Antony Giza
THE BALKAN STATES AND THE MACEDONIAN QUESTION
 
 
C O M P E N D I U M

 In present times the Macedonian territory belongs to three different states: the Republic of Macedonia (having its capital in the city of Skopje), Greece and Bulgaria. In the beginnings of the 19th century all that land belonged to the Otto-man Empire. It was inhabited mainly by Bulgarians, also by Albanians, Greeks, Aroumanians, Jews, Gipsys etc., representing many different religions: the Orthodox Christianity (but there were also Protestants and Catholics there), the Islam, the Judaism etc. During the period of the Turkish domination Macedonia constituted an integral territory. Nevertheless, compared with the European states of these times, it very seriously straggled in its social and economic development. Its population was all the time exposed to permanent exploitation and violence either by the Turkish authorities or by different kind of invaders, often defending the interests of neighbouring countries.

 The movement struggling for national liberation in Macedonia was organized by Bulgarians (Dame Grouev, Gotse Delchev etc.). Heading the local uprisings (the Ilinden one, the Preobrazhenie one etc., by the way all of them suppressed with cruelty), they had the idea of joining their Motherland Bulgaria.

 At the very beginning the struggle for national liberation was directed only against the Turks. Later, after the Berlin Congress in 1878 and the settlement of the independent Bulgarian state, it was directed against Greece and Serbia, too. By the way, every neighbouring nation the Bulgarians, the Greeks, the Serbs, the Albanians and even the Montenegrins had its own plans about the future of the Macedonian territory. What is more, no one was taking in consideration the wishes of the local population. The reforms, proposed by the Great Powers, gained no success there. They were totally stopped after the Young-Turk's revolution.

 The Macedonian Question was put again on the international scene during the Balkan Wars (1912-1913). In 1912 the Balkan states drove the Turks out of Europe and liberated Macedonia. But after that, ignoring the motivated claims of the Bulgarians both in the Kingdom and in Macedonia, they appeared to be not able to contract the future of the disputable territories. This led to a conflict among the former Balkan allies in 1913, known as the Second Balkan War, which ended with the Bucharest Treaty. According to its regulations Macedonia was divided in three parts in a way that heavily damaged Bulgarian interests.

 During the First World War the fight for Macedonia was continued. Both in the mid-war period and during the Second World War the Macedonian Question stayed open. As such it should be considered also nowadays.


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