Provisional Government of Western Thrace
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2013)|
|Garbi Trakya Hükûmet-i Müstakilesi
Prosorini Kyvernisi Dytikis Thrakis
|غربی تراقیا حكومت مستقلهسی
Προσωρινή Κυβέρνηση Δυτικής Θράκης
|Provisional, later Independent|
|Government||Provisional Government under a Republic system|
|President||Hoca Salih Efendi|
|-||Established||August 31, 1913|
|-||Disestablished||October 25, 1913|
|¹ Renamed from "Provisional Government of Western Thrace" and some researchers used term of "Republic of Gumuljina" and the "Turkish Republic of Western Thrace".|
The Provisional Government of Western Thrace (Ottoman Turkish: غربی تراقیا حكومت موقتهسی - Garbi Trakya Hükûmet-i Muvakkatesi, Greek: Προσωρινή Κυβέρνηση Δυτικής Θράκης, Prosorini Kyvernisi Dytikis Thrakis), later renamed to Independent Government of Western Thrace (Ottoman Turkish: غربی تراقیا حكومت مستقلهسی - Garbi Trakya Hükûmet-i Müstakilesi, Greek: Αυτόνομη Κυβέρνηση Δυτικής Θράκης, Avtonomi Kyvernisi Dytikis Thrakis), was a small, short-lived unrecognized republic established in Western Thrace from August 31 to October 25, 1913. It encompassed the area surrounded by the rivers Maritsa (Evros) in the east, Mesta (Nestos) in the west, the Rhodope Mountains in the north and the Aegean Sea in the south. Its total territory was c. 8.600 km². The population of the state was 500.000, of which 50% (250.000) were Greeks and the rest were Turks, Pomaks, Gypsies, Armenians, Jews and few Bulgarians.
This administration was created during the Second Balkan War by a joint rebellion of Turks, Greeks and Pomaks against the withdrawing Bulgarian forces who had recently annexed the region. It survived for 3 months, between two Balkan treaties: the May 1913 Treaty of London and the August 1913 Treaty of Bucharest that ended the Second Balkan War.
It was founded as a provisional state, in order to avoid Bulgarian rule. However, before 26 October, the area was captured by Bulgaria, according to the terms of the Treaty of Constantinople (1913), after the agreement with Ottoman Empire, and since Greece wasn't able to help. The area remained a part of Bulgaria until 1919 when it was taken under French protectorate. It was finally annexed by Greece in 1920 and has been part of that country ever since, except for the Bulgarian occupation between 1941-1944. Its capital was Gümülcine, now Komotini, in Greece.
President : Hoca Salih Efendi.
Steering Committee : Reshid Bey, Raif Effendi, Hafous Salih Effendi, Nicodimos (commissioner of the Diocese of Maroneia, representing the Greeks), Mikirditch Tabakian (Armenian), Yaka Cassavi (Jew), Hafous Gali and Eshref Bey Kushchubasi.
As soon as independence was declared the Provisional Government of Western Thrace determined the borders of the country, put up the new flags on the official buildings, commissioned a national anthem, raised an army, published its own stamps and passports[page needed], and prepared the budget of the new country.
A Jewish citizen, Samuel Karaso, was tasked by the government with establishing an official press agency and to publish a newspaper named Müstakil ("Independent") in Turkish and French. The Ottoman Laws and Regulations were adopted without any change and the cases started to be heard by the Court of Western Thrace.
Bulgaria, after a brief period of control over the area following the Istanbul Convention, passed the sovereignty of Western Thrace to Greece at the end of the World War I, when Greece entered the war against the Central Powers. The Republic was revived between 1919-1920 under French (occupied the region from Bulgarian in 1918) protectorate before Greece took over in June, 1920. The Muslim population of Western Thrace was excluded from the population exchange of the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, and enjoys a legal minority status in Greece.
- International Affairs Agency Turkish Dossier Program, The Western Thrace Turks issue in Turkish-Greek relations, International Affairs Agency, 1992, p. 105.
- Philip Hendrick Stoddard, The Ottoman government and the Arabs, 1911 to 1918: a preliminary study of the Teskilât-ı Mahsusa, Princeton University, 1963, pp. 52-53.
- Andrew Mango, Atatürk: The Biography of the Founder of Modern Turkey, Overlook Press, 2002, ISBN 978-1-58567-334-6, p. 102.
- Mesut Uyar, Edward J. Erickson, A military history of the Ottomans: from Osman to Atatürk, ABC-CLIO, 2009, ISBN 978-0-275-98876-0, p. 259.
- Constantinos Vacalopoulos (2004). Ιστορία της Μείζονος Θράκης, από την πρώιμη Οθωμανοκρατία μέχρι τις μέρες μας, History of Greater Thrace, from early Ottoman rule untill nowadays. Thessaloniki: Publisher Antonios Stamoulis. p. 282. ISBN 960-8353-45-9.
- Çeçen, Anıl, Tarihte Türk Devletleri, Milliyet Kültür Yayınları, İstanbul 1986
- in Greek:Τουρκική Δημοκρατία Δυτικής Θράκης - Υπερβολή ή πραγματική απειλή, Costas Pikramenos, 14th of September 2013