"Turkish village" where no Turks live: Faymonville

Europe
Wed, 14 Feb 2024 10:11 GMT
The village of Faymonville in Belgium, where no Turks live, has been recognised as "Turkish" for centuries.
"Turkish village" where no Turks live: Faymonville

The village of Faymonville in Belgium, where no Turks live, has been known as "Turkish" for centuries and has a proud and unifying meaning for both the inhabitants of the village and the Turks settled in Europe.

Faymonville is a village in the district of Waimes in the province of Liege in the French-speaking Walloon region of Belgium.

According to the last census, 925 people live in the village, which has a fascinating nature in the middle of mountainous, dense forests.

None of the 300 thousand Turks residing in the country live in this village. However, Faymonville is known as the "Turkish village" by everyone.

It is possible to see the moon and star and the word "Turk" everywhere in the village.

At the entrance of the municipality building from the period when it was a town, there is a Turkish flag engraved on the concrete floor. There is also a Turkish flag on the windmill on the roof of the same building.

There is a crescent star on the plaque of the cultural centre in the village square and even on the coat of arms of the football club "R.F.C Turkania".

The traditional carnival, which is organised throughout the country in February, is celebrated with a different enthusiasm in this village.

Turks living in different parts of Belgium and neighbouring countries also participate in the carnival every year.

The carnival, organised by the group "Les Turkania Möhnen" (Les Turkania Möhnen), which also calls itself "Jeunes Turcs" (Young Turks), opens with a marching band with the moon star.

Afterwards, young people dancing in colourful costumes and vehicles throwing confetti at the audience form a cortege.

Thanks to the carnival, which paints the village in red and white, warm communication is established between the Walloon people and the Turks settled in Europe.

"We are proud"

Faymonville resident Carine Georges, 75, one of the organisers of the carnival, involuntarily referred to the residents of the village as "Turks" and described being "Turkish" as their identity.

"We are proud of this," Georges said, explaining the reason why the village is called "Turkish":

"This is a legend. It is based on the story of a tax that the Turks (residents of the village) did not want to pay. This is a very old story. In fact, everyone attributes it elsewhere. But it allowed us to keep our identity. Everything here is called Turk."

Gülseren Özhan, one of the Turks who came to Faymonville for the carnival, stated that they were curious about the culture of the village and found the village very cute.

Özhan, who lives in Antwerp, said that he is proud of the existence of a village in Belgium that is recognised by its Turkish identity.

Fırat Çal, who came from Ghent, expressed both surprise and pride, and quoted a rumour that the village with a Turkish flag at the entrance was saved from being attacked by Germany during the Second World War.

Different narrations

There are three rumours about Faymonville.

The most widespread of these is the refusal to send soldiers to the Crusades in the 12th and 13th centuries, and another is the refusal to pay taxes to the church that collected money to fight against the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century, which led to the villages in the neighbourhood to start calling them "Turks".

Another is that the village was saved from the German occupation thanks to its Turkish identity and that it embraced this identity even more.

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