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How Turks and Bulgarians Became Ethnic Brothers

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History, Propaganda, and Political Alliances on the Eve of the Young Turk Revolution

In 1905 the Bulgarian authorities initiated preparations for a large-scale propaganda project in order to advertise the wellbeing of Bulgaria’s Muslims among the Muslim inhabitants of Ottoman Macedonia. Its purpose was to dispel inter-communal hostility during particularly turbulent times in the area. The project capitalized on arguments about ethnic and historical connections between Turks and Bulgarians by developing a novel theory maintaining that Bulgaria’s Turks were descendants of the Bulgars who founded the first Bulgarian state in the seventh century. However, Young Turk activists from the area were also involved in the enterprise hoping to use it for their own purposes. The article uses this interesting background to explore questions concerning Bulgarian policies and narratives about the local Muslim Bulgarian aspirations in Ottoman Macedonia, relations between Young Turks and Bulgarians, and Young Turk revolutionary strategies.

Affiliations: 1: University of Toronto,


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