RECOIL OF SERVIA TOWARD THE AEGEAN
The first effect of the European fiat regarding an independent Albania was the recoil of Servia against Bulgaria. Confronted by the force majeure of the Great Powers which estopped her advance to the Adriatic, Servia turned her anxious regard toward the Gulf of Saloniki and the Aegean Sea. Already her victorious armies had occupied Macedonia from the Albanian frontier eastward beyond the Vardar River to Strumnitza, Istib, and Kochana, and southward below Monastir and Ghevgheli, where they touched the boundary of the Greek occupation of Southern Macedonia. An agreement with the Greeks, who held the city of Saloniki and its hinterland as well as the whole Chalcidician Peninsula, would ensure Servia an outlet to the sea. And the merchants of Saloniki—mostly the descendants of Jews expelled from Spain in the fifteenth century—were shrewd enough to recognize the advantage to their city of securing the commerce of Servia, especially as they were destined to lose, in consequence of hostile tariffs certain to be established by the conquerors, a considerable portion of the trade which had formerly flowed to them without let or hindrance from a large section of European Turkey. The government of Greece was equally favorably disposed to this programme; for, in the first place, it was to its interest to cultivate friendly relations with Servia, in view of possible embroilments with Bulgaria; and, in the second place, it had to countercheck the game of those who wanted either to make Saloniki a free city or to incorporate it in a Big Bulgaria, and who were using with some effect the argument that the annexation of the city to Greece meant the throttling of its trade and the annihilation of its prosperity. The interests of the city of Saloniki, the interests of Greece, and the interests of Servia all combined to demand the free flow of Servian trade by way of Saloniki. And if no other power obtained jurisdiction over any Macedonian territory through which that trade passed, it would be easy for the Greek and Servian governments to come to an understanding.