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THE CLAIM OF BULGARIA

From that base line to the Black Sea nearly all European Turkey (with the exception of the Chalcidician Peninsula, including Saloniki and its hinterland) had been occupied by the military forces of Bulgaria. Why then was Bulgaria so insistent on getting beyond that base line, crossing the Vardar, and possessing herself of Central Macedonia up to Ochrida and the eastern frontier of Albania?

The answer, in brief, is that it has been the undeviating policy of Bulgaria, ever since her own emancipation by Russia in 1877, to free the Bulgarians still under the Ottoman yoke and unite them in a common fatherland. The Great Bulgaria which was created by Russia in the treaty she forced on Turkey--the Treaty of San Stefano--was constructed under the influence of the idea of a union of the Bulgarian race in a single state under a common government. This treaty was afterward torn to pieces by the Congress of Berlin, which set up for the Bulgarians a very diminutive principality. But the Bulgarians, from the palace down to the meanest hut, have always been animated by that racial and national idea. The annexation of Eastern Roumelia in 1885 was a great step in the direction of its realization. And it was to carry that programme to completion that Bulgaria made war against Turkey in 1912. Her primary object was the liberation of the Bulgarians in Macedonia and their incorporation in a Great Bulgaria. And the Treaty of Partition with Servia seemed, in the event of victory over Turkey, to afford a guarantee of the accomplishment of her long-cherished purpose. It was a strange irony of fate that while as a result of the geographical situation of the belligerents Bulgaria, at the close of the war with Turkey, found herself in actual occupation of all European Turkey from the Black Sea up to the River Struma and beyond,--that is, all Thrace to Chataldja as well as Eastern Macedonia--her allies were in possession of the bulk of Macedonia, including the entire triangle she had planned to inject between the frontiers of New Servia and New Greece!

The Bulgarians claimed this triangle on ethnological grounds. Its inhabitants, they asseverated, were their brethren, as genuinely Bulgarian as the subjects of King Ferdinand.



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