Beginning of the Greek-Turkish War (1897)

Beginning of the Greek-Turkish War (1897)

On February 3, 1897, the Greek-Turkish War begin. The conflict arose over Crete’s status. Namely, although Greece gained independence from the Ottoman Empire as early as 1832, Crete, although it had a majority Greek population, remained part of the Empire. Although they promised to give Crete a high degree of autonomy at the Congress of Berlin in 1878, the Ottoman authorities never implemented it, which caused several uprisings.

In 1897, the uprising grew into an armed conflict after the Greek and Ottoman governments sent military forces to support or suppress the uprising. Fighting in Crete also affected Epirus and Thessaly. For the first time, the Ottomans had the opportunity to see the success of new equipment and tactics developed under the influence of German military instructors. The Greeks, on the contrary, were poorly equipped, poorly organized, under-trained and lacked commanding staff.

The war ended with a ceasefire after only thirty days and with relatively small casualties (about 600 Ottoman and 1300 Greek soldiers were killed). Greece suffered a shameful defeat, but this prompted its military structures to reorganize the armed forces and lead them to victory in the Balkan Wars. Small parts of Thessaly were conceded to the Ottoman Empire, but because of the intervention of the great powers, it had to withdraw its forces from Crete and take concrete steps to allow it autonomy. Crete officially reunited with Greece in late 1913.

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