Provisional Government of Western Thrace

The Provisional Government of Western Thrace[a][3][4][5] later Independent Government of Western Thrace,[b][3][6] was a small, short-lived unrecognized republic established in Western Thrace from August 31 to October 25, 1913. It encompassed the area surrounded by the rivers Maritsa (Evros) in the east, Mesta (Nestos) in the west, the Rhodope Mountains in the north and the Aegean Sea in the south. Its total territory was approximately 8600 km2.[7]

Independent Government of Western Thrace
Garbi Trakya Hükûmet-i Müstakilesi
Prosorini Kyvernisi Dytikis Thrakis
Προσωρινή Κυβέρνηση Δυτικής Θράκης
Flag of Independent Government of Western Thrace
Independent Government of Western Thrace
Independent Government of Western Thrace
StatusProvisional, later Independent
Common languagesGreek, Ottoman Turkish, Bulgarian
GovernmentProvisional Government under a Republic system
• 1913
Hoca Salih Efendi
• Established
31 August 1913
• Disestablished
25 October 1913
19138,578 km2 (3,312 sq mi)
CurrencyOttoman lira
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kingdom of Bulgaria
Kingdom of Bulgaria
1 Renamed from "Provisional Government of Western Thrace" and some researchers used term of "Republic of Gumuljina" and the "Turkish Republic of Western Thrace".

The whole of Western Thrace was captured by Bulgaria during the First Balkan War and awarded to the country by the Treaty of London. During the Second Balkan War the Greek Army captured most of the area between Xanthi (İskeçe) and the Maritsa river south of Soufli without encountering resistance by the weak Bulgarian army which retreated to the southern slopes of the Rhodope mountains (several kilometers to the north of Xanthi and Komotini while the Ottoman forces occupied the regions of Soufli (Sofulu), Didymoteicho (Dimetoka) and Ortaköy . After the Second Balkan War the treaty of Bucharest was signed which returned the area to Bulgaria and the Greek army withdrew from Western Thrace. Thereupon local Muslims and Greeks petitioned, with the encouragement of the Greek authorities, refused to recognize the Bulgarian control of the area and petitioned the Ottoman army to occupy Western Thrace. On their invitation, the region was then occupied by small Ottoman forces, largely irregulars. While the area had been returned to Bulgaria by the Bucharest treaty, the Bulgarian army wished to conflict with the Ottomans and retreated to a line coinciding with the pre-Balkan war border up to Aydoğmuş and from there along a ridge of the Rhodope mountains running west of Daridere and east of Madan up to the Bulgarian-Greek border.[8]

After the retreat of both the Bulgarian and Greek armies, an autonomous state was declared with Ottoman support, in order to avoid Bulgarian rule after the Treaty of Bucharest, in which the Ottomans had not taken part. Under British pressure, the Bulgarians and the Ottomans signed the Treaty of Constantinople, which satisfied the Turkish claims to recognition of Eastern Thrace and recognized Western Thrace as part of Bulgaria. The Ottomans withdrew their forces and by 25 October, and the area was returned by Bulgaria.[9] The southern part of the former Provisional government was occupied in 1918 by French forces. This area was finally annexed by Greece in 1920[10] and has been part of that country ever since, except for the Bulgarian occupation between 1941 and 1944. The northern part of the former Provisional Government remained part of Bulgaria after 1919.

The capital of Provisional Government of Western Thrace was Gümülcine, now Komotini, in Greece.

After the retreat of the Bulgarian army, irregular Ottoman forces committed numerous atrocities against Bulgarian civilians, including multiple cases of mass murder and the expulsion of a large part of the Bulgarian population of the region.,[11][12][13][14] similar to the atrocities carried out in Eastern Thrace during the Second Balkan War. These atrocities continued after the formation of the government of Western Thrace, with the active participation and support of its government.[15][16]


President: Hoca Salih Efendi.

Army: Standing force of 29,170, largely infantry. Commander of the Armed Forces [17][page needed] was Süleyman Askerî Bey.

Steering Committee: Reshid Bey, Raif Effendi, Hafous Salih Effendi, Nicodimos (commissioner of the Diocese of Maroneia, representing the Greeks), Mikirditch Tabakian (Armenian), Yaka Cassavi (Jew), Hafous Galip and Eshref Bey Kushchubasi.[18]

As soon as independence was declared, the Provisional Government of Western Thrace determined the borders of the country, put up the new flags on the official buildings, commissioned a national anthem, raised an army, published its own stamps [19] and passports[17][page needed], and prepared the budget of the new country.

