23 Ιουλ 2017

Thessaloniki in the last years under Turkish Rule (1910-1912)

As seen through the pages of the newspaper “Salpinx” (The Trumpet) Of Mytilini


The newspaper “Salpinx” (The Trumpet) was first published in Mytilini in March 1909. It started at the time of the inauguration of the program for the political and social regeneration of Turkey by the Young Turks in July 1908. The paper struggled with passion for the defence of the national rights of the enslaved Greek nation under the Ottoman Empire.
As an historical source, “Salpinx” is one of the few Greek newspapers of the Ottoman Empire which was published throughout the period 1910-1912.
The plethoric, interesting and also indispensable for its variety historical content of the paper brings to our memory unique pictures of the daily life activities that reflected the polymorphous and complex historical existence of the subjected Greek nation. From it's pages a brave Hellenism emerges, a pioneer in the economic, social, cultural and spiritual life among the nations of the Ottoman Empire.
“Salpinx” was a provincial newspaper, rather far away from Macedonia. Mytilini’s port, one of the most important commercial spots of that period, linking the opposite Asia Minor coast with the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, provided the right set-up for a paper of a high journalistic level with a capable staff in touch with the main cities of the Empire and the capitals of Europe.
The editors had a fine understanding of the then crucial phase of the Macedonian Question and the problems that Macedonian Hellenism was facing. The paper systematically, through it's pages in it's leading articles, political commentaries, main articles, special correspondence and daily news dedicated an important part of its space to the defence of the Greek national interests in Macedonia, commonly exhibiting good historical knowledge and providing an objective description of the events.

Great Powers competing for Thessaloniki
“Salpinx” is an invaluable historical source for the study of both internal and external matters. The tough and oppressive policies of the Young Turks against the subject nations of the Ottoman Empire and the forced conversion of Christians to Islam and thereby turkification are the main themes of the paper. Furthermore, the paper followed the implacable national rivalries and confrontations among the unredeemed nations, mainly the conflict between Greeks and Bulgarians for the succession of the Ottoman rulers in Macedonia and Thrace, and the encouraging role of the Young Turks; also the policies of the neighbouring kingdoms as well as Greece and the rivalry, interventions and intrigues of the so-called “Great Powers” in the Macedonian affair. Particularly harsh were the economic measures and oppression against the Greeks of Thessaloniki, who faced the unprecedented dimensions of a boycott declared by the “Union and Progress” Committee of the Young Turks in reprisal for developments in the Cretan Question. Someone scanning the newspaper could find great interest in the dead end reached by the Greeks and Bulgarians fighting one another; and the mutual support of the two nations in the middle of 1910, which eventually led to the victorious First Balkan War against the Turks and it's dramatic results. The events of this war and the intense and desperate diplomacy of the Great Powers are pictured in great detail in the newspaper's columns.