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The Islamic Republic of Sanjak
Sandžačka Islamska Džumhurija
سانجاچكاة هسلامسكاة جوُمحوُرهياة
Flag of Sanjak Emblem of Sanjak
state flag emblem
Map of Sanjak

map of Sanjak (Rascia)
cities Novi Pazar (capital), Bijelo Polje, Gnjilane, Berane, Ferizovac, Međeđa, Sjenica
government theocracy
ruler reis-ul-ulema efendija Safvet-beg Šećerović
independence declared in April 1988, formalized by 1999
from CSDS
population c. 3,3 million
ethnic groups Sanjaki, Serbs, Dalmatians, Bulgarians, other
languages Sanjaki (official), Serbian (not officially recognized as a minority language), Dalmatian, Bulgarian, other
religions Sunni Muslim (official), Eastern Orthodox (prohibited in public), Eastern Catholic
currency 1 rijal = 30 pijastra = 120 para
ISO code SJ



The name Sanjak (Sandžak) is of Turkish origin and was used to denote an administrative province of the Ottoman Empire governed by a sanjak-beg or pasha (paša). The territory of the present-day Sanjak was included in the Ottoman province called the Sanjak of Novi Pazar, but even after the area had been liberated from the Ottoman Turks, the name Sanjak continued to be applied to this territory.

The controversy about the name of the country arose following the civil war in the former CSDS during which Sanjak declared independence. Serbia, which had pretensions to the territory of Sanjak, has since refused to use the name Sanjak, with Turkish etymology, when referring both to the geographical region around the city of Novi Pazar and the new-proclaimed country, and instead, restored the old Serbian name Rascia (Raška), used in the Middle Ages.


The mediaeval Serbian state under the House of Nemanjić was founded in the 12th century in Rascia (Raška), in what is today the area around Novi Pazar in Sanjak. Rascia, later called Sanjak, was the centre from which the mediaeval Serbian kingdom spread, and the home of Serbian kings and emperors. Many Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries from this period, which are now under the special protectorate of Serbia, were built in this region.

Following the Battles of Maritsa and Kosovo in 1371 and 1389, respectively, the south-eastern parts of the present-day Sanjak fell under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, while the northern and western parts of the present-day Sanjak remained within the mediaeval Serbian state until it was finally fully conquered by the Turks between 1459 and 1463.

Sanjak was part of the Ottoman Empire during the following five centuries, excluding a short period of Serbian rule over Sanjak from 1878 through 1882. Soon after the Treaty of Constantinople (Kostantiniyye in Turkish) was signed in 1878 by the Ottoman Empire and Austro-Dalmatia, Serbia immediately started a war with both signers as the Treaty annulled the previous Serbian rebellion of 1804-1813, which had resulted in establishing an independent Principality of Serbia, and instead joined Serbia to Austro-Dalmatia. The Serbian soldiers liberated Sanjak, proclaiming its reunion with the Serbian Principality. In 1882, the Serbian rebels were finally defeated, and Sanjak was rejoined to the Ottoman Empire.

As a consequence of a long Turkish domination over Sanjak, many locals accepted Islam and much of the Turkish vocabulary entered their otherwise Slavonic language. Those who retained their original Christian faith (that is, Serbian Orthodoxy) are today a minority in Sanjak. While the Orthodox Christian population kept their Serbian ethnic feeling, the Muslim population developed a specific local Sanjaki ethnicity. Moreover, the language was later officially named Sanjaki, too (or Sanjakoserbian and Serbosanjaki during the CSDS era), an act that has been particularly frowned upon in Serbia and by some Serbian linguists and philologists.

Sanjak remained part of Turkey until the First Great War, when it was again liberated by the Serbs and joined to the newly-formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (popularly called the Slavonic Union), which later became known as the Danubian Confederation. Later, Bulgaria and Dalmatia also joined the unitary kingdom ruled by the Serbian Karageorgevich dynasty. After the Second Great War, the Confederation of Soviet Danubian States (CSDS) under Josip Broz Tito and his Communist Party was proclaimed and the Karageorgevichs were forced to emigrate from the country. Sanjak was separated from the territory of Serbia and given the status of one of the socialist republics that comprised CSDS.

