"Story of Greek-Turkish Troubles" article - Chicago Daily Tribune, February 15, 1897

Published in the Chicago Daily Tribune, February 15, 1897

Early Friction That Leads Up to the
Critical Complications That
Disturb Peace Today.

Soon after the opening of the Greek Parliament in 1808 four Deputies appeared from Crete asking for admission on the ground that an assembly of delegates in Crete had declared in favor of an annexation to Greece.  The Grecians showed sympathy with this demand, but the Ambassadors of the great European powers protested, and the Turkish Minister announced that acquiescence would result in the demand of his passports.  The Government of Greece yielded to this pressure and opposed the admission of the Deputies, and the chamber by a large majority pronounced the ministerial declarations satisfactory.

In 1871 another quarrel arose with Turkey.  The appointment on Feb. 8 of Blacqui Bey, formerly Turkish Minister to the United States, as Ambassador of the Sublime Porte produced a sensation in Athens.  His views on the Eastern question were know as anti-Greek.  One June 14 Mr. Tricoupis was appointed Greek Minister to Constantinople and maintained, although it was known by the Greek Government that the selection was not agreeable.  The Sultan refused to receive him and asked that Mr. Rangabe, Greek Minister to the United States, be appointed instead.

Toward the end of June this difficulty was amicably adjusted and Rangabe was recalled from Washington and sent to Constantinople.  In November the Greek Ministry was defeated on an appeal to the Chambers for an approval of their policy, and resigned.

Boundary Line Makes Trouble.

For several years in the later seventies and early eighties the relations between Greece and Turkey were severely strained by the question of the international boundary line, and the warlike spirit of the Greeks more than once flashed out in an ominous way.  Yet the influence of the powers in general proved sufficient to prevent actual hostilities.

The boundary question was presumptively settled at the Berlin conference.  When the confirmation of the findings of the conference came up Turkey manifested a disposition to regard the conclusions reached at Berlin as rather suggestive than final, and some time spent in negotiations Zorbas, lying within the awarded boundary, and had a pitched battle with the Turkish garrison, which was resumed the next day.

Skirmishes took place at several other points.

Both governments massed troops on the frontier, the Greeks having at once an army of over 10,000 men on the spot.  There were 400 or 500 killed on both sides in various engagements.  Then the powers took cognizance of the question, which, and armistice being arranged, became a matter for diplomacy.  The Porte finally gave way and yielded the disputed districts to the Greeks.

Trouble in 1886.

In 1886 trouble again broke out between Turkey and Greece, and as a result of the latter nation's refusal to demobilize its army at the request of the powers a pacific blockade of the entire Grecian coast was ordered and maintained.

Late in the spring some of the Greek troops in the frontier tried to precipitate a conflict with the Turkish army.  A body of volunteer mountaineers opened fire on the Turkish line, pursuing the attack on the second day, and driving in the Turkish outposts under a galling fire from the Moslem ranks.  Small fights developed all along the line, many being killed and wounded on each side.

At this point the fighting was stopped by orders from both governments.  The Porte did not press for an investigation, not desiring to complicate negotiations for disarmament.  Simultaneous withdrawal of the troops of both nations soon followed, and the blockade was raised.


  1. "Soon after the opening of the Greek Parliament in 1808..."

    Not sure which parliament they're talking about but I strongly suspect it wasn't the Greek one in 1808 simply on the grounds that there wasn't a Greek one in 1808!


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