A Jewish citizen, Samuel Karaso, was tasked by the government with establishing an official press agency and to publish a newspaper named Müstakil ("Independent") in Turkish and French. The Ottoman Laws and Regulations were adopted without any change, and the cases started to be heard by the Court of Western Thrace.

Currency 40 Paras = 1 Piaster [19]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Belgeselin bu bölümünde Batı Trakya Geçici Hükümeti konu ediliyor (Metin Edirneli Rodop Hükumetleri ile ilgili olarak, TRT)
  2. ^ Türkkaya Ataöv, Çatışmaların kaynağı olarak ayrımcılık, A.Ü. S.B.F. İnsan Hakları Merkezi Yayınları, Ankara, 1996
  3. ^ a b International Affairs Agency Turkish Dossier Program, The Western Thrace Turks issue in Turkish-Greek relations, International Affairs Agency, 1992, p. 105.
  4. ^ Philip Hendrick Stoddard, The Ottoman government and the Arabs, 1911 to 1918: a preliminary study of the Teskilât-ı Mahsusa, Princeton University, 1963, pp. 52-53.
  5. ^ Andrew Mango, Atatürk: The Biography of the Founder of Modern Turkey, Overlook Press, 2002, ISBN 978-1-58567-334-6, p. 102.
  6. ^ Mesut Uyar, Edward J. Erickson, A military history of the Ottomans: from Osman to Atatürk, ABC-CLIO, 2009, ISBN 978-0-275-98876-0, p. 259.
  7. ^ "Panayotis D. Cangelaris – The Western Thrace Autonomous Government "Muhtariyet" Issue (1913) Philatelic Exhibit". Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  8. ^ The Destruction of Thracian Bulgarians in 1913, Lybomir Miletich, 1918, p. 205
  9. ^ Constantinos Vacalopoulos (2004). History of Greater Thrace, from early Ottoman rule until nowadays. Thessaloniki: Publisher Antonios Stamoulis. p. 282. ISBN 960-8353-45-9.
  10. ^ Karakatsanis, Leonidas (2017). "Review of Kevin Featherstone et al., Οι τελευταίοι Οθωμανοί: Η μουσουλμανική μειονότητα της Δυτικής Θράκης, 1940-1949 [The Last Ottomans: The Muslim Minority of Greece, 1940–1949]". Historein. 16 (1–2): 185. doi:10.12681/historein.9224. Retrieved 18 March 2022. Passing from the Ottoman state to Bulgaria in 1912, to the Entente in 1919 and then to Greece in 1920 as part of its “new lands”, Western Thrace was exempted from the population exchange between Turkey and Greece
  11. ^ Miletich (1918), p.197
  12. ^ Miletich (1918), p.198
  13. ^ Miletich (1918), p.218
  14. ^ Miletich (1918), p.219
  15. ^ Miletich (1918), p.217
  16. ^ Miletich (1918), p.280
  17. ^ a b Çeçen, Anıl, Tarihte Türk Devletleri, Milliyet Kültür Yayınları, İstanbul 1986
  18. ^ "Τουρκική Δημοκρατία Δυτικής Θράκης - Υπερβολή ή πραγματική απειλή". Archived from the original on 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2013-10-27.
  19. ^ a b "Western Thrace, Autonomous Government (1913) » Dead Country Stamps and Banknotes". 21 December 2012. Retrieved 2016-09-25.



  1. ^ Ottoman Turkish: غربی تراقیا حكومت موقته‌سی, romanized: Garbi Trakya Hükûmet-i Muvakkatesi; Greek: Προσωρινή Κυβέρνηση Δυτικής Θράκης, romanizedProsoriní Kyvérnisi Dytikís Thrákis; Turkish: Batı Trakya Geçici Hükümeti[1][2]
  2. ^ Ottoman Turkish: غربی تراقیا حكومت مستقله‌سی, romanized: Garbi Trakya Hükûmet-i Müstakilesi; Greek: Αυτόνομη Κυβέρνηση Δυτικής Θράκης, romanizedAftónomi Kyvérnisi Dytikís Thrákis

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