Asylum Movement from Eastern Thrace to Bulgaria after the Greek Occupation
Altınbaş Üniversitesi, Ortak Dersler Bölümü, İstanbul/TÜRKİYE
Keywords: Ottoman 1st Corps Units, Greek Occupation, Eastern Thrace Refugees, Ottoman Government, Bulgarian Government.
Upon the occupation of Eastern Thrace by the Greek army in July 1920, the 1st Corps units were defeated without resistance and took refuge in Bulgaria, a neutral state. Since the civilian population worried about the massacre, they followed the military units and took refuge in Bulgaria. In this study, answers were sought to questions of what happened during the asylum process of military and civilian refugees to Bulgaria and their return to homeland, and how the crises between the Bulgarian and Ottoman Governments were resolved, especially during the return process of refugees. Unlike a previous study, based on ATASE Archive documents, we used Ottoman Archive documents. In the light of the new documents reached, the subject was detailed and the questions above were answered. Accordingly, the Bulgarian Government temporarily resettled the military and civilian refugees in various parts of Bulgaria and provided their subsistence. However, the Bulgarian Government, who could not help more refugees due to the political and economic problems in the country, requested the Ottoman Government to return the refugees to homeland. Since the Ottoman Government was in financial trouble, she could not carry out the process of returning the refugees to homeland in a healthy way. In addition, the return of the officers’ personal animals confiscated by the Bulgarian Government and official documents of the corps became an important problem between the two governments. Visa procedures of refugees’ passports had also resulted in crisis. So, most of the refugees had to return to homeland with their own efforts.