The Greek policy towards Macedonia, 19th and 20th century, part 2

The Greek policy towards Macedonia during the second half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, Risto Poplazarov [Македонска библиотека]

Грчката политика спрема Македонија... Ристо Поплазаров

Inspite this failure Eteria (The National Society), in cooperation with the court and army, sent new andar bands in south-eastern Macedonia (Grebensko, Košansko) and Sersko in 1897 with a concrete aim to attract the Turkish attention so it would help the penetration of the Greek army in Turkey. At the beginning the četnik bands had some successful actions but soon the Turkish army destroyed them causing catastrophy for the Greek army and Greece surrended. The failure caused break into the Greek policy towards Turkey and Macedonia. Thereafter Greece gave up the idea to continue the struggle against Turkey alone and made friends with it. One of the main results of the Greek-Turkish alliance was the oral agreement for a united struggle against Macedonian people’s liberation movement, which on the other hand fought for libara- [< page 291] tion of all the enslaved masses. As the result of the agreement, the Patriarchate and the other organs of the Greater Greek propaganda in Macedonia gained new privileges and worked illegally under the tolerance of the Turkish ruling elements. This was highly expressed in the activity of the Greek consulates in Salonika, Bitola, Skopje, Seres, Kavala and Elasona (north Tesalija). The consulates were changed in a sort of military-propagative Headquarters and dozens of Greek officers led the Greek andar bands and the general Greater Greek propaganda after 1903. The Greek mitropolitans (among which Kostur, Drama, Bitola, Voden Greben and others were especially distinguished) had similar role. The Greek teachers worked as četnik instructors. The Greek diplomatic, church, school and communal institutions were transformed (by the help and the tolerance of the Turkish authority) into military-propagative centres in the struggle for suppressing the people’s liberation movement of the Macedonian people. Thereafter 1901 some mitropolits, consular clerks and others organised andar bands which undertook armed actions against the Macedonian revolutionaries, forced the church supporters (as also the Greeks from the boundary districts) to give up the revolutionary work. They, together with the Greek authority, boycotted the revolutionary organisations buying arms in Greece, persecuted the revolutionary supporters working in Greece and those who passed through it etc. The Secretary of the Greek consulate in Bitola Jon Dragimus worked on formation a Greek organisation with main aim to replace the Macedonian revolutionary organisation i.e. to fight against the revolutionary movement.

In June 1903 the first Greek band was sent to Macedonia and fought together with the andar band led by Vangel from Srebreno against the Macedonian revolutionaries during the Ilinden rising (St. Ilias’ rising). During and thereafter the Ilinden rising the Patriarchate, her metropolits, as well as the Greek government started openly working for the Turkish oppressors and the Greek diplomacy opposed any attempt undertaken by the Macedonian revolutionary organisation for a possible administrative (autonomious) separation of Macedonia. The organs of the Greater Greek propaganda took advantage of the present situation in Macedonia causing many blows to the revolutionary movement and strenghtened and spread over their positions. The Vrhovists and other organs of the Bulgarian propaganda took advantage of that activity for Anti-Greek actions. [< page 292]

They used many different means and methods: murders, corruptions, treacheries, forcing the peasants be loyal to the Patriarchate etc. The Greater Greek propaganda took advantage of the activity and the relationship the Greater Bulgarian ruling circles had towards the Macedonian people’s revolutionary movement to justify the Greater Greek četnik intervention in Macedonia after the Ilinden rising.

The preparations to organise the Greater Greek armed propaganda started in Macedonia at the end of 1903. With such a purpose, a officer’s mission led by Pavlos Melas visited Macedonia and tried to form andar bands from the native population, mainly from the Greeks of the boundary places, but without success. In Athenes "A Macedonian Committee" was formed under the leadership of D. Kalapatakis, who led the andar bands in Bitola district. Parallel with that dozens of Greek officers were sent to Macedonia under the leadership of the new General-consul in Salonika Lambros Karomilas and they were to organise and lead the andar bands. At the beginning two opinions existed: a group of officers thought the andar bands should be formed of the local residents, but others thought that they should be formed of Greek subjects. The actions undertaken by J. Dragumis, Karavangelis, P. Melas and others showed that it was impossible to expect any help from the local residents and the Greek government took the organisation and the formation of the andar bands under its complete control. It engaged its consuls, mitropolits of the Patriarchate, and many police stations, helped centres for forming and organising andar bands, sent officers and "volunteers", a lot of money and arms and all was needed for the Greater Greek armed intervention.

More han 2 million drahmas (Greek money) were spent for the andarism mainly from the governmental budget. This shows that the andarism was in fact undeclared querrilla struggle against the Macedonian people and its liberation.

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