Research Article


DOI :10.26650/YTA2024-1287763   IUP :10.26650/YTA2024-1287763    Full Text (PDF)

The Last Reform in Macedonia: The British-Russian Reform Bill (8 March 1908)

Nuran Koltuk

Macedonia, which was acquired by the Ottoman Empire from Bulgaria through the Berlin Treaty and mandated to undergo reforms, became a region of conflicting interests involving European countries and various ethnic groups. After the events of 1878, Bulgarians engaged in activities aiming to reclaim  the territories lost after the Ayastefanos Treaty, triggering tensions with Greeks and Serbians. Macedonia became a battleground for Bulgarian, Greek, and Serbian factions engaging in violent conflicts. Bulgarians sought to push for the implementation of the Berlin Treaty reforms, drawing attention to the region in pursuit of an autonomous Macedonia similar to the example of Crete. However, for European countries, there was a fear that developments in the Balkans could disrupt the unity established in 1856, potentially leading to a wider European conflict. In 1878, Britain, France, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia, and Italy established a status quo in the Balkans to prevent any country from gaining an undue advantage that could spark a continental war. The instability in Macedonia prompted European intervention, resulting in a series of reforms that diminished the Ottoman Empire’s influence in the region. In 1908, a new reform proposal emerged, jointly presented by Britain and Russia, suggesting autonomous governance under the pretext of security concerns. However, the reform proposal yielded unexpected outcomes. This study explores the ramifications of the British-Russian proposal for Macedonia.

DOI :10.26650/YTA2024-1287763   IUP :10.26650/YTA2024-1287763    Full Text (PDF)

Makedonya’da Son Islahat: İngiliz-Rus Islahat Tasarısı (8 Mart 1908)

Nuran Koltuk

Berlin Antlaşması ile Bulgarlardan alınarak, Osmanlı Devleti’ne bırakılan Makedonya gerek üzerinde yaşayan etnik unsurların gerek Avrupa Devletlerinin çıkarlarının çatıştığı bir bölgeydi. 1878’den sonra, Bulgarların Ayastefanos Antlaşması ile elde ettikleri sınırlara yeniden ulaşmak için Makedonya’da giriştikleri faaliyetlere, Rum ve Sırpların benzer yollarla karşılık vermeleri kaotik bir ortam yarattı. Bulgarların, Avrupa’nın dikkatini bölgeye çekerek Berlin Antlaşması’nda öngörülen ıslahatların yapılmasını sağlama ve böylece özerk bir Makedonya'ya kavuşma isteği vardı. Avrupa Devletleri için ise Balkanlardaki tüm gelişmelerin 1856’da oluşturulan Avrupa uyumunu bozma ihtimali söz konusuydu. 1878’de Avrupa Devletleri Balkanlarda bir statüko oluşturmuştu. Bu statükonun bozulması Avrupa savaşına yol açabilirdi. Bu nedenle Makedonya’da ortaya çıkan istikrarsızlık, Avrupa Devletlerini harekete geçirdi. Bölgede, Avrupa Devletlerinin kontrolünde bir dizi ıslahat programı uygulandı. Her bir ıslahat programı, Osmanlı Devleti’nin bölge üzerindeki nüfuzunu aşama aşama yok ederken, 1908’de yeni bir ıslahatla daha karşılaşıldı. Asayişin sağlanamadığı bahanesiyle İngiltere ve Rusya tarafından hazırlanan tasarı, Makedonya’da özerk bir yönetim öngörüyordu. Ne var ki ıslahat tasarısı beklenmedik sonuçlar doğurdu. Bu çalışmada Makedonya için önerilen İngiliz-Rus ıslahat tasarısı incelenecek ve tasarının Makedonya’daki yansımaları üzerinde durulacaktır. 


EXTENDED ABSTRACT


Macedonia (including Thessaloniki, Bitola, Kosovo), with its diverse population including Greeks, Bulgarians, and Serbs, posed significant challenges for the Ottoman Empire between 1878-1908. Initially acquired by Bulgaria through the Treaty of San Stefano, Macedonia was subsequently transferred to the Ottoman Empire under the Treaty of Berlin. Consequently, after 1878, Bulgarians aimed to regain the borders established by the Treaty of San Stefano. They initially focused on securing independent churches and schools in Macedonia and attempted to convert Greeks and Serbs to the Bulgarian Church to bolster their population. The Greeks and Serbs responded in kind, forming committees to counter Bulgarian activities. Moreover, amidst internal conflicts, these groups clashed with Ottoman soldiers. Another tactic employed by Bulgarians to reclaim the San Stefano borders was to incite European intervention through organized revolts. The Bulgarian rebellions in 1902 and 1903 were particularly bloody, leaving Macedonia embroiled in prolonged instability. The European States (Britain, France, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia, Italy) had conflicting interests in the Balkans and considered the situation in Macedonia crucial. Their compromise in 1878 aimed to prevent the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, even amidst territorial losses, to maintain European peace. Four reform programs were implemented between 1903 and 1907, each aimed at restoring order and diminishing Ottoman influence. 

