Zafer Koylu

Keywords: The Macedonian Question, Second Constitution, Gangs, Constitution Clubs

Abstract

The restoration of the Ottoman lands lost to Bulgaria after the Russo-Ottoman war of 1877-78 by the Ayastefanos Treaty, as finalized by the Treaty of Berlin, turned the Balkan question into a "Macedonian question". Thereupon Bulgaria took action in order to occupy Macedonia according to the terms of Ayastefanos Treaty. Bulgaria enlarged its boundaries on the one hand and, through the committees and consulates it founded and the spiritual leaders it posseessed, tried to increase the Bulgarian influence on Macedonia, on the other hand. These activities of Bulgaria but disturberd other nations in the region, i.e. Vlachs, Serbs, Greeks and such. These nations, this time, attempted to set up their own bands and sought for etnographic, demographic and political ascendancy in Macedonia. During the proclamation of the Second Constitution, these bands were on friendly terms with the Ottoman administration. Upon the alterations in the constitution in 1909 and the subsequent liberal environment, however, they chenged their names to "constitutional clubs" and acquired an official status. Peace did not last long, nevertheless. The enactment of the "law of communities", as proposed by Talat Bey, the deputy of Adrianople, and insisted on by Mahmut Şevket Paşa, Commander of the "Action Army", increased the tension between the Ottoman government and the constitutional clubs. Thus, Balkan states had the opportunity of starting a large-scale and a better organized process of partitioning regarding the Ottoman territories in the region.