Courtesy Reuters

Bulgaria and the Aegean

JUST as Jugoslavia presses for a trade outlet southward through Saloniki, so Bulgaria frets at the thin Greek coastal strip -- in one place only ten miles wide -- that shuts her off from the Ægean and relegates her commerce to the roundabout Black Sea route or the slow passage up the Danube. The Principal Allied Powers, speaking in the Treaty of Neuilly, promised Bulgaria that in view of their decision to turn the northern Ægean seaboard over to Greece they would arrange suitable facilities for the transit of Bulgarian Commerce. But the facilities which they subsequently offered were refused as "psychologically inadmissable" by Bulgaria, who apparently hoped, or thought it worth while to pretend she hoped, that the original undertaking implied something very much like Bulgarian sovereignty over a corridor to the Ægean; Bulgaria's counter-propositions were rejected absolutely by the Allies; and there, for official purposes, the matter rested. But though no formal negotiations are admitted to be in progress as this is written, the question is continually under discussion in the Bulgarian press and will one day have to be settled. Incidentally, Greece may be presumed to desire a settlement because uncordial relations with Bulgaria might prove disastrous in the event of serious trouble with a third party -- with Jugoslavia over Saloniki, with Italy over the Dodecanese, or with Turkey over any one of many possible bones of contention.

Bulgarian aspirations for an outlet on the Ægean received their first impetus from Russia in 1878, at the time of the Treaty of San Stefano. In 1876 the "Bulgarian atrocities" had aroused Europe. The following year Russia declared war, and succeeded in routing the Turks and threatening Constantinople. Her rapid success changed European sentiment overnight. British feeling ran so high that, despite Gladstone's opposition, a fleet was dispatched to the Straits to show that a Russian seizure of Constantinople would not be tolerated. Russia made peace, but decided to strengthen Bulgaria as much as possible, perhaps with a view to future

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