The Recognition of the Vlachs as a Millet in the Ottoman Empire, 1905

Creative Commons License

Macar E.

Journal of the Middle East and Africa, vol.14, no.1, pp.87-112, 2023 (Scopus) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 14 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/21520844.2022.2125696
  • Journal Name: Journal of the Middle East and Africa
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Arab World Research Source, Index Islamicus, Jewish Studies Source, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Political Science Complete
  • Page Numbers: pp.87-112
  • Keywords: Alexandru Lahovary, Ecumenical Patriarchate, Macedonia, Romania, Sublime Porte, Vlachs
  • Yıldız Technical University Affiliated: Yes


© 2022 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.Employing a historical perspective and using documents from the Ottoman archives, this article focuses on the recognition of the Vlachs as millet by the Sultan Abdülhamid in 1905. It examines in detail the policies of the Sublime Porte, Romania, and the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which was the highest body within Orthodox Christianity. The study also tries to show the common fate of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Ottoman Empire in the face of rising nationalisms and the Ottoman “breaking no squares” policy toward to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. From 1878, newly independent Romania had initiated a paternalistic policy in support of the Vlachs of Macedonia including their desire to gain recognition of their right to have their own schools, churches, clerics, and so on. Yet, seeking this objective exacerbated already existing nationalist conflicts in the region among the Serbs, Bulgarians, and Greeks. The setting for this rivalry was mainly Salonica, Bitola, and the Ioannina provinces. This article argues that when Alexandru Lahovary arrived in Istanbul in 1902 as the new Romanian diplomatic representative he had as his major aim obtaining Ottoman recognition of the Vlachs as a millet, like the Greeks, Armenians, Bulgarians, and other minorities already enjoyed. Remarkably, Lahovary’s determined diplomatic and other efforts achieved his target in a mere three years. Still, after the Balkan Wars, Greece emerged as the real winner, and captured a huge part of Macedonia, which effectively took the Vlachs off the Balkan agenda.