Cheta (armed group)

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Internal Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization cheta in Osogovo (March 1903).

A cheta (Albanian: çeta; Aromanian: ceatã; Bulgarian: чета; Greek: τσέτης; Romanian: ceată; Turkish: çete; Serbian: чета / četa), in plural chetas, were irregular armed bands present throughout 19th century Ottoman Empire, particularly Anatolia and the Balkans. The members of the chetas were called chetniks.[1][2]

Çetes parading with loot in Phocaea (modern-day Foça, Turkey) on 13 June 1914. In the background are Greek refugees and burning buildings.

In the late Ottoman Empire, armed rebellions became a chronic feature during the struggle for Macedonia as armed groups of pro-Bulgarian,[3][4] as well as pro-Serbian, pro-Greek, Aromanian and Albanian formations fought against each other as well as the Ottoman troops, trying to impose their nationality on the territory's inhabitants, and increasingly harsh Ottoman crackdowns indicated that reform and reconciliation of the Ottoman state with the various nationalist groups was growing less likely.[5][6][7] The cheta was usually led by a leader, called voivoda.

Muslim chetas were active in Asia Minor after World War I. They were notorious for their assaults on Christian Orthodox Armenians, Greeks, and Assyrians during the late Ottoman genocides.[8][9] The term was also used as a synonym for members of the Special Organization.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The war correspondence of Leon Trotsky: The Balkan Wars 1912-13, Author Leon Trotsky, Publisher Resistance Books, 1980, p. 227., ISBN 0-909196-08-7
  2. ^ Handan Nezir-Akmese: The Birth of Modern Turkey. The Ottoman Military and the March to WWI, I.B.Tauris, 2005, ISBN 1850437971, p. 52.
  3. ^ "The IMARO activists saw the future autonomous Macedonia as a multinational polity, and did not pursue the self-determination of Macedonian Slavs as a separate ethnicity. Therefore, Macedonian was an umbrella term covering Bulgarians, Turks, Greeks, Vlachs, Albanians, Serbs, Jews, and so on." Historical Dictionary of Macedonia, Historical Dictionaries of Europe, Dimitar Bechev, Scarecrow Press, 2009, ISBN 0810862956, Introduction.
  4. ^ The political and military leaders of the Slavs of Macedonia at the turn of the century seem not to have heard the call for a separate Macedonian national identity; they continued to identify themselves in a national sense as Bulgarians rather than Macedonians.[...] (They) never seem to have doubted “the predominantly Bulgarian character of the population of Macedonia". "The Macedonian conflict: ethnic nationalism in a transnational world", Princeton University Press, Danforth, Loring M. 1997, ISBN 0691043566, p. 64.
  5. ^ Vickers, Miranda (2011). The Albanians: A Modern History. I.B. Tauris: 28 January 2011.
  6. ^ "Vulturii Pindului – 13. Luptele fârșeroților cu antarții". Armatolii (in Romanian). Archived from the original on 13 September 2021.
  7. ^ The establishment of the Balkan national states, 1804-1920, Volume 8 from A History of East Central Europe, Barbara Jelavich, University of Washington Press, 1986, p. 135., ISBN 0-295-96413-8
  8. ^ Kevorkian, Raymond (2011). The Armenian Genocide: A Complete History. I.B.Tauris. ISBN 978-0-85773-020-6.
  9. ^ Shirinian, George N. (2017). Genocide in the Ottoman Empire: Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks, 1913-1923. Berghahn Books. ISBN 978-1-78533-433-7.
  10. ^ Akçam, Taner (2008). "Guenter Lewy's The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey". Genocide Studies and Prevention. 3 (1): 111–145. doi:10.3138/gsp.3.1.111.