A Cheta (Albanian: çeta; Bulgarian: чета; Serbian: чета / četa; Turkish: çete; Greek: τσέτης) was an armed band organized by the mostly Bulgarian, Serbian, Albanian, Greek and Aromanian population on the territory of the Ottoman Empire that undertook anti-Turkish activity. The cheta was usually led by a leader, called voivoda. The members of the chetas were called chetniks.
In the late Ottoman Empire, armed rebellions became a chronic feature of life in geographic Macedonia as armed groups of pro-Bulgarian and pro-Serbian Slavic activists, as well as 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.
Albanian çeta composed of both Muslims and Christians were also operating throughout Albanian-inhabited lands. Albanian çeta at times got assistance from Serbia and Montenegro, and from Italy during the time of the Paris Peace Conference.
- 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
- 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
- Handan Nezir-Akmese: The Birth of Modern Turkey. The Ottoman Military and the March to WWI, I.B.Tauris, 2005, ISBN 1850437971, p. 52.
- "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.
- 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.
- Vickers, Miranda (2011). The Albanians: A Modern History. I.B. Tauris: 28 January 2011. Quotes: "The years leading up to 1908 were filled with various Albanian revolts and uprisings, as the Ottoman Empire underwent a deep...crisis. Unrest spread throughout Macedonia as Bulgarian, Greek, Serbian, and Macedonian bands continued to fight for themselves and impose their nationality on the territory's inhabitants. Armed rebellions had become a chronic feature of life throughout Macedonia, but the severe Ottoman reprisals... indicated that the chances of reforms being implemented were wearing thin... the Committee for the Liberation of Albania was hastily formed in Monastir to inject some sense of direction into the Albanian political movement. At the beginning of 1906, a branch of the Committee was established in Gjakova... Committees were also established in other vilayets. Not long afterwards a guerilla movement began in Albania... Macedonia was infested with guerilla bands, the majority of them as unfriendly to Albanians as they were to the Ottoman troops. In order to defend themselves, Albanians formed their own guerilla bands known as cheta." "...Albanian cheta composed of both Christians and Muslims were operating throughout the Albanian regions. The Serbian and Montenegrin governments worked actively to support these Albanian guerilla bands. In order to prevent a peace between the Albanians and the Porte which might result in the creation of an autonomous Albania, the Balkan states fomented revolts between the Ottomans and the Albanians... the newly formed Serbian secret organization... popularly known as the Black Hand, offered Albanina leaders like Isa Boletini arms and money to encourage them to revolt. The Porte tried to appease the Albanians once again by promising financial support for Albanian cultural activities, but by now the repressive measures of the Young Turks and their broken promises had only increased the hold of ... separatist ideas upon the Albanians.
- Vickers, Miranda (2011). The Albanians: A Modern History. I.B. Tauris: 28 January 2011. Quote: "At the Paris Peace Conference, Venizelos and his colleagues energetically negotiated Greek claims, whilst Italy obstructed almost all Greek demands on Southern Albania by organizing and financing cheta and spreading anti-Greek propaganda within Greece itself"