From Cisr-i Mustafa Paşa to Svilengrad: The Ethnic Homogenization of a Thracian Town in the Balkan Wars

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Abstract

The transformation of Ottoman Cisr-i Mustafa Paşa to Bulgarian Svilengrad was the outcome of a combination of both local violence and state-policy that took place throughout the Balkan Wars (1912-13) and within the framework of state-building efforts in both Ottoman imperial and Bulgarian post-imperial contexts. This sequence of mass violence stands at the core of this article. Based on Ottoman, Jewish, international, and translated Bulgarian sources, this article discusses the everyday dynamics and events that took place in the town by placing them in the contexts of the macro-historical transformations generated by the Balkan Wars. It likewise turns to micro-historical analysis to study the violence perpetrated by locals. While it is evident that much of the violence was state-sponsored or, at least, tacitly accepted by the state, and reflected top-down planning, non-state players also took part in the retribution against those they deemed alien to the national cause.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)275-298
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Middle East Studies
Volume55
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 17 May 2023

Keywords

  • Balkan wars
  • Bulgaria
  • Cisr-i Mustafa Paşa/Svilengrad
  • Ottoman Empire
  • Svilengrad
  • ethnic cleansing
  • refugees

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science

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