Two hypervariable sequence segments in the control region of mitochondrial DNA were determined in samples of Bulgarians and Turks. The Turkish sample presented a higher degree of internal diversity, in terms of total number of variable nucleotides, as well as in the average pairwise nucleotide difference. Pairwise difference distributions were built for both samples, yielding smooth bell shapes in agreement with the Rogers and Harpending model. The Bulgarian and Turkish data were compared with several European and W. Asian Caucasoid populations (Basques, Tuscans, Sardinians, British, Middle Easterners and Indians). Mean pairwise differences suggest that a demographic expansion occurred sequentially in the Middle East, through Turkey, to the rest of Europe (Bulgaria included). Current mutation rate estimates date this expansion in times ranging between 50000 and 100000 years ago and, thus, would correspond to the arrival of anatomically modern humans in Europe. Sequence trees for segment I show that European and Middle Eastern sequences derived from the reference sequence. Coalescence times for segment I sequences agree with those predicted by pairwise distributions. Genetic trees were constructed between populations and revealed an extreme homogeneity between European samples.