The History of Kirklareli

Kirklareli is inhabited since prehistory. The mounds which were found Asagipinar and Eriklice villages and at the east of Aslibey road prove that, Kirklareli is a very ancient settlement. Tilkiburnu mound was detected thanks to a research which is headed by Prof. Dr. Mehmet Ozdogan who is the head of Prehistoric Archeology Department in Faculty of Literature in Istanbul University and this research shows that, the settlement history of Kirklareli lie down to last Chalcolithic period. Tilkibunu mound is apprx at 18 km south of Kırklareli and at east side of Seytandere where is one of the arms of Ergene River.

It is believed to, people have came to Trakya apprx 1 million year ago at first. This period is accepted as one of the longest term in cultural history which has existed fourteen thousand years until and this period is called “Old Stone Age” or “Hunting and Gathering Period”. Throughout this period hunting and edible plants and fruits based diet and nomadic way of life was dominated also there were no permanent shelters were made. There were significant changes in Trakya’s climate with the World’s climate in this quite long term, one after another hot dry rainy periods ranging from a cold climate has dominated the region tens of thousands of years.

In conjunction with the earth’s climate conditions state to close to today’s conditions, about 8000 years ago Trakya’s natural environment and vegetation properties gained some features like today’s conditions, people have adapted to changing environment conditions via their changing technologies. This changing began apprx 10-12 thousand years ago in Anatolia. People have started to agricultural activities with cultivating the land with wheat, barley, lentil etc. and livestock breeding with sheep, goat, cattle and pig and made their first dwellings which made by wooden, mud bricks and stones but it is seen that, these changes have began in Trakya where has quite rich natural environment conditions, after Anatolia, 7 thousand years ago today.

Traks, an important Eastern Europe and north-western Anatolia, has been an important and representative of a specific culture over a long period of time they were there. However, unlike the classical conception of the world which script is significantly accepted, script was not well accepted by Traks like Celts, Scythians and Cimmerians. But in this case, when this culture and the similar cultures are considered in their unique perceptions and in their opinions, a different connotation is occurred.

Rebellious attitudes of Trak community which could not be disciplined continued during fight between Ion city states and against forms of Persians in 499 B.C. who has shaped around Athena and till struggles between Greek city states and Persians.

At the period of Byzantine Emperor Nikephoros (802-811), farmers who were living in Anatolian cities have been sold their lands. A part of these people were placed in Kirklareli in order to protect borders and they were mandated to do military service as “Stratiotes” (soldier- peasant). In 850s, Emperor 3th Mihail, banished Pavlikians who have been fighting with Arabic Muslims against to Byzantium to Trakya from Malatya district.The King of Bulgaria Simeon, besieged for twice the capital city of Byzantium in 913 and 924. Kirklareli was invaded for two times. However UZs walked to the Balkan Peninsula under pressure of Cumans who lived in south of Russia and invaded in phase to phase, an epidemic prevented the incursion. In 1122, Pechenegs who defeated in the face of collaboration between Byzantine and Cuman, walked into Macedonia and Trakya after the south of Danube River but the big part of Pechenegs who succumbed and captured as prisoner were located in Byzantium lands in Trakya.

The first sources which providing relevant information of the conquest of Kirklareli, they were written in 16th and 17th century so t is impossible to say any exact date of conquest of Kirklareli according to available resources. In addition, it is accepted that, the conquest of Kirklareli has been done after the conquest of Edirne under control of the Sultan 1st Murad, this conquest has been done probably between years of 1367 and 1372.

This city was called Kırk Kilise by Ottomans. However there were lots of opinion about the meaning of this calling, no one of them well accepted but one of them which is translated from Saranta Eklesiai to Kırk Kilise is adopted as more acceptable than others. Kirk Kilise’s name changed to Kirklareli on December of 1924 with 537th regulation of law according to suggestion of Fuat Umay who was the senator of Kirklareli. After conquest by Turks, Kirklareli has begun to inhabit. Kirklareli was inhabited rapidly especially, thanks to Turkmens who escaped from Mongols and nomads; they were placed in Kirklareli by Ottomans.

Initially, Kirklareli was a little town of Vize sandjak at the first periods of Ottoman Empire, and then has become a sandjak of Rumelian State. In the first half of 17th century, with the establishment of the State of Ozi, Kirklareli was tied to this state. Kirklareli has been remaining until the 19th century as a sandjak, in 1292 (1875) has became a county of Edirne and in 1304 Kirklareli was managed as a sandjak. In Turkish Republic period, Kirklareli was converted into a city from sandjak with some regulations. There were only 6 streets in Kirklareli can be seen when the population records of the first half of 16th century is investigated. During the 1st Balkan War which began after the agreement of Romania, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Greece and Serbia in 1912, perhaps Kirklareli experienced the worst days of the date because of enemy invasion.

After 1st World War, after Mondros Truce which is signed on 30th of October in 1918, againsts prepared for exerting dominance on whole Trakya and on 4th of November in 1918 a group of French soldiers attacked to villages around railway from Sirkeci along the Uzunkopru Hadimkoy line. In this case, an organisation was established which named Trakya Pasaeli Mudafa Heyet-i Osmaniye and according to decisions of a meeting which was done in Istanbul on 22th of January in 1919, East of Trakya should be recovered from counterforce. Sevket Dingiloglu was attended to this meeting as a represent of Kirklareli.

After the Congress of Sivas which was organised in September 1919, all Thracian patriots were gathered under one roof to rescue Trakya with gunpoint. On 31th of March in 1920, a congress was organised in Luleburgaz, in this congress a management team was organised to make some decisions for manner of intruders and inform Ankara about these situations. On 3th of April in 1920, Mustafa Kemal Pasa wished good luck to people in congrees via telgraph. In 1920, between 9th and 13th of May in Edirne, expanded Trakya Congress was organised and made some decisions to show resistance to invasion and made a decision to make command Cafer Tayyar Pasa to National Forces.

General mobilization was declared on 25 May 1920’s. Greeks started to walk on 20th of July in 1920 and invaded Kirklareli on 25th of July. A few days ago from invasion, the centre of Community of Trakya Pasaeli Mudafaai- Hukuk has moved to Kirklareli. Trakya was invaded by Greeks with the Sevres Treaty, this situation quickened to preparing for Independence War. Community of Trakya-Pasaeli Müdafaa-i Hukuk which distributed during the invasion was recovered and it was tied to government in Ankara. Independence struggle has began, from April 1922’s on, operations were started to organise against to intruders. In this period up to September, the enemy give huge losses. Finally, Edirne, Tekirdag and Kirklareli were surrendered to Ankara Government by invaders according to Mudanya Truce which is signed on 12th of October. According to Mudanya Truce, Vize and Saray were possessed from Italy, Luleburgaz and Kirklareli were possessed from France by Ankara Government.  In 1922, October 23th, a protocol was signed between the delegates of axis and Refet Paşa to vacate the east of Trakya and conditions of vacating. Şakir Kesebir who was appointed as governor of Edirne possessed the whole east of Trakya. Firstly Vize and Demirkoy in 2nd of November after that Luleburgaz in November 8th, Babaeski in 9th November and finally Kirklareli in 1922 November 10th were possessed and Turkish flag was hoisted in these cities.

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