CSDS dissolved from 1988 to 1999, during the civil war that shook its republics. The Socialist Republic of Sanjak proclaimed its independence from CSDS in 1988, but was soon overrun by the Serbian forces under the command of Slobodan Milošević. After eleven years of civil war in Sanjak between the Serbs of Serbia (supported by the Serbs of Sanjak) and the Muslims of Sanjak, the Serbian troops left the country and Sanjak became fully independent in 1999. It has, however, lost some of its territories inhabited by a Serb majority (around the towns of Višegrad and Srebrenica), that was annexed by Serbia during the civil war, then accused by Sanjak of ethnic cleansing of the Muslim (Sanjaki) minority in that territory, and the terrible massacre of the Muslim population in the town of Srebrenica.


Mediaeval architecture and literature of the present-day Sanjak was almost purely Serbian Orthodox, with rare charters and works compiled in the Dalmatian vernacular of that time. A large number of Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries are located in Sanjak. After the Turkish conquest, the Oriental Islamic style arose in architecture and language.


The Sanjakoserbian or Serbosanjaki language was officially recognized as a regional variety of the Serbian language used in Sanjak during the CSDS era. Whereas Serbian stuck to the traditional Cyrillic script, Sanjakoserbian was officially written in both the Cyrillic and Latin alphabets.

Soon after Sanjak declared independence in 1988, the official language of the republic was named Sanjaki (sandžački). It was stated to be a Slavonic language with respectable influences from the Turkish, Persian, and Arabic languages, and its status as a dialect or a regional variety of the Serbian idiom was denied, despite the mutual intelligibility. Only the Latin alphabet was proclaimed official, but the Arabic script also started to be used for the calligraphy. Moreover, many archaic loanwords from Turkish and Arabic, used in the Ottoman period, were brought back into the standard language after the Language Revitalization Plan of 1992 to replace those with Slavonic or other roots. Many new Turkish and Arabic loans were also prescribed, and some Turkish and Arabic neologisms were coined.


Muslims form a majority in Sanjak, while Christian Serbs inhabit only small enclaves around some mountain villages. Islam is the official religion and Christians have minor rights or no rights at all in Sanjak. The head of the country is the Islamic ulema (high-priest) and public life is arranged according to the Qur'an.

A number of followers of the Serbian Orthodox Church are found in enclaves in mountain villages, but expressing Eastern Orthodoxy in public is prohibited in Sanjak, meaning that Orthodox churches must not ring their bells and Orthodox priests must wear casual clothes outside the churches.

A Dalmatian merchant population (locally called Latins), who are of the Eastern Catholic faith, is settled in several of Sanjak's cities.

See also

- Sanjak was supported by Turkey, Iraaq, and Saudi Arabia [1] It was a constituent state of the CSDS, but like Bosnia *here* (perhaps even more so), it was an artificial entity. Sanjak had never been independent before, and only became a "state" (insofar as the constituent Soviet Republics making up the CSDS can be considered states) until the establishment of the CSDS in 1947. And like Bosnia *here*, both Dalmatia, and to a much greater degree, Serbia, had designs on the territory of Sanjak. As it stands today, the Dalmatian government "officially" maintains a policy of peaceful coexistence with the IRS, but secretly they view Sanjak as a useful thing to have there, as any time new weapons need to be tested, a little conflict can be fomented...Anyway, Sanjak would not exist if the war had ended as I said above, because either Dalmatia or more likely Serbia would have conquered and incorporated Sanjak into itself. You mentioned also re Slovenia that the world is rather reluctant to accept new states, and Sanjak would be an even newer state than Slovenia, since Slovenia did have a year as an independent principality in 1917...

