The Balkan Wars: 1912-1913 eBook

Jacob Gould Schurman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 87 pages of information about The Balkan Wars.
of the Sultan, and in 1898 they appointed Prince George of Greece as High Commissioner.  Between the political parties of the island and the representatives of the Powers the Prince, who worked steadily for the welfare of Crete, had a difficult task, and in 1906 he withdrew, his successor being Mr. Zaimis, a former prime minister of Greece.  The new commissioner was able to report to the protecting Powers in 1908 that a gendarmerie had been established, that tranquility was being maintained, and that the Moslem population enjoyed safety and security.  Thereupon the Powers began to withdraw their forces from the island.  And the project for annexation with Greece, which had been proclaimed by the Cretan insurgents under Mr. Venizelos in 1905 and which the insular assembly had hastened to endorse, was once more voted by the assembly, who went on to provide for the government of the island in the name of the King of Greece.  I have not time to follow in detail the history of this programme of annexation.  Suffice it to say that the Cretans ultimately went so far as to elect members to sit in the Greek Parliament at Athens, and that Turkey had given notice that their admission to the chamber would be regarded as a casus belli.  I saw them on their arrival in Athens in October 1912, where they received a most enthusiastic welcome from the Greeks, while everybody stopped to admire their picturesque dress, their superb physique, and their dignified demeanor.  If Mr. Venizelos excluded these delegates from the chamber he would defy the sentiments of the Greek people.  If he admitted them, Turkey would proclaim war.


The course actually pursued by Mr. Venizelos in this predicament he himself explained to the parliament in the speech delivered at the close of the war against Turkey from which I have already quoted.  He declared to his astonished countrymen that in his desire to reach a close understanding with Turkey he had arrived at the point where he no longer demanded a union of Crete with Greece, “knowing it was too much for the Ottoman Empire.”  What he did ask for was the recognition of the right of the Cretan deputies to sit in the Greek chamber, while Crete itself should remain an autonomous state under the sovereignty of the Sultan.  Nay, Mr. Venizelos was so anxious to prevent war with Turkey that he made another concession, for which, he frankly confessed, his political opponents if things had turned out differently would have impeached him for high treason.  He actually proposed, in return for the recognition of the right of the Cretan deputies to sit in the Greek chamber, that Greece should pay on behalf of Crete an annual tribute to the Porte.

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The Balkan Wars: 1912-1913 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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