With the implementation of the first reform program, Austria-Hungary and Russia gained influence over the administration of Macedonia. In the Vienna Reform Program, the two states agreed that the police and gendarmerie in the region would be organized by European officers. However, the program could only be implemented for a very short time. The large-scale revolt of the Bulgarians in 1903 drew the attention of the European  States to Macedonia. Thus, in 1904, a broader program to restore order in Macedonia was adopted by the Ottoman government. As part of the Mürzsteg Program, two civil servants, an Austrian and a Russian, were appointed to assist the inspector general assigned to Macedonia by the Ottoman government. Their purpose was to conduct inspections and address the complaints of the Christian population. In addition, the organization of gendarmerie units was to continue in order to maintain public order. The final two reforms aimed to ensure that the financial and judicial affairs of Macedonia were under the control of the European states. The implementation of the reform programs, initially planned for two years, was continuously extended until 1914. 

However, these reforms were deemed insufficient, prompting Britain and Russia to propose the Anglo-Russian reform program. This program aimed to appoint a Christian governor to Macedonia, reduce the number of soldiers, and increase the number of gendarmes under European control. With the implementation of the Anglo-Russian reform program, Macedonia was intended to have an autonomous structure under the control of the European states, allowing it to make its own decisions while remaining tied to the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire declared that it would never accept this reform program. The reform draft was also not immediately accepted by other states.

On the other hand, the Anglo-Russian reform bill mobilized the Committee of Union and Progress, which had been rapidly organizing among the officers of the Third Army in Macedonia since 1907. Working towards the declaration of the Constitutional Monarchy for the second time, the Committee was closely monitoring developments in Macedonia. The Committee of Union and Progress opposed Europe’s intervention in Macedonia once again, believing that the last proposed reform program would lead to the loss of Macedonia. Additionally, the proposal to reduce the number of soldiers in the Anglo-Russian reform draft would weaken the Committee’s power in Macedonia and hinder the declaration of the Constitutional Monarchy. Consequently, the draft had unexpected repercussions for the European states. The Committee of Union and Progress, which had been secretly organized in Macedonia, emerged into the open to demonstrate its power to the European states. The Anglo-Russian reform bill, along with other factors, delayed the proclamation of the Second Constitutional Monarchy from the planned time. In this study, the Anglo-Russian reform bill will be analyzed, and its consequences will be emphasized.


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APA

Koltuk, N. (2024). The Last Reform in Macedonia: The British-Russian Reform Bill (8 March 1908). Recent Period Turkish Studies, 0(45), 73-89. https://doi.org/10.26650/YTA2024-1287763


AMA

Koltuk N. The Last Reform in Macedonia: The British-Russian Reform Bill (8 March 1908). Recent Period Turkish Studies. 2024;0(45):73-89. https://doi.org/10.26650/YTA2024-1287763


ABNT

Koltuk, N. The Last Reform in Macedonia: The British-Russian Reform Bill (8 March 1908). Recent Period Turkish Studies, [Publisher Location], v. 0, n. 45, p. 73-89, 2024.


Chicago: Author-Date Style

Koltuk, Nuran,. 2024. “The Last Reform in Macedonia: The British-Russian Reform Bill (8 March 1908).” Recent Period Turkish Studies 0, no. 45: 73-89. https://doi.org/10.26650/YTA2024-1287763


Chicago: Humanities Style

Koltuk, Nuran,. The Last Reform in Macedonia: The British-Russian Reform Bill (8 March 1908).” Recent Period Turkish Studies 0, no. 45 (Jul. 2024): 73-89. https://doi.org/10.26650/YTA2024-1287763


Harvard: Australian Style

Koltuk, N 2024, 'The Last Reform in Macedonia: The British-Russian Reform Bill (8 March 1908)', Recent Period Turkish Studies, vol. 0, no. 45, pp. 73-89, viewed 24 Jul. 2024, https://doi.org/10.26650/YTA2024-1287763


Harvard: Author-Date Style

Koltuk, N. (2024) ‘The Last Reform in Macedonia: The British-Russian Reform Bill (8 March 1908)’, Recent Period Turkish Studies, 0(45), pp. 73-89. https://doi.org/10.26650/YTA2024-1287763 (24 Jul. 2024).


MLA

Koltuk, Nuran,. The Last Reform in Macedonia: The British-Russian Reform Bill (8 March 1908).” Recent Period Turkish Studies, vol. 0, no. 45, 2024, pp. 73-89. [Database Container], https://doi.org/10.26650/YTA2024-1287763


Vancouver

Koltuk N. The Last Reform in Macedonia: The British-Russian Reform Bill (8 March 1908). Recent Period Turkish Studies [Internet]. 24 Jul. 2024 [cited 24 Jul. 2024];0(45):73-89. Available from: https://doi.org/10.26650/YTA2024-1287763 doi: 10.26650/YTA2024-1287763


ISNAD

Koltuk, Nuran. The Last Reform in Macedonia: The British-Russian Reform Bill (8 March 1908)”. Recent Period Turkish Studies 0/45 (Jul. 2024): 73-89. https://doi.org/10.26650/YTA2024-1287763



TIMELINE


Submitted25.04.2023
Accepted26.07.2023
Published Online05.07.2024

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