This paper focuses on the development of national identity and the formation of political organizations in the Turkish minority in the early years of the formation of the Bulgarian state from 1878 to the 1940s. It studies transnational aspects of nationalism, which is usually considered territorially bounded, by studying the impact of connections between the Turkish minority and the Ottoman Empire and later with Turkey. In addition to studying inter-state relations and their reflection in the legal and political sphere, this paper studies the flow of ideas across borders, transnational networks among political activists, and the resulting cleavage formation. Findings show that transnational connections and actors played dual roles. The circulation of political activists, contributed to the formation of national organizations which played a crucial role in (re)formulating national identity. Transnational connections increased political activity in the name of the Turkish minority. Through these organizations the community was able to make collective demands from the Bulgarian state. However, transnational connections carried debates and divisions in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey to the Turkish minority in Bulgaria. By dividing the community, they decreased the capacity for collective action.
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