I can see this also being the case re Sanjak, but pressure from the Islamic world saved Sanjak

that Sanjak could make it thanks to strong pressure from the Islamic world, while Slovenia simply missed a strong ally (not much left with Germany and Austria preferring to cooperate with Croatia, while France, Castile and Leon and the Two Sicilies would rather support Dalmatia).

Well Sanjak, and to a lesser extent, Albania (well, Albanian Muslim fundamentalists) received military and other aid from several Muslim states, Turkey probably, and probably others too (but I don't know enough about the Middle East in IB to say what countries there would have shipped arms). Sanjak's Islamic Revolution took place 5 May, 1991. One was attempted shortly thereafter in Albania but it failed, mainly because Albania is/was already far to secular for such a thing to happen, and also because there are a large number of Catholics in Albania.

Sandzacki. That is, a South Slavic language. From a linguistic and neutral point of view we could say it is basically ekavski Serbocroatian with heavy Turkish influence, and many Arabic loanwords. A lot of the Arabic loanwords came after the Language Revitalisation Plan of 1992, after the Islamic Revolution. So in short we can say it's like Bosnian *here*, but with an even heavier Turkish/Arabic influence. It is written in Arabic script officially, though Latin is used and acceptable. Cyrillic *could* be used, but is illegal.

Sanjaki Islamism came as a reflex action to the rising Croat nationalism in the DC after Broz's death, much like how Islam became important in Bosnia *here*, as a reaction to rising Serbian nationalism in Yugoslavia. However, it went a lot further *there* than *here*.

Ahh so, then I misread it. Sorry. Then Iguess it would be sfae to assume that Saudi Arabia supported Sanjak and to write that into the history files!

> > Iraaq i'm sure would have supported Sanjak as well, at least until they > were kicked back out of Kuwayt and the Revolutionary Ecotopic Republic of > al-Basra declared its independence. They probably still send Sanjak > money, even if they don't have enough weaponry to send them anymore. > Maybe now that the Sanjaki war is ending, Sanjak may send Iraaq back some > weapons so Iraaq can try and reconquer al-Basrah and Kuwayt. Iraaq is > more of a greedy dictatorship than a fundamentalist state, though.

I'm not certain whether Sanjak would really be prepared to send weapons back to Iraaq just yet. Sure the war between the IRS and Dalmatia is over, but they are still in somewhat of a precarious position. For one, there is Dalmatia to the west and south who they just finished a long war with. Then to the north is the Serbian Kingdom, who still has designs on Sanjak, and vice versa there are still some Muslim minorities withing Serbia that the IRS would certainly love to liberate from the Serbs. Bulgaria to the west is not a threat; they have become something of a "Switzerland" since they left the Danubian Confederation. The Bulgarian Army is mainly a defensive army, and the Bulgarians, if they have any expansionist ideas at all, would only really want southern Macedonia and eastern Greece. However, being a mainly Christian country they have no love for Sanjak, and they have enough problems with their own Muslim minorities. Attacking Sanjak would only cause to anger the Bulgarian Muslims. Bulgaria is also the channel through which Sanjak received its arms, and the government apparently received some money or oil or some other form of incentive to not notice the arms smugglers.

Back to the point at hand, if Sanjak sent any aid to Iraaq in a form of thanks for the weapons, it would probably have been elements of the 1st "Handzar" Shock Division (the elite air-mobile unit of the Holy Army of Sanjak) and other "volunteer" mudzahedin (note theres a hachek on the z there, that is the Sanjaki spelling of mujaheddin) units. It is a known fact that there were foreign mujaheddin units operating in Sanjak both during their war of independence and during the recent war with Dalmatia (by then however they were part of a foreign legion type unit, believed to be called the Legions of Allah, though that information may not be accurate). The nationalities of these mujaheddin are not known for certain. There are probably representatives of every Muslim nation there, but I would assume the majority were Iraaqis, Saudis and Turks.

Flag of the Holy Army of the Republic of Sanjak
Air Force roundel
Flag of the Sanjaki Soviet Republic
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