n Ekklesiastikos Pharos - The transactions of the International Reform Commission and the Commission for the Vilayet of Thessaloniki (1879-1880) : research article




Based on diplomatic documents of the Greek Foreign Ministry, such as the Greek ambassador's to the Porte, An. Koundouriotis, and of the consuls under him, K. Vatikiotis in Thessaloniki and N. Gennadis in Adrianople (Edirne), as well as those of the British ambassador to the Porte, Sir A. H. Layard, and of the British consul in Thessaloniki, J. E. Blunt, this article examines certain issues, essential for the fate of Hellenism in the north: (i) the spirit of bias that prevailed during the formation of the Reform Commission for the Vilayet of Adrianople (Vilâyet-i Edirne), from which the Greek delegation was excluded∙ (ii) unknown facets of the actions taken by the Greek side in the Reform Commission (1879-1880) for the Vilayet of Thessaloniki (Vilâyet-i Selânik) on the subject of making Greek the second official language of the administration next to Turkish and the opinions given by the members of the Commission∙ (iii) the attitude of the consuls of the Great Powers regarding the language issue∙ (iv) the views held by the Greek consul at Thessaloniki, C. Vatikiotis, on the same subject, and (v) the plan submitted by the Greek side for a new administrative partition of Ottoman-ruled Macedonia into two vilayets. There is no doubt that these issues proved fundamental. As for the stance of the Greek state regarding these issues, it was the outcome of systematic painstaking research conducted by the Greek Foreign Ministry in order to place Greek claims in Macedonian lands on a sound footing. Its stance was formulated for the most part through the wealth of confidential material sent to the Greek Foreign Ministry, after the Treaty of Berlin (13 July, 1878) was signed, mainly by the Greek consulates operating in the territory of Ottoman-ruled Macedonia, the "Association for the Diffusion of Greek Letters" (founded in 1869), as well as from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. In the end, despite the tireless efforts of the Greek side, the plans for instituting Greek as the second official language of Ottoman administration and for a new administrative subdivision of Ottoman-ruled Macedonia fell through.


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