian revolt has directed the Polish soldier, who was fighting against Austria and Russia, to the Ottoman territory. Some of them come to Adampol and some families such as Biskunsiki settle in this area. The failure of attempt of settling in Derbin (Tesela) causes an increase in the number of settlers coming to Adampol in the middle 1859s. the “January rebel” in Poland (1863-63) make the village become a base for the ones who want to help the rebellions.

The number of Polishes living in Adampol has never exceeded 250 (1914), it has even gradually decreased. Only 65 of the total population of 545 in 1922 is Poland rooted. At first, it was accepted that not only Polishes, but also the Slavs could settle in this place and people from different origins were allowed to settle in. Prince Adam J. Czartoryski wanted to make a cooperation with the Balkan Slavs to prevent the increasing number of Russians enter Poland. When the history of Adampol is examined, it is seen that the population of the village was composed of people from different origins and even Slavs. It is seen that, especially in the near past, this principle is disregarded when the Armenian and Turkish women are mentioned.

One rule is definitely obeyed, it is about religion. All of the settlers are Catholic. But, as a priest from Poland generally cannot be found, they have to make effort to keep their religion alive. The devotion of the settlers to the Catholic belief, makes the Adampol live till toady, the despite the disputes arising between Czartoryski family, Lazarists, Ottoman Empire and later the official authorities of the Republic of Turkey.

Life hasn’t always been easy in the village. In the beginning, all the people in the village were dependent on the Lazarists in everything. The villagers had opened the area, constructed the houses and had faced great poverty. In the course of time, some financial resources had reached Adampol. The villagers were able to produce goods that would help them survive and also make money by selling them. By this way, there had been some changes in the conditions. Contrary to the anticipations, the village never turned into a military settlement during its history of 150 years. This plan hasn’t been realized in the 19th century when the Poland State wasn’t existing and it couldn’t find the possibility to be realized after 1918 when Poland again gained its freedom. The Adampol settlers stayed faithful to the Poland traditions and their language. However, they began to adapt the economic life of the region they settled in. The love to the Turkish territory, although they aren’t their ancestors’, make them stay here and accept the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey as their second land and at last their motherland although they are from the first origin that have settled here in the 19th century, they dream of Poland and they want Poland to be free again. In the course of time, Adampol leaves its agricultural characteristic and becomes a holiday resort.

The existence of Adampol for such a long time, which is a settlement with different traditions, culture and religion, is due to the tolerance of the Ottomans and the Republic of Turkey and the political regulations made in Europe.

The legal position of Adampol in the 19th century was rather complex. The settlement was under the protection of the Lazanists till 1884 and the French representatives living in Istanbul because of the only and legal owners of those territories, Prince Jerzy Czartoryski and his son Prince Wladistaw Czartoryski, who bought the territory in 1883, were living in this city. The death of Prince Wladistaw Czartoryski (1884) made the legal position of the settlement rather complex. Wladistaw Czartoryski is from French nationality but his son Adam is the citizen of Austria. Most probably, this situation causes the end of protection of Adampol. In 1897, Islam law doctor Leon Ostrog, who was the lawyer in Bab-ı Ali (1909-13) and who made the Ottoman Empire know Adampol as a possession of the Czartoryski family, was appointed as the fully authorized representative of Adampol.

The protection was undertaken by the Austria representative from 1904 till the end of the First World War. The Czartoryskis protect Adampol with their own representatives Michael Czajkowski (Sadık Pasha), Wladyslaw Koscielski (Sefer Pasha) and Wladyslaw Jordan through fully authorized representatives Feliks Gnatowski and Leon Ostrorog. When the Czartoryskis had no representatives left, Adampol inhabitants chose their own administrator. An election was made between Dr. Stanislaw Drozdowski, Priest Michael Lawrynowicz and persons from the families Biskupski, Wilkoszewski and Dochoda living in the village. The Czartoryskis don’t pay attention to the village as they did in the 19th century. However, the devotion of the people in village to the Czartoryskis has always been respected by the Republic of Turkey. The family abandons their territory in 1968 and the Polish settlers become the owner of their own territory in January in 1969. a flow starts to the region when the Turkish citizens took the right of buying farm areas in this region and the areas belonging to Polishes decreases in Adampol. Inhabitants of Adampol start to migrate to other countries. This was a situation anticipated from the middle of the 19th century. “Let it remain between us my friend, but when the permitting the selling of private possessions is regarded, I don’t think that this place will have a future for us. Everybody will sell his or her territory to the first person offering money. That’s why, Poland will no longer be a colony, it will rapidly become cosmopolite.” 8Krakov, Czartoryski Library, Ew. Ind. 1191, from F. Breanski to S. Drowski, 12th of October 1882).

This regression still observed in Polish Adampol settlement is a fact of today. The Adampol inhabitants, who are Turkish citizens, rapidly integrate with the society in which they live and the country of which they are the citizens. This integration is a process of no turning back and it will accelerate with the death of the old generation. Dialect is less spoken

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hehe.. well it certainly looks like poland :)... very interesting :)
Very interesting indeed, and also a beautiful place in terms of nature...
What kind of productions, forgive my ignorance..
mostly foods;honeyü butter, cheese, yogourt. My grandmom was always buying Polonezköy butters when I was a child and I thought butter was coming from Poland :D
Very green place.I think there are also some Polish grave yards in the area.
I adore Yogourt CHLEPSSSS, I made yogourts in my home :)
Yogurt yummy food lol
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