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Republic of Gumuljina (Greece, 1913)

Last modified: 2019-07-21 by ivan sache
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Flag of the Republic of Gumuljina - Image by Pascal Vagnat, 12 March 1999

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History of the Republic of Gumuljina

The Republic of Gumuljina matches Western Thrace, and it is nowadays fully in Greek territory, between the Turkish border (which follows the Maritsa river) and the Nestos river.
Gumuljina was the Turkish name for nowadays Komotiní, the capital of Western Thrace.

Quoting a Komotiní website:

The brief chronicle of events starts with the First Balkan War (1912-13), the defeat of the Turks, and the occupation of Komotiní by Bulgarian forces. The excessive demands Bulgaria made on the Allies led to the Second Balkan War, when Bulgaria was crushed by the Greek and Serbian forces. On 14 July 1913, the Greek army entered the city to a frenzied welcome and, on reaching Goverment House (now the Law Court), found Komotiní's own historic flag fluttering proudly in the breeze, made the previous night by the women of the city. On 28 July, the Treaty of Bucharest awarded the region to the defeated Bulgaria and the inhabitants' joy turned to despair. Despite frantic appeals for military intervention, the Greek government insisted that the treaty be respected.
Faced with the prospect of the Bulgarian army's return, the Christians and the Moslims joined forces and, out of sheer political expediency, declared the short-lived Republic of Gumuljina, with Komotiní as its capital. The Treaty of Constantinople, concluded between Turkey and Bulgaria on 16 September 1913, removed the last obstacles to the military occupation of the region, and Bulgarian forces entered the city in October. (...)

Accordingly, the Republic of Gumuljina existed from ca. 28 July until 16 September 1913.

Santiago Dotor, 16 November 2000

Western Thrace was a part of the Ottoman Empire from mid 1300s to 1912 when Ottoman Turks lost the First Balkan war to Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece. Western Thrace was occupied by Bulgarians. The victors could not agree on how to split their new territories, so in 1913 Greece and Serbia attacked Bulgaria starting the Second Balkan War. During this period the Turks of Western Thrace rose in rebellion against the occupying forces (Bulgarians and Greeks) and set up the Autonomous Region of Western Thrace (Garbi Trakya in Turkish). This flag was the flag they used. They even issued their own stamps for a few months. The Bulgarians lost and Greeks occupied Western Thrace the same year.
Turkish population living in the cities of Gümülcine and Iskece, under the leadership of Kuşçubaşı Eşref (1873-1964), rose up against the Bulgarian occupiers of Western Thrace. They liberated Gümülcine on August 31st 1913 and Iskece on September 1st. They then declared the independence on September 25th 1913. the state was called Garbi Trakya Hükûmeti Müstakilesi in Turkish.
The short lived independence lasted 53 days only!

Seyit Karagözoğlu, 4 December 2001

Original pictures and references on these events can be found in Tevfik Bıyıklıoğlu, Trakya'da Milli Mücadele, Vol. 2, Appendix. [in Turkish]

Eyal Ginio, 8 November 2000

Flag of the Republic of Gumuljina

On the flag, the star and the crescent represent the Turkish population, green represent Islam, black represents the sorrow brought on to them by wars, and white represent their success in achieving their independence. I have not been able to find out what the two stars in the black parts of the flag represent.

Seyit Karagözoğlu, 4 December 2001

The flag is shown on a poster made in Turkey that displays all the flags of all the peoples of the Turkish family or speaking a language of the Turkish family, as well as the flags of the Turkish minorities, or minorities speaking a Turkish family language, like the Tatars.

Pascal Vagnat, 12 March 1999

The flag is being put forth nowadays as the flag of the Muslim minority in Western Thrace.

Jan Patrick Fischer, 9 October 2005